My blog feed last week included a lot of mentions of 2016 either being downright pants, or a variant of “actually, surprisingly decent, all things considered”. I had a lot of great highlights, but overall it was a pretty rough year for me personally.
A big hurdle was having to quit my job in July, with no new opportunity to go to, no firm idea of what I really wanted to do, and at a time when the employment market in Aberdeen was (is) dire. I have a bad habit of getting emotionally invested in my work, and considering that this particular job was in a very small business, working for people I had considered friends, it was difficult to give up on. I’ve also struggled with a variety of other issues this year, big and small, which have frustrated and upset me and which I’ve dwelled on to a point that I’ve realised is neither healthy nor normal. I’ve been proactive over the last couple of years about getting physically fit and strong, and I’ve decided it’s about time I applied the same approach to my mental health as well. Wish me luck 🙂
My rock throughout, though, has been my little family of three – me, James and Puss, that is – I didn’t pop out a child while your back was turned 😉 James and I have now been together for almost six years, and have had Puss for almost four and our house for three and a half. The house has felt like home since the day we found it, but I feel like this is the year where we properly settled in and made it our own. James also finished his PhD this year and got a long-term contract as a researcher in the same department and I’m so proud of him 🙂 I’m proud of our relationship too – I’ve been a pain in the ass at times but he’s been nothing but patient and supportive and kind and understanding, and I feel like we’ve come out of this year stronger and knowing each other better.
The other big positive from the past year that I intend to carry on into 2017 is that I made face-to-face time with friends a priority. I can sometimes be a little rubbish at keeping in touch remotely, but I have always been a big fan of visiting people wherever they may be. It can be an effort and an expense, but I’ve never once regretted spending that time and money to see them. Plus, not only do I get to spend time in their lovely company, but I have an excuse to visit the place they’re in, usually with free accommodation! In the past I’ve been to Iceland, Gran Canaria, all around Germany and even to New Zealand to see friends and they’re some of my favourite travel experiences. Closer to home, Sarah and I have gotten into a nice routine of meeting up every few weeks, and I’ve seen my other Aberdeen friends a fair bit but need to up this a little next year.
Speaking of travel, though, 2016 was in theory a low-key travel year for me after big trips to the USA in 2015 and Iceland in 2014, and especially since I was without an income for a while! I did get a surprising amount packed in though, which was lovely: James and I went to Skye in March, a family party in Dalgety Bay in April, York and Italy in August and Germany in October, plus I also went to London twice, Edinburgh two or three times and to my parents’ house in the Scottish Borders for Christmas. Most of those were repeat visits but it was my first time to Skye, York and Tuscany, so for a quiet year, my wanderlust quota is quite happy! In 2017, I’m off to Nottingham next week and we have a trip to Northern Ireland planned for late spring some time and Italy in August for a wedding. We’re also hoping to head off for a city break or two somewhere in Europe – the list of potential destinations for this is as long as my arm so we might have to pick one out of a hat 🙂
As for blogging, it’s been a mixed year on that front too. I went along to my first blogger meet-up in March, which feels like a lifetime ago. Getting involved in the local blogging community has brought some lovely experiences and friendships and fun opportunities, but also occasional feelings of comparison and obligation that I’d pretty much managed to avoid previously. I think that was helpful though, because I now have quite a firm idea of what my priorities and expectations are. First and foremost, I’m here for my own enjoyment, because I like writing and taking photos and having people read and look at them, especially if they like them. I would like to post more regularly and not worry about every post being the best it can possibly be. I’m going to try to remember that I’m not trying to write something that’s helpful, but something that’s enjoyable and that maybe provokes a bit of thought or wanderlust. I’m never going to be a daily blogger. I said this time last year that once a week feels ideal, and I agree with that now. Looking back at my stats, I posted half as many posts in 2016 as in 2015, which makes me sad, but I got twice as many views and visitors, which is nice. Part of that is natural growth and me telling people the blog exists, and some is from casual social media promotion – again, I’m confident that I’m never going to be a social media guru, especially because I usually just don’t like Twitter, but I’m happy with my current level of dabbling.
Anyway, I’ve been writing this post for days so I’m going to go ahead and push ‘publish’. Enough naval-gazing for now 🙂 Happy New Year and speak to you soon!