Tuesday, 31 December 2013

What I did in 2013 and Getting Ready for 2014

I kind of expected 2013 to be boring. It has been the first year since 2009 that I've not spent any time living abroad, and the first year since 2007 that I've spent living entirely in one place. 
I knew I'd be living at home with my parents, working 9 til 5. I was away from most of my friends who had moved back home after Uni. 
I didn't have a plan.
But honestly? 2013 has been great.
Sure I haven't traveled across America or saved anyone's life as a lifeguard. I didn't take half a dozen dance classes a week and work in a bar til 4am. 
But this year I've learned that working 9 til 5 doesn't mean you can't have fun after 5pm. I've learned that living at home is actually great and the food is free. I've learned that I can still keep busy, travel to new places and explore new hobbies as a "grown up".
The last two months in particular have probably been the craziest, with two monumental things happening in my life; leaving my job after a year and meeting my boyfriend, Phil. These two things have really changed what 2014 has in store for my and here, on the last day of the year, I'm excited to see what 2014 will bring.
But enough about 2014, we'll get to that. Here's what I did in 2013...


- I took some amazing trips. I went to Amsterdam for my 23rd birthday, went to a family party in Ireland in July, visited Berlin in August and had a week-long family holiday to Spain in September
- I also took some little day trips to Oxford, Doncaster and of course, lots of trips to Birmingham
- I went to some great gigs this year. The Avett Brothers in March, Frank Turner for the 7th time, Matchbox 20 and erm... Blue.
- One of the biggest things I did this year- I started running! I signed up for the Great Manchester Run in May and now I run 4 times a week. This year I have completed ten 5K parkruns, two 10K races and I'm training for a half marathon. I've also run over 280 miles since I started running in June. Not bad for someone who couldn't run at all in May!
- I've also, amazingly, become a morning exerciser! I never thought I could be one of those crazy people who gets up at 5am to exercise before work but yep, that's me! Now I really, really love those quiet 5am runs and hate running at any other time of the day!
- I took two photography courses this year- an Beginners Photography course and an Intermediate Photography course. I've learned so much and I can't wait to take more photos in 2014.
 - A few weeks ago I also took a 20 hour intensive TEFL course, and will be completing the programme in 2014.
- This year I got really, really obsessed with Breaking Bad
- But I still managed to read 26 books. Including 3 months reading War and Peace! I discovered some of my favourite books this year. Middlesex, A Million Little Pieces, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Mysterious Skin, Silver Lining's Playbook, Revolutionary Road, The Descendants, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I definitely want to read more next year.
- This year I had a couple of things published, including some of my photos in the Independent newspaper, and a photo in the Adult prospectus for my old college.
- I made my first YouTube video this year and still can't believe how many views it has! Maybe more in 2014?
- 2013 was the year I finally started to give blood! I have now given blood 3 times and am trying to encourage as many people as possible to do it! It is so worth it and you get a free biscuit!
- Speaking of free biscuits, I joined a charity choir this year! I was really missing singing and performing, so when I was invited to join a choir I jumped at the chance. We practice for two hours a week and recently sang in a nursing home for Christmas.
- Oh and I also cut off part of my finger this year. Not a great idea.
- As aforementioned, in October I was set up on a blind date by my cousin with a guy that she worked with. I wasn't really looking for anything serious but thought it might be fun. The guy I met ended up being the sweetest, kindest, funniest, loveliest man I had ever met and I am very proud to call him my boyfriend. I can't wait to start 2014 with him in my life.
- Speaking of Phil, I've also taken a few trips to the theatre this year- something I hadn't done in years! We saw Sweeney Todd and Singing' in the Rain in November.
- And finally in December, I left my job. I'd been unhappy for a while and knew I wanted to try something new. I know I made the right decision and I'm hoping 2014 brings a new job for me!

And remember those 2013 goals for the year? Well, I did okay. I didn't stop biting my nails (but it's back on this year's goals!) but I did visit 5 new places (Amsterdam, Berlin, Oxford, Donaster and Sheffield), and I hit my goal of reading 25 books. I did take two photography courses, however I haven't started to learn a new language yet. And I did complete all my Jillian Michaels DVDs, cooked new meals each month, saw my friends way more than once a month and I did go a year without a plan! In fact I don't have a plan for 2014 either!

In terms of 2014 goals, my theme is really to "Keep on keeping on". For the most part my goals are the same as last year's. I have lots of little goals I want to achieve, but I think I'll save them for my 24 before 25 list (I've actually just realised I didn't write one for my 24th birthday in March). Here is what I'm aiming for in 2014...

Keep Running
I'm training for a Half Marathon in March, so between now and then, I'm working towards that. By after that my plan is just to keep pushing myself and keep signing up for races and keep pushing myself further and faster. Is a marathon on the cards? Maybe not in 2014, but maybe one day in the future.

Keep Reading
2013's goal was 25 books and I read 26. But War and Peace took me three months, and I read five books with over 600 pages, so I could definitely manage 30 books this year.

Keep Taking Photographs
Photography was my big passion earlier in the year, but then it was kind of replaced with running. After taking two courses this year, I really want to get back into the habit of taking my camera everywhere, pushing myself to use what I have and taking photos beyond just outfit photos for my blog.

Keep Travelling
Five new places ended up being quite hard in 2013, so I think I'll try five again this year. I'd like to go to Prague, Barcelona and Bruges this year so fingers crossed. I loved taking short weekend breaks in 2013 so I hope I have more to come next year.

Keep trying to stop biting my nails
This is one I'm determined to do this year. I went a year without biting my nails in 2012 and then fell off the wagon. I've started to get embarrassed about showing my hands to people and that has become a huge motivator for me. Hopefully this year I can kick the habit.

Get a New Job (that I love!)
Obviously, this is a big one. I've been working hard at applying for jobs and have had some success over the last few weeks with a few second interviews, so hopefully I'll be getting somewhere in the next few weeks. Again, fingers crossed.

Keep doing fun things with Phil
One thing I've been trying to avoid with Phil is slipping into routine and getting bored. Of course the first month we were dating we were hemorrhaging money going out for dinner all the time and that was definitely not sustainable! But over the last few weeks we've had a couple of trips to the theatre, a few meals in, visited our familes and of course, had a few nice meals, and I want to continue having fun in 2014. I have a list of restaurants we want to visit together that we're working through, and I'm starting another list of other fun things we want to do. I've promised him a trip to Anfield to watch his favourite team next year, and we're talking about going to Alton Towers for my birthday in March.

Keep taking trips to see my friends
When my Uni friends graduated from university, nearly all of them moved back home. Now only one of my friends lives away from home. This can make things tricky when we're spread out from me in Manchester to Sarah in Surrey, and it can be hard to arrange trips. I think I did pretty well last year with seeing my friends, but I want to focus on it even more next year. Similarly with my friends who live nearby, I like to see them at least once a month, usually once a fortnight. I've done really well with that this year so I want to keep on doing it. Because it makes me happy (duh!)

Keep Blogging
With working full time, I've blogged the least of any other year this year, but I've still managed to do it. It's a struggle with running, writing for Duluth Superior Magazine, singing in a choir and making time to see my friends and boyfriend, but I'm glad I'm still keeping this thing going! Now I'm entering into my fifth year of girl next door fashion I'm determined to keep this going while I still enjoy it, even if I can't post every day anymore.

Keep Not Planning
(Questionable grammar required to keep the theme). I have even less of an idea about 2014 than I knew about 2013. I'm entering into a year of unknowns. But I'm okay with that. I don't know where I'm going to be at the end of 2014 but I know I'm excited. And I don't think I've said that at the start of a New Year for a long time.

Finally, I know I've said this before, but thank you for all your support throughout 2013. I know I haven't been posting as much as usual, but you guys have been great throughout a year which was for the most part, me figuring out how to make time while working full time!

I hope you have a lovely New Year! See you next year!

Charlotte x

5 comments:

  1. Ah you have had a wonderful year havent you miss :) Wishing you lots of love and luck for 2014! X

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  2. Yay you're coming to Bruges! Let me know when so we can meet up, Bruges is only an hour away from my home! Happy New Year Charlotte, sounds like you had a pretty good year! XO

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  3. Keep being you , fabulous just as you are :-)

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  4. Happy New Year! I love reading these types of posts, and I hope your 2014 is every bit as lovely and successful as 2013, and more!

    Sophie | An Arrangement of Notes

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  5. Your goals sound similar to mine, overall! Especially the reading and photography and blogging. I'll have a much harder time next semester with my internship and then hopefully a real-person job after that. I wish you the best of luck achieving your goals and getting another job. Happy new year!

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