For me, last year was a pretty amazing year. Regardless of all the political and worldwide drama that seemed to happen, personally I feel like I changed a lot as a person and did a lot of growing up. I am so grateful for this, and now that we are actually out of it and going through a transition reflecting on the year that we have left behind, I really wanted to summarise what changed for me. When you are little, a new year really doesn’t mean that much to you, apart from maybe the excitement of another birthing approaching. As you get older, I feel like most people started to grow up and grasp the opportunity that the new year offers. They attempt to change their lifestyle habits, take up new hobbies, or just simply leave negative things in the past. I never really feel like I got to this stage. The years all seem to have just blurred into one, and I never actually really pay attention to the fact that we are living in a new year. I  am such an old lady that I don’t even really like doing anything on new years eve, as I just feel it is overrated and simply not an occasion to celebrate. Excuse me for being a grump! However, this year something seems different. By no means am I suddenly going to start going to the gym everyday, or never eat junk food again, but I feel exciting to take advantage of the opportunities on offer from 2017. 

“I am ready to see what life has to offer”

Last year a lot of big changes happened to me. I finished my two years at sixth form, ending my fourteen years of education. I started working full time, and am starting to get the hang of dealing with my own money. I moved out and furnished my home. I discovered who my real friends are and who I wanted to make an effort with. Finally, I ended the year here on the blog by doing Blogmas, a challenge I never in a millions years thought I would be able to actually do. All of this has made me the person I am right now, and I am at a stage where I feel content with life. 
Obviously though, the world had to throw something back. Two weeks before Christmas I lost someone special to me. My great grandma, who died at 92. I was always so close to her, as opposed to most people my age, their grandmothers were/ are the same age. What was almost a perfect year, very suddenly became something not so nice. So another lesson I learnt last year, was what it feels like to lose someone very close to you. 
So what did I learn last year… and what am I going to use to help me in 2017… 
How Bitchy the School Environment Is
Since leaving school, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. When you’re in it, you don’t realise how immature and bitchy the environment really is. I absolutely hated being there, and was more than happy to turn my back the minute my last exam was over. But apart from it just being a boring place to be everyday, it was also so draining in terms of teenage drama. The constant feeling of wanting to be friends with everyone and be part of the group; competing for the best grades and it never being good enough until you did; getting involved in every tiny piece of drama that seemed to happen over the most pointless things. I have only been away from it all for six months, but I feel so much better in myself since leaving. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many good memories and I am grateful for some of my friends, but ultimately those who meant something to me are still a part of my life away from there. We still see each other and we will continue to do so in the future. I guess all I’m really trying to say is that being away from the environment has made me a much more mature person, able to handle things on my own and cope with any drama life has to offer. 
Hard Work Does Pay Off
The one good thing I got from school was obviously my final grades. I was never an A* student in everything, but that was always fine to me because I knew my skills lay somewhere else. In the end I got grades that weren’t the best in the class, but exceeded every expectation I had for myself. I knew that I didn’t want to go on to University or College, so the grades I got were simply for me. I really couldn’t be more proud of what I did, and it definately showed me that hard work really does pay off. I worked tirelessly to get what I did, and got out of it exactly what I put in. This is something that I will be taking with me into 2017, as well as every other year to come. 
Earning Your Own Money is the Best Feeling in the World
The minute I finished sixth form, I went straight into my full time job. Okay, it may not be my forever job or the most respectable job in the world, but honestly… I love it. I work in a cafe specialising in chocolate. I had worked there every Saturday for about a year before, and knew that I wanted to go full time when I finished whilst I decided what the next step of my life will be. I love having a job where I can be creative and on the go all day, not staring into a screen for hours on end. I feel like it is the perfect place for me to be right now, and the best part is that I am earning a wage that is just what I need right now. I am able to buy my own food, pay for bills and have a disposable income that I know I have earnt myself. There is no feeling quite like it. 
How to be Independent
From earning my own money, and growing up after leaving school, I think I have really started to learnt the true meaning of being independent. I am able to pay for things that I want, drive myself to and from places, make my own appointments and take care of myself. Obviously I am very lucky in the fact that I have a supportive family who are always there for me, but in the last year I feel like I have really learnt how to be much more self sufficient. It is a trait that I think is so important, and very uncommon in people my age. I know so many people who are even a little bit older than me, and have no idea how to look after themselves. 
Make Time for Those Who Matter
A key thing that I learnt last year was that I always need to make time for those who matter to me. I need to make sure that I am spending as much time with my family as possible, especially my little brother and cousin who are only 8 and 9. They aren’t going to be little forever, and I want to make the most of them before they become stroppy teenage boys. I also want to be making as much time as possible for my friends, most of whom are away at university for most of the year. I love catching up when they get back, and just generally spending time with them. I met one of my friends in Starbucks a few days ago for a catch up and we landed up sitting there for two hours chatting away… when we looked at our watches we were shocked by the time! 
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– have a great weekend – 


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