So this is a little personal update for the year. Sometimes, it’s nice to do a bit more of a personal post than a bookish post and it can be quite refreshing to get it out. There is of course some bookish things in here since books and book events are a big part of my life (shocking, I know) but there’s also some big things from my year in here!
First off, I want to just say that though I enjoy looking back at the past year and things I’ve done, I don’t like to dwell too much (it isn’t great for my mental health!) So I’m not going to analyse too much, just give a little update and say the main things I’ve done this year that have impacted my life.
I’ve had a lot of pretty great experiences this year.
In terms of bookish things, we began our book club in real life (as opposed to our online version!) This has been so wonderful and such a positive experience. I’ve read some excellent LGBTQ+ books and some may have been about topics I didn’t know too much about before or offer a different perspective! To be honest, the thing I’m most proud of to do with our book club is that we have kept it up and I’ve become closer with many of the people that attend. Many are old friends but some are new friends and I feel closer to each and every person there which is so, so lovely. It truly is a positive, safe space and I’m proud to have been a part of creating that.
I have attended a ton of great book events and had a lot of cool opportunities! Me and Sarah got to interview Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, Akemi Dawn Bowman, Alice Oseman and Alwyn Hamilton! As well as attending talks by these wonderful people, we also got the chance to attend talks by Matt Haig and Markus Zusak. This isn’t even including YALC! I’ve had the chance to meet some of my favourite authors this year and that has been a blessing.
YALC was wonderful (we did a good few posts on this so I won’t go into great detail) but I got to hang out with good friends and have some great chats with some brilliant authors. I met Katherine Webber, Lauren James, Non Pratt, Lisa Williamson, Sara Barnard, Eleanor Wood, Muhammad Khan, Keris Stainton – I could go on! I also got to talk to authors I had already met before – Melinda Salisbury, Tanya Byrne, Juno Dawson – I could go on! I feel so privileged and lucky to have got the opportunities I did this year.
In terms of jobs, I’ve had some ups and downs. One major highlight of my year though is my internship and traineeship at documentary festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest. My time there has given me a lot of options to think about in terms of my future career and I met such genuinely wonderful people there. I learned a lot – different skills and things about myself too. It was an inspiring and productive few months and I really want to get more involved at film festivals now and have made progress with applying for jobs and volunteering in this area.
I’m also in the process of making two films at the moment, one with Rianne Pictures, an independent production company I intern at, and another with friends. I’m super excited about these projects and have loved working on them so far. I’m eager to carry on with these in the new year as well as working on new projects. Sometimes I forget how much film work I’ve been doing and it’s great to think about how far I’ve come sometimes.
Mental health is something we talk about often on our blog. I struggle with mental health problems and this year (like most years!) has been up and down in terms of this. I’ve taken a lot of steps forward in terms of my mental health this year and have been getting the help I need and helping myself a lot more too. Though currently I’m not at the best I have been this year, I also know I will feel better at some point soon. This usually then has a knock on effect on other things in my life – if my mental health is doing well, then other things tend to feel easier or at least more achievable as I have better motivation.
As always, I’m so ridiculously happy with the people I have in my life. I have a bunch of friends who are truly the best people I know in a ton of different ways. I feel constantly lucky to have the friends I do. My family are also wonderful and after finally being open about my mental health issues with them this year, it’s become even more clear how much we all support each other. So, to sum that up, I love everyone in my life and I thank my lucky stars every single day that I know the people I do.
Of course, we all lead such complicated lives and there is WAY more I could add onto this post but I think this is enough right now! I hope you all had a great 2018 on balance and if you have mainly negative feelings about this year, I hope the next one brings you lovely things you need.
I feel like what I’m about to say is maybe obvious but it’s something a lot of us forget – we don’t have to measure our lives on how each year went and we can change each day. It’s a reason I don’t do New Year’s resolutions any more as for me it feels like such big challenges at the start of the year and if I don’t achieve them, it feels like I’ve wasted time. So if you’re like me and get caught up in things like this, try not to write off the whole year if something goes wrong. I try to focus on weekly/monthly goals – even some daily ones! – as they feel more achievable and much healthier for me.