It’s hard to put what kind of year 2017 has been into words but one thing I can say is that it’s definitely been a rollercoaster. 2017 came with its fair share of ups and downs, highs & lows, it was a year of change for me and it definitely put a lot of things into perspective.
I was originally going to publish a post all about my goals for 2018 today but I decided to leave that until later in the week as I realised that we all get lost in the thought of a new goal, a new challenge at the beginning of a new year or maybe just at any point but we don’t take much time to sit down and reflect because we’re often encouraged to forget about the past, it’s gone, done with, right? Not necessarily. Although I’m all for moving forward, looking to the future, not holding on to what has been, I think it’s important to reflect on what you’ve been through, the things you’ve experienced and what has shaped you to be the person you are today.
So that being said, I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on what 2017 has been and let you know what I’m looking forward to in 2018. I’m not going to go over every detail of this year for a couple of reasons, one being that it would make this post very long and second of all because they’re not necessarily things I want to be sharing online which I’m sure you can all understand.
So let’s take a look back at the overwhelming year that was 2017.
I’d say that it was quite an odd year for me in terms of blogging, I mean that in a good way. As I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts before, I took a two and a half month break from blogging earlier in the year, mainly because I was suffering with lack of inspiration, motivation and the confidence in my writing and the content I was creating. Taking that break was good for me at that time and it definitely showed me how important blogging is to me. Since coming back from that break I have fallen in love with blogging all over again and I’m so proud of how it developed during the course of 2017.
I’d say one of the biggest achievements/milestones that my blog reached last year was hitting 1,000 followers back in September, I still don’t understand how. I’ve been writing my blog for over two and a half years now and I’ve loved every single second of it. It’s crazy to me that over 1,000 people have chosen to read it and just to be a part of this little blogging family of ours. I wrote an entire post dedicated to the day I reached this milestone so you can read that here if you’re interested.
Another turning point for my blog this year (or last year now, I’m going to have to get used to writing that) was when I decided to take the plunge and go self-hosted back in October. A lot of people might be thinking what’s the big deal? Well for me it was a big step and one I’m so glad that I took. It allowed me to make my blog my own, to put my own stamp on it and make it to be something that I’m proud of. It was a scary process but the support I had throughout it was incredible and I couldn’t fault the services I used. I wrote this post dedicated to my experience of the process if you want to learn more.
I’ve also been very lucky to have a few blogging opportunities this year which I’m so grateful for. I wrote guest blog posts for Ability Superstore, My Trending Stories and Scope and I was also featured as one of Ability Superstore’s Top 10 disability bloggers, how crazy is that?
I was also very kindly asked by the RNIB to take part in their #HowISee campaigns. In the first post, I wrote about my attitude towards being blind/VI which you can read here. They also recently launched the cane debate as part of the campaign, this focuses on the topic of whether the cane should stay its universal white colour or if it’s acceptable for it to be personalised to be something the user is more confident in using, I also wrote a post in response to this debate whilst also talking about my experience of using the cane so you can read that here if you’re interested.
I was also featured in some articles/blog posts by other bloggers and charities, thank you to all of you who have mentioned me and shown support to my blog in some way, it really does mean the world.
I was very lucky to become a brand ambassador for an online shop called Coconut Lane, this was a big achievement for me. Coconut Lane have an array of amazing products on their site, from cute and sassy phone cases to some lovely homeware items. They are definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. If you visit their site and find something you like, you can use the code blurredworld20 at the checkout to receive a 20% discount, gotta love a discount code right?
As you can tell, it’s been a great year in terms of blogging and I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had and the milestones I’ve reached. I’d like to say thank you to all of you who have supported me and my blog in some way throughout the year.
2017 marked the end of my time working as a Trainee community development assistant for the RNIB. It was a 50 week period of employment which came to an end in August and although there were times when I felt like it was going against me, i absolutely loved the experienced and it gave me the opportunity to work with some lovely people and it also allowed me to help fellow blind/VI people which I’m very passionate about and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to do that.
As I said, my contract came to an end in August and unfortunately I haven’t been able to find employment since then which is hard to deal with at times, however I’m still actively job searching and hopefully I can take some steps towards hopefully finding a job in 2018.
My health has certainly been up and down throughout the year. As some of you may know I have quite the list of medical conditions, the main one being Retinitis Pigmentosa which is the degenerative eye condition I live with. My health started deteriorating in July and my symptoms resulted in many trips to the hospital. I was suffering with vision black outs along with other symptoms but I was losing my vision for about a minute or so at a time and after a number of trips to see the eye consultant, I was diagnosed with another eye condition called Optic Disc Drusen. The ≠condition can’t be treated so I still suffer with the black outs, some days are worse than others and although it can be quite scary at times, I’d like to think that I’m coping with it quite well.
The last few months have been quite difficult for a number of reasons, my health being one of them. Contributing factors caused me to become more ill on some days which has meant that I can’t go out and about and do the things I’ve wanted to do because of how I’m feeling. But I’m trying my best to balance everything out at the moment so hopefully 2018 will be a better year in terms of my health.
Although 2017 has been a tough year, especially in the last few months, I’ve definitely had some amazing memories during the year, those of which I’m so grateful for.
One of my favourite memories was spending a weekend in Salford Quays with my best friend Holly back in March. If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you’ll know that Holly and I live over 150 miles apart so finding time to spend together can be quite difficult but that weekend was filled with lots of laughter, deep chats, pizza and jamming sessions to our favourite music which I loved so much.
Holly also came to stay with me for a few days in August. It was lovely to be able to show her around the place I’ve grown up and just to create even more great memories.
Another one of my favourite memories was going to my first ever concert back in April. Holly and I went to see Shawn Mendes at Manchester Arena which was such an amazing night. As we were attending the concert alone as two VI people, we requested assistance beforehand and it went so well, I couldn’t fault it in any way. And of course the music was incredible, Shawn’s voice sounds even better live. We both wrote a post about our experience of the concert, you can read mine here.
A memory I’ll never forget is going on my first holiday abroad to Austria with my family in July. I think this was by far one of my favourite holidays I’ve ever been on and it was incredible to have the opportunity to visit such a beautiful country.
We also went to Cardiff at the beginning of September to watch Wales play against Austria in the Football world cup qualifiers which was another great memory, I’m not a fan of football but it was still a good experience and a lovely weekend break.
Another memory I’d quickly like to give a mention to is the fact that I did my first ever public speech about my vision impairment back in September. This was something I was quite nervous for but I’m so glad that I did it. I spoke about my experience living with Retinitis Pigmentosa and how it affects my life and also talked a little about my blog because how could I not? Although it was only a small audience, it was quite a big achievement for me and it was actually something I really enjoyed which I didn’t expect I’d say. I’m used to performing drama on stage and I have the confidence to do that as I become another character but talking about myself and my experiences in front of an audience is something I’ve never done before so I was nervous but the feedback I received following my speech was so lovely and made me realise that I might not be that bad at speaking publicly after all.
I’ve also had lovely times and great memories with my friends this year and I can’t wait to create more in 2018.
WHAT IS 2018 SET TO BRING?
I’m looking forward to quite a few things in 2018, the main ones being going to see Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift in concert in May and June, I still can’t believe it. They are two of my all time favourite artists so the fact that I’m going to be seeing them live in concert is so surreal to me.
I’m also going to be starting to study a BA honours degree in Arts & Humanities (creative writing) with The Open University in February, if all goes to plan. I’m really looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life and work towards something new. I’m quite nervous for it but excited at the same time.
Other than that 2018 is a mystery but I’m looking forward to finding out what it brings. As I said at the beginning of the post, I’m planning on publishing my goals for the new year later this week so be sure to keep an eye out for that.
So that’s it, just a little recap of last year (it feels weird saying that now). I would just like to say a really big thank you to you all for your continued support throughout the year. If you’ve read many of my posts in 2017 or even just one, I’m so grateful to you for taking the time out of your day to read them. Thank you for every like, comment, share and follow whether it be on my blog or on social media, I am truly grateful. I’d also like to thank my family and friends who have been there for me throughout 2017, I am a very lucky girl to have such a supportive network around me.
Although 2017 has been quite a difficult one, I think it’s always worth remembering that there is always a positive, even if it’s a little harder to find it sometimes.
What kind of year has 2017 been like to you?
I’d just like to finish off by saying a Happy new year to you all, I hope 2018 brings you lots of happiness, joy and success. I hope it’s everything you want it to be and more.