We may be well into January now, but I’ve spent the last few weeks reflecting on the year that’s just ended.
At first glance, 2019 was a lot less ‘successful’ than 2018; but I guess that totally depends on what you class as a success, and it’s taking me
I made a lot of leaps and bounds in 2018; there were a lot of firsts, big steps, and milestones. The last year, by comparison, was a little quieter, and a little more steady; but, after examination, still full of reasons to be grateful.
These kinds of posts are, naturally, very positive, and rather personal. A lot of things on this list will probably mean very little for you; but it’s always nice to start a new year with a little reflection, and since I am a writer and a blogger, why not make that public?
Of course, there have been the natural low points that I’m not writing about (yet) – the challenges, darker days, and moments when I felt stuck. But looking at all of these good things listed in one place makes me realise just how much good stuff happened in the space of 12 months. You might only be seeing the highlights, but it sure is lovely to celebrate them.
Allow me to indulge myself, and focus on the good when there is so much bad about. Maybe join me, too, if you haven’t already – before 2019 feels too long ago.
Here are the reasons why I am grateful for 2019.
Why I’m Grateful for 2019
It goes without saying that I’m grateful for my friends and family. I always am, and always will be. For their support, patience, love and the joy and perspective they bring to my life.
I can say the same for my health. While it has it’s lower points (usually mental rather than physical) I am, in the grand scheme of things, healthy and happy, and I feel very lucky.
Standing on stage and performing at the Royal Albert Hall (for 3 whole minutes!)
Learning to make peace with, and even embrace, so-called ‘failure‘ (starting with the above performance. Which wasn’t even failure; but I had to teach my brain to see that, too)
Having the time and patience to read, and realising that if I just put my phone down for a few more minutes each night I might be able to read a few more pages. I discovered so many wonderful books and writers in 2019.
The opportunity to see and review so many amazing shows. I maintain that reviewing theatre is hard work, but it is an incredible pleasure and privilege and, while the last year was sometimes a little too busy (four shows in four days? Never again), I certainly made the most of it. Needless to say, I’m also grateful to WhatsOnStage, BroadwayWorld UK, and all the venues I’ve worked with for letting me get stuck in. Such a joy.
2019 brought with it brand new life; I am so grateful for the safe and healthy arrival of my niece, as well as the amazing strength of my sister. We are all so lucky. I cannot wait to see her grow!
Having the courage and the capacity to enjoy a few solo trips; one to Weymouth, and one up to Leicestershire for a wedding, as well as some great days out. Nothing feels quite so liberating.
Tyrrells Cafe and Coffee Lab in Southampton for fuelling me with lattes while I wrote most of my blog posts and reviews.
For getting my writing published again; thank you Dear Damsels for taking my work and putting it online.
Sharing and performing my poetry far and wide. I was invited to perform at a couple of events this year which was hugely flattering, exciting, and motivating. I’m hoping that 2020 will hold more opportunities like that in-store. Hit me up!
Learning how to embrace spontaneity and say yes to things that scare me; like a trip to Berlin with less than a fortnight’s notice, or a date with just 45 minutes to get ready, or performing poetry from memory.
The aforementioned trip to beautiful Berlin, with its smooth journeys, easy company, eye-popping burlesque shows, wunderbar food, gritty graffiti and happy memories.
Learning new things, thanks to cyanotype workshops and online writing courses and suchlike.
Entering the final year of my twenties with health, happiness and high hopes for the next decade.
BBC Solent letting me back on the airwaves. Still fun, still surreal, still hate the sound of my own voice.
Finally finding the perfect red suit. And werking it.
Eating good food. I am always grateful for good food.
People trusting me with running workshops on both theatre reviewing and poetry writing. I learned so much, and while I was so incredibly nervous, they were fantastic experiences.
Having enough annual leave left at the end of the year to take off some low-key days for some me-time. I went for brunch, watched Booksmart at my local Picturehouse cinema, walked, shopped, wrote and dated.
A week in the beautiful Lake District; a tonic for the troubled mind, and a treat for the eyes.
Numerous mini-adventures, including a weekend in Centreparcs, luxury London adventures with Mum, and days out at the coast.
For not giving up on dating when I said I would.
A very belated Happy New Year to you all; thank you for reading my writing. May 2020 bring you plenty of adventures and peace.