You know when people say “2016 was a terrible year for me?”
Well, when I hear that I internally roll my eyes. “You can’t damn a whole year just because bad stuff happens” I think “Good stuff always happens too, it’s just people focus on bad stuff more.” Well…yeah.
Around this time last year, I decided that 2016 was going to be my year. I would be graduating, I would get an ace job, I would make all the things happen. It would be success-central.
And you know what? It kind of was, in a much nicer way than I expected. What started off as some sort of vague aim to be successful morphed into actual changes in behaviour. I wanted to be kinder to others and myself and work hard. And I did. I felt myself thinking in a more compassionate way, I felt more at ease with myself and able to overcome obstacles, I felt less stressed.
After failing to get an internship in an advertising firm in late 2015 I threw myself into finding work; I took one internship whilst still doing my final lectures, somehow managing to balance my hours of study and work. I then took a couple of weeks off to get the final assignments of my degree written and handed in before jumping straight back into work. Whilst studying for my finals I started another internship at an ad agency, only taking time off to take my final exams and then to graduate.
It was really really tough. But I knew it was the right thing to do. If I don’t give something my all I always regret it and so I wanted to go all out and make this whole adult thing work. But my god, it was tough.
While my friends were enjoying their last summer of studentdom and celebrating their graduations I was working a 9-5. My internship got extended to a 6 month contract and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Those moments in life where hard work actually results in reward are amazing and I felt really good. Me and my friends had just found a new beautiful flat in Edinburgh and everything was going great.
And then it wasn’t going great but I still tried so hard to be positive.
Me and my boyfriend of 7 years broke up. It was hard and horrible and strange and I still don’t quite know how I feel about all those feelings but I tried. I made myself see friends more, I practised my harp more, I did more stuff for me. I threw myself into work more.
And then my cat died. He was 18 so I had very much grown up with him. I know some people think pets dying isn’t a huge deal but it can be very affecting. But still, I tried. I knew that he was getting old and he wasn’t as comfortable anymore so it was a good thing ultimately.
I started to get some of the stress symptoms I used to get. My hair was falling out, I was breaking out in spots, I was creaky and achey, I wasn’t sleeping well. I dealt with it. I indulged in products to make me feel better, I enrolled in a yoga school, I let positivity be my doctor.
People (mainly my mum) said I was doing well. Being strong.
So yeah, I’ve spent the whole year really trying to be positive. Trying to smother every negative event with positive energy. But right now I just can’t. Today I found out that my work won’t be renewing my contract next year. I am gutted. Like, so gutted. Firstly, because I love that place and the people in it, but secondly because it means my hard work just didn’t pay off.
The little voice of positivity that I’ve cultivated all year is still in the back of my head saying “You’ll get a great reference! It was a great experience! You’ve made friends!” But right now I just don’t have the effort to amplify that voice.
And so, for the first time I’m going to let myself properly wallow. 2016 has sucked. Yes, good things have happened but it has been hard and gruelling and painful and I think maybe allowing myself some time to wallow in that might be as healing as positivity. Right?