It started with a list…

“Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise”- Victor Hugo

The start of a New Year seems to bring in a tidal wave of nostalgia, doesn’t it? Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr have been going crazy with people reminiscing, so I thought I’d join in. I didn’t really appreciate how fabulous 2014 has been until I sat down and began to write this post- it has been pretty damn fabulous. 2013 wasn’t really the best year; everyone seemed to be loving uni and while I was happy to see everyone else having such a great time, the truth is that I wasn’t having such a great time myself. From November until March life (to use a very colloquial phrase) seemed like a great big hash, and I just wasn’t having any of it. I continuously fluctuated between continuing with my degree, or dropping out and trying something different. The early hours of New Year’s Day saw me and the cat sitting on the living room floor together, with a bottle of wine, feeling absolutely miserable (that sentence implies the cat was drinking too- it was just me I promise!). But in March I had a change of heart, and was prompted to write a list of things I wanted to do in 2014 to motivate myself and start enjoying life again. Some of them were big things- “1- Visit my friend Danielle in Scotland” (which meant facing one of my biggest fears alone- flying!), “13- Get some kind of job”, and “22- See the Belfast Giants”. Most of the list however, was composed of small goals and gestures, such as “16- Start running”, “40- Have a confident conversation in French” and “20- Finish watching The Office”. I know these things probably seem stupidly silly, but I needed to lure myself out of my room for some reason other than “going to class so I didn’t get kicked out of uni”, or “walking to the gate to get my Dominos order”. For anyone out there feeling low or depressed, this is honestly the easiest way to make yourself feel a million times better- I promise it works!! 🙂

A major part of this list was based on books I wanted to read, primarily the books which, if you haven’t read them, make people say “GOSH I JUST DON’T KNOW IF WE CAN BE FRIENDS UNTIL YOU READ _______!!!!” I’ve listed some of the better ones here, so if you need some reading list inspiration, take note!

  1. The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath (probably the best book I read in 2014)
  3. The Fault in Our Stars- John Green
  4. Catcher in The Rye- J. D. Salinger
  5. Company of Liars- Karen Maitland (if you like The Canterbury Tales/Medieval Lit, this is fantastic!)
  6. The Shock of the Fall- Nathan Filer
  7. Ariel- Sylvia Plath
  8. The Road- Cormac McCarthy
  9. Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
  10. The Canterbury Tales- Chaucer (TRUST me- I’ve spent my nights in absolute fits of laughter over these bad boys)
  11. To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee (I FINALLY READ IT AND GUYS WOW IT’S SOME KIND OF AMAZING!!!!)

The non-literature based side of the list has been equally as fantastic, however. One of the best things about 2014 was getting hired as a Tour Guide in the Old Bushmills Distillery. This is literally the BEST job in the whole world! I honestly don’t think I could ever put into words how much fun this was, but some of the best/strangest/cutest bits included: Meeting Ronnie Vannucci and completely fangirling, having cute little old American ladies ask me if my hair and eyelashes and teeth were real, making people laugh at my terrible jokes and puns (“Amber’s tours are exciting tours *winks*”), having my tour groups take bets on whether or not I was old enough to drink the whiskey, and, during my final tour, slapping myself in the face with a wooden spoon. Ah, memories! Of course, the best part overall was meeting all of the lovely people I work with, who all made me feel so happy and loved- I know I’ve made some friends for life!

Finding our home for Uni this year was also an incredibly special moment. After looking at 25 different houses and having several arguments, 3 of my best friends and I found our little house. Let’s forget the giant spiders and the wasp infestation, and the fact that it can be BALTIC- it’s ours, and I feel so lucky to live with 3 of my favourite people in the whole world.

Finally, the last thing I appreciated about 2014 was having such a nice Christmas with my family and friends. Christmas 2013 was very dark, so it felt fantastic to be able to celebrate and actually get into the festive spirit this year! From fake Christmas with my housemates, to real Christmas day with my family and new traditions being made, it was just amazing to feel like everything was falling back into place.

It’s only day two of 2015, but I have high hopes for this year. 2013 was bad, 2014 was better, and I’m just hoping that 2015 is going to be even better again. Tonight I’m planning my list for 2015, and I’m so excited! This year I’m heading to France for my year abroad- a terrifying but incredible thought! I’m definitely going to put travelling on my list somewhere. I’ve already got my first book for this year lined up ‘The Guest Cat’, but if anyone has any other suggestions, I’d really appreciate it. I also encourage you guys to have a go at making a list of things to do in 2015- what are your exciting plans? I’d love to know!

PS- just wanted to say a super special thank you to everyone who helped me through Nov 13 to Mar 14- you know who you are, and I’ll never be able to thank you enough for your love and support. Even if you don’t think you did something, you probably did. You’re all superstars!! ❤

My 2014 List!
My 2014 List!
The day we got our house :)
The day we got our house 🙂
Recreating the Oscars Selfie with these cuties!

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