This year’s reflection is a little later than usual – blame it on a wonderfully busy Christmas and New Year, and one which I’m not sorry to have been distracted by.
2014 has been a year of two halves. I was finishing my final year, and that saw me delve into the world of the dissertation, as well as rehearse fervently for my last performance at university. A bitter-sweet time where I was engaging with my most challenging acting role yet, but realising that soon I wouldn’t be on the stage any more. The end of one journey was to mark the beginning of another.
After a frustrating university experience, thankfully my final year was a great chance to reflect and learn from the past 3 years, and ensure that I made the very best of the time spent studying. It resulted in a dissertation that I’m immensely proud of and was recognised by my tutors with great marks and an award, and a final degree that made the struggle a bit more worth it. My university time has had its ups and downs, but graduation on the 16th July 2014 will always hold incredibly fond memories. Studying taught me a lot about myself, and about what I really value. I now plan to do a Masters at some point in the future… perhaps even a PhD. But on my own terms, in my own time, determined by the self-motivation that was nearly extinguished with my undergrad. I still love learning, and that will never change. I might just be slightly more careful with which subject I choose.
This summer was spent with family. Both mine and my boyfriend’s, both of us going on the first proper family holidays for years. Devon in a beautiful cottage where days were spent climbing and evenings drinking wine and playing board games gave me a chance to really get to know Simon’s family more and begin to feel a part of it. Then Dorset with my family in a quirky old mill where we embraced the good weather, spend lots of time on the coast, and soaking up my sister and brother-in-law before they left for their travels on the 1st September. Again, a bitter-sweet time of laughter, whilst always knowing that they’d be leaving for 18 months. That in itself has been incredibly hard, and I miss my sister every day, though I know they’re having the time of their lives.
On the 21st July, 5 days after I had thrown that cap into the air, I started my first full-time job in the industry I’d decided to pursue. I’m one of the lucky few who managed to leave university and jump head first into the big wide world. Suddenly I had a salary, a 9-5 day, and a commute. But it was a position in one of the most famous publishing companies in England. And three months in, the day before my probation ended, I was promoted. Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind – trial by fire into what the working world really entails. It’s difficult and I’m not yet exactly where I want to be, but it’s the best start I could possibly hope for. I’m continually trying to remain positive through the difficulties – as I’m sure every working adult encounters – and really appreciate how fortunate I am to be in this position at the age of 22. There’s so much life left to live, but so far it’s starting incredibly well.
My climbing goal for 2014 wasn’t reached, but that’s okay – I’ll get there one day, and in the meantime I’m getting stronger and fitter with each session. My life has moved from a student with a job in a climbing centre to an adult paying taxes with a pension… I’m happy to keep on climbing for the enjoyment, and some day reach those goals. Putting pressure on yourself in a hobby which isn’t your whole life is dangerous and can suck out any pleasure you once found. So I’m cutting myself some slack for the time being, and am just glad to still be climbing at all.
Alongside these major events there have been two weddings, Simon’s 30th birthday, our first anniversary, the renewal of our flat tenancy, multiple plans, theatre trips, and holidays both home and abroad. All ending with a 1st birthday party on the 20th December in Cheshire, Christmas in Worcester, Boxing Day in Surrey, a 5 day trip to Bucharest, and a New Years Eve Murder Mystery party. 2014 has been a wild one, but I have a feeling the best is yet to come…