2017 has ended; 2018 has begun.
Ever heard of the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun”? It’s true. It really does.
The remnants of Christmas are no more now that the last of the cheeseboard has been demolished and the Christmas décor has been packed away until next year. After welcoming the New Year with my family and my boyfriend, I am so overwhelmed and proud of how far I have come over the previous 12 months. I am utterly, genuinely, consistently happy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Let’s rewind back to the very beginning of the year: 1st January 2017 – New Year’s Day.
Last year, I welcomed the new year with my boyfriend, Callum – our first year celebrating together. I felt so in love and so lucky. I just forgot about everything that was going on in my life and felt happy – as I do every time I am with him. You see, Callum has this special ability to make everything better, instantaneously. If I’m not okay, just seeing his face on FaceTime, or being with him, immediately makes me feel content and wrapped in a love bubble that makes me smile from ear-to-ear, and that was how I entered the year – it couldn’t have been any better.
But deep down, despite that, I was putting on a façade. I may have been perceived as a happy nineteen-year-old, with no worries and full of life, but it couldn’t have been more wrong. As many of you may know from reading previous blog posts, starting Newcastle University, for me, was where life started going downhill due to my deteriorating state of mental health. After beginning my course and life as a student, I knew something in my head and heart wasn’t right. Despite this, I carried on muddling through and tried to ignore the fact that I wasn’t okay. It wasn’t until the point that I genuinely couldn’t cope any longer, that I had to face up to the notion that I was deeply miserable, run-down, lost and fed up – I needed help, not only from my family and friends, but from the University too.
I reached out to my boyfriend and family and explained exactly how I was feeling – and they admitted that they knew something wasn’t right. In hindsight, I should have just been honest with myself from the beginning; hindsight is a wonderful thing. Things begun to get better after talking and voicing my feelings, and starting this very blog helped me fuel my passion for writing and became my ‘escape’, per se, from every day life (as well as contributing to Newcastle’s University Newspaper). However, inside everything felt so wrong. Consequently, in mid-January, after a lot of deliberation and thought, I decided to leave University – a decision that wasn’t easy, but I was brave and I knew that taking a break was essential if I didn’t want to run myself into the ground any further.
Writing was, and still is, my therapy.
Coming home and blogging more often, whilst looking at alternative routes to University, made me feel so much better both mentally and physically. After applying to a number of apprenticeships, internships and jobs, I was seriously concerned about how I would be perceived by potential employers, but being honest about my situation in application stages and interviews was the right thing to do. Feedback given in interviews confirmed that; I had definitely made the right decision. At this very moment, I began to feel like my life was finally getting back on track, and I was finally learning how to smile a genuine smile again.
A month or two after leaving, I was offered an internship for a luxury fashion brand based in London, and helped them with their branding and social media management, as well as contributing to their monthly online magazine. I did this for four months and I enjoyed every minute of it. I knew it was the stepping stone needed to help me gain valuable advice and work experience in the world of digital marketing and publishing, to get me to where I wanted to be. I was right. As soon as my internship finished in July, I was offered a year-long internship – my current job – at a different company, writing content for a wide variety of brands, with work being published in a number of high-profile publications, including Esquire, Marie Claire and The Sun to name a few.
Now, at the beginning of January, reflecting on 2017, almost a year on from leaving Newcastle, I do not regret a thing.
I feel so unbelievably lucky, and brave. I wouldn’t be sitting here today, writing this, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was courageous enough to make a stand when I wasn’t happy and knew that University wasn’t right for me. I couldn’t be more thankful for the help, love and support from my followers, my family and my boyfriend – it’s with that help that I managed to find the willpower and confidence to get where I am today, and end up bagging a job doing what I love, day in, day out.
I finished the year on a high note, and am leaping into 2018 feeling positive, confident, healthy, happy and full of life. I wish the same for you all too. This is my plea to you:
Do more of what makes YOU happy.
It might sound simple, but after work, college or university, we don’t set aside enough time to spend on ourselves. Whether that’s our happiness, our health or taking time out to appreciate the little things that get lost among the stresses of life. It’s incredibly important to have a balance. I love my job and blogging, but it’s vital to take time away and spend quality time with family and friends, and not get caught up working until the early hours of the morning.
After last year, 2018 is about taking more time for myself and enjoy the things that boost my mood. This can be partaking in regular exercise, pampering and not working yourself in the ground. Or perhaps reading more books, spending time with loved ones, simply having a relaxing bath every evening – simply anything that makes YOU happy.
Stay tuned on victoriaaffleck.com – this is just the beginning of my journey, and I am so excited to share my journey with you all.
Happy New Year!