The End is in Sight
This year, I’m planning on doing something a bit novel for me, and I’m going to actually take some time off over Christmas. It’s been years since I properly stopped working over the festive season, and to be honest, I think I really need it. This year has been a bit of a roller coaster, to say the least, and it’s taken its toll. As a result, this is going to be my final post of the year, and what better way to wave goodbye to 2017 with a look back at everything it’s brought me?
I can’t even explain how relieved I am that this year is coming to an end. It’s been pretty rubbish, from start to finish, and when I look back I feel genuinely amazed that I’m still standing. One of the most valuable things that I learned at CBT earlier in the year was to look for the good things to come out of bad situations, and now that I’m able to sit down and take in the year as a whole, I’m coming away with a sense of pride and overwhelming gratitude for those who’ve been there for me when I needed them most.
At the very end of February, we welcomed the gruesome twosome, Bonnie and Clyde, into our family. Our house was far too quiet without a cat to cuddle, so when we spotted Bonnie and Clyde on a local cat charity’s Facebook page it felt like fate. It’d been years since we had young cats in our house, so having this pair has been a bit of a learning experience, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Their stupid antics make me smile every day, even when they’re waking me up at ridiculous o’clock to be fed. I can’t believe it’s only been 9 months since we brought them home!
March was Endometriosis Awareness Month, so I decided to finally sit down and share My Endometriosis Experience, which was a weight off my chest. This year was a bit of a turning point for me in which I felt a lot more comfortable writing about some of the issues closest to my heart, with endometriosis being one of them, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the response.
In March, I was invited to speak at an International Women’s Day event at a theatre nearby. Public speaking is not my forte, but I decided to give it a go and I’m so proud of myself for doing it. Sharing my blogging experience, and introducing even more people to the wonders of the internet, is something I love to do.
I spent the first few days of April exploring Leicester with Paddy, and it was great to get to know his new home a bit better. I had two weeks off over Easter which was very much needed, and saw me spend a bit of quality time with Paddy. We went on a road trip around Fife, I headed to the spa at Cameron House and we had lots of delicious dinners.
In April I handed in the biggest part of my graded unit for college and celebrated with lots of cocktails with the girls. My graded unit was probably one of the most intense pieces of work I’ve ever put together – much more so than anything I submitted at university – so I spent the vast majority of this month getting stuck into that.
I was probably at my lowest point in April, which I tried to keep bottled up for a very long time until I just couldn’t anymore. Eventually, I was referred for CBT and wrote a very long post about why I was feeling so low. Although not much has changed since I wrote that, I do feel a lot better mentally, so I’m really proud of how far I’ve come.
May was a pretty quiet month. I think I spent a lot of this month getting to grips with my mental health, working through the CBT programme and trying to make more time for self-care. I started back at my retail job in May, which didn’t last very long but gave me some much-needed routine for a while.
I did go to the Tim Horton’s opening though, which was pretty cool.
I think June was where things started to change for me this year, even if I didn’t really notice it at the time. In June, college wrapped up for the summer, I submitted the final parts of my graded unit and finished my first year with an A. I worked so hard on my submissions this year, so this felt like my hard work had actually paid off, and showed me exactly what I was capable of, even when I was going through a difficult time.
Also in June, I was discharged from my mental health team after making great progress with the programme. I went into CBT feeling very sceptical, having had poor experiences with counselling in the past, but it honestly changed my life. I still have down days, and my mental health is far from perfect, but I feel a lot better equipped to handle it.
The end of June is usually a time for celebration for me and Paddy, with our anniversary falling on the 23rd. This year we celebrated seven whole years together, and although we weren’t in the same country for our actual anniversary we dragged the celebrations out for a couple of weeks with our adventures in Dubrovnik. Our anniversary dinner at the restaurant at the top of the cable car is something I’ll never forget – and not just because I had the best steak of my life…
I like July. It’s my birthday month, classes are off, and sometimes it’s sunny. Sometimes. I spent the first half of July on holiday in Croatia, which was very much needed, and then threw myself into birthday celebrations nearly as soon as I landed. I visited Gleddoch for a spa day with my best friend Sarah, ate lots of delicious food and spent time with the people I love. Turning 22 wasn’t all too bad!
August was a funny old month. A lot happened, but also not. At the start of August, I was in a car accident, which was slightly terrifying, but could have been a lot worse. I’m still struggling with the aftermath of the accident, which is increasingly frustrating, but it put a chain of events into action that I couldn’t be more grateful for.
After my accident, I ended up quitting my retail job again, realising it definitely wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. Instead, I took the first steps to going freelance, which is a decision I’m so glad I made. By the time second year of college started I was working completely freelance, giving me my weekends back, and allowing me to work in an industry I love.
In August, this little blog turned a whopping seven years old, which I still think is incredible. This blog has changed my life for the better and I just can’t imagine what my life would be like without it. I also dyed my hair, cut it shorter and started to get a bit more confident with my style. A mixed month!
I think I spent the majority of September getting to grips with my new routine of being back at college and working for myself. I headed down to Leicester for another weekend with Paddy, and squeezed in a trip to Peebles at the end of the month, too. It was all sorts of busy, and went by in a flash.
October saw the official launch of my freelance business, Content by Charlotte, which was a pretty proud moment for me. At the same time, I refreshed the design for this little blog of mine, which gave me the boost of motivation I needed to get back into creating the sort of content I love. Releasing my freelance baby into the wild after working on it behind the scenes for so long was a little bit scary, but I had such incredible feedback that made it all worthwhile.
Also this month, I started my 10-week boot camp with AG Fitness Training. I struggled a lot with my body confidence this year, as I’ve felt seriously out of control when it comes to my health, but starting my boot camp really helped me. I’m planning a full ramble about this (did you expect anything less?) but in the meantime, I’ll just say that if you’re looking for a good gym in Glasgow for the new year then I couldn’t recommend the team at AG Fitness enough.
I had a week off of college in October, which was brilliant, but ended up being busier than ever. I finally made some progress with my health drama after seeing a brilliant consultant who actually seemed to care, which was a huge relief. I also booked a trip to Barcelona, a city I’ve wanted to visit for years, with the girls from college for March next year.
Usually, November is a quiet month for me, and that’s how I like it, but this year my plans changed a little. I had hoped to have quite a chilled out month in preparation for Christmas chaos, but instead, I ended up rushed off my feet for the majority of the month. I had a lot of college deadlines in November, which made for quite a stressful month, but I certainly made up for it with lots of fun plans outwith class time.
At the start of the month, I had an incredible brunch at Gleneagles, I spent some time in Edinburgh and I managed to fit in a weekend in Leicester, too. My first semester finished at the end of November, leaving me with a week to recharge before semester two started, which helped me get ready for the madness that is December.
And finally, December. December has flown by in the blink of an eye, and somehow we’re just a few days away from Christmas itself. This month, I’ve been catching up with friends over dinner, checking out the many Christmas craft fairs taking place around Glasgow and achieving a childhood dream by finally seeing Mamma Mia on stage. I’d only been waiting ten years for that moment, no big deal. I cried.
Throughout December, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want the next year to look. I’ve been pondering the definition of success and figuring out my goals for 2018, but as this post is already reaching a ridiculous length, I’ll save that for next year.