His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass

His Dark Materials (three-in-one edition) by Philip Pullman

This book was a struggle to read, partially because my copy of the book is so big and bulky to actually read, partially because it got weird as hell, and partially because of the constant perspective changes (trying to remember what happened to each character was hard). But the wonderful descriptions and how the story was told kept me invested until the very end.

Synopsis

Lyra and Will now understand the importance of the task ahead, but with plenty of obstacles standing in their way, they’ll need the help of everyone they’ve encountered so far, and new characters, to beat the odds and fulfil the prophecy. But will they succeed, or will the obstacles prove too difficult to overcome?

First Impressions

Oh my god! This book gets so weird! I’m still confused about what happened, but also it was tied up so nicely, despite all the tragedy and drama. Jesus, Lyra and Will deserve some happiness after this, especially after that ending. Those poor kids!

What I Like

  • Lyra and Will’s friendship blossoming into something more – I appreciate how they handled the relationship changing because they’re kids discovering their feelings for the first time and that’s beautiful
  • Lyra’s parents character growth – they still love each other! I don’t know to what extent Lord Asriel does, but Mrs Coulter cared for Lyra! They sacrificed themselves for Lyra! They were such cold hearted people before, but they changed because of Lyra
  • Seeing all the characters come together to help Lyra and Will – whether they were introduced in this book or earlier, it was so great to see everyone band together to help the two kids fulfil the prophecy
  • Everything was actually explained – Dust, the Spectres, all of it actually had a reasonable explanation, and also had a reasonable solution to fix it all

What I Don’t Like

  • [SPOILER] How could you do that to Will and Lyra?! – they discovered they loved each other and you’re telling me they can never see each other again? Just rip out my heart! It’d be less painful
  • Mary Malone as the ‘tempter’ – maybe I’m just dumb, but I had to resort to Google to figure out how Mary Malone was the serpent/’tempter’ cos it wasn’t actually explained properly
  • The constant perspective changes confused me – I had to constantly remember what happened to each character and pay attention to see how it all tied together

Writing Element Thoughts

I can’t fault Philip Pullman on his writing style because it’s truly excellent. His descriptions were magnificent until the very end, although even with his brilliant descriptions, I struggled to visualise certain things (mulefa, intention craft) that I had to resort to Google. The descriptions helped enhance the story and really visualise what was happening (mostly).

The characterisation was still brilliant. The character growth with the previously introduced characters made me feel sympathetic towards them, even if their actions weren’t always the right thing to do. Mrs Coulter, for instance, went through some good character growth, from being a cold hearted woman to caring deeply about her daughter. Also, the characters actually felt the effects of what they were doing: Lyra and Will got injured, muddy and fatigued after going on their epic quest, and other characters lost their lives. It gave the story a sense of realism.

The story structure was still present throughout, but it didn’t seem to flow as seamlessly as in the first book. Even the second book struggled with this. The reason being, once you try to change the perspective from each chapter, you have to remember what happened with each character, and sometimes you lose their plot thread along the way. However, that being said, the explanations for everything and why it had happened tied together the story nicely and ended in a somewhat satisfying way (nope, I’m not over what he did to Lyra and Will).

Overall Thoughts

I can see why religious people wouldn’t like this series, and I now understand exactly what people meant when they called this series weird. But for the descriptions alone, the series is well worth reading. Or at least, the first book is. It can be quite hard to keep track of what’s going on at times.

Coronavirus: My Personal Account

Kingston Town Centre

We’re now a month into the official quarantine due to a pandemic that has swept the globe and forced us into lockdown for the sake of humanity.

A tweet suggested we should write down our accounts of the coronavirus for future historians, so take this as mine.

In mid March, we were advised to start social distancing if we could, but it’d take a further week for the quarantine to be imposed. Even still, people ignored the lockdown and flocked to the parks or the beaches for one last time, which could’ve infected plenty of people, or hung out in social places in large groups, which also didn’t help. But at least now people seem to be abiding by the rules and staying inside, as they’re supposed to. Partially because all the social places are now closed and the public spaces are being monitored, but not heavily.

I will admit, during the advisory stage, I did still pop out for a few short hours to see a friend, but town was basically dead, shops already closing in preparation, and I did visit a friend at his house because I thought that might not be so bad. I know my mistake now, even though neither of us got it. I also took a bit of a risk with my mum and my brother by going to Zizzi’s two nights before the official quarantine began, especially since we could’ve gotten the coronavirus ourselves, but we all had a craving, and knowing what was to come, I can’t deny it was good to have a last dinner out.

Personally, the quarantine started out as a gift. I was unemployed and had no reason to go searching for a job now, so I could just live in the moment and do as I pleased without feeling the guilt and anxiety gnawing away at me. I could live day by day, as I had been doing, in peace and allow life to go on as it needed to. I could do writing all day everyday, uninterrupted. Hallelujah!

However, I began to struggle within a few days. Popping to the supermarkets filled me with a genuine despair and full blown hyperventilation (side effect of anxiety/panic attacks) as I saw empty shelf upon empty shelf. I began to freak out that there wouldn’t be enough food for us to survive, but thankfully mum had stocked up on what she could. I ended up going to three different supermarkets on one occasion to grab as much meat for myself as I could, and any other essentials I needed, but I never bulk bought anything, except chocolate, which nobody was going for. You’d think a sweet treat is exactly what people would want right now, but I guess if you’re panic buying, chocolate won’t be near the top of your priority list.

Whenever I returned home from the supermarkets, I needed to recharge. I’d get so stressed and irritated by people getting in my way, especially when we were supposed to be keeping our distance, and all my energy would be drained thanks to my anxiety and borderline depression I felt. I’d meditate to calm myself back down, or else find something to distract me that would also relax me. I dreaded going back to the supermarket because I was filled with dread every single time, knowing exactly how I’d feel once I got inside and saw the empty shelves.

I realised quite quickly how dependent I had become on going to concerts/musical theatre shows and socialising with other humans, which was a very subconscious coping mechanism. They acted as a nice distraction from my lack of a life, and they helped stop my mental health from spiralling into negative self-talk, which would inevitably lead to depression. Also, whenever my mental health gets that bad, I feel the urge to escape for a while, whether to a local park, or a museum, or wishing I could just hop on a train and start somewhere new. But in this circumstance, I’m literally not allowed to do so.

I’m very hit and miss with socialising anyway, and I’ve purposefully spent the past couple of months making an effort to actually see people because being unemployed can make you very isolated and lonely. Once the lockdown began, I immediately messaged my friends, almost begging to chat to them, because I needed socialisation. I needed to be distracted, which I really shouldn’t rely on other people for, and to alleviate my crushing loneliness, which on a number of occasions has nearly brought me to tears. Usually then followed by depression. My mum and my brother are both busy, as they have been for months, so socialising with them just hasn’t really happened, and nothing has changed. Mum does worry I’m not socialising enough, which is why I’d made such an effort before. Who knew that’d come to slap me in the face?

By the third week, the supermarkets had implemented measures to prevent bulk buying. They restricted certain items to only three per customer, and a set number of people are allowed in the shop at any given time. The tills have glass panels to separate the server from the customer, and there are footprints stuck to the floor on where to stand while queuing to pay. Toilet paper is starting to stay on the shelves and the shelves don’t look so bare anymore, so going to the supermarket feels like it always has done: a mindless chore you just get on with, except now you’ve gotta remember the restrictions too.

When the gorgeous sunny weather arrived, I struggled again. I’d go outside, feel the sun on my face, and long to go on a relaxing holiday to the beach, then feel depressed that it’s not likely to happen, and even when the restrictions are lifted, everyone’s gonna have the same idea. Additionally, when my anxiety becomes too overwhelming, I get restless and the best remedy I’ve found is to go for a long walk, but I have to be cautious nowadays about when and where. Most people go out during the day, but the night time? Only a few people actually want to. I’m one of them, preferring the peace and quiet of wandering the streets alone, not having to worry about how I’m gonna avoid people.

At one stage, my anxiety spiked whenever I went outside because I was terrified I’d get coronavirus and spread it to my mum or my brother, or worse still, the elderly people living in our flat complex. Thanks to this, I didn’t feel the need to go outside. I felt perfectly content to be inside because it was safer and way less stressful, and I have nearly everything I need inside. As Sheldon Cooper once said, ‘if outside is so good, why has mankind spent thousands of years trying to perfect inside?’

Nowadays, I’m settling into quarantine life. I’ve actually still been getting dressed everyday, although whether I wear a bra or not is decided day by day (usually I don’t bother), and I’ve found enough to keep me preoccupied. I’m still reading, socialising with others, and occasionally watching a TV episode or so. I’ve somehow only managed to play The Sims 4 once this entire month, which is a good thing because I get way too obsessed with it otherwise. Currently, I’m doing a daily poetry challenge, and considering poetry isn’t my forte, it’s been a struggle, but people actually seem to like my poems. I’ve given up on my writing project, and once this poetry challenge is over, I’ll focus on writing little snippets again and hopefully find one I want to flesh out into a full story.

However, I notice when my mental health fluctuates, I struggle very badly. When I spiral downwards, I tend to go for long walks, ranging between an hour to an hour and a half. Anymore than that and I feel guilty. Additionally, I’m trying to take this time to face my mental health head on, which has been a struggle, but it’s been good to identify issues I’m having and trying to find healthy coping mechanisms. I’m trying to stay in the present moment and allow life to go as it needs to, which is helping by not freaking out over whether my Publishing MA will still go ahead in September. I’m also trying to keep my self esteem at a healthy level by feeling what I need to, then releasing the feelings and carry on living.

I’ll be honest, at this moment in time, I have no idea what’s gonna happen next, or even when. My mum seems to think we’ll start lifting the restrictions by the end of May, but realistically, I think it’ll be the end of June. Any longer than that, we’ll face massive financial difficulties, alongside a myriad of other problems.

Stay home and stay safe.

March 2020

Well, this month certainly took an unexpected turn!

Coronavirus. Need I say more? With the world shutting down and going into lockdown, it really does make you see how the world functioned before, and it’s eye opening. It makes you realise how much we rely upon other people daily for interaction, and despite what society says, how important ‘low paid workers’ are. We’ve been relying on nurses, doctors, teachers, supermarket staff and delivery drivers to function during this social distancing, so when this is all over, be more appreciative of these people. Because lord knows, the nurses and doctors need all the praise they can get.

Here’s what else March had in store for me…

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His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife Book Review

His Dark Materials (three-in-one edition) by Philip Pullman

After finishing Northern Lights, I wanted a little break before diving into The Subtle Knife. Granted, that little break ended up being a week, and nearly two weeks if I hadn’t sat myself down and started reading. Thanks to self-isolation/social distancing, I was able to sit down and read about 50 pages a day, so as you can imagine, catching up and finishing it was a relatively easy task. Especially once the plot picked up again.

I’m taking another mini break to process what’s happened so far before I dive back into the weirdness that I know is still to come. I’m sure it’ll suck me back in almost instantaneously cos it felt like the book shouldn’t have ended where it did. It almost feels like it ended mid scene, which is never a good idea.

Synopsis

Lyra Belacqua meets Will Parry in a world neither have been to, but which acts as a safe space between the two worlds, both of which have their own dangers to the pair. They overcome obstacles together and come to trust one another as they realise their fates are now intertwined, and everything rests on them and the decisions they make.

First Impressions

What the hell? No seriously, what’s going on? I can see what people mean when they say this series gets weird, and I can also see why religious people don’t like the series because I suspect a massive dig is coming towards the church/religion. But I’m still insanely curious for an explanation that I sincerely hope is coming.

What I Like

  • I like Lyra and Will’s friendship – they learned how to help and trust one another, especially now they know their fates are intertwined
  • The perspective changes were helpful – they told us what was happening elsewhere that helped move the plot along and give us more info about Lyra & Will’s fate
  • I’m still insanely curious about Dust – the Spectres seek it out and suck it out of you in Cittàgazze, while the Magisterium fear it in Lyra’s world, but what is it exactly?

What I Didn’t Like

  • [SPOILER] Will had no time with his father – he’s spent his whole life searching for his father and you couldn’t even give them five minutes to reunite? Come on!
  • The kids just stoning that poor cat – there wasn’t any good reason for them doing so! That poor cat didn’t deserve such mistreatment

Writing Element Thoughts

Have I mentioned Philip Pullman is a brilliant writer? Because he is. He created an alternative world that I could properly visualise thanks to his stunning descriptions. Cittàgazze sounds like a wondrous place, if I knew I wouldn’t die thanks to Spectres, and sounds exactly like a Mediterranean place I’ve been to before. Also, little point to add: Spectres sound horrific, but the way Philip Pullman describes them, they sound like creepy ghosts. I can’t wait to see how they’ll show them in the TV adaptation!

The story moved mostly seamlessly through once again, and the perspective changes helped move the plot along. While the obstacles were overcome thanks to the alethiometer and the subtle knife, the subtle knife feels borderline invincible. It can transport them through worlds, cut through anything and protects the wielder. How the hell can you beat that?! No wonder the church are adamant about obtaining it! Plus, I did think the ending was a bit rushed, as if the book wasn’t supposed to finish there, because everything just seemed to happen so suddenly.

The characterisation is still wonderful. Each character continues to play their part in the story, which is now focused on helping Lyra and Will fulfil their roles in their destiny. Granted, while most the characters were complex, I don’t see the point in Carlos Boreal’s character.

[SPOILER] I’m really disappointed we didn’t get more time with John Parry reuniting with his son. That could’ve been so beautiful! But I also understand why it did happen that way since reality can often be that cruel, to part a father and son before they can acknowledge each other. It’s just tragic and unfair, but so is reality, which I can’t criticise him for, I suppose (watch me do it anyway).

Overall Thoughts

I’m taking a mini break to process what’s happened so far, then I’m gonna dive head first into the weirdness of The Amber Spyglass. I can feel a massive dig at the church/religion coming, which is gonna be interesting, and hopefully an explanation about Dust. Guess we’ll have to see.

February 2020

This month has been an emotional rollercoaster, to use an accurate cliché. Ironic, considering I went to see the Jonas Brothers live this month and one of their new songs is called Rollercoaster, so consider that the unofficial theme song of this month.

I’ve had enough plans this month to keep me distracted by socialising with people or escaping from reality for a short while. I only wish I had a holiday booked sometime soon, because I’m still feeling that desperate need to escape to somewhere new for a while. Guess I’ll have to wait a while longer…

Anyway, onto what delights (and downfalls) February had for me.

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His Dark Materials: Northern Lights Book Review

His Dark Materials (three-in-one edition) by Philip Pullman

I watched the BBC adaptation of His Dark Materials and felt a burning desire to start reading the series because I need to know what happens next. However, my brother had the same idea, and that’s where the drama started.

I purposefully bought and read The Giver of Stars to give my brother time to read the first book and get started on the series. Like planned, he read the first book, but then chose to read a non-fiction book next. Knowing I wanna read a book per month and I’d obviously want to read the second book next, he’s suddenly decided he wants to read it too. You see, he told me he wants to alternate between reading a fiction book and a non-fiction book AFTER I’d already begun the first book and had invested myself in the series. If he’d told me this BEFORE I’d started, I could’ve read The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary and waited (im)patiently for him to be done.

Since my mum bought the movie cover (for the first book) and broke the spines on all three books, which are both no-no’s for me, I decided to buy the bulky three-in-one edition. It means I don’t have to wait for my brother to be done. Plus, it’s all mine, so I don’t have to worry about a broken spine or a movie/TV show cover. Also, the cover is gorgeous (😍) and gives clues about each book, which has intrigued me.

Synopsis

Lyra Belacqua has a destiny ahead of her she must remain unaware of.

When her best friend Roger goes missing, she undergoes a difficult quest to find him and bring him home safely. Along the way, she discovers who her parents are, makes new friends in Iorek Byrnison, Lee Scoresby and the Gytians, and becomes ever involved in the mystery of Dust. Overcoming obstacles and dodging near death experiences, Lyra Belacqua has a tumultuous journey ahead, but it’ll bring her closer to her destiny…

First Impressions

The book is slow moving and confusing to begin with, but the world building enriches the story so well that I’m willing to look past it. Dæmons, alethiometer and Dust are all fantastic concepts explained in such an interesting way, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ll be used in the other books.

What I Like

  • The explanation for how the alethiometer worked – I liked the in depth explanation and gave me an understanding of how it worked because the TV show didn’t really go into detail about it
  • The underlying message about the church – as a history nerd, I know how much power the church used to have over society, so I’m very interested and curious how far they’re gonna go with dismantling it all
  • Lyra receiving help along the way, but also finding her own solutions – her entire quest wasn’t easy from start to finish, but she used her own intelligent to escape situations just as much as she relied upon other people/beings

What I Didn’t Like

  • Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter are terrible parents – I understand their reasons for doing what they’re doing, but at the expense of their own child? No wonder Lyra wants nothing to do with them
  • [SPOILER] Roger’s death – As I was reading his death, I was so confused. I know Lord Asriel did a thing, but I’m not sure what that thing was, and I have no idea what Lyra was doing. Did she stumble and fall? Were they running down the mountain? Also, I didn’t have enough of an emotional investment to feel sad when he died

Writing Element Thoughts

Philip Pullman is a fantastic writer. He created this alternate reality where our souls are tethered to dæmons and the bridge to alternate realities is via a city in the sky, which is just brilliant. I’m still so intrigued by Dust and what it all means, although I’m a little hesitant about what the overall message will be.

The story follows the typical narrative, and I honestly didn’t even notice. I could probably tell you what the inciting incident and the climax are, but I couldn’t tell you the rest because it just flows so seamlessly. The obstacles weren’t forcibly placed, and they were overcome with some level of difficulty. Lyra always had help along the way, but she also came up with her own solutions for escaping the obstacles, which made it all the more believable and helped carry the plot.

The characterisation is wonderful. Each character has their own personality, and their dæmons reflect that beautifully (with the exception of Iorek Byrnison). I loved how complex the characters were, and they all wanted to help Lyra fulfil her destiny, with the exception of Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter, both of whom were the antagonists of this story. They seemed a bit too two dimensional, but they also didn’t feature much in the book, so I’m intrigued to see if their characters are developed more as we go along.

Overall Thoughts

Despite knowing what would happen, I still enjoyed seeing how the book differed from the TV adaptation, and reading the explanation for the alethiometer. I’m excited to see where the story goes, although my mum claims it gets weird, which has only further ignited my curiosity. Onto The Subtle Knife!

January 2020

Every year, I make it a goal to keep this blog going, and every year, it falls to the wayside at some point. Usually because the blog is too specific to begin with. However, I’ve decided to drop the burden somewhat by doing at least a monthly update post. This way, I can write about what I’m currently working on, what I’ve read and/or I’m currently reading, and I can mention my personal interests, such as going to theatre shows, concerts, on my travels (abroad), or any other personal thoughts/feelings.

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The Giver of Stars Book Review

'The Giver of Stars' book by Jojo Moyes on top of a spotty light grey and dark grey fabric
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

I’ll often wander into a Waterstones to see what new releases they’re advertising and see if anything jumps out of me. I have this affinity for stars, so naturally, I was drawn to the book and contemplated buying it. Weeks later, I finally took the plunge and bought it upon reading the prologue and finding myself itching to know what happens next.

Synopsis

Set during the post Depression era (1930s), Alice Wright marries Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in the UK for a vibrant, adventurous life in the USA. However, as she settles into the Van Cleve house in Kentucky, she soon realises she’s escaped one imprisoning life for another. Needless to say, when Mrs Brady calls for volunteers to help out in a travelling library, Alice leaps at the chance to do something with her miserable life.

She forms a quick and strong friendship with Miss Margery O’Hare, who has a less than stellar reputation, and finds herself going through a turbulent journey as she forms new friendships, has her relationship tested and comes out a different woman to the Alice who entered Kentucky.

First Impressions

The prologue sold me, and I was itching to discover how this all happened, only to be brought three months earlier to an entirely different character, which then spent a good chapter or two just setting everything up. Frustrating, to say the least! However, while it was slow moving, the writing style kept me captivated, and I did feel sympathetic towards Alice from the get go.

What I Like

  • Alice’s story arc, from being an obedient British woman to a self-assured, independent southern American – it was refreshing to see her be given the freedom to become the woman she always wanted to be
  • Margery O’Hare, who refused to give a damn what anyone thought of her, gave Van Cleve a piece of her mind, was vulnerable and afraid in the jail, and was tender and loving with Sven and Virginia – all of it contributed to a wonderful three-dimensional character who did what she needed to to survive, but allowed herself to be vulnerable and open her heart up
  • The librarians and the strong friendship they formed with each other and with the mountain people – after all, a community is built on strong relationships with one another, and it was wonderful to see how much reading changed their lives, as well as how far they’d go to help one another
  • I loved how everyone got a happy ending – while I do think the ending was a bit too convenient, I’m very happy Margery O’Hare got her happy ending because she definitely deserved it, as did Alice and Fred

What I Didn’t Like

  • How Bennett’s character was reduced to a plot device – considering how the plot centres around Alice being married to him, his character mattered so little to the overall plot that you could’ve removed his character and the story literally wouldn’t have changed
  • How Mr Van Cleve was reduced to a two-dimensional wicked man – Mr Van Cleve is the stereotypical, two-dimensional villain, which means he acts as a permanent obstacle rather than a character I feel anything towards
  • How convenient everything felt towards the end – I love a happy ending as much as the next person, but it seemed too convenient to have a law like that allow a marriage to be annulled, for a surprise witness to wrap everything up so neatly, and for Beth to just magically travel to India (where did that even come from?!)
  • How badly women and POC were treated back then – I always struggle to read historical fiction because it always angers me how mistreated people were back then, and even though things aren’t great even still, it’s a lot better than it was

Writing Element Thoughts

God, I love her writing style. It has a descriptiveness to it that captures my attention and helps me envision what she’s writing so wonderfully. I could honestly read her writing forever.

The story followed the traditional story narrative, starting from an inciting incident and following through to the resolution. I will say, the climax felt anti-climatic because it felt rushed and quite convenient, but I’m also a sucker for a happy ending. The plot kept consistently presenting challenges and obstacles for the characters to deal with, alongside doses of positivity to give the characters some hope and happiness. The obstacles never felt too challenging that they couldn’t overcome it, especially with help from each other, or unrealistic in what they had to overcome given the time period it’s set in.

The characterisation was mostly great. I loved the character growth with several of the characters, but especially Alice and Margery O’Hare, who seemed to reverse roles in a way. Alice, who kept herself subservient to her husband like a good lady should, became a self-assured woman, maturing through her trials and tribulations. Margery O’Hare, who kept herself cold-hearted and isolated for survival, became a tender, loving wife and mother and opened herself up to her newfound friends. Alice became less afraid and more open to the freedom she’d been granted, and Margery became more afraid and less closed off from those around her, especially Sven.

Moreover, watching Issy change from a grumpy, disabled woman to a confident, mature woman who defied her parents, Kathleen change from a devoted wife get over her grief to help out in a time of need, Sophia leave the safety of her house as a WOC to help a white library, and Beth… well, stay the same, it was lovely to see Alice and Margery surrounded by solid friends who did go above and beyond for them all the time. But it wasn’t just the women: Fred and Sven deserve equal amounts of praise for presenting how a good man behaves, even despite their flaws, and who stood by their partners regardless of the consequences. I only wish Van Cleve had dealt with more consequences for his actions, but in a way, it’s fitting that yet again, a powerful white man gets away with it (like nowadays).

Overall Thoughts

I’m now educated on the WPA Packhorse Library, in the same way they educated the mountain people who couldn’t easily access the necessary resources. Despite the slow start, I formed an attachment to the characters and I’m grateful they all got the happy ending they deserved (except Van Cleve, who really should’ve had more consequences for his actions). The overall narrative/plot and writing style created an engaging story that kept me hooked until the very end.

I’d definitely recommend reading it, to educate yourself about the WPA Packhorse Library, or to see what the power of a solid friendship can do when you’re feeling imprisoned by your life.

Goals & Aspirations: 2020

My new calendar is monthly motivational quotes, and this one seems good for now

A new decade has begun!

As with every new year, I look back over my blog and question whether to keep it going the way it is or do yet another fresh start. The biggest problem is trying to keep this blog only about writing hasn’t lasted long. A few months, at most. Additionally, trying to think of a weekly blog post is a struggle, especially when life becomes too overwhelming.

Usually, I have a direction to follow with my life, but if last year was an indication of anything, it’s that life rarely ever goes to plan. My general direction this year is to apply to do a publishing MA at my university, which I should get into with little trouble. But for the nine months in between? I haven’t a clue what I’m gonna do. Hopefully find a job 🤞🏻

Writing Year Goals:

  • Finish my WIP (and potentially post to Wattpad)
  • Write daily (or at least weekly)
  • Read a book monthly
  • Write a monthly blog post

These goals should be achievable, but should life get in the way, as it so often does, this blog and reading will fall to the wayside. Hopefully not for too long. I also wanna try and read a non fiction book monthly, but again, we’ll see what happens.

I don’t have any personal goals this year. I’ve been too focused on what vague direction I want this decade to go in that thinking only about this year has slipped my mind. Even now, as I sit here trying to think of yearlong goals, they feel too vague and with no discernible time limit. Goals such as learning how to drive or moving out and finding my own place. Those goals could happen any year, not necessarily this year.

Instead, I’ll put vague aspirations I have:

  • Travel
  • Learn how to drive/cook
  • Find my own place
  • Go out of my comfort zone – singing & dancing outside of my bedroom
  • Try dating
  • Pick up a hobby (outside of reading & writing)

Should be achievable… right?

Here’s to a new year and a new decade!

Reflection on a Decade: 2010-2019

As another decade draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting back and seeing how my life has changed in that time frame. I was in my mid teens, and now I’m in my mid 20s, both of which are known for being unstable and uncertain. However, with the instability and uncertainty comes a sense of freedom and excitement. I didn’t see that until much later.

(In the ‘read more’ is a summary of the past decade with pictures)

Thankfully, through this decade, I’ve mostly been able to keep my support system in tact and found some semblance of stability again. How long it’ll last, I don’t know, but I do know that I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. I learnt how unpredictable life can be, so I’m not taking anything for granted anymore.

Bad: shattered a life long dream twice; destroyed illusions I had about my life, especially regarding my family; hit rock bottom twice, which was in part thanks to my own unrealistic expectations on what my life should be like; took a blow to my mental health

Good: kept in contact with my friends & family; made new friends I treasure; joined my a cappella group and the UK a cappella community; went to therapy to cope with traumatic events and my anxiety; tried different jobs and figured out what I don’t want; kept writing no matter what

I’m ready for a new decade. A decade where I can take whatever time I need to become a more mature adult, including learning how to cook, how to drive, how to do taxes and what mortgages are, finding my own place and figuring out how to balance work with leisure. A decade where I will continue to keep in contact with my friends and family, and continue to make new friends. A decade where I can pick up new hobbies, educate myself on new topics, and keep writing no matter what.

I’ve let fear win for far too long. I want to go outside my comfort zone in this next decade, and try things regardless of whether I’m terrified or not. I want to enjoy life and not let my expectations get the better of me. I want to live as who I want to be, not who everyone else wants me to be.

Bring on 2020!

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