2018: My Year in Review

Told you this post would come! This is the first time I do a “Year in Review” post actually, on any blog I’ve owned. Hopefully, it still comes out well, even if it’s my first post of this kind! So, let’s get into it! Also, fair warning: this is going to be very lengthy and very personal.

I know many people are going to say this, but it rings true for me: 2018 went by fairly quickly. Or, well, parts of it went by really quickly; while other months, especially the darker ones, seemed to linger on for far too long.

I went through so many changes in 2018, that I am not quite sure how to summarise this year, if not by seasons. It somehow seems the most appropriate way. I’ll be recollecting stuff that happened and how I felt, thanks to my private journal as well (I journaled regularly and have been doing so for the past 3 years).

❄️ Winter

From December 2017, all the way to the end of February 2018, winter was… a blur. In the autumn of 2017 I had to resign from a really, really bad apprenticeship, because, to put it simply and honestly, the culture of the company I worked for was all kinds of wrong. There were many things that were wrong with that job, and my former bosses were entirely part of the problem. The job was both draining and extremely boring, I wasn’t being taught anything (even though it was specifically an apprenticeship), my former bosses expected me to up-skill for free at home (instead of doing it, paid, at work, which is the whole point of an apprenticeship) and it was clear their ideas of work-life balance were totally skewed (they spent evenings and weekends at the office, having microwaved dinner) — and they expected me to have the same work-life unbalance that they had created for themselves and were constantly perpetuating. Basically, the job was just bad. (I’ve been thinking about talking about my former horrible job for a while now in a story time video, we’ll see if I can put it out this coming year.)

I resigned from that apprenticeship because it gave me depression. I’m not being hyperbolic — it really did. It set me back quite a lot in terms of my mental health and it really was not worth it. And that was the end of a year where I had battled depression for a long while and managed to come out on top — suddenly, I was depressed again, and I felt like I had thrown all of my hard work away, like I was back not on square zero, but on square minus one.

At the same time, the act of leaving that job itself also caused my mood to plummet. I had put a lot of hope and expectations upon this apprenticeship: it was going to be the job that lifted me out of poverty; it was going to be the start of my software developer career; it was going to be the job that would fix things — it would make me fall in love with software development and it would fix my terrible economic situation by paying sort-of decently (the salary was high for an apprenticeship, but in real world terms, it still wasn’t minimum wage). However, it did none of the above; in fact, quite the opposite: it made me really dislike software development (it completely put me off that career and field of study) and it made my depression come back due to the extremely early starts, the commute and lack of work-life balance (plus, the job itself was not interesting and the bosses were not helping in that regard).

Even though the job was awful, I still felt like a failure for resigning. If this was my chance at getting out of poverty and starting a very well-paid career, and I resigned, then… what could I possibly do? What other chances did I have to get out of poverty? What else would help? What else was there? It took no time at all to go from these questions to, “What’s the point of waking up in the morning?” The fact that I felt so lost, and I didn’t know what to do now, was amplifying my depression.

I spent the rest of autumn 2017 and the majority of winter in a depressive state. The only spark of happiness was a Creative Writing workshop I attended for a weekend, which was a huge catalyst in helping me figure out what I wanted to study now. Up until then, I had only considered other design subjects, but I wasn’t totally up for it as I felt my graphic and web design juices had depleted over the years. The workshop helped me figure out that this time around I definitely wanted to focus on my creativity and explore all sorts of creative outlets for what had been my biggest quality since the age of 5: my imagination. I’ve always loved to create, to make up stories, then specifically to write; it was clear that I should go into that field now. (And really, looking back, I should have done so from the very beginning.) I narrowed my choice down to a couple of degree programs, before eventually setting on and applying for the BA in Digital Media at the University of Stirling (which is what I am studying now! 💖). I changed university and relocated to a new city because of my new choice of studies and I haven’t regretted it at all — in fact, it’s been one of the best decisions of my life. I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic when I say that that workshop changed and influenced my life, definitely for the best.

However, after that brief workshop was over, and after I decided what my new course of action would be (study Digital Media), the rest of the winter was spent mostly trying to survive each day. Hence why it was a blur that I don’t remember well: part of it were simply the really bad depressive thoughts; and the other part of it was trying to survive that, day by day, and focus little by little on different things (and sometimes even just purely distract myself). Depression even made me stop talking to some of my friends in the old town altogether. I isolated myself completely, with the exception of my newly-found friends on Discord. In general, it was not a good period, and I don’t exactly feel happy trying to remember it — the little I can even remember.

In January of 2018, Peter, my ex-flatmate and I were supposed to move to a new flat near our old college. However, at the very last minute, the very day before our move, in fact, we found out that the letting agent had lied about the state of the property (they had confirmed to us various times that it was unfurnished, but suddenly, when they sent the inventory two days before our move-in date, furniture appeared, including two very bulky beds that we would have to store somewhere if we didn’t want them) and not only did they not apologise to us, they actually tried to gaslight us about it. Afterwards, a quick google search for reviews of the letting agent revealed that they were kind of scummy: they didn’t take care of their properties and were almost always trying to keep parts or the whole deposit when the tenants moved out with all sorts of excuses. Huge, huge red flags. 🚫 (Also, they charged us admin fees, which, as I later found out, is completely illegal to do in Scotland. I later emailed them about it and, after challenging them a little, they realised they didn’t have a case, so they gave us back the admin fees in full. Nobody does illegal stuff on my watch. 💪) So, the day we were supposed to sign the contract and get the keys, we actually went into the agency to tell them we weren’t signing anything and waved them goodbye, forever. (This letting agent is called Aberdeen Considine, by the way — if you are in the UK, please do yourself a favour and never, ever rent with them!)

The problem with this particular incident was that… I was actually really looking forward to moving out because our last flat was a nightmare to live in. It was bad on just about every single possible level. The worst thing about it, by far, was that it was in a crummy, smelly alleyway, which it shared with one of the roughest pubs in town. The clientele of the pub was made up of very loud, very drunk, and sometimes very violent, rough people, and the pub would often stay open until midnight, and even 1am on the weekends. It was, without a doubt, the worst flat I’ve ever lived in my entire life. (Again, a story time video about that awful flat is probably coming out this coming year.)

Our last flat was not good for my mental health, and it really exacerbated it during the months I lived in that property. The winter months were particularly rough, as, thanks to the awful positioning of the flat, no natural light would enter the property, which meant the flat was constantly dark and extremely cold (the windows were also terrible quality and the insulation was very poor). At this point, I had been living in that flat for about a year and a half (we had moved into the property in August 2016, which I would say so far has been the biggest mistake of my life) and I seriously needed to get out of there, forever. I had been looking forward to the move because it would improve my mental health — but, because of this setback, we actually ended up living in that horrible flat until August 2018.

I can’t even remember Christmas and New Years very well. I’m sure I spent them in Scotland because, as usual, I didn’t have the funds necessary to go back to Italy. I didn’t really feel like going back anyway, especially not in the state I was in. Point is, some of winter went by far too slowly (especially the periods where my mood was at the lowest and my depression at the highest), but thankfully it seemed to speed up towards the end as spring approached. It helped that, by that point, I had passed the first selection stage for the Digital Media degree and had been invited for an interview towards the end of February. I had also decided to start a Youtube channel earlier in January and I was excited about that.

The move not happening turned out to be a sort of blessing in disguise. When she came back from her Christmas holidays, my ex-flatmate decided, a bit out of the blue, that she did not want to finish her degree in Perth, that she wanted to study maths and in Glasgow. She spent the next few weeks getting in contact with the university, doing some maths exercises to figure out if she still liked studying maths (turns out she did) and applying to the university. Even though she applied after the January deadline, she actually heard back a whole month a half earlier than I did! And she got accepted. After much talking, we initially decided that all three of us would move to Glasgow, as it would be closer to our respective universities. Plus, in general, Glasgow would offer more job opportunities for me and my skill-set, which Perth was seriously lacking. By this point, I had at times toyed with the idea of relocating myself. I knew I had to move out of Perth and be somewhere else. My life in Perth was stuck on repeat and I could feel myself stagnating horribly as an artist. The thought of a future relocation helped when it came to the vast mountain of problems that the terrible flat kept giving us! And of course, knowing that sometime in summer we’d definitely be out of there helped a ton, too.

So, I guess the first few months of the year were really the “change” months! Despite my absolute low mood at points, a lot of seeds of change were planted in this season: my application to a new degree, a decision to relocate, the start of my Youtube channel. Looking back at it, I am grateful to my past self for not giving up, for figuring things out, for working hard and having the absolute perseverance to keep going despite all the setbacks and negative things. I know it must have taken me some titanic strength to get through the first months of the year. Somehow, I did it, and I am still proud of it.

Positives of Winter:

  1. The Creative Writing workshop was a huge positive of this period: I enjoyed it thoroughly, it helped me figure out what I wanted to do, it reminded me of what I loved doing best and what brought me the most joy (writing), it made me realise I really do want to publish my books in the future (it also gave me invaluable information on how to do that), it rekindled my love for writing in a period where my love for my hobbies was almost non-existent (thanks, depression), and, most positively of it all, it actually put me in the mood to write and finish off one of my children’s books! 💖 I was really proud of myself for that.
  2. I figured out pretty early on that I wanted to go back to university.
  3. I figured out that, this time, I wanted to do something that was entirely creative and that tapped into and fuelled my creativity.
  4. After a whole month of pondering and thinking about it really hard, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to study this course that only the University of Stirling seemed to offer in the whole of Scotland, that is, the BA in Digital Media. (Initially, I considered an English degree, but after comparing modules and coursework, I quickly realised that the more practical Digital Media degree would suit me much better, and would also offer better job prospects than English Literature would have done. Also, in general, I like all forms of artistic and creative mediums, and I did not want to limit myself at the degree level. At this point I started considering a career in film and radio, too.)
  5. I wrote a really strong application for the Digital Media degree which I was able to submit on time, even with all the mishaps happening with the letting agent.
  6. Later in February, I was selected to be interviewed for the BA Digital Media! It was super positive that I got an interview and I was both very happy and very nervous since it was clear it was a very competitive degree course. As I would later find out, my interview went really well! 💪🌟
  7. I made some good friends and formed some strong bonds with some people that I met on Discord, and with whom I still talk to today on a regular basis! ❤️
  8. After much, much thinking and pondering, I decided that I would start a Youtube channel! 📽 I wouldn’t upload my first video until April, but it was at this point that the segments and various ideas for my Youtube channel started to form and take shape. Even though I would still have anxieties and doubts over my Youtube channel throughout the whole year, I think it’s still important to acknowledge when I decided I wanted to embark on this adventure — because that still took guts, especially from me! All my Discord friends were really supportive, too, which helped. 💕
  9. Following my decision to start my Youtube channel, I then shot my first video! 📽 I ended up reshooting it twice because I am a perfectionist and I didn’t like the way I acted on camera until I finally started looking and sounding less stiff on the third take. 😆
  10. Towards the very end of February, my ex-flatmate and I decided that, if we both got into our new universities (she was also applying to another uni), we’d consider seriously moving to Glasgow. Seeing as we were both unsatisfied with life in Perth and were not able to find a flat that would accept students and pets, we decided we’d just bite the bullet and relocate. I am counting this as a positive because I had been wanting to relocate for a while myself and the thought of leaving our old town kept me going during the next months that we’d have to spend at the horrible flat!

🌸 Spring

I really feel like I ‘blossomed’ in spring, just like the flowers did. So many positive things happened this season that really helped improve my mood.

Firstly: my interview for the Digital Media degree went really well, and I got confirmation of it towards the end of March… because I got accepted into the degree! 🎉 I got my acceptance email and I remember being so nervous when I opened it. And when I did, my eyes scanned it quickly, focusing immediately on two words: unconditional offer. Not only had I been accepted, but I had been accepted with flying colours! No extra conditions needed! I was so, so, so happy. Finally, the direction my life was going to take in autumn for the next few years was taking shape and becoming more and more real. I was especially excited at the prospect of finally growing as an artist and creative person. I started wondering how good I could become after four years of Digital Media, what kind of potential I could unlock. I really looked forward to it.

The fact that I had a direction, and coupled with the fact that it was a direction I liked and was definitely excited for, improved my mood drastically. I didn’t feel like I had to survive day by day anymore. I had a future to look forward to; there was a point in waking up in the morning again. I was so happy to start a new life and I absolutely could not wait for autumn to come quickly enough.

Meanwhile, Peter was considering leaving Environmental Science more and more. He just was not enjoying the course this year, at all, and he did not want a career in science either. He was also at a loss as to what he could do, but, after helping him think about what he really liked doing, the choice became clear to him: he also wanted to do the BA in Digital Media, same as me. It turned out to be a great decision: not only does the course align very closely to his passions, but he’s also enjoying it a lot! At this point in time, he would apply; then, later in spring, he’d get interviewed as well. I thought his interview had gone really well — and some weeks later we would also get confirmation of this!

Sometime in April, Peter and I went to the Open Day of the university we’d be studying at. I completely fell in love with it. The campus was absolutely gorgeous — it had so much greenery and it even had its own loch and mini castle! It was amazing in so many ways. That made me even happier with my choice to study there!

Another big thing that happened for me: I covered my first gig as a magazine photographer and writer! In April, I was officially put on copy to cover my first ever gig and band for RockShot Magazine. At the beginning of May, I photographed Pinkshinyultrablast in Glasgow while they were on their European tour and I got to write about the gig. Later in the same month, I photographed U.S. Girls. I remember how surreal it felt — to be “on copy”, to have my first media pass, to be able to photograph these bands, to write about them, to put my photographs and my writing out there… And I was so happy when my editor-in-chief congratulated me on the photos and my writing! I felt so proud. Just like that, I became a published photographer. This collaboration with the music magazine was absolutely one of the best things that happened to me the entire year.

In April, another important event happened: I uploaded my first Youtube video! It was really short, I had to reshoot it three times and editing it took longer than I expected… but I did it. I uploaded it. I only showed it to a few people, but they were all supportive! 💖 April 1st 2017 officially marks the start of my Youtube channel. I had to power through so much anxiety, but I remember feeling just so elated that I had done it. It was even more reason for me to feel proud of myself.

This is what I mean when I said I ‘blossomed’… in a way, I did. I opened up again, like a flower at the end of winter that welcomes the newly-found sun rays and warmth. I got my acceptance letter into the perfect degree course for me; it was clear I was going to relocate and leave behind the small, stagnating town; I uploaded my first Youtube video; and I reached an important milestone for me as a photographer, when my gig photography got published and I started really putting my name and my art out there. My mood improved a ton during this period, and admittedly it was hard to remain depressed when I saw how many things I was achieving and how much progress I was making, in all the important aspects of my life. I had plenty of reasons to be proud of myself. I could not say “I was a failure” anymore.

However, one negative thing did happen in spring: Humbug passed away. Humbug was our last pet rat. We had said goodbye to his brother, Butterscotch, in December of 2017. Humbug and Butterscotch had been with us since February of 2016, when we lived in a flat before the bad alleyway flat. They had been with us throughout our years at college and our move. They were an important part of our household. Even if they were small animals, they were still our pets and they had been with us for years, so it still hurt a lot to lose them. Humbug in particular had survived a surgery that day, just hours before; however, he passed away back at home as the anestethic was too much for him. I think, in a way, he powered through so that he could see us again. At home, we gave him his favourite treat and he snuggled into Peter’s hoodie the entire time — his favourite place. He passed away peacefully and knowing he was loved.

After Humbug passed away, the flat felt very empty. I became increasingly aware that there was really nothing tying me (or us) to it, or to Perth anymore. In a way, Humbug’s passing gave us even more reason to relocate. Many of my friends sent me lovely messages of condolences, which made me feel less alone and a bit better. It really warmed my heart to see so many people care about us and Humbug.

Another small thing that I wanted to note down: in this season, I applied for a job as a fashion photographer for an independent shop in Glasgow. I didn’t get the job, but the feedback that I got from it was terrific: I had made it to the top 12 of the employer’s choices! And they assured me I had very narrowly missed out on the job. It was such great feedback! To know my fashion photographs were so good that I was shortlisted to the top 12 for that job! It made me feel really good, especially since every other job seemed to reject me for no reason.

So yes… spring. The seeds of change planted in winter were blossoming. My future life started to take a more solid shape: university and relocating were now real things that were going to happen, no matter what. I grew as an artist and became a published photographer. My mood improved, I started to get better. It was a good period. 😊

Positives of Spring:

  1. I got accepted into the BA Digital Media!
  2. Peter also applied for the same course.
  3. We went to the university and it was stunning.
  4. I became a photographer and writer for a music magazine! I became published! Plus, I got good feedback on my gig photography.
  5. I got great feedback on my fashion photography.
  6. I uploaded my first Youtube video! 📽

☀️ Summer

Summer… If I have to come up with an adjective for this year’s summer, ‘mixed’ would be a good fit.

There were some negative aspects of the summer that I cannot deny and some have been plaguing my summers for the past 4 years. Firstly, as is usual for this time of year, my funds were completely depleted and very scarce. My father had barely any work and any money coming in, so he did what he usually does: he left me with very little money to live on and just silently counted on Peter to have enough savings to help me out. This had been his M.O. for the past three summers. He and I were lucky, because Peter could take care of expenses for me (I’m talking very basic, unavoidable monthly expenses, like rent, bills and food) since he saved up a good chunk of money, but this time around he was really pushing it. Peter and I had to move out that summer, so we needed more money than usual to pay off the last month of rent of the old flat and both a deposit and first month’s rent of the new flat. My father wasn’t helping out with any of that, at all. I would only receive SAAS at the beginning of September and we would get our deposit back from the old flat once we had moved out at the end of August, so neither were going to be helpful yet. This situation frustrated me to no end and was the cause of lots of anger and anxiety.

As summer approached, the flat became even more insufferable. The poor insulation meant the property was freezing in winter, but in summer, it meant that it was an absolute oven. It would be much hotter inside the flat that it would be outside and more than once I’d had trouble breathing. Even with the windows open all day, there would be very little fresh air. Leaving the windows open at night was out of the question: many times we had been woken up by random drunk people in the middle of the night. It was a horrible hot trap. The extreme heat made it really hard to sleep well at night, which in turn affected my mood and my productivity. It was all a bad vicious cycle — and the only way to put an end to it was to move out of the flat once and for all.

Because of the lack of money and lack of proper, good sleep, many areas of my life were affected for the worse. I became more anxious and more stressed, which made me less motivated and less focused, at times I was depressed and apathetic. I wanted to make some videos, but I just didn’t have the mental and physical energy necessary to be productive. Plus, many changes would happen in August which prevented from doing much.

So, some major negative things, sure. But! There were also some really good positives that came out of summer, which took place mainly, as I said, in August.

In July, Peter got his acceptance email from the university — now he was officially on the same course as me! ❤️ It was fantastic news. We also got approved for SAAS, which gave us an exact idea of what budget we’d have to work with. As we started talking between ourselves about the logistics and our budget more and more, we realised that we would not be able to afford to live in Glasgow: the rent, coupled with the expensive monthly train tickets for commuting, would be way too high and it would leave us with no money whatsoever. Plus, I knew the commuting would take a really high toll on us. So we made a choice: we decided that we would not be moving into Glasgow with our (now ex) flatmate. It made sense for her to move to Glasgow, since the university she was going to attend was there, but for us it made no sense, from both a logistical and financial point of view. She found a new flatmate quickly (it just so happened that the parents of someone her brother knew had just bought them a flat and she could move in with them with no problems at the end of the summer), while Peter and I now had to look for a flat on our own.

We felt the pressure of time on our shoulders — it was July, our degree was starting in September. We had to move out at the end of August at the latest. We wanted to avoid any bad areas and flats advertised specifically “for students”, as we knew those are usually mangy, not nice or well-taken care of. We tried to arrange some viewings, but not many were successful; the only nice flat we had gone to see had been given to another couple. I decided to write an ad of our own on Gumtree, in the “flats wanted” section. I figured it couldn’t hurt.

A couple of weeks went by, we didn’t find any more flats. It was now towards the end of July and this was badly impacting my anxiety and stress levels. Then, one day, about two weeks after I published the ad, I received an email: it was a landlady, asking if we were still looking for a flat and offering a viewing of her property. She sent us pictures and wrote a full description of the property: the flat looked lovely from the photos and it ticked all the boxes of what we were looking for (double-glazed windows, gas central heating, furnished, etc.) — plus, it was well within our budget! We immediately replied that we’d love to see the flat and meet her in person.

Honestly, the flat looked even lovelier in real life than it did in the pictures! It was fully furnished, the rooms were very spacious (especially the bedroom, which had a walk-in closet!), we found out that we’d have a garden too (shared with everyone else in the block, but we were told that the upstairs neighbour was the one who took care of the garden, so we didn’t have to do anything other than enjoy having a garden!), the windows were new and high quality (they provide really good insulation against the weather and any noise), it was bathed in so much natural light ☀️ (as an Italian and a person who had lived the past 2 years in a property that let in so little natural light that I had started calling it “the cave”, and also an aspiring Youtube creator, this was extremely important to me and something I had specifically been looking for in our new flat), and, most important of all: the flat was in a really nice, really quiet area. I could not believe it: we had hit jackpot with this flat! It was the complete opposite of our current flat, which meant it was amazing in every possible way. And it was the landlords who had found us! It was almost a gift from the gods themselves.

I still remember how extremely happy I was after we came back from visiting the flat. It felt like it was too good to be true, like it was a dream and I might wake up from it at any point. But of course, it wasn’t a dream. I marked the date we came from the flat viewing: 27th of July. We immediately started making preparations to move in: we agreed on a date (25th of August), we sent all the relevant documents and gave a month’s notice to our ex-landlady. I was over the moon. For so long I had wished and dreamed of moving out of our previous horrible property — and now, it was finally about to come true. Our move was real and it was happening.

We had found a new flat. With our new living arrangements sorted out, a huge load had been taken off my shoulders. We had somewhere to live just in time for the start of university and now I could relax a bit more. And, thanks to Peter’s family, even with no financial help from my dad, we were still able to afford the new flat until our student loans kicked in. Everything was going to be alright. Now all that was left to do was organise ourselves for the move and survive in the old flat until the end of August (which was a bit easier knowing that those were the very last days we’d have to spend there, forever). I started counting down the days, getting excited every time the number went down. Just the very last stretch!

August itself was a bit of blur because of the move, and that was definitely the most positive change yet, but some other really good things happened, too.

I covered my third gig for the music magazine. This time I photographed Slough Feg in Edinburgh. This gig, in particular, was an important milestone for me. I had seen Slough Feg live only once before, in the summer of 2016, in Glasgow — their first time in Scotland. I didn’t take any good pictures of that night (my equipment was just an old phone), but I enjoyed that gig thoroughly and it sparked my love for gigs. I remember going home from that gig and thinking, “This is why people love going to concerts. I get it now.” Funnily enough, I got into gig photography very shortly after, in September 2016 (and I bought an actual DSLR for it). Fast forward two years, and here I am again, going to Slough Feg’s second ever gig in Scotland — only now I have proper photographic equipment and am covering their gig for a music magazine. If I had told that this would be happening to the me of two years back, she would have called me insane. I never imagined this could happen. I enjoyed the gig thoroughly, again, and this time I had some really good photos to show for it! My Editor-in-Chief said my photos were “ace!” and I knew I had just hit a milestone.

I had been practising my gig photography since September of 2016, but I only ever got to photograph the student bands in Perth. Although I got some good photos out of those, I still felt unsatisfied. I wanted a challenge, I wanted variety… I wanted to expand my repertoire, to take some photos I could be proud of for years to come. With the Slough Feg photos and my photos for RockShot in general, I felt I was finally hitting that target that I had set for myself. These were photographs I could be truly proud of, that I could show people time and time again. There was variety, there was personality, there was energy… they were really good photos, as my editor-in-chief said. While some of the bands in Perth had tried to display and convey the same energy in their performances, the pictures that came out of every gig I went to in Perth were still too similar to one another for my taste (and for my portfolio). Nevertheless, I practised and practised and practised by taking countless photos of those bands; and that practice helped me take these “ace” photos of Slough Feg. Thanks to my hard work and the opportunity that RockShot had given me, I could finally take the kind of gig photographs that I had been wanting to take ever since I got into gig photography in late 2016, and of artists that I loved. I was so proud of myself for how far I had come and how much I had grown.

And of course, my birthday is in August, too. I turned 27. I didn’t get to celebrate much at the time, as it was the 20th and we were moving in five days! But it was nice to get a small break from all the packing, calling people left and right and meet a few people in the old town before I moved away for good. Either way, it was the first birthday in a long time where I was okay with ageing, and I was happy to celebrate it because I was looking forward to the future. ❤️

And then… the move happened! It was three days of pure chaos — last-minute packing, cleaning, giving things away to friends & charities, some unexpected hiccups as well — but we managed! We got it done! At times it was super stressful, but it was so worth it. My mood immediately improved, as did my sleep, which in turn meant I had more energy and I was back to waking up early again. It was so nice to be able to enjoy some peace and quiet again, to be able to go to sleep whenever I wanted (instead of having my sleep schedule dictated by the pub) and not having to hear noisy drunk people from 11am until 1am. I was miles away from that now and I would never set foot in that mangy property ever again. I was so, so, so happy. 💖

Now it was just me and Peter, as well. It’s kind of weird to say it because we had been living together for 3 years already, but it kind of felt that Peter and I could start living together “like a couple” now that it was just us. I was really looking forward to it and I’m enjoying living with just him a lot. ❤️

Overall, I think I liked summer, mostly because it ended on an extremely positive note, the most positive change of the year by far. And I am still so grateful that that happened.

Positives of Summer:

  1. I opened my blog again in June!
  2. We moved to a much nicer flat!
  3. We relocated to a much nicer city!
  4. I hit an important milestone as a photographer.
  5. Following the move, my mood improved drastically! 🌟
  6. Finally living just with Peter. ❤️

🍁 Autumn & Now

This year’s autumn was quite different from the one I passed last year. Last year, I was depressed, hopeless, employed in a bad job that I left after a month… I really couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I thought there just wasn’t one. Fast forward a year and now I am definitely happier, with some important achievements and experiences under my belt, and on a path to become even happier and hopefully have a good career.

I started my degree in September and it has been pretty much my number one priority and focus for the majority of autumn. I am enjoying it a lot and already I have grown as an artist and a creative individual thanks to it: I started getting into filming, I started getting into radio — in general, I learned a lot of new things.

I wrote my first documentary script. I wrote my first movie script. I wrote my first ad copies. I came up with an interesting documentary idea, which I want to turn into an actual project in the future. I have so many ideas that I want to work on. I started finding my voice as an artist, partially because I grew a lot by embracing and analysing new mediums through my degree. And all this, just in the first semester! I’ve still got half an academic year left, which means even more growth awaits me in the new year. That is a great and exciting prospect.

I also blogged a lot more. I made new friends at uni. I came to some important realisations about what kind of artist I want to be, what kind of art I want to produce, what is important to me, and I’ve realised what goals I have to focus on at the moment, without feeling guilty about letting other things fall to the wayside. I’m discovering new things about myself and growing a lot, probably more than I have ever done before. I also celebrated my 4th year anniversary with Peter. ❤️

I know I’ve said this quite a few times already throughout this entry, but I do feel happy. I have many reasons to be; and these same reasons should keep on being there, and the list should hopefully grow even more, in 2019 — which makes me even happier. For once in a long, long time, I am finally looking forward to the new year.

In Conclusion

In winter the seeds were planted, in spring they blossomed and now, in summer, they had grown to maturity and flowered, until they became our new normal. The new degree started, we moved, leaving an awful property behind us forever, we relocated to a new, nicer city, we made some lovely new friends… 2018 was a year full of change, and the breadth of that change spanned nicely with the seasons, too. I think, despite all the negative things at the beginning, I can count this year as a positive — for the first time in a long while. It’s certainly the first year I felt like writing a “Year in Review” for and I found I hit a lot of very positive milestones. I hope that keeps happening in 2019. No “new year, new me” for me — I think, if anything, my “new me” happened back at the end of August! And, to be honest, I’m pretty happy with the “me” I am growing into just now. 😊

Whatever 2019 has in store for me, after the past 3 years, I think I am ready for it. I hope my efforts lead to more milestones. I know I will keep doing my best and giving it my all, for sure.

Happy New Year. ❤️

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