We have survived 2020: The Sequel! Yay!

So here we are, another blog recap and this year we actually have things to talk about in comparison to last year when I feel like the world stopped. Things opened back up again and life was able to return to some kind of normalcy. At least for me, I know other parts of the world have had numerous lockdowns and such but in the UK we were lucky that things were opening up again.

That being said, we still had the ever-present risk of COVID. I am lucky that I did not get it this year at all, even at Christmas time when Omicron was infecting everyone – I couldn’t go online without seeing someone who had tested positive. But I kept testing when necessary, wearing my mask and social distancing and we made it through without getting sick.

So let’s go back to the beginning of the year, it honestly feels like a lifetime ago. Though I think I always feel that way when I am reflecting on the year. A lot can happen in 365 days and it’s hard to keep track, thank God I love to document things everywhere so I have references haha.

I started off the year on a Zoom call with my friends, because that’s how we celebrate the new year during a pandemic. We agreed to start the call at 8pm on New Year’s Eve and so I thought we would only chat for a couple of hours but we stayed on all the way past midnight. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t talk often in person haha.

January was a pretty uneventful month, it was mainly my boyfriend and I starting work on fixing up our house. In case you didn’t know, my boyfriend and I bought a house at the end of last year and it needs a lot of work done. So we took many trips back and forth to B&Q picking up DIY supplies to work on it. And I think we made good progress in the first month, and by ‘we’ I mean my boyfriend lol I tried my best but most of the time I feel like I was in the way, so I left him to do his thing.

Also in January, I started back on my online Zoom classes for my splits stretches. One of my goals in 2021 was to finally get my splits flat on the ground, I had picked up flexibility classes during lockdown last year because it was something easy I could do from home and so I wanted to keep it going this year. And I have to say I made significant progress and I am proud that I am *so close* to the floor now!

Now for 2022, I think the goal is getting my flexibility to a point where I can easily get into the splits during aerial and pole moves because at the minute, my splits can only be achieved through lots of stretching and on the floor. So I need to work on the mobility to get it at any point at any time. It’s going to take a lot of work but it’s something I want to aim for, if not that then working on faking it enough for photos haha.

All I remember about February was watching a lot of Netflix. I had a bunch of shows on my list that I wanted to get through and so I finally did. If you want to know more about that then check out this blog post I wrote where I shared my thoughts on them.

Aside from that, there is nothing much to note of February. My boyfriend celebrated Valentine’s Day by ordering some food and watching a movie. I played a lot of Animal Crossing. I continued with my Zoom splits classes. I was working. The same old, same old.

March surprisingly does not have much to note either. Apart from that, I went to my mum’s house to pack up the rest of my belongings to officially move into my house. When I moved in with my boyfriend after uni, we had an apartment so I only moved in with the stuff I had from my uni house which is about half of the stuff I owned since everything else was at my mum’s. So we packed that all up to bring to the house. And it is currently still boxed up in the living room because we do not have any space for it anywhere lol. But at least it’s no longer taking up space at my mum’s.

Other than that I played a lot of Sims and Animal Crossing, I believe we were still in a lockdown of some kind then. I don’t remember explicitly but due to the lack of plans in my planner I think it’s safe to assume nothing was open. My boyfriend and I did go on quite a few walks though so we still got outside, and of course were still going to B&Q every so often, I guess it was classed as an ‘essential’ store lol so at least we could get house supplies.

In April, again nothing much happened lol. The start of the year was a slow one I guess. It’s so weird to me though that I don’t really remember this time at all. Though I guess there was nothing worth remembering, we were still in lockdown there was nothing going on. Just work, playing games, stretching and this month I read a lot. I always set myself a reading goal on Goodreads so I try to fit in reading when I can. It’s been harder during the pandemic when I haven’t been leaving the house as I always read on public transport but I definitely made time for it in April as I read 4/5 books then.

In May things started to change and the restrictions were starting to be lifted. I decided it was time for me to finally start taking driving lessons which was something I have been putting off for a long time. Last year, I finally took my theory test and I was ready to start driving but then the pandemic hit and so I didn’t want to start lessons if I was going to have to stop them again later down the line.

So we started driving in May which was exciting but also scary. I learnt that I’m actually not great at steering which is not ideal for driving lol. But it’s something I think I can work on. I did gain some confidence in driving as the lessons went on though and that was good.

The bad news for me though was that my driving instructor was planning to retire so I didn’t know how long I was going to have with him as an instructor. This isn’t great because we got on well and I think if we had stuck on it I would have made good progress. But I tried to make the most of the time I had before I had to find a new instructor.

Also in May, I started back at my aerial hoop classes which were fun. I started hoop in January last year so I hadn’t been able to make much progress before we went into lockdown. However, I have stuck with it this year and I think I’ve made a ton of progress compared to where I started. In comparison to pole, I find it easier to grasp moves and advance which is great because sometimes pole can make you feel defeated if you don’t pick it up quickly. I also find it helps build strength in areas that pole does not so I am looking forward to more upside-down adventures in 2022.

In June, we got our first dose of the COVID vaccine which was exciting and a step in the right direction. Though I remember I had to wait for ages in line even though I had booked in a time slot. I was waiting for about 2 hours before I was finally able to get the injection but it was worth it. And the weather was good so waiting outside wasn’t too bad.

I also decided to take up physical journalling again after being inspired by someone on Facebook who would share her journal entries. I have journaled on and off throughout the years and decided to get back to it. I was pretty consistent with it throughout the year but I feel like as my life changes and things become a bit busier I won’t always have time for it. I imagine I will switch to a digital journal again at some point to make it easier to keep up with but for now, recapping the day and sharing my thoughts on paper has been working well for me.

June is also my birth month so I celebrated my birthday by going out for dinner a few times throughout the month with various friends and family. It was great to catch up with everyone and be able to go out and eat and drink. I usually don’t like to do anything crazy for my birthday so something small was perfect and being able to spend time with people in person rather than on Skype was great too.

Moving on to July…July was probably one of the busiest months I had this year. Pole classes were starting back, the cinema was reopening and I got to spend a whole weekend with my friends from secondary school and I even had an engagement party. It was wild.

First of all, pole starting back was exciting. I had already been back at hoop for a month, so thankfully going back to pole was not as gruelling as hoop was. My pole progress has been very slow the last year or so due to the lack of classes during lockdown and also that pole is a lot of work and strength. But I am still determined to keep working on it and improving. I also one day want to be comfortable with freestyling and making my own routines but I feel like I am still a long way off from that.

Also, the cinema reopened and this was exciting because my boyfriend and I love going to the cinema and it’s something we have missed out on a lot in the last year or so. We definitely took advantage and have been to the cinema almost every week since it reopened – we have been going less frequently now mainly due to the release of movies slowing down but in the beginning, I feel like the movies were being rotated in and out of the cinema at an alarming rate so we had to stay on top of it and see all the movies we wanted to see before it was too late.

In July I also got the opportunity to see all of my friends again which was so fun. Basically, all my friends moved to England and due to restrictions, I hadn’t been able to see them in a long time. But in the summer everyone was able to fly over and we had a great couple of days catching up and spending time together. I remember the weather being amazing and so we went for a walk at Castle Ward and it was great.

I also got my second COVID vaccine at the end of July. I decided to go a couple of weeks earlier than my scheduled date because I had some free time and was already going to be close to the vaccination centre. The wait was still a long one though, as I wasn’t booked in and so had to wait for a long time, still not as long as the first time though. So I am fully vaccinated and able to live my best life which was great because I had many more plans for the rest of 2021 and wanted to minimise the risk of getting sick as much as possible. And it definitely paid off.

At the end of July, my boyfriend and I went to an engagement party for one of his friends. It feels very grown-up to go to someone’s engagement party and I feel like they aren’t very common in the UK. But it was a nice day, we gathered in a garden and chilled out and had a nice time. It was also the first time my boyfriend and I had dressed up for anything in a long time so that was nice.

In August I decided to take up running lol. It is something random for me to do but I have never been good with cardio and I thought I would try it out while the weather was nice. I ran consistently enough through August and September before getting sick and taking time off. I did try to keep up the running after I’d gotten better but we didn’t quite get there with it. But I am glad I attempted it, I think it could be something good to do during the summer but it’s definitely not a winter activity for me.

I also had my first drag show in over a year, going to drag shows was one of my main hobbies for the last couple of years and so it was weird not to have that in my life. That being said, even if no shows were happening they kept being announced so over 2020 I had bought a lot of tickets to a lot of shows, I was just waiting to be able to go to them.

The first show back was Crystal Methyd and everything was social distanced and it was a fun time. Not going to lie I was waiting for it to be rescheduled because that’s how things had been going for us but I was so glad to have an event go ahead and nothing bad happened. It was definitely one of those things that made me believe things could start getting back to normal and that was great.

At the end of August, my boyfriend and I hosted people at our house for the first time since we moved in. Not going to lie, the house is still very much a mess. We had made strong progress on one room at the start of the year but not much had happened since then due to life getting in the way. So we all hung out in the kitchen haha but that was fine as we were just having some drinks and playing some games. It was a good night but I look forward to the future when our house is fully complete and we can properly welcome people in without having to apologise for the mess. It’ll take time but I know we will get there.

Moving onto September where I had my first and last lesson with a new driving instructor after my last instructor retired. I hadn’t had a lesson in a few weeks due to me being busy and my old instructor being busy so I was super nervous for my lesson with a new instructor. Let’s just say nerves got the best of me and I also didn’t feel like I got along with the instructor very well so I never booked another lesson.

Honestly, it was a sucky feeling to lose all the confidence I had with driving so soon, I know there was still a lot I needed to work on but on that lesson I felt like I was back to square one. So we ended up shelving driving for the year after that, I ended up being really busy in October and it took me ages to find an instructor in the first place so I decided I would try again in the new year. It’s not ideal and I will have to do my theory again but I thought it was what was best for me.

Wedding glam

Aside from the driving lesson fiasco, September was relatively quiet. I attended a wedding with my boyfriend at the start of the month which was another big step into returning to normalcy. It was also the first wedding that me and my boyfriend have ever attended together, and the first wedding I have been to since I was 14 lol. But I am now at the age where people I know are getting married that aren’t family and so I guess I should prepare myself. Especially because this wedding was only the beginning as we have two planned in 2022 and one in 2023.

But this first wedding was a family wedding and another excuse to dress up so it was a good time. There weren’t many restrictions at the wedding which was nice, though there was not meant to be any dancing but that was fine with me as I am not much of a dancer anyway haha.

Then in the second half of September I ended up having a cold which was not fun. I remember not being able to sleep and having an all-around miserable time. It’s probably the first time I have taken sick leave at work for longer than a couple of days. I used the time to rest and play a lot of Animal Crossing which I had neglected for much of the summer due to having plans again. But it was nice to come back to it after some time away, it has been a constant for so much of my life it’s nice to have that comfort when you are ill. And it definitely wasn’t COVID because I took multiple lateral flows and a PCR to make sure so just a terrible cold.

Thankfully, I was able to recover for October because I had plans every weekend in October, I hadn’t planned it that way it’s just how it happened so I feel like this was a month that flew by for me.

One of the most exciting things that happened this month is that my friend Jasmine found her wedding dress! She is getting married in a couple of years and she was lucky enough to get her wedding dress her first time out shopping. Sadly not all of us could go with her while she was dress shopping due to COVID regulations but the girls that went with her took loads of photos and video so we could see afterwards and it was fun. Surprisingly this activity didn’t seem to be out of place for me, usually this kind of thing would feel ‘too adult’ to be happening to any of my friends but I feel like this was always meant to happen. I guess because I had always imagined going wedding dress shopping with one of my friends eventually. Even if I think it will be weird to be at the actual wedding I know we were always meant to do wedding dress shopping one day haha.

I also got to meet my work team in person for the first time and spend time with them. I still had been working from home throughout the year so had not met my team at all. But we were given permission to take a half day and organise a ‘team bonding’ session outside of the office so we decided to meet up. It’s weird to think I was working with these people for a year and didn’t know any of them in person, but that’s the pandemic life. We spent an afternoon out bowling and getting food and I feel like I can say we bonded sufficiently haha.

October also brought the reopening of the theatre. I haven’t been to the theatre since 2019 to see Dear Evan Hansen. I say that like I go all the time lol but realistically I’ve been twice in the last few years but it’s been something new to do. And I got lucky because two shows I wanted to see were coming to Belfast in October – Six and Heathers. I bought tickets for both earlier in the year not really knowing if they were going to go ahead or not but I’m glad that they did.

Both shows were amazing and I really enjoyed being back at the theatre and seeing live performances. There’s something so impressive about seeing people perform in person like the talent is incredible and I could never. So I always appreciate the people that can and do perform.

This brings us into November. A significantly less busy month, which I am thankful for. Though it did start off well as I also got to go to a concert for the first time since Day6 in 2020. Not going to lie, I didn’t think I would be going back to a concert so soon, mainly because it would be the most crowded event I was going to this year and that was scary. But our seats were towards the front so no one was close in front of us and I wore my mask the whole time so it was fine. I went to see Steps with all my sisters and my mum, it was a super fun time and it was great to have that experience with my family.

We also went to see Steps a few years ago and that was a big thing for me because they were probably the first band that I was ever obsessed with way back when I was 7 or 8 and it was something I always shared with my sisters so it was nice to be able to do that again.

I got to see my uni friends in November as well, I haven’t really talked to them since we graduated and one of them moved to England after we left uni but she came over to visit and organised an outing for us. I thought it might be weird to see them again after so long but it was fine. I suppose when you go through 4 years of uni together you have a bond. So it was good to catch up with them again.

Finally, we reach December and honestly, your girl was tired lol. Writing this I realise I’ve been through a lot in 2022 and half of it was just getting back to regular life. I know things will never be fully normal again, especially with news everyday about COVID but I’m hoping it at least becomes manageable.

I thought December was going to be a relaxing time and for the most part, it was I mean I spent a lot of time after work chilling out and enjoying a fire and watching movies, playing Animal Crossing. But this was mainly due to the fact work was very stressful the last couple of weeks before Christmas.

There was a huge security vulnerability happening in the tech world and we had to work to patch it before the holidays and it was not fun. We had to upgrade versions two or three times because just when you thought the new version was safe, no there was another vulnerability lol. I imagine a lot of companies had to deal with this so yeah that’s super great. A nice way to end the year.

Even now in January, we had to upgrade again so it’s going to be something to keep an eye on, but at least it’s been more manageable than a pandemic.

So yeah, aside from work, home life was pretty chill. And at Christmas, I got to spend time with my family and I got to see my friends between Christmas and New Year’s. Naturally, I was doing lateral flows every few days because it seemed like everyone was getting COVID and the last thing I needed to do was spread it to my friends and family. I know all my friends were testing too which was good but family was another story. Though I haven’t heard of any news of anyone being sick so I take it as a good sign.

And so we head into 2022, I’m feeling quite ambitious this year as I have a few goals for myself that I hope to achieve. I am going to try and not put too much pressure on myself if they don’t happen but at the same time, I think they will be manageable. But those will come in a separate blog post as this one is hella long.

But I thank you for sticking it out to the end if you did. Though these are mostly for me, I like to put them out there in the world. 2021 has been a wild year and I’ve really enjoyed it. And because I have set myself some goals this year I am feeling uncharacteristically optimistic about what will happen this year. But we’ll see how I really feel about it by the end – I mean we are only a few days in, you never know what will happen.

Still, I think we should try to be positive as we’ve been through two hard years so here’s hoping something good comes our way in 2022!

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