2020 Meet Me

As the magic of Christmas and the shortest day sit behind us, the hazy fun of midnight on New Year’s and the crazy diet and exercise plans in the first weeks of January slow down we’re settling into a new year and a new decade. I’ve been spending about the whole of January trying to convince myself to post something on what the new decade means to me. So here goes, a personal post on my reflections on the new year.

I’ll start the post by doing what everyone always does at the end of something- looking back. Given it’s the start of a new decade it seems people are looking way back: considering our 2009 selves, cringing at that bad hairstyle and reminiscing that crazy holiday, thinking of the friends we’ve made, the ones we’ve lost and the ones we’ve kept with us.

As you can imagine, starting 2009 at just 13, the cusp of teenagehood, I have definitely changed. I couldn’t even possibly describe who I was back then. One post I did at the start of 2019 that will always be a favourite of mine was looking back at the books that made me, titled To all the Books I’ve Loved Before. I chose a book for every year of the decade that shaped that year or played some part, in some way.

2019 me

Going into 2019 I’d just moved into a new flat with my boyfriend, started my first proper job and was a couple months into what I hoped would be my life. Or at least for a few years.

It wasn’t until September this year that the permanence began to stick. At university I’d moved house every year, at boarding school I’d moved rooms. Every year I tacked up the same snaps and posters, arranged slightly differently, printed off a few new ones and stepped back to admire my room and each year I’d stuff them into an envelope, throw them in a suitcase, scratch off and ball up the bluetack and put them away for a summer before using them again in September. This year I didn’t realise until October that I was half expecting to do that. I was surprised when we put our Christmas tree up, in the same place, again. I was surprised we still hadn’t gotten round to putting up those photos, stuffed in an envelope in my suitcase upstairs, still. I was surprised to still be there and honestly totally relieved.

Having come from education, through the sticky years of untucked shirts and being forced outside at lunchtime, to the scrappy binders and cursive pages of slightly more important school, to finally dragging on a hoodie and yawning my way through a 9am lecture with a professor I could hardly hear and a handful of bleary eyed strangers on my first day of uni. It was a decade of total change. I kept being told about the person I would be, planned this monotonous life for myself in the back of my head. I’d do the gruelling 9-5 office job, cook bacon and eggs on the weekend and probably do something dull like clean the house.oj Saturdays. My work changes everyday, my weekends are spent with friends, I’m borderline vegetarian and don’t tend to do fry ups and well, the house tidying does happen. Occasionally. It’s nothing like envisioned but in everyway better.

The year 2020 is going be big. I’ve been on the grad scheme since 2018 and I still have pictures on my phone of us all huddled outside work in thick winter coats up in Manchester proclaiming ‘Class of 2020’. And now I’m actually staring that straight in the face.

On the outside not much has changed: I’m still commuting into London, bleary mornings, lashes laden with sleep and too cheery train announces offering to sell me a five pound KitKats, to the hectic world of work to the calm evenings spent flopped on the sofa with my boyfriend that will no doubt dot our wild early twenties. Getting settled into a permanent team at work, rather than rotating around, is one thing 2020 will bring that I’m looking forward to. Starting to climb the greasy pole, seeing my work all the way through to production and getting really great friends and colleagues that I stay with for longer than six months.

The word balance is sort of what I’m desperate to achieve this year. I have sunken into that crazy exercise fad that, as a teenager, I’d roll my eyes at. I have started doing strength exercises every night before bed and am trying to go to indoor cycling classes at the gym once a week. I’m pushing to stay a tad healthier although I am still scoffing leftover Christmas chocolate.

I want to be more bold in my writing this year. Posting more personal and discussions posts to really push myself out of my comfort zone and to have some more unusual stories on the blog, hence this post. I also want to get my writing out there. I love writing fiction but I hate sharing it, showing it, discussing it. I actually think I’m sort of rubbish. But I can never improve if I don’t try, and being too afraid to start is probably not the best way about it. So c’mon 2020 me, I can do this!

The last thing I’m hoping 2020 will bring is a better balance with my friends. I’m hoping to build up lasting relationships and also hoping to reconnect with some of the ones I’m starting to feel I’m loosing. I still have crazy relations with people from uni who I occasionally talk to and meet up with to reminisce, which makes me feel like the friendship has sort of stagnated, but I would really like to reconnect properly. I want to make some really close friends at work, a trip to the cinema today being the first time I’ve done anything with work mates besides the pub. One day I’d love to invite them over to my flat but it still feels like we’re not at that point yet.

So there you have it. Let’s see what 2020 me can accomplish. I’m always overly ambitious at the beginning of the year, I’m 100% that person who throws their all in at January and, as my snarky friend pointed out when I said I’d practice French everyday, most resolutions don’t last to the end of January. I’m desperate not to burn out. But I’m also just looking forward to a new year in what has so far been a great build up.

2020 Book Blogger Goals

Hello 2020! New decade, largely the same old me but with a nice Aussie tan from my winter holiday.

One of my favourite things to do at the beginning of the year is make new years resolutions. I love planning things out, looking ahead at my life in minute detail and deciding how I can improve. I know, my head, a great place to be. Any-who, with the turn of the decade comes a new year and chance to look at back at my former goals and make a handful new ones for 2020. I’m going to start with a quick recap of last years goals.

Get to 600 blog followers

So apparently I started 2019 on 270 followers and I finished 2019 with 780 followers! I’m super proud of that, a 500 follower increase is more than I thought I could achieve. I’m hoping to hit the big three digits in 2020.

Use Goodreads

Oh gosh, I’m still so terrible. I started kind of ok at updating it but I didn’t keep it up at all, I ended manually adding lots of the books I’d read last year. Oops. This year I’m going to track as I go and log on once a week to add a reading update.

Not to Have any Reviews stored over a Month

Yeah this one failed, I read 37 books this year and published about 15 reviews… Woops. Another goal joining the 2020 list, I’m afraid.

Post three times a week

This honestly just got too much. I didn’t have the time to post three times a week and wanted my content to stay fresh and well written (it takes me hours to write posts!). I’ll stick with a minimum of two for 2020, although I have a new and exciting series coming up for you all that might push me to posting three times a week.

Read 6 historical fictions

I managed this one! But, honestly, I think it may have put me off historical fictions. Certainly of the YA variety. I find myself being way too critical when the plot couldn’t have happened, picking up on historical inaccuracies, and I found that a couple of these novels would explore themes of sexism at the time but allow their wealthy main character to be the exception, which grates me a bit. There might be a discussion post in this actually 🤔

Anyway, here’s the historical fictions I read:

  1. Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  2. Stalking Jack the Ripper
  3. Circe
  4. Rose Under Fire
  5. Huckleberry Finn
  6. Alex and Eliza
  7. Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Complete the Classic a Month Challenge

This started off really great. Until about March. I got offered Muse of Nightmares by a publisher, which was super exciting, and then had to race through Strange the Dreamer and missed a classic and then poof, never got back to the classics. I don’t think I’ll be trying this again but I am hoping to continue to read diversely in 2020.

Read 1 non fiction book

I actually did this! I read Becoming, Michelle Obama’s autobiography and I loved it! I’m hoping to read some more autobiographies in the new year so let me know if you have any recommendations.

Try NaNoWriMo Again

I was unconvinced I’d be able to win this year and I was right, I didn’t quite manage it. But I am pleased that I gave it another go and very happy to have made more progress than last year. Maybe in 2020 I finish it?

Complete the Duolingo Tree

In Januray 2018 I randomly took to learning French and, in January 2019 I had nearly completed the Duolingo Tree. Which was super exciting until they brought out a new update that put me three circle things away from finishing the tree but on only 1 crown (Duolingo people may vaguely understand this). So this update set back put me back to slowly working my way through the tree again. Grrr.

Run a Thing

I ran many 10k things! Well, two official ones and many 5ks with mates. I got two shiny medals and am hoping to do a half marathon in 2020.

Knit Something

I managed to knit my dinosaur toy a little scarf, which I’m very proud of. The goal of knitting a Weasley jumper is quite far away but maybe one day.

And nowwwww, drum roll please, my 10 2020 goals!

  1. Improve on my NaNoWriMo word count
  2. Send at least one of my NaNoWriMo 2019 short stories off to a magazine
  3. Get to 1000 (!!) blog followers
  4. Get to 2000 Instagram followers
  5. Run a half marathon
  6. Do Duolingo everyday
  7. Do something for muscle strength (I’m great at cardio but with the physique of a leaf)
  8. Update Goodreads once a week
  9. Reduce my food waste
  10. Publish a discussion post once a month

Let’s Compare Notes

So there you have it. My goals. Bring on 2020. What are your goals? What do you think of mine? If you have a goals post feel free to drop a link or opinion in the comments!