2019 in Review: 19 Good Things

2019, where did that even go!? "Where did you just go then?" as Hot Priest would say on Fleabag. Ahh, Fleabag-love of my life. Sorry, distracted one sentence in. I wanted to add as a bit of a precursor to this blog post that 2019 has been, an experience. I am not going to lie, reading back through my 2019 journal for this blog post was a bit hard. There were some painful moments there. But that's okay. They happened. There was also some good, as you will soon see. More than anything this year I am grateful. I hope that gratitude was felt by those I surrounded myself with. I really wanted to 'treat people with kindness'* as much as possible this year but more so myself. Admittedly the latter may have slid in the earlier part of the year but to be honest, I think in 2019 I was a lot nicer to myself. I was less self critical. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't always easy. I'd open up social media some days and get really irritated that I wasn't ticking off the same digital milestones as everyone else. The irony being, I don't necessarily want some of those things. I chased after things that were never going to happen because I am a starstruck optimist sometimes. Maybe one day I will tell that story but for now, that can stay between myself and the pages of my diary.  And that's okay. Lessons were learnt there. 

One thing, forget those "what I achieved in a decade posts". Or at the very least, take them with a pinch of salt. I think it's a poignant reminder as we enter a new decade to remember, nobody else is that affixed on where you are at in this game we call life. Everybody else is on their own paths. Be gentler to yourself, you are doing amazing. Perhaps more so than you think. Same to you, future Sophie reading this. You done good. 

Anyway, 19 good things from '19 incoming...

Those Su-uh-uh-mer Days: At the beginning of 2019 I was unemployed after leaving my job at the end of 2018. Do not get me wrong, that was not a fun time. What was fun though was the days at the beginning of the Summer. Drinking copious amounts of bubbles, sharing cracker and cheese platters with L. Reading books on her sun loungers. Pages morphing in the heat, words blurring into a welcoming haze. Blissful af. 

Self Critique, Gonezo? Do not get me wrong, I am still incredibly self critical. To be honest, I don't think that's easily shaken. That being said, I found myself becoming a lot better at the old self perspective thing. I can't think of specific examples but I was able to 'check' myself a lot better than I have in the past if that makes sense. Without letting self-loathing rear its ugly head as strongly. Of course I still have my insecurities but yeah, I feel like I am getting a bit better at managing that side of things. 

High As Hope in Auckland: Ahh my beloved Florence and the Machine graced us in January for one night only. And it was spectacular. I cried, I saw glitter whenever I looked up and in the air around me. There was hugging, proclamations of love and it was all incredibly wholesome and inviting. Experiencing it with E again, our second time seeing Florence together was so special as well. 

I Started A New Job: I began my new+current job midway through February this year and after many a frustration during the whole job seeking process, it was such a relief. And now I feel, awkward writing about my job, should anyone from work finds this. But yeah, I got a new job. Yay me!? Haha idk.

Between Two Books: 2019 was the year of Florence Welch. Thanks Flo for indirectly bringing two of the best fans and literary enthusiasts into my life, that would be you J and L. Anyway, something cool I got to do was share a book recommendation along with other members of the Between Two Books Community. It was so lovely to be asked and I chose Eve's Hollywood x Eve Babitz. More on that book soon though.

Duck Island: Can I do a post about 2019 without mentioning Duck Island icecream? Probably not. They opened their first stores in Auckland this year and blessed be the icecream enthusiasts. No really. Fairy bread, lolly log, peppermint slice, sorbets for days-dang it now I want to go out for a drive just to get some. Anyway, thanks to the friends who tolerated my Duck Island outings, even in the midst of Winter. You are legends. Blessed legends, but legends nonetheless.

Quiz Nights: This year I stayed out LATE omg. Friends who know me will know I am often in bed by 9.30. That's not an exaggeration, this is an unusual night. Anyway I digress. This year I joined a quiz team and go most weeks with them to the Bluestone Room for quiz night. It is a fun time. I am terrible at sports still, but my geography seems to be improving. S, that is your influence entirely. And I am always there for the pop culture, song lyrics and literature. I love it.

Fleabag: I couldn't do a post about 2019 without mentioning Fleabag. I actually found the diary entry where I wrote "I must watch Fleabag, immediately." That was probably after I listened to Phoebe Waller-Bridge on Elizabeth Day's podcast again for the umpteenth time. Well thank god I did. I love Fleabag in all her messy yet relatable glory. Bring on Fleabag Live in Cinema in March 2020.

Counter Journal x2: Probably one of the highlights of 2019 was having my stories commissioned and then published by Zack+Bonnie in local publication, Counter Journal. It was so exciting to see my words and work as part of a beautiful magazine but also to be able to walk into Unity Books and just be like "oh hey, I have a story in there." L, thank you for all the encouragement and support but especially for convincing me that I could do it, when I was so convinced that I couldn't. 

Musicals Are Life: To know me is to know I love musicals. A lot. So this year I managed to see quite a few: Legally Blonde, School of Rock, American Idiot, Les Miserables, oh-and Once! Knew I forgot something. My favourites were probably Legally Blonde and American Idiot for the nostalgic purposes.

England to NZ: Another major highlight of the year was having some of our family friends, and my honorary siblings from Essex come to NZ for the first time. The two weeks we had with L, G and E were the BEST. Please come back soon ladies. Though better yet, New York 2020 #iwish #mustwinlottolol. 

A bit of Poetry: After years of convincing myself I could not write poetry, I discovered that while I am no Hera Lindsay Bird (I WISH), I actually enjoy writing poetry. And it's definitely something I want to explore more in 2020 and get more, personal with. I enjoy writing about other things but my own life, not so much and I want to get out of my comfort zone there. 

Severance Lit: Another cool place I got to have my work published, poetry no less was this lovely site. Created by Terri-Jane Dow, one of the loveliest people on and off the internet. My work is here but go read all the other brilliant words on there too. 

Harry+Lana+Vampire Weekend+HAIM: And Taylor Swift! Sorry Taylor...There was a lotta new music in '19. I have to give particular thanks to Harry Styles and Lana Del Rey. Their new albums this year have more often than not been the tonic and on high rotation on my playlists. Well when I am not playing Rocketman's soundtrack on repeat again. 

You did your best, and that's enough: If I noticed one phrase throughout my journal more than any other, it was this. Maybe some people think this notion is a terrible one. Though I guess it goes with the self critique pointer from above. I'm learning to be more content with my achievements and efforts, and subsequently less critical when things maybe don't work out. Again, this is a never-ending work in progress but dissatisfaction is so exhausting and unfair on ourselves. As Nigel says in 'The Devil Wears Prada', nobody is going to pat you on the back and give you a gold star for a job well done. If there's one thing I have learnt this year, we have to give ourselves the praise and self-respect we deserve.

Flower Markets: Well not strictly flower markets per se but Saturday mornings strolling the small town markets, buying cheap blooms and having some of nature's beauty on display for a week. Sometimes longer, it's amazing the mileage you can get out of some flowers if you actually water them. Sorry I am such a luddite haha. All seriousness, weekend trips to the markets for flowers and fruit and coffee-good time.

I read, a lot: SUCH a surprise. Ahem. Not really. According to Goodreads, I read 91 books. Poetry, plays, novels, memoirs, essays, short stories, even a graphic novel. I read more widely this year and yes there was a bit of re-reading but I like to do that every now and again. More on what I read soon!

Times Are Changin': Next year (2021), Nana Wintour turns TEN. What the actual!? And to be honest, this corner is well due a facelift and even a name change. Yep, a name change. Nana Wintour no longer feels like my alter-ego but more like a shadow of someone I used to know. And to be honest I think that is why I posted on this corner less in 2019 than I have in a long time. I felt lost. A digital existential crisis if you will. But I see change on the horizon and I am hoping it is the blogging breath of fresh air I need.

Happy New Year!! Here's to 2020. Broaden your horizons, make things happen, surround yourselves with love and kindness. Have a good one. xx

*Thanks Harry Styles, you gem.

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