02/01/14 - A Time For Reflection

This isn't an official tag, but I believe it could develop into one and that the world of blogging would be a little bit better for it!  My gorgeous friend Megan answered these questions on her blog after they were posed by musical theatre wonder woman, Sierra Boggess.  The start of January is a time for looking back on the last twelve months and looking forward to the next, so I couldn't resist answering these reflective questions.

Five highlights of 2013
I feel like an X Factor presenter, but these highlights are in no particular order...I just couldn't rank them!  It's been a big year for me but the top five are probably: 1) my graduation; 2) all things HUPAS, from the showcase to winning Society of the Year; 3) my 21st birthday; 4) Getting to spend more time with my family after moving home; 5) Strengthening my current friendships, both at home and around the country.

What are you most proud of and why?
Graduating with a solid 2:1, and particularly writing my dissertation.  It may not have earned me marks as high as I had hoped, but I'm actually really happy with it and I certainly enjoyed writing it.  Any excuse to geek out over Harry Potter is alright by me!

What did you learn most about yourself?
I learned that I'm much stronger and more self-sufficient than I give myself credit for.

What surprised you most?
I was surprised by how much I missed Hull after graduation.  I always knew I'd miss university life and my friends, but the city itself will always hold a special place in my heart that I hadn't expected.

What goals did you succeed in accomplishing?
It's something I don't do any more, but I was rather impressed with the self-control I exercised by sticking to my gym routine at the start of the year.

What were the biggest challenges you faced and how did that affect you?
Returning to my family home after three years of independence has been much more of a transition than I'd expected.  While I love my family, a lack of independence and constantly applying for, and not getting, jobs can take something of a toll.

What professional accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
While I may be starting 2014 as an unemployed person, I've tried a few different jobs this year and all were great experiences in different ways.  I couldn't single out a particular one that I feel most proud of.

What didn't you do that you wish you'd done?
I feel that 2013 contained a few opportunities that I might have missed, but it's best not to dwell on those.

What friendships meant the most to you and why?
All of my friends are incredibly special to me and there are simply too many to list!  I will, however, give a special mention to all my friends who are flung far and wide across the country and the world.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say, so I'm determined that 2014 will be a year of visiting.  I also want to send my continuing love to my amazing housemates (ex-housemates sob sob) who are some of my favourite people ever and who I miss every day.

What was one of the best decisions you made?
Cutting the bleached bits out of my hair.  Such a superficial answer, but my hair feels so much healthier and looks much nicer now.

Which day would you relive if could?
There are far too many for me to choose, but I can narrow it down to graduation or my birthday weekend.  Both were incredible experiences that I won't be forgetting any time soon.

What, if any, regrets do you have?
I wish I hadn't wasted so much time worrying about the future and spent more time living in the moment.

What made you laugh?
All kinds of things.  My friends always manage to keep me smiling.

What was one of the biggest risks you took and how did it turn out?
I'm not much of a risk-taker, so I don't know how to answer this.  

If you could change one thing, what and why?
There's a couple of hangovers that I would much rather go back and rewrite.  2013 saw far too much of me waking up with a blinding headache and proceeding to whimper into a Subway all day.

What was your biggest disappointment?  Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?
My biggest disappointment came in the past few weeks and involved not getting a job that I had basically been previously promised.  I won't go too far into it because it's no longer important and bitterness never helped anyone, but if I could change something it would be that I wouldn't have pinned so many hopes on something that was never certain.  

What did you do that deserved some kind of recognition?
I feel like that's a hard one for me to answer.

What was one of the most meaningful things someone did for you?
While there have been several things I could mention here, one of the most special was the utter treat my friend Alistair gave me as an early birthday present.  Not only did he pay for my End of Year Ball shoes and dress, he treated me to a veritable feast at Yo! Sushi and a decadent bottle of tasty pink gin and a gorgeous engraved glass.  I was truly spoiled and I am yet to decide what I can possibly get him for his birthday that will even begin to compete!

What was one of most meaningful things you did for someone?
I can't think of many things off the top of my head and I don't want to be one of those people who is like 'Ooh look what a good friend I am'...buuuuut the main thing that springs to mind is sending a batch of 'Break A Leg' cupcakes to my friend Lauren on the day of the Performing Arts showcase, which I was unable to attend as I was working.  She's the President of the society and works harder than anyone I know, so she deserved a little treat!

What was one of your favourite romantic highlights?
Sadly, there have not been many romantic moments in 2013...and that's fine by me.  I've had far too much else going to be worrying about that.

How are you different now than a year ago?
I feel like a better version of the person I developed into at university.  I'm more positive and confident, and I like who I'm becoming.

What were some meaningful compliments you  received?
The best compliments I've had this year have been related to my work in the few jobs I've had.  It's always gratifying to hear that you're doing something right.

What's still incomplete for you?
All kinds of things.  Unfortunately the end of a year doesn't tie up all the loose ends, so there's still a lot I need to do.

What are you most thankful for?
My incredible friends and family, who I know will always stick by me and keep my spirits up when I most need it.

Reflecting on the upcoming year:

What would you like to be different in your life a year from now?
I'd quite like to have a job that I really enjoy and be on my way to moving out of my parents house.

What personal goal commitments are you willing to make?
This question is going to take a little thought...I don't have much of an answer just yet.

What bad habits would you like to rid yourself of?
I'm determined to stop second-guessing myself and worrying what other people think about me.  Also, lusting over bags that I will never be able to afford and buying homeware for a house I don't own yet.  There's only so many soft furnishings and glassware one girl can fit into a single room.

What unfinished business do you need to complete?
I made a decent start this year, but I'm going to finish a first draft of the novel I've been toying with for a while.  

What would you like to have more of in your life?
Exciting experiences.

What would you like to have less of in your life?
Negative thoughts.

What relationships do you need to improve upon?
I don't think I need to improve on any relationships, but I believe all relationships need work so I'll just carry on doing what I'm doing.

What's the best advice you could give yourself?
Stop thinking so much.  Don't worry about what people will think, don't worry so much about the future.  Just get on with life.

What personal challenges do you anticipate?  What is your strategy to handle these?
Keeping in touch with friends becomes more difficult when everyone is becoming proper adults with jobs and mortgages and commitments, so I'm determined to keep my friends as close as possible.  It takes work to make time for each other, but it's always time well spent.

What professional challenges do you anticipate?  What is your strategy to handle these?
The continuous cycle of finding jobs to apply for, sending off CVs and not hearing anything back is a strenuous one, especially when it goes on for too long.  I just need to keep my chin up and my head down, and I'm sure something will come along.

What special memories would you like to create?
I'm determined to have adventures with all my favourite people.  I have several trips hopefully on the cards but even if I just get to drink wine and giggle with my girls, I'll be more than happy.

What do you plan to do just for you?
This answer is a little bit of a contradiction in itself.  I want to spend less time attached to the Internet, but I equally want to continue to work on this blog.

What are you going to do to create a healthy balance between family, friends, work and play?
I like to think that it's something I'm not too bad at already, so I just need to keep everything in perspective and not let any element of my life take over the others.

What are some personal growth opportunities?
I don't think I can answer that until after those opportunities have happened!

What are you looking forward to?
Just seeing what 2014 has to offer.  Bring it on!

If you made it all the way to the end of this post, I am very impressed!  It's a long one, but I really enjoyed thinking back on the past year and looking forward to the next.

If you want to answer these questions, please link me to your blog post!  I'd love to see more people doing this reflective tag.

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