January is a notoriously long, slow month, but I'm losing track of the days already and finding it hard to believe we're already 13 days into a new decade. How did that happen so quickly?! 

I've been looking back over the year that just passed and reflecting on what was, for me, a mostly-positive 2019. I feel like I caught more colds and sickness bugs last year than I have in recent history, and there were certainly a few frustrations and things that didn't go entirely smoothly, but for the most part 2019 was pretty damn good to me. 

2019 was a good year for travel, seeing me take a holiday to Spain's Costa Blanca; a week-long rail trip between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam; and a girly few days in Poland's Gdansk. I did a bit of UK travel as well, with an overnight stay in Glasgow; a couple of trips south of the border to Lincolnshire; a weekend in Prestwick and Ayr; a few days of beautiful scenery around Fort William; and a trip to Edinburgh for a very festive weekend. 

It was also a pretty good year for music, getting to see Frank Turner live in Glasgow; Deaf Havana and Self Esteem in Aberdeen; Florence + the Machine in Edinburgh; and Halestorm (with support from New Year's Day and In This Moment) down in Nottingham.  

It was a good year for books, too, managing to read 33 rather than my target of 30, and I still find myself so delighted to have the pleasure of reading back in my life after so many years of poor concentration defeating me! 

It wasn't an entirely positive year for one of my other hobbies - running - which has been one of my biggest frustrations of 2019. Although I was going fairly strong at the start of the year and managed to complete the Run Balmoral and Baker Hughes 10k events to raise money for SAMH, I ended up injuring myself in the process and am still on the rather lengthy road to recovery. I've had some input from osteopaths, physios and podiatry, but have been told to refrain from running at the moment until I rebuild the strength in both my shins. It wasn't until I lost it that I realised quite how important running was to me, in terms of physical activity - yes - but also in the social aspect of running with JogScotland, and the endorphin-boost and feelings of accomplishment it used to give me. It's been a big loss over the last 6 months, but I'm hopeful that I'll get back to it eventually. 

The year's other biggest frustration was perhaps my current living situation and the lack of progress I feel I've made. I said in April that I was ready to move on from supported accommodation and live independently, which was agreed by my care team, but it turns out that process is more complicated than it might seem. Needless to say it's now January and I still live in a 24/7 supported service where I no longer have any need to be. That said, I'm hopeful that this will progress in the coming months and I'm excited to be able to look forward to a fresh start ahead of me. 

I've put a few things on hold until then as I don't want to risk taking on too many life changes all at once, so I haven't made the progress I might have liked in relation to work in the last twelve months. I quit one of the jobs I held at the start of the year as the inconsistency of working on an as-required basis was not working very well for me and my anxiety, but I was fortunate to be able to pick up more hours in my other job instead and have loved having more of a structure and routine and spending more time around our customers and my colleagues. I interviewed for and was offered another job towards the end of the summer, but in the end I decided it wasn't right for me, and have taken on a voluntary role elsewhere instead, which I'm really keen to get stuck into ASAP. 

Mental health wise it was a pretty decent year for me. I had a bit of a difficult period around August time where my mood took a significant drop and I found myself really struggling for the first time in a long while, but I managed to ride the wave and pulled myself out of it eventually, making it another whole year free from hospital admissions and free from any of my old negative coping strategies. It's not always rainbows and sunshine, and I struggle with the fact I still can't seem to shake myself free from anxiety, but things are infinitely better than they have been previously and I'm forever grateful for that. 

All-in-all 2019 was pretty kind to me - a year full of exploring and adventures; of reconnecting with the things that I enjoy; and of relishing the company of those around me. I feel like 2020 might be a slightly more serious year, by comparison, filled with a bit more 'adulting' in the form of a house move, work and volunteering, and the need to start thinking about the future and saving some money, but I'm sure there will be plenty of laughs and adventures along the way, and I'm looking forward (slightly anxiously) to seeing how the journey unfolds.  


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