Positive questions: looking back at 2018 and forward to 2019

In 2018 what inspired you?                                                                                                                A tough opening question – one that really made me think. I would say earlier on in the year, I was inspired by the students I worked with and supported them through applying to university. I forgot the excitement and nerves of applying to university and deciding what the next step is. I have known for a while now that I want to go back to studying again and will spend this year watching, reading and studying as much as I can beforehand. I was also inspired by both my parents and my cousin Sophie and her family relocating to another country. Mum and Dad have wanted to move to Austria for a long time now and they finally bit the bullet and did it (after lots of trips out here to check out locations though – it has taken years of research). Sophie on the other hand applied for two jobs abroad – one was her dream job and one was a job she couldn’t have dreamed of. It really makes you think about future opportunities and not knowing what is around the next corner.

In 2018 what really made you laugh?                                                                                           All the girls I worked with over the last two years always had a way of driving me crazy and then trying to make me laugh straight afterwards. I would try so hard not to smile but would usually end up in hysterics. Additionally, in the last few months, even when I felt at my saddest, noone has cheered me up more or made me laugh like little Finn. He’s just got the best giggle, the silliest personality and comes out with the best ‘one-liners’ (by which I mean the odd mispronounced words, silly dance or funny face) I’ll miss him walking round the house with goggles on, hearing him learn how to say new words like ‘croooc-dile’ ‘diiin-saur’ and ‘chhhheeese’ (which either means cheese or cheers which he’ll say whilst holding up his bottle for you to cheers) and the look of recognition when he sees you pick him from nursery. It will be a while till I see him now so I hope he will still recognise his La-La.

What was the best piece of news you received in 2018?                                                              I would say the email I received asking if I wanted to do work experience in the art department of the Downton Abbey film. Obviously I cannot say anything about it at the moment but I may be able to refer to items in a certain scene if they appear on the screen. This experience was amazing because it came at a time I was feeling quite low and it was something to look forward to when I didn’t really feel like I had much to look forward to.

What did you do in 2018 that you have never done before?                                                      A few things; sailing on the Danube, going on a trip (even if it was just a weekend away) by myself, visiting a film set and visiting Venice! 

How many books did you read in 2018 and which one was the best read of the year?          I read twenty books in 2018, less than I’d wanted to read as I did set myself a rough goal of 25 to 30, but I’m not too worried as I read for enjoyment not to meet a target. The best book I read was ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ by Gail Honeyman. It’s clearly been a popular book for a lot of people as I kept seeing reviews on it, people reading it on the tube and it is set to be adapted for film. It’s a really powerful story that highlights how debilitating loneliness can be and the power of friendship.

What are the best things you watched in 2018 (theatre/films/television shows)?             The Greatest Showman has to be up there as one of the greatest films I have ever watched let alone in 2018. Everything about it; the acting, music, sets, costumes are just fabulous. I also loved Mamma Mia 2 and finally got around to seeing the film ‘Lion’ which I had wanted to see for ages since reading the book in 2017. This year I also devoured ‘Killing Eve’, ‘This is Us’ and ‘The Bodyguard’. I also started watching old series’ like ‘Marcella’ and ‘My Mad Fat Diary’ (which I want to write about eventually because I still can’t quite get over how good it was.) I didn’t end up seeing as much theatre as I would like this year, however I did watch ‘Shrek: the Musical’ in January which was so much better than I thought it was going to be and also went to see ‘The Sound of Music’ performed in German at Vienna’s Volkstheater which was an interesting experience. (I didn’t understand a word, nor did I know the German versions of the songs so I just sung to myself in English).

What songs made you want to dance around your room or sing in the shower?              My go to song for dancing around my room this year is ‘Pocketful of Gold’ by American Author’s which I realise I’m very late to the party with because it came out in 2016. Obviously there was ‘The Greatest Showman’ soundtrack and then later on ‘The Greatest Showman: Reimagined’. I also loved Paloma Faith’s ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’ and ‘Shotgun’ and ‘Paradise’ by George Ezra.

What cities/states/countries did you visit in 2018?                                                            Innsbruck and Amsterdam for two weekends in January and February. A day trip to Slovenia and Italy here and there and a weekend to Venice for my 24th birthday which was just the BEST.

What is your favourite ‘product’ that you tried in 2018? (One that is either new or that you hadn’t tried before)                                                                                                                   The anxiety ease essential oil from Eden Garden is a God-send. It is a scent that can really relax me and now I carry it wherever I go (and it’s even better in a diffuser!) Even though I had already heard of the calm app and had used it once or twice, at the end of 2018 I paid to get the full features of the app. I love the sleep stories and am trying really hard to do the daily calm meditation.

What did you learn about yourself in 2018?                                                                               You know that quote from Winnie the Pooh; “You are braver than you believe, smarter than you seem, and stronger than you think”. Yeah, that is is what I learnt about myself this year and I know that I am saying this from a good place now and definitely would not have said that a few months ago, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I have learnt that sometimes it is okay just to be okay and that if I can take a few minutes out of my day to dance around my room to a really good song or go outside that I can turn things around, maybe not the situation I am in, but at least the way I look at it.

What are you most proud of from 2018?                                                                                         I’m not going to keep making this about “difficult times” so I’ll say actually I was actually really proud of my first little break away by myself. I hesitated about doing it, then of course hesitated more when it was time to go but actually it was really, really great (and I’ll definitely do it again at some point.)

Who and/or what are you grateful for from 2018?                                                                     I’m grateful for lots of laughs, new places traveled, for the students who kept me laughing and for the kindness shown to me. I am grateful for lots of people this year but a certain few made A LOT of difference and I don’t think I would have got through the year without them.  My best friend Hayley who literally flew across to the UK when I told her not to, because I didn’t know what I was going to be doing at the time and didn’t think I’d be that fun to be around anyway. My cousin Sophie who let me live with her for 2 and a half months without question and provided lots of hugs and great TV to cheer me up when I felt down. My cousin Becky who was always at the end of a phone when I need her for medical advice and support. My Grandparents who provided lots of love and support, but mostly my parents. Whilst I was going through a dark period, they also bought a house and moved abroad so were also dealing with the pressures of that. Yet they always took the time to support me, talking me through why I was feeling so low and doing everything and anything they could to make sure I was okay. 

Sum up 2018 in 5 words                                                                                                              Some laughs. Some sadness. Still Worthwhile (okay fine that was six).

 

What would you like to do more of/learn/try in 2019?                                                               I’d like to do more outdoor activities; hiking, cycling, lake swimming. I’d like to learn more about the field I want to work in, but I also want to read and study more about history as I am fascinated by it. Obviously I really want to improve my German and be able to have more conversations in German. I’d like to try and have more confidence in myself and in my abilities. However I’d also just like to see where 2019 takes me rather than trying to set too many goals or targets. I think I spent a lot of 2018 worrying about not accomplishing what ‘I should be doing’ rather than just living in the moment and seeing what came my way. In terms of the blog I want to spend less time worrying about not developing ideas to write about, but just keep taking notes on what interests me, ideas that come to mind that could be developed, stories in the media that interest me and look back on them when I need inspiration.

What do you want to do less of in 2019?                                                                                       I’d like to start putting my phone away around 9pm to let my brain calm down before going to bed. I’d like to look in the mirror less and be less harsh to myself about what I see. I’d like to scroll less and watch more incredible films, television and documentaries and read more in that time.

Do you have a target for how many books you’ll read in 2019?                                                 I have no target, I’d like to keep reading just as much as I am doing now. However I’d also like to read more into the field in which I want to work and I want to read more non fiction; biographies, life advice/self-improvement books, historical accounts. I often take more time to read these kind of books as I absorb novels and fiction books quite quickly, whereas when I am learning I tend to consider the information and words more. Therefore if I want to alter what I am reading, this will certainly change how many books I will read, but like they say, quality not quantity.

Where would you like to go to in 2019/do you have any travel plans for the year?               I will be moving to Switzerland for around 7 months which means a new place to explore. I will be close to Zurich, Bern and Basel so I definitely will be taking trips to these cities more. I have a weekend trip planned in June to head back to the UK to see the Spice Girls. Apart from that I have nothing planned as of yet, although I am sure I will be back to Austria fairly often.

Sum up what you’d like 2019 to be like/are aiming for it to be in 5 words.                          No targets. New beginnings. Exciting.

 

I managed to answer a lot of these questions by looking back at the photos I took, notes I wrote down and the journal entries I wrote. I encourage people to keep as many memories as they can good or bad to remind you what the year had to offer so you can either remember them fondly or learn from them.

Moving forward the next post you will see will be some (hopefully) exciting changes over here on ‘It’s All Over The Place.’

Let me know your answers to any of these questions in the comments. I love hearing about what got people excited/what they learnt from the previous year and what they want to do in this fresh new year we have ahead of us.

I want to be able to answer these same/similar questions at the end of 2019, so I look forward to seeing how my answers differ, but for now I’m going to start enjoying the year, one step at a time.

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