A letter: 2017 edition

Hi, my name’s Alice. I’m twenty-three-years-old. And I am guilty of wishing time away. Looks like my wish may have finally come scarily true, because… where the heck did 2017 go? Yep, it’s that time of year where I write future me a letter, informing her of her progress and crossing all my fingers and toes that she is in an always happier, somehow better place. (If you want to read any of the letters from the last three years I’ve been doing this, I’ve linked the others at the end.) So, 2018 Alice, here’s the dealio.

Last year was fairly tough. You talked a lot about that post-university limbo; of wanting nothing more than to have something to show for your degree and the time that was quickly passing by. Always, somewhat ironically, of praying to hurtle forward, fast-tracking to the good bits, the parts where you started to feel better. Less alone, less scared, less sad. Well, we got there. Or, at least, are getting there. In the last three hundred and sixty-five days you have loved and lost, got a new job (hallelujah), swallowed some difficult pills and done a lot of bleeding. And I think maybe your soul is a little brighter, a little more self-assured.

2017 was the year you realised you were always meant to come home after university. You weren’t ready for London, not fully, and your home wasn’t ready to let you go. Sure, it’s still lonely at the best of times and, in a lot of ways — most ways — things have stayed much the same. But a lot was thrown at your family in 2017. Big, heartbreaking horrible things that no amount of living really, truly prepares you for. As hard as they have been, though, I am grateful that I have been here and not hundreds of miles away, unable to help or support. And with a job that actually allows me to grow and develop in skills that push me towards my chosen industry, I know I/you/we (God, not this again) are closer to finding our track.

As well as my usual letter, I also took part in the ‘This Time Next Year’ tag at the end of 2016, compiling a list of resolutions I’d like to achieve in the span of the year. Admittedly, I’d sort of forgotten about the post itself, so when I went back to read through what I’d ambitiously written I was pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve actually managed to tick off. The first was to write more, to start making that ‘writer by trade and nature’ a thing of truth. Well, future Alice, you know you kinda kicked ass. Writing is a part of my work development. It’s not journalistic, but it’s an element of my job I really enjoy. That, and a team I actually like. The previous job was full of scumbags, just sayin’.

More so than that, this blog has become everything I always wanted it to be. I’m not soaring in statistics by any means, but I have finally created a space that I come back to time and time again. I’ve shared so much this year and written posts that, yes, were petrifying to post, leaving me bare and vulnerable. But they are so true to my jumble of emotions that this blog has become, quite rapidly, an extension of who I am. And, to top it off, some of the things I’ve posted here genuinely resonate with people. That’s kind of a #writersgoal. So there, that’s my first two resolutions. I’d give ’em a tick and a half.

My third resolution was to workout more and put my body to work. We were off to a shaky start at the beginning of 2017, but come the end of August I signed myself up to the gym. You’d better still be there, 2018 Alice, and not putting it to waste by only going once a week like I’ve been guilty of doing recently. (I didn’t say it was easy, okay?!) I will say you’re a little despondent about it right now, though. Sometimes you feel like it’s not doing anything, sometimes what you feel inside doesn’t feel like enough if the changes aren’t visibly happening skin deep. They are there, though. Please let me reassure you, future Alice. They’re happening. You’re getting stronger and, painstakingly slowly, things are getting tighter. Keep at it and promise me you’ll only ever do it for you. What everyone else thinks? Nah, it doesn’t matter.

Which, I guess, follows onto the final resolution. I think this one is still a work in progress — I think it probably is for a lot of people. I wanted to be happier, to travel to friends, put myself out there and chase after new, exhilarating things. I know I can’t honestly say I’ve done a lot of those. I’ve seen my uni friends, though I can count on one hand the amount of times and, although I’ve got myself a new job, I think that’s probably the extent of putting myself out there. I am in a far better mental state than I was this time last year, though, which is still a pretty big deal. So go me — or us. We’re getting there. It’s a start. By the end of 2018 I hope you’re keeping all this up and more. Don’t let me down, alright?

Past letters: 2014, 2015 & 2016

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