Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent the majority of my time sat under a cloud of depression. Sometimes for reasons which are probably more suited to a different blog post (or five), and sometimes for no reason other than because it’s what I’d become used to as ‘depressed’ became my default.
Yesterday, I turned 28 years old. As I’m a sentimental sod who generally breaks achievements and happiness ratings into both calendar and age years, I decided to write a bucket list of everything I want to accomplish this year. Some of which are small, and some which will take a lot of work for potentially life changing results, but I came to the conclusion that I am fucking sick of being miserable all of the time. So, I need a guide to keep me on track and to make my life a bit more impressive than ‘merely existing’ which is what I have shamefully allowed myself to become.
Rather than my usual reaction to a birthday where I spend the day in a pit of “this age and nothing to show for it”, and rather than panicking about being only two years away from 30, I’m using this opportunity as something to be hopeful about. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all, isn’t it?
1. Stop letting the depression demons rule my life
Starting with a big one here. There’s no cure for depression, but over the years I have learnt what helps to ease the grip of mine and to recognise what brings on a bad patch. Unfortunately, I’ve become a bit too used to veering away from the coping mechanisms and being sucked in to wallow in it instead. I am putting it in writing here that I’m going to make a conscious effort to try and make the negativity stop, to avoid letting everything get on top of me, and to take better care of myself so that I see the bottom of the emotional ditch a lot less than I have recently.
2. Get out more
My life outside of work has become 95% sitting about and doing nothing, which doesn’t really help point one. I need to spend more quality time with people, experience more, and to not be afraid of doing things on my own should there be an event which no one else wants to attend. Some of the bravest people I know travel and explore on their own regularly, so I need to take a leaf out of their book and stop missing out on things because anxiety tells me it’s better to stay in and hide at home. Failing that, if anyone wants to be my friend and come to obscure theatre shows in small venues with me, hit me up.
3. Visit six new places
A change of scenery can work wonders, and exploring a new place has become my favourite kind of break. I am no longer a person who can spend every night of a holiday drunk and every day hanging by a pool (even if Ibiza was the best place on earth for a few years), nor am I much of a beach girl as sand gets on my damn nerves. These six places can also include staycations, as there are plenty of great places in the UK I’m yet to see. Better get booking sharpish.
Writing has been the biggest and best outlet for me for many years, but it’s the one thing I love which I’m really sad to say I lost motivation for over the past couple of years. I became too stuck in my head rather than pouring it out like this, which is where this new blog has stemmed from. Expect to see a lot of posts coming through here in the next year, as writing is the best form of therapy for me and is one which I have happily rediscovered my mojo for.
5. Read at least 12 books
Reading is another passion which has fallen to the wayside because I haven’t been able to escape my own thoughts, and is something which can magically transport me to another land and turn my thoughts off while I live in the world of the author. I’ve set the bar at 12 as I think one a month is manageable, and I’m welcoming book recommendations despite my Goodreads to-read list being 197 already.
6. Publish another book
I’ve had a great book idea in my head for a year (if I do say so myself), but I’m yet to bring it to life. I’m already familiar with self-publishing as I put a book out two years ago, so a big goal for this year is to make some serious progress on this. There is no greater feeling for a writer than being able to hold a physical copy of a book you’ve produced, and I want that feeling again.
7. Go fully freelance
Probably the biggest challenge for my 28th year and the one which will be the hardest to achieve, but anyone who knows me will tell you I’m built for being self-employed so I feel like it’s important for my career to go down this route. I’m in the process of setting up my own company which will offer social media, blogging, copywriting, and PR services to small businesses, so here’s to hoping I can stay focused and put in some hard work which will pay off!
There we have it, my seven point bucket list of achievements I’m setting my sights on for the year ahead. To anyone reading who’s managed to pull off any of these points, please share some pearls of wisdom with me! Your encouragement will be much appreciated. I’ll be writing regularly to let you know how I’m getting along with my goals, so expect panic, chaos, and (hopefully) the occasional bit of good news.