A Look Back At My 2018 || Love, Happiness and Success.

So here we are again, at the end of another year and what a year it has been. Looking back to this time last year, so much has changed. As I read my post from last year, it becomes evident how much I have grown as a person. This time last year I was depressed, lonely, fearful for the future and in a constant state of anxiety. 2017 was one of the crappiest years of my life so far, but I knew 2018 would be good to me.

The year began with getting back into the dating scene. I downloaded Tinder, Bumble, Match.com, and OkCupid. I mainly got the apps to help me gain some confidence back and to talk to new people, not intending to actually meet up with someone. I went from app to app speaking to a handful of people, and much to my surprise I actually enjoyed it. After about a week I had nearly 2000 men matching with me on OkCupid; I knew that a good 95% of these men probably just wanted to have sex and then be done with me so I was not very hopeful with this large amount. However, after a week or two I finally plucked up the courage to meet up with someone and go on a date. We dated for about a month but it just didn't work out. We were both at different stages in life and it would not have worked out well in the long run. However it reminded me how much I actually enjoyed dating and getting to know someone.

After that little knock back, in an act of strong womanly independence I deleted all of the dating apps and decided to focus on myself. Safe to say this did not last long... about a week to be exact. I was laying in bed one morning whilst still on my Christmas break from University and I decided to re-download OkCupid. That evening I was round my friend Katie's house and we were swiping through the men. I came across someone called Bradley, who was 22 and lived about an hour or so away from me. He instantly jumped out to me as someone I wanted to get to know. I vaguely remember saying to Katie how much I loved his smile and the fact he smiles with his eyes... you know, when they have that little twinkle.

The next day I was tidying my room, which I something I tended to do at the end of every week in order to start fresh the next week, and an OkCupid message popped up on my phone. I dropped everything and opened up the message... it was from the nice smile and eyes guy, Bradley! We began chatting and just had a general conversation about our interests and what we are doing with our lives, to which my mum came upstairs to my room and asked me why I looked so happy. I told her about Bradley and showed her his profile. She gushed about how lovely he looked and said I should go out on a date with him.
After what happened with the previous guy, I was very apprehensive about going on a date straight away... well, fast forward to the next week where I was being treated like a princess at The Bloomsbury Hotel in London by Brad. I have honestly never felt so comfortable on a date, he made me feel like the luckiest woman on the planet. He reminded me of how I should be treated, it was the best first date I have ever had (and I have had a fair few now).

Anyway, the next couple of months were filled with some unforgettable dates which helped keep me sane whilst I got through the last few months of my degree. In March I handed in my dissertation and was on the last stretch of assignments and revision for my exams. In April, I officially finished my lectures and tutorials and it was now up to me to revise for a solid month before my exams. Every day I worked my butt off revising and I actually surprised myself with how much I knew. However, the panic of job hunting fully set in. I didn't want to be sitting at home all alone, job searching for hours on end after graduating.
One day I posted on LinkedIn asking if anyone was looking for someone to work in their digital marketing. Almost immediately after posting, I got a reply from someone redirecting me to a digital executive job at an independent media agency called The Specialist Works. After researching the company I decided that this was the place for me. I applied for the job and a day later I got a call asking for me to go in for an interview the next day. My first interview went really well and I was asked to go back the next day for round 2. I had to prepare a presentation and pitch my idea, this is definitely where I was grateful for all of the endless presentations I had to do at University. Later that day, I got the call to say that I got the job! MY FIRST EVER JOB! I honestly could not believe it. I went home and cried with happiness for hours. To add to this happiness, my sister and her boyfriend also got engaged. It finally felt like life was falling into place. However, reality hit me and I had to carry on revising for my exams. I did give myself a break from time to time, in the form of dates with Brad. We were now a couple of months into dating and it was pretty clear where it was heading.
On the 22nd of April we went on a little date in my local village to the Caves and for a picnic in the park. We spent hours laying on the grass chatting about god knows what, eating all the nibbles, having a few tins (classy) and getting attacked by dogs from all directions. It got to the end of the date and I was cuddling into him, everything felt ok again. I had spent the last 6 months feeling like I was the loneliest human and now finally it felt like I had someone. He told me to sit up and face him, he took my hands, told me to look into his eyes and popped the question... and of course I said yes. Well, actually I think I said something like "Ugh if I have to I suppose"... and that was the start of our relationship.

Moving into May, this was the month where my life was going to start changing. At the beginning of May I did my last few exams for my University degree, as well as my exam for my professional IDM Qualification, which I had been awarded a bursary for because of being in the top 10 students on my degree. Once all of this was over, I WAS FINALLY FREE! Three tough years of university had finally come to an end and it was such a bitter sweet moment. I celebrated both this and my 21st on the 19th of May by being surprised with tickets to one of my favourite musicals Wicked and a meal from Brad. We also went out for a family meal and cocktails in the evening after watching the Royal Wedding. It was the perfect day, the sun was shining, I felt the happiest I had felt in what felt like a year and I was surrounded by people who loved me.
Then on the 29th May, I started my job at TSW. I have never felt so nervous and excited in my life. It was mad to me that I hadn't even graduated yet and I had already started my full time job. It was tough and mentally straining because I didn't give myself a break from University but I am so glad I got a job straight away and started building my career. I have met so many lovely people at TSW, some of which I call my best friends (cough cough Lily). It has helped me grow as a person, I have learnt so much already and become an adult.
We are now in June and I'm sunning it up in Spain with my mum and dad. It's the world cup and spirits were high, everyone was happy! I was made even happier as I got an email from University saying that I had achieved a First Class Honours in BA Advertising and Marketing Communications at the University of Greenwich. I did it, I actually did it. Three very tough years of non stop tears after wanting to drop out within my first week. I actually did it even whilst battling with my depression and anxiety, alongside a tough year with my breakup and losing family and friends.

Fast forward to the 16th of July... Graduation day. The day I had been dreaming about since the start of my degree, I was determined to get to this day in my life. It was a boiling hot day, not ideal weather to be wearing a heat absorbing black gown and hat, but I did not let this stop me from having the best day. I was waiting in the chapel ready for the ceremony to begin, when my friend Kerry told me to look at the names of the award winning students in the program. I had only gone an won the Derek Holder Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation in the area of data driven and digital marketing. I had no idea that this was even a thing, let alone the fact that I had bloody won it! It was such a nice feeling to be awarded for something that I worked on for over a year and genuinely enjoyed writing. I am the crazy person who would quite happily do my dissertation all over again. My graduation day was the perfect end to my three years at Greenwich and I am so glad that I did end up sticking it out.
The next few months are pretty much taken up by work, work and more work. I was developing my role and finally beginning to feel part of the company. However after a busy few months, I needed a break. So, I decided to book a little weekend away for myself and Brad which you can read about here. Bath is hands down one of the prettiest places I had visited in the UK and I would quite happily rush back there tomorrow.

September, October, November and December all blurred into one. Work was especially busy at this time so I didn't really do much more with my life. My relationship with Brad was getting stronger by the second and life was all go, go, go. Christmas this year was perfect, the day was spent with family and I have well and truly recharged my brain (which was massively needed).

Although many momentous occasions happened for me this year, a lot of other events happened. I went to a handful of concerts such as; Dodie, Harry Styles, Enrique Iglesias, Carrie Hope Fletcher, West End Does events, Heathers the Musical, Wicked, wined and dined as Brad's plus one at Lord's, went to Revolution events and got dangerously drunk once again, I got invited to the Mind Awards and also the Vuelio Blog Awards and I was also awarded Best Photography in the MH Blog Awards hosted by one of my best friends Mike. I have also continued with my mental health campaigning work with Samaritans, Mind and Student Minds, as well as been on Sky News, on BBC Newsbeat and in other online articles.
As we bring 2018 and this blog post to a close, I can hand on heart say that I have everything I could ever want in life. I am the happiest I have ever felt, my relationship is only getting stronger by the day (to the point where my parents have said on a number of occasions that they can see us getting married - they would have never said this about any of my ex's), I am surrounded by people who love me and I have made friends for life. I am in such a different place to where I was this time last year and the start of this year and I am so grateful for that. I have become an adult and succeeded and excelled in every aspect of my life. I can't wait to see what 2019 will bring...

Goodbye 2018, thank you for being one of the best years yet. 2019, you better be bloody good to me. 


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