“You’re both the fire and the water that extinguishes it. You’re the narrator, the protagonist, and the sidekick. You’re the storyteller and the story told. You are somebody’s something, but you are also your you.”
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down
Hello fellow bookworms 🎇 It’s the last day of 2018, so of course I want to look back on the year, before we start the new one! I’ve got to be honest, 2018 was probably one of the
worst hardest most challenging year of my life for reasons I’ll get into just a second. I’m 50% happy I can finally leave it behind and 50% scared for 2019, because there are some daunting things ahead. I’m not setting up many expectations for the new year, as I have no idea if things will be better next year, but I really hope so. In 2018 I was very exhausted at times and not in a good place … 2018 has been a hot mess, but at the end of it all I’ve made it (so I win) and that’s what counts!
“Even when I lose, I win.”
― Mark Sheppard, Represent ‘I Win’ Campaign
I’m only going to get briefly into why this year has been so hard for me, because I want to focus on the positives this year (accomplishments, fun stuff, favorites, gratitude 💗) as lately I have noticed that I’ve become increasingly negative, something that worries me. I often catch myself ‘complaining’ and only looking at the bad side of things and I really want to change that, as it’s definitely not a healthy for me! (More on that in my 2019 Resolutions) As you can also see I included my favorite quotes of 2018 in my recap, as I thought it would be a cool idea to look back on the year and illustrate this with my favorites words!
Let’s get the bad things out-of-the-way first
“A person can grieve for herself yet still revel in someone else’s good fortune.”
― Susan Dennard, Sightwitch
Stress, anxiety and back pain made this year the hardest. Especially the first half of the year was very daunting as I had lots of health problems this month. Due to the stress accumulating from past semesters (I burned myself out writing 2 huge papers at the same time – never again), I was hit with a huge wave of back pain and accompanying headaches that got really intense when I had my semester break and could relax … they kind of caught up with me the moment I allowed my body some rest. That alone showed me how little self-care I had been practicing. My body was literally burned out and I went to a physiotherapist to get treatment, as my back pain was not going away and only getting worse. I’m still going there (and will probably always have problems with this issue), as the back pain is always there now (and I never had something like that before) and gets especially worse when I’m stressed. Before my oral exam in September, the headaches got so bad that I barely slept at night, reinforcing how much they are connected to my anxiety and stress levels.#
I also got an infection during my semester break in February, also from all the stress. At first no one had any idea what it was, because this kind of infection is commonly found in children and almost never in adults. In the end I couldn’t even do much about it, as it needed to heal for itself – but it was still uncomfortable as the infection was in my mouth, which is not something … I ever wanted to have tbh. Gladly it has not returned *fingers crossed* but it technically could if I ever let things get so stressful again.
Generally, this year was also full of anxiety and stress, as even though I had my back pain, I couldn’t just stop and still had to do stuff for university. Especially during exam season things got intense, as I’m of course afraid of failing my classes. I also did have lots of anxiety related to the mentioned health problems, because I always get stressed out about these kind of things. I just had the worst of luck when it comes to that, I was at the dentist so often this year it wasn’t funny (especially as I hate the dentist). Then I also had problems settling into my new flat in October, as it turned out to be worse than I thought. Trying to ‘make things better’ by moving into a different flat was my biggest mistake in 2018. I wish I had just waited things out in my initial flat, as I now had lots of change to deal with. Things are better now, but of course the new flat isn’t as familiar yet.
Top TV-Shows 💕
+ all the Shows I watched with Sandra 💗
Top Movies 💕
Top Music 💕
“One cannot be brave who has no fear.”
― Marissa Meyer, Renegades
- Getting nominated for a Scholarship. In the end it didn’t work out, but I’m still incredibly honored to have been nominated! I don’t usually talk about this (because I’m always afraid it will come across as bragging), but I’m very proud of my grades, as they were the reason I was considered for the scholarship. The examination office choose the nominations, meaning that I was among the Top 5% of my university, something that makes me incredibly happy, as it shows that all the stress and anxiety I’ve been through has paid off and got me such a great accomplishment!
- Successfully managing my Research Project. This was a HUGE accomplishment for me, as having to do a research project meant lots of social interaction and doing a lot of work, something that makes me anxious. My project was about orientation of pre-school children, so I had to do my tests in a kindergarten, meaning lots of interaction, which was very draining. However, I managed to pull through and the kindergarten teachers were all so kind and nice, sending me off with a lovely goodbye, which made me very happy! The week before the holidays started my statistics were used in a presentation at Uni by the teacher who made the project with me and that made me SO proud!
- Getting an internship for next year. This just happened in December, but I got the internship for my module Diversity Management! My last experience with finding internships back in high school was very bad (no one even wrote back and I only got mine last-minute, because my father knew someone). That’s why I was even more happy that this was a lot easier and worked out better! The supervisor for my internship (next February – March, 4 weeks) seems to be pretty laid back and friendly, so that’s good! I’m primarily going to be working with refugees, as the institution I’ll be working for has a lot of projects in this area! I’m very anxious too, because social interactions and new people & situations 😅
- Finishing my WIP Intoxicated. I have only ever finished one WIP before, so finishing another WIP was a huge success for me this year!! This is my heart’s project I’ve been working on for years, so I’m very proud that I made it to the end! This first draft needs lots of polishing, but it’s there!!
This year I was grateful for …
“There are many dangerous people in this world. but there are also many good people. Brave people. No matter how bad things get, we have to remember that. So long as there are heroes in this world, there’s hope that tomorrow night might be better.”
― Marissa Meyer, Renegades
- My Family & New Friends. I’m not really close with anyone at my university, so I’m all the more grateful that my family has been so supportive this year. Whenever there was a problem, or something going on, I knew I could count on them to help me make things better. Especially my mom has always been there for me and stood by me, through all the things that went wrong this year and beyond that. It’s truly a blessing to have a family that cares about you, to know that there is someone to catch you when you fall. I also want to say that I’m incredibly grateful for Swetlana and Sandra, who I became friends with this year. It’s absolutely amazing to be your friend and I cannot believe that I’m so lucky to have been blessed you! It makes my heart incredibly happy to talk with you and have gotten to know you, you really made this year a lot better simply by being my friend 💕 I simply don’t have the words for my gratefulness, I’m just like ❤💗💕❤💗💕 inside when I think about you two, Ily!!!
- YOU. Yes, you reading this post! I cannot say how grateful I am for everyone who supports my blog! Anyone who reads, who comments or who interacts in any way. I’m so glad to have you here and incredibly grateful that people like you take the time to read my posts and type out a thoughtful comment, it truly honors me that people spend time on my content. It’s the most honoring thing, as time is precious and investing it in someone is a thing to be grateful for. When I shared some of the less happy updates at the beginning of the month, there were so many kind comments wishing me well and generally being so compassionate, just reading them made me feel a lot better!
- Kindness. If you’re not doing well, this is especially important and so VERY important in general! Sadly Kindness is nothing you can take for granted, as lots of the world is pretty mean, so I tried to value whenever someone was kind to me this year. I’m very grateful to everyone who has shown me kindness this year, who has taken the moment to make my day a tiny bit better. This applied to my family and friends, but also the doctor’s office, as I was there quite a lot – especially the dentist and physiotherapist. I’m truly grateful for all the kind people in said offices, who went out of their way to be friendly and helped me with my problems, this is not the default, so I’m truly grateful!
- Books. This isn’t exactly a surprise, as this is a book blog, but of course I’m also grateful for all the bookish things in my life. This doesn’t only include the books that I loved, that transported me into different worlds and made me forget what was going on with me for a moment, it was also my amazing library and all the fantastic Readathons that I enjoyed and that got me so very excited!
What I learned this Year
“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom
- Take care of yourself!!! I did not do this at all, which is why I had so many stress-related symptoms and was caught in a downward spiral. SELF CARE IS SO IMPORTANT! It should come before anything else as nothing is worth burning ourself out for. But, I’m not the best at taking my own advice, I’m still learning to take better care of my body and mind and I’m by no means perfect. However, always try to practice self-care if you’re in a stressful situation, do not ignore what your body is telling you, like I did. Take breaks, try to be kind to your body and allow yourself to destress in any way you can. This will be my mantra for next year as well, as I’m bad at taking care of myself in stressful situations, but know that it would be better if I took that break or allowed myself to relax.
- Focus on the good things in life. Now this might sound super cheesy, but I know how easy it is to slip into being negative and not seeing the good side of things anymore. It shocked me when my mom made me realize that I was only talking about what was bad right now repeatedly, so I’m making a conscious effort to try to change my way of thinking. This doesn’t mean that you cannot be negative or angry or pity yourself. Feel all those feelings, they are valid. But afterwards it’s important to think of all the good that has happened, to change how you approach problems and how you take charge of the solutions.
All the Fun Things I did
“There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”
― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury
- Visiting Paris for the first time. I have been wanting to visit Paris for years, ever since the first planned trip didn’t work out and in August I finally made it!!! My mom and I choose to travel with a bus company, meaning we had a travel guide and a program to be get an impression of the city, so we weren’t all by ourselves. It was a very nice trip that made me incredibly happy, as I LOVE Paris, it’s SO beautiful and exactly how I imagined it would be! We ate some delicious tartes, had a really good crêpe and were scheduled to have lunch in the Restaurant at the Eiffel Tower, which had such a stunning view! Just getting to visit the Eiffel Tower was on my bucket list and I cannot believe I finally made it there! The first time I saw it I nearly teared up, because I was really here now!! We also had a tour through the city and visited some of the attractions, but I definitely need to return, as 4 days were not nearly enough to see all of the city. I did get to visit the Shakespeare & Co book shop though, which was lovely and also has a bookstore CAT (!!!), it was sleeping so I didn’t disturb it, but how cool is that? Basically, I want to get back to Paris! (and maybe improve my French, it’s super rusty)
- Going to Hamburg with my family. In October I had my second vacation, this time to Hamburg. My mom and I got this as a present for my grandma for her 70th birthday, so we three all went for several days! It was a really lovely trip, as we had been to Hamburg many times before and got to show it all to my grandma, who has not been in the city for such a long time! Hamburg is just the most beautiful city and my favorite German city, you should definitely visit it, if you have the chance. We treated ourselves to some great food, shopping and WE WENT TO A CAT CAFE TWICE! I love cats so this was my highlight, because I’ve never had a pet and now I could pet the cats and have coffee, it’s my dream come true!!! My mom was so kind to go with me a second time to pet even more cats, I love her (and the cats)!! Petition for my city to also get a cat cafe, I need one in my immediate environment!
- Meeting Mark Sheppard again at the SPN Con. This was my third time going to PurCon, a Supernatural Convention! This time Mark Sheppard (who plays Crowley, my favorite Character of Supernatural) was attending again and I was so happy to see his panel, as I love his snark! I also liked getting his insight on him leaving SPN last year, as there wasn’t that much information on that (but a lot of speculation, that I tried to steer clear off) and Mark cleared up some things, making it easier to make peace with that. The photo with him was also amazing, as I wore his shirt from the I Win Campaign on Represent, one of the last SPN T-Shirts he sold (everything went to a camp for kids with diabetes) and he complimented everyone who wore the shirt! I also meet my two con friends again, which was great, we chatted a bit and had an overall fantastic time!!
- Joining the Witchlands Street Team. I have never been part of a Street Team, so when I saw that I had the oppurtunity to promote my favorite book Series I had to join in! There are several ‘heists’ that we’re doing in the Team to promote the Witchlands, something I’m happy to do so. There’s also a Discord chat for Witchlanders to meet up and interact with the author Susan Dennard! I’m not active there (yet), but I love my experience so far, Susan is honestly too generous with the content she offers for us and all the giveaways she hosts, she’s just an awesome person!! 💗
Looking Ahead: 2019
“Your now is not your forever.”
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down
I’m a bit scare to be honest, as 2019 could either be much better or so much worse, as you never know beforehand. I had no idea 2018 would suck so much either. There are just lots of stressful things happening next year that make me anxious and nervous just thinking about them. My normal University routine will be severely disrupted and if it’s one thing I hate it’s change, as I like knowing what happens and being in familiar situations.
However, next year I will be in so many unfamiliar situons, some of who will cause me lots of anxiety. As I already told you I’ll be doing an internship during my semester break, which is great, but also terrifying because of al the new situations there. Then I have to do majorly internship for the next semester, as they are the only thing I have not completed yet … but like I said, internships are not only much more time-consuming, but also very stressful, because you have to interact with so many new people and get thrown into new situons. Afterwards I have to figure out what to do for my Batchelor thesis and begin it at the end of 2019, something that makes me afraid the most. I have to do a study (like with my research project) and I only have 11 weeks to do that, completely analyze that AND write the complete report with lots of literature, a task so daunting, I’m very afraid of not having enough time and having to work through my favorites time of the year (fall & winter). Most of all, I fear that my stress will get so bad that I’ll have bursts of back pain and infections again, as this will be the biggest task of my studies.
This all sounds very much like doomsday, but it was got to get these fears off my chest. Who knows, maybe 2019 will be all about growth and managing to accomplish so much more than I ever knew was possible? We’ll see about that this time next year!
“Everything’s always ending. But everything’s always beginning, too.”
― Patrick Ness, The Rest of Us Just Live Here
How was your 2018? Please tell me about the things that you accomplished and that made you happy this year! 🎇