RIP 2016

Everyone’s favourite year is finally over, I’m both excited and apprehensive about what is to come.  But for now, I shall compose a cliche and dull review of my year.

I finished my first year at uni, which was terrifying. I did surprisingly well considering I knew nothing of relevance and merely bullshitted my way through the year – but hey that’s how the politicians do it. That by the way is high-brow “academic bullshit” because being part of the London Metropolitan Elite™ we don’t concern ourselves with that working class bullshit. I’m being serious, there is an entire discourse on bullshit. My first year experience was far from what I expected it to be, namely it was a lot more shit, but that’s for another post.

London too was far from as I had expected. After the initial shock of moving down and attempting to acclimatise and fit in, you realise it’s just as shit as everywhere else, probably more so. It goes without saying that the cost is astronomical and leads to many a concerning look at my bank balance, but it is much more a complete opposite in culture that I have lived before. As I explain it to people when I come home, you end up having to speed everything up: walking, talking, journeys, shopping, cooking. Even when you’re spending a ridiculous amount on a barely alcoholic drink, you’re expected to be in and out in seconds, and don’t you even dare expect a smile or any ounce of customer service. It’s a culture of loneliness, while that may sound pathetic it’s true, it’s palpable in the air the sense that no one trusts or wants your near them. I’m not saying the north is some utopian paradise where we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but it is very emotionally draining to survive London.

Until it isn’t. Which for me is the worst part. Eventually, whether it’s three weeks or three months, you become a part of this culture. You stop expecting friendliness, you speed up, you pick up a London routine. Before long you don’t even notice that everyday you walk out of your door (without looking at anyone) you walk past stunning architecture, beautiful weather, the odd clusters of London’s wildlife, or the birthplace of modern democracy itself.

Thankfully, I was able to remove myself for four months over the summer. Having secured a job at the (best) local coffee shop, I prepared myself to do nothing but work everyday. It wasn’t far off but the time I got to spend on “holiday” was great. We had a great summer, heightened by the picturesque landscape in which I now live. The beautiful weather and scenery prompted me to start something I never thought I would: I started running. I have, quite obviously if you look at me, never been keen on sport, but I was enthusiastic and excited to try it out. Not least because I needed to shed the uni weight (and some). And, as it goes, I absolutely loved it. I felt great, I lost weight and I looked the best I ever have. It was a great confidence boost that I really needed off the back of a not so great first year. I also made the decision to eat less and eat better, something I desperately needed to do. And while I inevitably break my “diet” here and there, I have done quite well; rediscovering my love of cooking and enjoying the feeling of eating healthy.

This summer I finally did something I have been waiting to do for years, something so exciting and something I will never forget. I voted. As someone who feels very disconnected and dissatisfied with mainstream party politics it was even more exciting for me that my first ever vote would be in a referendum. A vote that would actually count, a vote that mattered. I’d probably feel less enamoured by it all if I hadn’t been on the winning side, but politics aside I was proud to be part of a history making process. Even if it was overshadowed by a certain fake-tanned tycoon a few months later. I’ll be writing a lot about Brexit I assume so I won’t talk about it here, but I’m glad to say we made the right choice and I look forward to this coming year and the opportunities that arrive, notwithstanding my deep concerns with the way it is being handled by the government.

I’m not talking about President Trump, yet.

My return to uni post summer hiatus was much better. I have had the best three months since going back, largely due to moving into a real house with some of the best people I’ve ever met. In fact while I write this I genuinely miss the buzz and excitement London has to offer. Uni itself has vastly improved, leaving behind pointless, irrelevant crap that was forced upon us before and replacing it with much more interesting, relevant and useful crap.

And then suddenly it was Christmas and New Year. I do feel the cliche blues about how Christmas just isn’t Christmassy anymore, but it was my last Christmas as a teenager and I don’t even want to think about how scary that is.

Looking back on this year, it got progressively better, and now it’s great. I’ll begin 2017 with an optimistic hopeful world view.

In terms of resolutions, the typical workout more, eat better, be more outgoing and say yes are all on the list. I shall see how (un)achievable they are in the coming months. This little project however is a must. I’ve been flirting with the idea of properly blogging for a long time, and what better time to start. I don’t expect anyone to read it, but if they do then that’s fine, quite frankly I don’t give a shit. I’m doing this for me.

Happy New Year me. Let’s make it a great one.

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