What a hell of a year you’ve been. I know every year we say “that year flew by”, but 2015 really was a rollercoaster ride of a year for me. Without question, the last 12 months have been the most memorable, life changing of my life so far. There have been ups and downs, tears of joy, tears of laughter, stress beyond explanation and lessons, so many life lessons that I can only learn from as time goes by. Unlike other blog posts, where I can structure my thoughts before I go to type them, this letter is a massive accumulation of emotions, so I’m just going to let the words come naturally. Prepare for some brutal honesty, soppiness, laughter, and maybe even a dash of inspiration..
Dear 2015 : Thank You For The Wisdom
If this year has taught me anything, it’s that you have to always know your own worth. For far too long, I put myself in a position to be used, hurt and taken for granted. More than anything, I was being held back from reaching my full potential. 2015 gave me a new beginning and a chance to free myself from what (and who) was holding me back. People change, they grow up and their needs become different to what they were to begin with. There isn’t always a reason or explanation behind this, it just happens.
Change is never easy to deal with, especially when you’re used to the same people and surroundings for a long time. I won’t pretend it was straight forward, it wasn’t. It was tough and hurt, and still continues to do now and then, but that’s just something to work on in 2016. Holding onto regret and bitterness is something I don’t want, so despite how I may be resentful for happenings of 2015, I’m determined to look past it and remember that I came out of it on the better side, and more importantly, as a stronger person.
2015 has taught me how to stand on my own, to fear no judgement and to always know my own mind. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. I refuse to let anyone dull my sparkle or prevent me from reaching my full potential, be it out of jealousy or their own insecurities. It’s better to stand alone and be content than to stay with someone who doesn’t appreciate your full beauty, out of fear of change and new beginnings. As much of a cliche this is; follow your heart, but take your brain with you.
Dear 2015 : Thank You For The Opportunities
Of course, with change comes new beginnings, and in my case happy endings. When my mam speaks of recent move to college, she says I’ve taken to it “like a duck to water” and I really couldn’t phrase it better myself. They say there’s a time in everyone’s life that’s the ‘making’ of them and firmly believe this is mine. What I love about my life in UCC is the freedom to be an individual. As much as I enjoyed growing up in Kerry, there’s only so much growing a person can do in such a small community.
In the space of just a few months, I’ve met some incredible people (more about them later), and my eyes have been opened to a much bigger, brighter world. Of course, the first half of my 2015 was consumed by the Leaving Cert. and all the stresses that went with it. It was definitely the worse few months of my life, filled with anxiety and feelings of uncertainty. I had no idea whether I was making the right decisions or not, but reflecting back on it all, I know I’ve ended up exactly where I was meant to be, and that in itself makes all the stress worthwhile.
Dear 2015 : Thank You For Adventure
I’m off to Africa in Summer 2016 for what will hopefully be one of THE most incredible experiences of my life. Even as I type it, it becomes more and more surreal. Truth be told, this has been a long time coming, but now that it’s official, I’m overwhelmed by a number of different emotions. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a longing to volunteer in the Developing World, so when this opportunity arose, I just knew I had to grasp it. Travel has always been on the cards for me, I’ve always had a serious case of wanderlust. But not only do I want to see the world, I also want to make an impact on it, and so, I decided a volunteering trip to Uganda was something I had to embark on.
The incredible charity for which I’m an Ambassador is called Nurture Africa, and the work they’ve done to date is truly amazing. Nurture Africa’s aim is to nurture the mental, physical and emotional growth and well being of Ugandan HIV/AIDS infected and affected orphans and vulnerable children, and their HIV+ parents/guardians, by providing access to quality healthcare (primary and specialist HIV treatment and care), education and sustainable livelihoods projects whilst mainstreaming child welfare and gender equality through all of their activities. The reason I chose to volunteer with this charity, above any other, is that their methods of aid are so diverse, they’re helping so many people with so many aspects of their lives.
Of course, I’m just one girl and I don’t expect to save the world in a couple of weeks. Going on such an emotionally and physically challenging adventure, it’s so important to accept this. However, underestimating your abilities is never good either. The attitude I intend to travel to Africa with is, that I’ll give everything I do my absolute all, and make as much of a positive impact as I can, more both the sake of those I’ll help, and myself too. Although my main goal in embarking on this journey is to help those in need, I also hope to strengthen, become enlightened and grow as a person.
Dear 2015 : Thank You For The Success
When I started my blog this year, I never imagined it would be as successful as it is. My first post, “My Thoughts On The Marriage Equality Referendum”, which I published in April, was purely posted out of my passion for the cause and to get my opinions out there. That was only the beginning, and just 8 months later, An Domhan I Mo Cheann has a success story of it’s own. With an accumulated following of over 7,000, between Facebook, Instagram and the blog itself, across 35 different countries worldwide, I couldn’t be any prouder. Of course, when I started my blogging journey in the beginning, it was as a release and a way of having my voice heard, not about stats and followers. However, knowing that my thoughts are actually being read and that people enjoy my work is amazing and I’m so so grateful.
I’ve spoken to so many fantastic people in the blogging circle and learned so much. I even had a little (okay major) fangirl moment when the incredible Suzanne Jackson (SoSueMe) followed me on Instagram and commented on some of my posts! She’s been such an inspiration to me, as one of the pioneers in the Irish blogging circle. It’s little things like this that make me realise that my hardwork is paying off, and my dream is becoming a reality. 2015 was only the start of An Domhan I Mo Cheann and the only way is up! I can’t wait to see what 2016 holds for my blog..
Dear 2015 : Thank You For Amazing Friends
Remember those wonderful people I mentioned earlier? Well here they are. Since I started college, I’m made some of the most amazing friends and I’m so thankful for them. They make me laugh to the point where it hurts and I know I can rely on them.
They say the friends you make in college are the ones you’ll have for life and I really hope that’s true. Living in a house with 7 others, whom I’d never met until September, I never imagined we’d all get along so well. They’re not just my housemates, they’re my friends and they all mean the world to me (even when they don’t clean up their dishes, tut tut).
College definitely opens your eyes and you become friends with people you would never have imagined you’d get along with. I’m sure 2016 will bring even more laughter and drunken shenanigans and I really can’t wait!
2015, thank you for the memories, the lessons, the experiences and opportunities. The best was made of tough times and so many amazing things happened, when I least expected them to. To everyone who impacted my life, in both negative and positive ways, thank you. You were either a lesson or a blessing. 2015 was the year that was either going to make or break me, and I’m so thankful that it ended on such a high note.
Wishing you all endless happiness, love and laughter in 2016,