Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The end of 2012

Wow, I haven't blogged in 6 whole months. In truth, I really haven't felt like it - when I've had the occasional good day I've thought about things I might like to post about, but before I would get a chance to I'd be back to feeling miserable, which was how I felt for the majority of the last 6 months. But with pretty much every blog I follow doing New Year-related posts, I decided I would quite like to round off this New Year's Eve by writing one too. Plus, it was interesting to recap on last year's posts, in particular my list of 5 hopes for this year. Aside from number 1 (to get a good degree classification, which I suppose I did, although I'm now disappointed that my 2:1 means I'm basically the same as the majority and have nothing to make me stand out) and possibly number 4 (to keep my relationship going, but ore on this later...) none of them materialised. I didn't travel more, I didn't make more friends, and although my job pays well I'm basically a cleaner, so not really where I pictured myself being.

I should point out at this point that this post will probably have a fairly down-in-the-dumps tone, which is fair as it accurately depicts my feelings this year. I also figure that no one reads this anyway, so I can write what I want without having to paint this perfect life blogger image that is projected in almost all of the blogs I follow (aside from those which are craft related, and thus have very little to do with lifestyle). However, on the very slim chance that someone does happen to read this, I'll end the post by talking about things that happened this year that did make me feel (albeit temporarily) happier within myself.

So, in a brief summary, what's happened this year?

January saw me spend 2 weeks in South Africa, and I have posted my diary in several instalments during the year (but I still really need to get round to finishing it...).

Most of February (and March, too) was spent writing up my research project (equivalent of a dissertation).

March saw my last lectures and the end of uni, and the end of my time as a student (possibly forever...)

April was an endless round of revision for exams.

In May I sat my exams.

In June I finished my exams, and found out my results and that I achieved a 2:1 for my degree.

In July I moved back to the homeland of Surrey/London, but went back to Cornwall a couple of weeks later for my graduation ceremony. I also went to Legoland twice - once with Steve, then once with my mum and brother.

August was spent doing... not a lot really. Went up to visit Steve for a few days, and did the long summer stint at my brother's school.

In September I had 2 weeks work experience at the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow Airport, and got a casual/part-time job at the end of it.

I saw Steve again in October for a few days when we went to Bath as a delayed birthday thing for me. Oh yeah, and I turned 22. I also joined a new SJA division, so I am now part of the South East Region/Surrey County and in a proper adult unit instead of LINKS.

In November Steve came to visit again and we did Runnymede, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court, and I settled into being at work (albeit only a couple of days a week).

And finally, in December, I carried on working, and Alan came home for his annual 5-day Christmas visit (which was extended by an extra half day this year due to a combination of having to pick up 2 extra students before they got to Alan, awful weather and torrential rain, and horrific traffic everywhere - they normally arrive to pick him up at around 1pm on the 27th, this year they weren't here until 9pm...). I also, finally, got myself a pet Syrian hamster named Boris. He's a lovely honey colour with a white semi-band across his back (that was a really awkward way to write it but I coudn't think of a better way - basically the white band doesn't join in the middle of his back, so it kinda looks like he's got 2 white stripes on each side that meet his white belly).

Aaaand there goes the clocks (and hundreds of fireworks, and Jules Holland) signalling the new year, so it's now officially 2013.

In summary 2012 doesn't sound too bad of a year, but I had a lot of desperately low moments and worked myself into a complete sobbing mess more times than I'd like to remember.

I thought I would feel overjoyed, an amazing sense of freedom and a renewed enthusiasm for life upon completing uni, but it was shortlived and as soon as I started thinking about jobs and where I was going to live and my relationship with Steve and my future in general, I got really stressed and anxious and upset and everything felt horrible and overwhelming.

I thought I would feel relieved about getting a job, especially one that pays well and esentially allows me to pick whichever hours I want (as I'm only casual staff, so I only go in to cover shifts when they're short of people). However, on the first day of my work experience placement there I found that I would be with another girl, and she seemed to know loads more than me about all the animals that came in, she was doing an animal management qualification (which was a lot more relevant than my Zoology degree), and she had much better people skills than my non-existant-and-massively-awkward ones. I went home that evening and spent the entire night in floods of tears and feeling absolutely awful about myself and how shit I am. Turns out that this other girl was all talk and wasn't as good as she put herself across - hopefully I've learnt a lesson from this. But even when I started as a paid member of staff, I still couldn't (and still can't) shake the feeling that I'm not good enough - I'm basically a cleaner, I'm not trusted to do anything more advanced than that, and I still don't even have a damn key fob to let myself into and around the building. I don't feel valued at all, which really isn't helping my self esteem, and just adds to the giant pile of worthlessness that I feel I am at the moment. But I need to stay in this job, as it's good money and no one's going to want me for any other job, and anything I may possibly be vaguely qualified for is likely to pay at most 2/3rds of what this job is paying me.

I'm still in my relationship with Steve, although I'm not entirely sure how it's going to play out as he's now got a fancy grown-up job and lives in North Wales. I've seen him a grand total of 4 times since finishing uni, and it seems to be increasingly harder to find the time (or his willingness?) to schedule a visit. I'm going up to Wales this weekend, but that's only because I got really upset one night which in turn made him upset (or guilty?) so he decided that this weekend was free after all. Long distance is hard - it doesn't feel like I'm in a relationship at all as I see him once a month, if that, and I don't know what sort of future we have (whether we'll ever see each other regularly, as this will involve me getting a job and moving up to Wales, and I doubt the job part is likely. I also have no idea what sort of timescale we're talking about before this happens - 3 months, 6 months, a year, longer than that...?).

I think the long-distance aspect of my relationship feels worse than it otherwise would do as I have no friends anymore. The very few friends I did have at uni now live hundreds of miles away, and my friends from home aren't really my friends anymore - case in point being that they all decided to go to Bath, where one of them is at uni, for New Year, plans which they decided to talk about in front of me while Steve was down and we all went out for dinner, and I clearly wasn't invited. Bath plans then got cancelled so they arranged to go to someone else's house, to which I was then invited, but not until obviously after they'd all made plans so I was clearly an afterthought, so declined and decided to stay at home and spend the evening doing something I enjoy instead, even if it did mean being alone for yet another New Year. I've tried so hard to make friends, and I'm sure I've posted about my problems on this front before, but for some reason I seem incapable of making and keeping friends. This has been a major contributor to me feeling so low (I'm hesitant to say depressed as I know how much people can suffer with depression, but maybe I am depressed to a lesser extent?). My mum is out at work most days, and when she isn't working she's busy doing her own thing, so I spend pretty much all of my time alone. I'm used to going places and doing things alone, so that isn't really a problem, but it would be so lovely to have at least one person to share my interests with, tell funny anecdotes to or share my problems with. I'm somewhat resigning myself to the fact that I won't ever have friends again, as after 4 years of trying every method I can think of to make and keep friends I'm still without any, and if anything I have even less than I did at this point 4 years ago. But I do have an irrational fear that I'm going to die and be the subject of one of these desperately sad news articles you hear about people who have died alone and lain undiscovered for weeks as there is simply no one to notice or care that they've effectively disappeared...

And on that very grim note I think it's time I wrapped up this post with a list of things that I feel went right for me in 2012, and a list of resolutions/hopes for 2013.

Things that went right for me this year?
  • I finally got a pet! After 22 years of waiting and being an avid animal lover, I finally have a pet of my own. Granted he's only a hamster, but I thought that was the most sensible choice given where I am in life at the moment. Plus he's really cute :)
  • I got a 2:1 in my degree, which I know I've said I'm not particularly happy with, but it could have been a lot worse - with a 2:2 it basically wouldn't have been worth going to uni at all, so at least now I'm more employable than I would have been otherwise.
  • I went to South Africa, which was amazing.
  • I managed to keep my relationship with Steve going for another year.
  • I got a job that pays well and allows me a lot of flexibility with hours, so I can keep up with St John and have time for myself while still getting money in.
  • I got a job working with animals, which was the main goal.
  • I started taking driving lessons. I've only had 2 so far, but I've driven on a main road and my instructor seems pleased with my progress, which is good to know :).

So what about resolutions/hopes for the coming year?
  • Make at least one friend that I talk to regularly. I'm going to keep plodding away with this one forever I think...
  • Finish my Day Zero/101 Things in 1001 Days list
  • Find a job in which I feel satisfied and like I'm actually useful
  • Do a bit of travelling. Even if it's only within this country, I feel like I'm really stuck at the moment, so need to spread my wings a bit.
  • Keep my relationship going with Steve for another year. Hopefully move in together, but if not I want to at least get to a place where I'm comfortable with the long-distance-ness
  • Get my room organised. I know this is a bit contradictory towards my last point as I said I want to move in with Steve, but I can't imagine that will be for at least another 3 months (more likely 6) so I've got plenty of time to get this room sorted first!
  • Attempt the 52 craft projects in 52 weeks challenge again. I failed miserably at this the last time I tried a couple of years ago - I think I went about it all wrong (I wrote a list of the projects I wanted to do, and the pressure of trying to fit in those projects, which were all fairly long and time-consuming, was enough to put me off so much that I gave up on the whole thing), so I'm going to try and take a more relaxed attitude to it this year.
  • Keep writing in my 5 year diary. I've got a very slack on this for the past couple of months, so need to spend the next few days catching up.

If anyone does happen to be reading this, happy new year to you :) (it would also be lovely if you left a comment or suchlike :)  )