Just one year ago, we all mocked Kylie Jenner after her little end of year 2015 video clip was released where she briefly babbled about how 2016 was the year of 'realising stuff' - but what we didn't realise when we mocked the then seemingly naive 18 year old, was that she was definitely on to something.
2016 has been a hellish year for so many reasons - politically the world has been shook with Brexit and President Donald Trump (I mean come on, Kanye would have been a safer candidate...), in pop culture we lost many icons - including two incredible artists I've looked up to since a young age Bowie and Prince (my all time favourite artist - cries). Not forgetting, more importantly, the horrors that took place on Bastille Day in France, the Orlando shootings, bombings in Brussels and the Zika virus. We can all unite in what seems to be one of the worst years in history (for our generation at least - we didn't all die of the Black Plague after all).
But was it all really such doom and gloom? You know, good things happened too:
- Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY won an Oscar
- Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
- Deadpool (need I even say more?)
- Women came together and built each other up more than i've personally ever seen before - GIRL POWER!
- Panda's are no longer endangered
- Bieber and Orlando Bloom showed us the goods
- Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga's Car Pool Karaoke
We each had our own personal conquests this year too and it's never until the last day of the year that we realise what they were or what they meant to us.
When you're 23 and you're dead set on your ideal future, it's hard when that all comes crashing down. In 2015 that happened to me and I had to sacrifice everything (my home, my friendships, my other relationships and everything i'd worked for for five whole years) that was in my 'plan' and make a new one - which led me to where I am today. This year, I officially started my career after years of hustling as an unpaid intern and bagged a dream apartment in the city - just not the city I thought it would be.
While that's been turbulent for me in itself, i've recently come to accept and even start to love Manchester for what it has to offer, rather than hold comparisons to my former city, London. I guess it's true what they say, you can learn to love again. Sometimes, learning to let life run it's own course instead of trying to dictate it is the best thing you can do for yourself and i'm ready for Manchester to give me what it's got.
We all got a little more candid for the better
Some may say 2016 was the year every man and his dog came out with a mental health issue, but what I say is 2016 is the year that we started to break down the stigma of it being such an issue. Ignorance has surrounded the whole subject for so many years, but showing how you really feel and if something is affecting you isn't the devil's work. This year, i've stopped hiding behind my four walls and if something has been affecting me, i've come out and said it. Phew, i've even had some tears - but what's the use in hiding a struggle if there are people around you that might understand and even help? I've learned my lesson, and bottling it all up doesn't do any good at all. Hey, maybe opening up doesn't either - but it can't hurt as much.
While there's been a hell of a lot of, well, hell going on, i've had the time to realise what I really want. After so many years playing tug of war with my future, i've finally had the strive to think about myself and the opportunity to keep going in that direction.
My determination has been on complete overdrive and while sometimes that's not exactly been the best thing, it also kind of has. Without it, how would anyone achieve their goals? I'm yet to achieve a first milestone, but what's wrong with going after something? My drive has been all i've had this year, with all of my friends being in London and me struggling to find grown-up friends in Manchester (other than my housemate and work friends who if you're reading this, you da best) - sometimes you have to find something else to throw yourself into to survive. Like Bear Grylls, but the career version.
Other things i've realised? Who is actually there for me. I moved to Manchester thinking i'd arrive and have people here for me, but I soon quickly realised that was not the case. Over the years, i've gradually learned to step back and take others with a pinch of salt. I've been so naive and given people that many chances, you finally understand what arms length means. It was hard for me moving to a place that's even more difficult to meet people than London is. I genuinely thought with the blogging industry it would be so easy to find like-minded people to hang out with, but instead I feel like I discovered a completely different blogging world that's less connected than the one that lives on in London and you kind of go a little solo here.
Have I made friends now? Yes. Have I lost friends from London? Double yes. It's an interesting ride seeing who really is a true gal pal and who is only out for themselves. In such a hard time of my life, it's been a dream to see those who I really wanted to be there have been and those that I was curious about have not. Trust your gut, always.
Finding YourselfI've always heard that it's important to learn to love yourself before anyone else could, and I used to find that statement so baffling. After spending a few years on my own however, i've learned more about myself that I ever had before which I wouldn't have if i'd have been with someone.
Now I know what I know, how could I truly live my life being half a person? I'm not saying that anyone that is in a relationship is 'half a person', but what I am saying is that I was no where near the woman I am today when I was in a relationship. I've had time to truly flourish and be myself, instead of being part of somebody else.
While we learn from those around us, it's important to learn from yourself too and realise what you love and who you are before you put yourself out there in the big, bad world. Some people who knew the 'old' me may say i've changed, but I haven't changed. We just didn't know the Laura that's now dialled up to full.
Oh, the battle of the physical appearance. Everyone suffers with a little self-loathing every now and then and as shit as it sounds at the ripe age of 24, getting older can be rough on that. This year, I conquered one of my long-time insecurities and went under the knife to get a brand new nose. While it's still super swollen seven months on, I feel so much happier and it's changed my life for the better. Tackling one insecurity however comes with ten others, so here's to making 2017 the year of combatting it all and getting to a happier place with myself and my body! I'll probably have to cut out that chocolate addiction, too...
Overall however, i've learned that the older you get the more confident you get - so if you're sitting there at sixteen years old like I used to comparing yourself to others around you who make you feel less of yourself, don't, you have plenty more years in you to be a sassy goddess, just look at Kimmy K in her 30's! You know what they say, fine wines get better with age.
So there you have it, my little year in review. It wasn't an exciting one, but it's the little things that matter in making a change and shaping your life, so instead of dwelling on the things that piss you off in the wider world, think of those little things that make you crack a smile in your own little world.