And suddenly it’s the second to last day of 2018. How? I have no idea. This year has flown by. Even though there were some ups & downs, I’m pretty certain that 2018 has been the best year of my life so far. So many amazing things happened and I think it’s going to be hard to top it next year. That being said, I have also learned that I need to take a few steps back sometimes and don’t overwork myself. Here’s a little review of 2018 for y’all!

The best year of my life

Donating Blood

I’ve had a pretty bad fear of needles for as long as I can remember. Getting vaccinations for travelling have been a nightmare in the past. When I fainted 4 times in a week (3rd year of uni, hooray) and I had to get a blood test, I was scared to death. To overcome this fear I decided to donate blood for the first time in February. The whole experience was kinda terrifying for me, but it turned out great!

5 year anniversary with Richard

In March, Richard and I celebrated our 5th year anniversary. Seeing how much has changed since we started dating is crazy. I still lived in the Netherlands, doing a communications degree that I hated and now we’re here! I’m so grateful for him and honestly couldn’t wish for someone better.

Graduating University

In July, I graduated university. It was one of the best days of my life, honestly. The whole “going-to-university-in-England-studying-Creative-Writing-as-a-foreinger” was kinda crazy and I wasn’t sure if I was going to pull it off. But I did it! My parents flew over for the ceremony, Richard was there, together with all my friends who were on my course. I was (and still am) so proud of myself for getting through the last few years juggling a degree course in my second language with tons of hours at part-time jobs, a social life and my blog!

Roadtrip through America

Almost straight after my graduation, I left the UK for a few months. That first month I spent travelling through the USA with my family. We flew to Denver and from there we drove through Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. You can find more about this entire trip in my USA roadtrip itinerary.

Japan

In October, I made one of my biggest dreams come true: Visit Japan. Japan had been my dream since I was a teenager and I had promised myself that once I finish university, I would go. Richard went with me on what turned out to be the best holiday ever. Being in Japan was truly amazing, seeing all the things I’ve been dreaming about seeing for years. The 2.5 weeks went by way too quickly, but left me with some of the most amazing memories. Hopefully we can go back sometime.

Seeing Owl City in Japan with Richard

Even though our Japan trip as a whole was probably the best thing that happened to me in 2018, this was an extra special event. When I was about 13 years old, I found Owl City’s music online and immediately fell in love with it. It helped me through some of the toughest years of my life. I met Richard through this music, as well as some of my best friends today. Without any of this, there’s no way I would’ve moved to the UK and do all the things I’m doing right now. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I owe so much to that music. After booking our trip to Japan, we found out that Owl City was playing a show while we were in Tokyo. It honestly seemed to good to be true. But it was!

On our second to last day in Japan, we saw him play a live show in Tokyo. It was the first time me and Richard seen him perform live together (as Owl City had not been touring to Europe since we got together) and all the emotions just came out. It’s crazy to see how much music can mean to a person and how much it can influence ones life. This show was so special for me and truly one of the highlights of my year.

Getting my first full-time writing job

When we got back to the UK after our trip to Japan, I started looking for my first full-time job as a graduate. I was scared that it was going to be incredibly difficult, but I somehow got insanely lucky. After only looking for about a week, I was offered a position as digital marketing assistant & copywriter at a really cool company in Manchester. I will write a full post about it soon, but I’ve been super busy settling into the 40-hours-a-week life but I’m absolutely loving the job! I get to write blogposts and work on their social media accounts FOR A SALARY! It’s the dream!

Buying my first car + English driving license

Getting my first full-time job also allowed me to buy my first car! I’m currently living at my boyfriend’s parents until we get our own place, which saves us so much stress and money. But the commute to work from there by public transport was pretty much undoable (2.5 hours to get to work and about 2 to get back.) So I decided to finally apply for a GB driving license and do a few refresher lessons on the other side of the road (I passed my test 4 years ago in the Netherlands. I know how to drive, I was just a bit worried about driving on the left!). After that, I bought my first car!

Not all sunshine and roses…

Yes, 2018 has by far been the best year of my life. So many amazing things happened and I’m not going to pretend that it sucked. But, I also don’t want to pretend it was all amazing…

Hormones

In May, I decided to finally stop taking birth control. Nope, I don’t want to get pregnant any time soon. But having been on birth control for almost 10 years has had quite a bad impact on me. I was very depressed as a teenager and I’m almost certain being on birth control played a big part in it. After changing to the nuvaring 3 years ago, things did seem to change for the better. But I started getting terrible spiderveins on my legs. This was caused by the nuvaring. It also made me wonder, “How do I feel without any of these extra hormones?”, which made me decide to stop taking them for a while.

Getting off birth control after having been on it for so long was very hard. I felt terrible for weeks and my period didn’t start until last November. It’s weird seeing how emotional I’ve been getting and how I’ve been having terrible mood swings. I think it’s partly my body getting used to making its own hormones again and partly me getting used to feeling everything so intensely and not knowing how to deal with it.

Now, over half a year since quitting it, I do feel a lot better about this decision. My spider veins have almost cleared up completely and I do feel a lot clearer inside my mind (if that makes sense?). I’m looking forward to seeing how this choise is going to affect 2019, as I’ll hopefully get used to it more and more as each month passes. I’m not ruling out the possibility of going back to birth control, I just wanted to see what it was like off it.

Uni stress

Graduating university was absolutely amazing, but the last few months at Uni were terribly stressful. As you might know, I didn’t get any maintainance loan during my time as university (cause I’m a foreigner). Because of this, I’ve worked 20-30 hours every week on top of my degree to finance it. Trying to juggle a university degree in a foreign language, a part time job, a social life, university assignments, a boyfriend (who’s been super supportive and helpful all the way through uni) and a blog was almost impossible. I took a break from my blog and tried to focus on finishing university and saving for Japan, but the stress has absolutely taken its toll on my mental and physical health. Not to mention that my third year uni flat wasn’t the most healthy place to live in mentally due to some problems my flatmate and I had.

Post Grad Stress – Getting a Grip on My Mental & Physical Health

And then there’s the famous Post Graduate Depression. I wouldn’t quite call it depression, but it’s definitely been very tough. Not being able to see my uni friends 4 days a week and barely being able to find a day to meet up with them cause we all have different working days/times is hard. Getting used to the full-time working life is exhausting (even though I adore my job).

Working 40 hours a week has shown me how stressed I really was at university. Coming home at night and not having to worry about assignments and changing hours and shifts at work is bliss! I neglected my mental and physcial health a lot, especially in that last year of uni. I was working so hard to finish my degree, work overtime to afford everything I needed plus saving up for my trip to Japan, doing extra bits outside of course to add to my CV and trying to make the most of seeing my friends as often as I wanted. I had no time to look after myself properly. I ate way too little and food with no nutrients (pasta and cheese, AGAIN?), had no time to work out to look after my body or time to relax and look after my mind. I was constantely busy and I didn’t think it was a problem cause I was so used to it.

Now I’m slowly starting to realise how bad it’s been for me and slowly but steadily, I’m trying to take control again of my health. It’s hard for me to slow down sometimes, because I’m so used to giving 110% ALL. THE. TIME. I’ve still got a long way to go to really get back into a better shape, but I’m glad I’m seeing where some of the problems are.

2019

All that said, I’m very excited to see what 2019 will bring. 2018 had its ups and downs but I’m sure it’s been one of the (if not THE) best year of my life so far. I cannot wait to keep improving, make more awesome memories and visit more new places in the new year.

My goals? Get my physical & mental health under control a bit more, look after myself better, find a good balance between social & work life, save for my own place and put more time into making myself happier.

What are your favourite moments of 2018? And what are your goals for 2019?