In Germany, it is customary for TV channels to bombard people with retrospectives about the past year from Boxing Day up to January 1st. They range from the more localised “Hessen 2013” to the broader “2013 in Germany and elsewhere” version. In this spirit, I have decided to make my own.
This past year has been, eventful, to say the least. It’s been difficult a lot, and fun a little less. It will go down as a year for firsts, but not as one that I will recall thinking ‘dude, that was an EPIC year’. No sirree, 2013 does not deserver that title, not for me at least.
Let me start with one of the most memorable aspects: my first flight. Yep, aged 24 I had never been on a plane until this last May, and yes, however often people told me that it was nothing and that I should just book a flight and get it over with, it took a little more to get me going. So when my friends and I decided to go on holiday somewhere together, it was pretty clear to me that this would involve flying. When we chose Egypt, it also became clear that it would be a 5 hour flight, basically jumping in from the (almost) deep end. As this previous post shows, I survived, and we had a great time in Sharm El Sheikh. And as it turns out (another 2 return flights later) I really like flying, as long as I’m sitting near a window. Looking outside and watching the clouds and whatever relaxes me and keeps my brain and inner ear from going ‘aaaaargh we’re in high altitude and ooooh the plane is moving and wooooop don’t you want to feel motion sick right now?’. So yay for that!
Also very important, the shift in my professional life: until September, I was only employed as a temp worker at Kingston uni, and my internship at French Radio London had been turned into freelance work. But, while both were really interesting, they were also more often than not badly paid, or not paid at all. And after a while there’s only so many time you want to go to Kingston council and argue with the people from Housing Benefits, and calling your parents for help is also not very fun when you have to do it twice a month. So I applied here and there and everywhere, and through a friend who told me about it in passing, I managed to bag my current job at the French School as an education assistant. No, it’s not what I studied for, but hey it’s fun and interesting and I get a pay check at the end of the month that I can smile at rather than cringe.
Now on to the more personal side… I have to say my friendships have evolved a lot this year. People that I thought would matter for years have completely disappeared off the face of the Earth, which I think is a total shame, especially if you’re trying to stay in touch. On the other hand, I’ve gotten really close to a handful of people (some of which have been in my life for a while, others just showed up) and this has been a really great experience. We’ve spent nights in just talking, nights out just laughing. We went on holiday, we went to the supermarket. I’ve also rekindled friendships dating back to high school days just by meeting up with people for an afternoon. Sometimes 4 hours is all you need to fill in what happened in the past few years and to find yourself back where you where all those years ago.
Now, I know I’ve focused on the positive bits here, but do you really want to read about the shitty parts? I won’t pretend that there have been horrible times in 2013: the days where I didn’t want to get out of bed because I knew how boring my working day was going to be. The times I messaged someone on Facebook only to be ignored. The moments when I looked at my account balance and nearly wanted to cry, because council tax still needed to be paid. The elation at meeting someone new, only for things to peter out because of bad timing. Seeing friends or family and crying at the station or the airport because you have to go your separate ways again. Being ill and sitting at home alone feeling rubbish. Being angry with, or disappointed in someone. These are all part of life, don’t we know it – but there are just times where they seem to take over.
I have a positive outlook on 2014 though: things can only get better. I’ve read enough horoscopes this month to gather that everything will finally go my way (ok, they do tend to spin it in a positive light) and I feel very excited about turning 25 in 10 days. Yes, 25 is not what it used to be anymore and older people’s eyes kind of glaze over when they remember, then suddenly they snap back and say “oh but I was already working full-time/married/had my first child”. Yep, things have changed. My generation has new problems, and as things stand, we’re less likely to have a house/car before 35, we’re mostly unemployed or temping/interning and either we get married too early or much too late. But it’s still the magical ‘quarter of a century’ (for those who even make it to a 100!) and it’s somehow a bigger pull out of youth and into adulthood.
So goodbye for now, and I wish every single one of you a happy new year!