Goodness gracious, can you believe it is 2017 already?! When I finished work for 2016 over two weeks ago, I had every intention of spending my fortnight off in a way that was both productive and full of self care. I'd planned to take steps to kickstart this very blog back into life, I was determined to do a massive digital delclutter, I was going to set my intentions for the year ahead and I intended to spend my evenings relaxing with my colouring books and reading books.

Naturally, I've spent the past fortnight either in bed or gaming. Classic Emily. 

So, 2016. How I feel about this year depends entirely on what mood you catch me in. Sometimes I describe it as a great year. Sometimes I describe it as a good year for me personally, but terrible for the world, and, an unfortunate proportion of the time, I say it was a terrible year - like all the years I've had since I graduated!

2016 is the year that saw England and Wales vote to leave the European Union and 2016 is the year that saw the United States of America elect Donald Trump as their President. These two seismic political events have deeply shaken me as until these two events, I was living in a happy little bubble where most people shared similar political beliefs to myself and there were just a few bad eggs out there that were a genuine minority. Unfortunately, Brexit and the American Election have shown me that the majority of people hold deeply problematic and hateful views. I'm still coming to terms with this and what these two events will mean for the world going forward but I am hoping that in 2017 I grow a bit of a backbone and become a bit more vocal and passionate about my own views. 

2016 has also been a year of mourning, with what seems like an unusually high amount of celebrity deaths. While I certainly cannot call myself a huge fan of most of the people who have passed, it has been truly moving to see people mourning over people who have had a massive effect on their lives. It has also been wonderful, if tragic because it has only occurred after their death, to see just how generous and amazing so many of these celebrities were in life. In particular I have been blown away by the charity of George Michael and the work for mental health awareness Carrie Fisher has done. 

On a more personal level, 2016 has been a year of ups and downs. At the beginning of the year I was still dealing with the loss of a long term relationship, I had some awful financial issues to deal with and I hated where I lived. Thankfully, I still had a tiny piece of hope to cling onto and by doing so, I was able to change my situation and move forward. 

Perhaps the biggest thing that happened to me in 2016 was my big move to Reading. This was not simply a decision to move house for me, it was a sign that I was ready to move forward in life in a very positive way. Moving to Reading meant I was mature enough to accept my present circumstances in life. Moving to Reading meant I was willing to let go of a relationship that was absolutely no good for me. Moving to Reading meant I didn't have to spend five hours a day commuting to and from work any more, something that meant my monthly outgoings far outweighed what I actually earn. 

Since moving to Reading, my mental health has been quite possibly the best it has been since I was in university. I still have a large number of days where I feel exceptionally horrible and question if I've made any progress at all but deep down I know that had I stayed in Swindon, I might not have made it to 2017. Literally removing myself from a terrible situation has allowed me to look at things much more objectively and unlike previous years, I can see exactly where my darker moments during 2016 have sprung from and in 2017, I intend to use this knowledge to prevent them. 

Besides moving to Reading, 2016 was also the year my stepbrother got married. His wedding was one of the loveliest I have ever been to and I had a fantastic night. During the wedding I had a huge epiphany about love and the relationships I have had in the past and it was here that I realised I was over my 2015 breakup. I also met a lot of new friends during 2016, I got to go abroad for the first time since 2011, I went to CenterParcs, I did a lot of blogger events and I made an effort to go see my high school best friends on their birthdays. 

So, goodbye 2016. You were certainly a weird one. After writing these reflections, I realise now that 2016 was a year of lessons for me and I hope that I can put these lessons learnt into practice now that it is 2017.