9 January 2018

Ups & Downs: Why 2017 Was The Best Year of My Life...

...And How 2018 Will Be Better!

"Holy cow! How is it 2018 already?" It always seems so nonchalant and clockwork to say something of that sort around this time of year. Are we really all that surprised? I mean we repeat the same sentence more or less, every year. But in hindsight, I don't think I have ever been that surprised. I know that now because, this year, I really am.

I am genuinely baffled about how 2017 is over. I had so many plans, expectations and dreams riding on this year, that felt like an entire lifetime just waiting for them to finally roll around. Now it's all over and another year has begun, literally in the blink of an eye. And in lieu of sounding abhorrently melancholy, I want to clarify that I am absolutely not.

What a cracker of a year 2017 was. Whilst I am disappointed it's come to an end, *cliche alert* I am very much ready for some new beginnings, new dreams and new goals. 

Melissa wearing a white, Victoriana blouse with Rose Gold Olivia Burton Watch, photographed on the Streets of London.

In 2017, I quit my minimum wage job in retail to jump on a plane (well, several of them actually) to visit 5 countries I've been drooling over since I was a teen. 4 months later, I polished off my full-time daydream by living a life of paradise, in Thailand for 6 weeks. So needless to say, part one of 2017 was more incredible than my words will ever be able to describe.

Part two, however, was a tangled mess of anxiety, empty pockets and unsuccessful lottery tickets. But in the midst of those things that feel like they're built to tear you apart, there's always positive on the horizon if only you can find the strength to keep looking. Eventually, after months and months of searching, just in the nick of time for Christmas, I secured a job in Marketing. Phew!

This year has been a rollercoaster and I apologise for the lack of a better analogy, but that's honestly the best way to describe it. The most exhilarating, fast-paced rollercoaster with incredible highs but many points where it throws you upside down, followed by jolting emergency stops.

"The struggle is half the story. The hard times are what help us appreciate the good."

So 2018, how are you going to top that? How am I going to make sure you top that?

Melissa, looking over her shoulder at the camera with a gentle smile.

Embroidered velvet pumps with Bumble Bee's, from Primark.

Document More

This past year, so much happened and I wish I had documented more of it. I went travelling, camera in hand but spent the entire time just taking it all in. Which is great and 10x more gratifying than experiencing it through a lens. I don't regret that one bit. However, I am embarrassingly forgetful and I wish I had more to show physically for this whirlwind of a year I experienced. 

So in 2018, whether it's through photography, diary-like blog posts (let me know what you think of these because I can always keep them private if you're not so interested) or if I brave the vlogging phenomenon, I really want to document more of this year. Then when I'm 87, I'll have a plethora of memories that read like a story and maybe even show like a movie. 

Continue to Travel

I've spent considerable amounts of my time since I was 16, dreaming about taking time off to travel. And just because in 2017 I ticked that bucket item, it doesn't mean my dream needs to be over. I want to travel. I want to continue to travel. This year, I'm going to try my damn hardest to visit new places over the weekend. Not every weekend. That would be mad. Fun. But mad.

Whether that means 36 hours treading home soil in the British countryside or fleeting visits across the channel to Budapest, Prague or Tallin. Travelling doesn't have to mean months away, living out of a backpack in South East Asia, and that's something I want to capitalise on this year. 

Work hard, get a car and move the heck out

This is a big old goal if there ever was one. I've always been very dedicated to the things I desire, but I don't have the best patience. Now I know I can achieve big goals which require waiting because I finally went travelling, didn't I? That was 6 months of no shopping, no eating out, no seeing friends to be able to afford to go, on top of the 6ish years of dreaming too. So this should be easy, right? 

Bizarrely enough, this one seems wildly more unattainable. One day, I want to be able to blog full-time, earning a living from wherever in the world I am. And working hard in 2018 is what's going to get me there. Now not to say in 2017, I didn't work hard. I did. But my blog definitely saw itself as less of a priority and that needs to change this year.

But I have a full time, 9-5 job now and that is what's going to help me afford to get a car (road trips baby!) and simultaneously find myself a home. I've been renting a room at my boyfriends' parents house for 4 years and it's been many more years than that since I've felt what 'home' feels like. So for the sake of my sanity and wellbeing, this needs to change too. 

So here's to 2018 being as incredible as the year before. Here's to all the relentless hard work, smashing goals and continuing to live my best, happy life. What are you living for in 2018?

Love always,

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