What have I achieved this year?
(if you’ve got boobies, buy a size up – this is a 10 and wayyy too tight, buying it again in another colour a size up)
Well, a whole host of things really.
I finally stopped getting my hair highlighted after a long love affair with dropping way more money than I had on my quest to be blonder blonder BLONDER!! After three years of having it propped against the wall I got off my arse and persuaded a friend with a raw plug to help me put my heavy mirror on the wall. I also discovered blusher and how it makes me look about five thousand times more alive than I had ever looked before, so that’s been great.
I bought my first piece of leopard print clothing which officially means I am ~fashionable~, I ran a mile in under nine minutes (back in January, it seems like years ago but IT STILL BLOODY COUNTS), I made a salad using quinoa and it didn’t taste absolutely revolting as I always assumed it would.
I’ve achieved a lot, when you look at like that.
I’ve also achieved basically nothing, when you look at it like that.
In February I actually gave up smoking (you bet your ass I wrote all about it), probably my biggest achievement of the year and one that I am most proud of. I’ve also written two pieces that I was cuffed about for the Sunday Times Magazine (one of which came with such a big internet trolling after publication that I am quite happy to pretend it never happened), so it’s not been a total write-off, but let’s be the honest, it’s not quite been the sensation that it could have been.
What brought this particular cheerful thought on? I hear you ask… tentatively.
A couple of things to be honest.
Namely though a tweet that did the rounds earlier this week asking simply:
‘We’re 75% through 2018, what have you achieved?’
As it turns out I follow some extraordinary people on social media and my timeline has been full of “this year I got a promotion, I had a baby, I got married, I bought my first house, I wrote a play, changed the law… I did all of the above and had time to lose three stone, run a marathon, take up ballet, walk to the moon AND CURE CANCER.”
By comparison I had very little to say for myself.
“I can fit my whole fist in my mouth… wanna see??”
I can’t even do that ffs! My sister can, but I CAN’T BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS ACHIEVED MORE THAN ME.
If I’m honest, I always suspected this year was going to be a bit of a flop for me. This was the year that followed on from last year and last year was the year that was amazing and radical because I had a sodding book come out.
EM YOU WROTE A BOOK?! YOU NEVER MENTION IT. TELL US MORE.
Okay guys, you twist my arm – it’s called Can I Speak To Someone In Charge? and is available on Amazon and currently discounted if you fancy grabbing yourself a copy!
But seriously, what was I really going to achieve this year that could compete with that?
I suppose I could have written another one. I could have pursued other dreams, worked a bit more, pushed myself a little bit harder. That book could have been the jumping point from which I launched the most successful and lucrative career of dreams. I could be presenting dream TV shows with a regular column and a novel in the works. Theoretically.
The only fucker is, I didn’t do any of that.
I have worked, I haven’t sat on my hands for nine months and hoped for the best. I’ve gone about my every day life, I’ve stuck to my routine, I haven’t stopped trying or wanting or dreaming.
But my achievements? They’re not even close to as impressive this year as they were last year. And that, my pals, is a bitter pill to swallow.
To be hit with the realisation that nine months of this year has passed already, if I’m honest, did a number on me.
I’ve never been one to fear getting old, namely, because I’m not getting old – I’m only 24; young enough that people still roll their eyes when they talk about my misdemeanours, that I can still ring my mum and ask her what temperature to wash my sports clothes at, that I can go out until 5am on a Thursday night and not have everyone around me assume that I am having a breakdown of some kind.
I listen as other people panic and stress about the passing of time and I think: really? you’re really worrying about this? Come on now, this is your life, it’s fun, it’s fine, chill out, it’s all going at exactly the same speed that it always has. There are so many other things to be thinking about.
Until of course I was confronted with the fact that if I had been that way inclined, I could have done so much more with this year than I have done.
If I’d have wanted to, I could have thought of, conceived, grown and then birthed an actual human baby in 2018. I could have totally changed my life. Made the massive decision to create another human being. I could have made a new LIFE.
As it is I’ve hardly got anything to show for life I already had.
Of course in my heart I am well aware of the fact that the baby thing, of all the things, would have been really bloody easy to do. The creation of it at least. Literally babe, open your legs and wait for your life to change. Of all the things to get yourself in a state about, accepting Mother Nature and it’s ability to turn sperm into a human is not the one… but here I am.
Marching into mid-September, somehow, wondering what the fuck I’ve achieved so far this year (beyond the blusher discovery of course).
Well, hello, no wonder I’ve got myself into a bit of a state eh?!
The pressure to achieve, as a woman right now, as a self-employed woman no less, has never been higher (I wrote a few weeks ago about the pressure on us to be a girl boss, if you fancy reading that) and that is fantastic and fucking infuriating at the same time.
Fantastic because I am relentlessly inspired, pushed harder than I’ve ever been before, encouraged and supported and made to want to do better and be better and want more from my life.
Infuriating because I am relentlessly undermined, pushed down, made to feel alone and disappointed and that no matter how much I do, I will never be anything when you compare me to the women out there doing SO MUCH BETTER.
Ladies and gents, I present you with the social media equivalent of the carrot AND the stick.
What have I achieved this year?
If I’m honest gals, no matter where you look at it from, not that much.
But that annoys me, because I’ve been trying. And that means a lot, because I’m one of these people that is absolutely terrified of failure, and as a result, is loathed to try unless I can be sure that I’ll get exactly what I want.
To think that I’ve been busting my ass for nine months and I’ve got less to show for it than I would have done if I’d had a night of unprotected passion back on New Year’s Eve is violently depressing.
And I think that’s what I resent most about all of this.
I read one stupid tweet reminding me that time is passing (as if the fact that the Great British Bake Off is back on the telly didn’t do that for me already) and I’ve been sent into a spiral of completely ridiculous and unjustified panic.
In part a kick up the bum to make the last three months of this month a SENSATION, in part a temptation as sweet as they come to sit back down, chill tf out and wait for this year to end so that I can make a whole load of drunken promises to the universe at Christmas time and press reset come January 1st.
As if I won’t be spending the entirety of January in the gym, terrified of my waistband and up to my eyeballs in the relentless rhetoric that January is to spent juicing, going to bed at 8pm and making your fat cry at every given opportunity.
I’ll be too busy for world domination in the work department come January, I always am.
So of course, I assume it makes sense to at least try now.
Monday is, after all the new year of the week, and one of them comes around every seven days or thereabouts. Why don’t I just celebrate those (just without the New-Week-Eve parties which I think would begin to reek havoc on my life should they become a regular fixture).
This whole crisis of confidence and life came about because someone, somewhere decided that September was a second January.
And that’s fine, I love a new notebook as much as the next girl, I am more than happy to jump on the ‘back to school’ bandwagon.
But if we are going to commit to this, let’s do it properly shall we?
Unless it’s been depressing enough that you find yourself counting down the days to January 1st from half way through October, most people don’t sit on New Year’s Eve crying into their champagne glass about how little they have achieved with the lat 365 days.
No, for the most part, NYE is spent making promises and looking forward.
Let us please afford September the same courtesy.
Nothing good comes from looking back, least of all when you’re deliberately seeking out every single coulda-w0ulda-shoulda you encountered along the way.
What have I achieved this year? Who fucking cares.
What will I achieve with the rest of this year??? Who fucking knows.