I entered 2018 certain that this was going to be my year. At the end of 2017, I made some major life changes, and as a result I thought that I knew everything on how to live life well. Turns out I was wrong. Obviously. For the first seven months I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been, as a teenager at least. But the last five went downhill fast, and left me realising that I still have a lot to learn. So in light of that, I’m going to list some of the things I hope to achieve in 2019 – and this time, I’m going to make it a bit more realistic.
Pass my first year of university (finally)
I was meant to finish my first year this June, but getting ill and dropping out delayed me a little. Obviously I’m thrilled that I’m still able to do my course online, and that by the end of it I’ll have a degree just like everyone else, but having all my friends finish their first year ahead of me and move on the second has made me feel like everyone else is getting on with their lives, while mine has just… stagnated. But that’ll hopefully change in 2019: I’m scheduled to take my exams in May and June, and then I’ll finally be able to move on to the long-awaited second year.
Make some new friends
One of my biggest concerns with dropping out of mainstream university was that I would not make any friends. Of course, I have all my old friends who are amazing, but meeting new people is exciting and sort of marks the fact that you’re moving on in life. I actually ended up making a total of four new friends this year, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but to me is kind of astounding. As someone who lives at home and doesn’t attend any kind of group classes, and not to mention finds it very difficult to form connections with people at the best of times, four people is huge. But actually, it kind of makes sense: I’m not good at making friends in very crowded or loud environments, because the old chronic illness kicks in and I shut down. Meeting people one-on-one or in smaller groups actually works in my favour.
Save some money
My job as a tutor is another thing that I’m very grateful for. I would find it almost impossible working shifts more than three hours in a retail job. Tutoring means I generally only do an hour at a time, and I set my own schedule. But this year I’ve been spending money as fast as I earn it; sometimes faster. Next year I’m going to try to put some aside and save up.
Do things to make my life as a disabled person easier
So I have a horrible tendency of knowing that I’m chronically ill and therefore can’t really do quite as much as everyone else, and then going and doing as much as anyone else anyway. I know “powering through” is sometimes seen as a positive thing, but it really, really shouldn’t be. It means that I get more and more ill, and at this point in the year I’ve broken down just in time for Christmas. Next year I’m going to be more organised: I’ll get my DSA (disabled student allowance); I’ll ask for special arrangements when I need them. I’ll even get a wheelchair if I can convince my parents, so that I can leave the house on a bad day. It’s just about time that I start using the help available to me.
Kiss nobody, unless I’m sure it’s the right choice
For most of my teenage years, it was often on my mind that everyone around me had had their first kiss, and I hadn’t. It made me feel like there must be something wrong with me. I desperately wanted my first kiss to happen, but I also wanted it to be with absolutely the right person. And I was very scared that I wouldn’t know what to do, if it ever did happen. Now that I’ve had it, I’m not scared anymore, and I also don’t really care that much. But I get attached too quickly, and then I get hurt far too much. In the future, I need to be much more careful when it comes to relationships, for my own sake.
Stop thinking about death all the time
I’m not really sure what I can do about this one. It’s always been a problem for me, but it’s got a lot worse recently. I’m just terrified by the thought that life is just a waiting game, and no matter what happens, it always ends the same way. It’s taking over my conscious mind: when I think about how much I love someone, it’s coupled with the thought that one day they’ll not be here anymore. When I see one of those posts online about a child beating cancer, I think about how they’re still going to end up dead. That’s probably something I shouldn’t even be writing down because it’s such a horrible thing to say, but it’s not something I’m proud of: it’s a problem with me, and it’s something that needs to change. The other day, I referred to something that would be happening in about a year’s time, and immediately followed it in my mind with “bold of you to assume you’ll be alive then.” Somehow I need to get over this mindset, and use it instead to appreciate life right now.
Understand that this year won’t be perfect
No matter how hard I try, I can’t control the future. I don’t know what’s coming in 2019. No matter what I do to make things better, there are so many things that could happen. It could be the best year of my life; it could be the worst. I could find the love of my life, or I could lose someone who means the world to me. I may come out of it a wiser, better person; or I may not even make it to 2020. I would never have predicted the way that 2018 worked out, and so for 2019, I’m not even going to try.