Farewell, 2017

We are once again at the last day of the year. As with all years preceding it, this day is a time for reflection and, for those that participate, resolutions. For me, 2017 was…complicated. 

R E F L E C T I O N

I’m a very ‘glass half empty’ kind of person. I don’t mean to be, but it’s an inherent part of my nature and I can’t help it. So, when December 31st rolls around and I think about the year, my thoughts automatically default to the negative things that happened this year. And in 2017, believe me, there were plenty. I spent some of the most miserable months of my life living in the city, working 17 day stretches and 10 hour days, only to go ‘home’ to a living situation that was equally unsatisfactory. I slumped into a depression that affected not just me, but my relationships with those around me. And amidst all of that, I came very close to doing something I always swore to myself I wouldn’t. In June, to keep both my sanity and my health, I quit my job and moved back home.

2017 brought with it many challenges and setbacks, I won’t deny. Too many, (and a lot of them too personal) to delve into on a public platform. In recent days, I have been fighting with a feeling of loneliness that I can’t shake, whilst simultaneously longing to be living on my own and away from people. See what I mean about complicated? But despite all the negative, there were some good times too. The highlight of the year was the week I spent in Tasmania. The beautiful country, the amazing places I visited, the wonderful friends I have there, and the innate feeling that I was home, made it one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I think longingly of the day I get to go back.

In terms of sewing, I didn’t quite manage my ‘one make a month’ project. Instead, I made 11 projects, ranging from pyjama pants to a wedding dress. I think I did well, all things considered. I took on some challenges and surprised myself with how much I managed to achieve. I’ve come a long way from the early days of apron making, years ago when my sewing journey began.

All in all, I can’t say that 2017 was especially good. It had its moments, absolutely. I saw some great bands, made some new friends (and fell out with some old ones). I expanded my skills, took on new and frightening things, and went out of my comfort zone in a lot of aspects. But, nevertheless, I’m not sorry to see 2017 go.

R E S O L U T I O N S

As for resolutions, I don’t make them. What I am making, however, are plans. First, I am taking a tactical approach to sewing next year. This year I just winged it, and stitched anything that took my fancy. Next year, I am going to set myself nine projects that are different to anything I’ve made before, and I am finally going to take on the knit fabric beast. I have avoided it in the past because I’m scared of it, to be honest. Woven is so much easier. However, I know that Tilly Walnes, of Tilly and the Buttons, is bringing out a book on sewing with stretch fabric and so I am going to buy it when it comes out, and tackle the beast head on. Tilly really helped me when I first started sewing, with simple instructions and cute patterns, so I’m excited to see how I can continue to expand my skills with her second book.

Next on my list of plans is to do some research and find out where I plan to live next. As I explained to my best friend, the city didn’t work out for me so I think my next move will be coastal. But, learning from my mistakes, I will look around, visit and explore any potential homes before I barrel in head on and end up back in the City Situation. What will help, is that I plan once again to be living on my own, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at that prospect.

The rest of my plans are sketchy at best. I refuse to say I’ll write a certain amount, or read so many books, or lose any weight or any other thing that I know I won’t stick to. I have a tendency to take on too much too soon, and get overwhelmed and end up doing none. The only other thing I want to do is take my director up on the plan we made to have her teach me the violin. Once the play is over, and we have more time, I am going to ask her to help me learn the instrument. Because honestly, it’s about time I made the effort, since my string collection remains sadly unplayed and unlearned. My final plan for 2018 is to take things slow. To try not to take on too much, and to remember to breathe. That’s not too much to ask from myself, I feel.

To you, dear readers, I simply wish to say thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sticking with me on this blogging journey. A particular thank you to two that, in the words of Anne Shirley, I feel are my kindred spirits. To Quinn, for not only your wonderful writing, but also for your lovely comments when I needed words of encouragement. And to Arbie, who has been with me since the early days, thank you for your creative mind, the adorable photos of your ferrets, and your kind words, always. I look forward to reading both of your blogs in the coming year!

Well, that’s it. Happy New Year to you all. I leave you with this comic from Sarah Andersen, which I feel sufficiently sums up my feelings about the coming year.

Image is the property of Sarah Andersen

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

You know the saying, you sound like a broken record? Well, I’m kind of like that, except my record isn’t broken. It’s just really short, and the player is damaged so it just keeps playing that short album on repeat. You may be familiar with some of my greatest hits, such as “I hate my job” and “I feel so unfulfilled” and, my personal favourite, “what am I supposed to do with my life?”.

I feel as though I’m never fully satisfied, wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing; it’s never enough. When I lived in the city, all I wanted to do was quit my job and move back home. When I got my job back here, I was thrilled. It felt like a step up from my last stressful position, and I not only got regular breaks, but an actual weekend. Now, almost six months into that job, I dread going in. It is mind numbing and soul crushing. The work is monotonous, and about as far from stimulating as a job could possibly be. As I said to my best friend yesterday, I feel like I lose all my colour and vibrancy the minute I step in the door. 

I am considering quitting, but the thing that is holding me back at the moment is that one thought I can’t shake; what’s the point? So I quit this job and find another that seems like a better one for a few months, until I get to that same stage of boredom and discontent, and start looking again. It is an endless circle, chasing fulfilment and satisfaction, or at the very least, a job that doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face. But decent jobs are scarce, especially without a qualification, and more to the point, I have no idea what I want to do.

I turned 25 this month, and I feel like I’m no better off now than when I was 20, except when I was 20 I was working in a job I actually loved, and I hadn’t yet become so jaded. I know, I know. 25 is still young, and I have opportunity and all that. But the thing that terrifies me more than anything, is the notion that this will be my life. Going from job to job, living in rented houses and scrounging money fortnight to fortnight just to get by, until I eventually die. I mean, what kind of life is that? So I have decided that something needs to change. 

I need to start being an adult about this, and work out a bit of a plan. I need to decide if I want to stay in this rut, and get progressively more bitter and angry about my life, or if I want to go, and make the life I want for myself. I need to start thinking seriously about whether my writing is good enough to take me the places I want to go, or whether I need to start working on a backup plan. And more than anything, I need to start finding joy in things again. Because at the rate I’m going, all this pent up rage and bitterness I have is going to end up killing me. I’ve had a bad year. I’ve changed, and not in a good way, and I’m not sure I like who I’m turning into. I need to get back to that idealistic 20 year old Amy, have a chat with her and get some perspective. 

I know how I want my life to be. I just have to figure out a way to achieve it.

Anyway, that’s my current existential crisis. I hope you’re all well, and that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, it’s something you love.

House DreamsĀ 

Recently I’ve become obsessed with the notion of owning a home. I’ve started walking again lately, in a twofold attempt to both return to a semi fit state of being, and to hopefully ease the back pain that is now into the third week. On these walks I’ve been paying attention to the houses I pass, and some of them are so tidy and quaint and cute and lovely that I can’t help but fantasise about one day owning one. 

It is at times like this that Pinterest is in equal measures an excellent tool for inspiration, and a blazing reminder of everything I do not (yet) have. I have been scouring the site for the last hour, pinning everything that catches my eye…and where my “home” board is concerned, that’s a lot of pins. I do not need a giant house, and rather have been more drawn to smaller, more unique structures than larger and more modern designs. I am a fan of Tudor cottages, of stone structures with a red doors (Rolling Stones, anyone?), of quaint little places with wide verandas shaded by large trees. Basically, anything small, unique and potentially fairytale-like, and I’m all over it like glitter on a gay pride parade.

My desire to own a house has come in large part from the realisation that, at nearly 25, I am not only back living at home, but without any real savings. At the moment what savings I do have is going towards a trip to the U.S next year, but after that? Put it this way, I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the rest of my life paying someone else’s mortgage. I want a house of my own because I want to be able to hang art on the walls without fear of losing a bond. I want to be able to own a dog without repercussion from a landlord. I want to be able to set up a sewing room with all the bits and bobs to make it easy and accessible and a complete creative space. 

I have decided that now is the time to start being a proper adult…about certain things, in any case. So I guess, amidst all the repayments I’m making, the tax deductions, the fees I’m paying, the money I’m trying to save and the general cost of living, I’m going to try and set some money aside for the “future house fund”. And since its gonna take me a million years to do it on my wage, I guess I have a lot of time to scour Pinterest and perfect the idea of what I want. Red door and giant veranda, here I come!