Reflections of 2019
Wow. My reaction to 2019 is simply Wow. What a year.
From starting the year by going zero waste and setting myself a 30-Day Challenge to kind of cleanse myself of some of my habits – all of which I’ve fallen back on. To being published in Glamour and going on BBC Radio 5 Live, to changing jobs and travelling to New York City solo.
It’s been quite a year.
From the Terrible to the Terrific
Looking back 2018 was probably one of the top three worst years of my life. I lost family members to cancer and to dementia. Rifts came up, I struggled with mental health and for the better part of a year I was feeling very unstable in my life.
Yet, 2019 started with little fanfare and turned into one of the best years of my life.
The Wedding Planning – Not Mine!
My sister got engaged on New Year’s Eve. Her finance said that 2018 was so full of crap he wanted to end the year with at least one piece of happy news, and it was for all of us. Over the last year we’ve been helping her plan her wedding. And she asked me to be bridesmaid.
We’ve done the shopping for dresses – I tried on one dress and decided that was it. That was my bridesmaid dress. I love it – and we found her dress. As a family we visited the location where she’s getting married, we’ve joked about the guest list and the music playlist, and generally just got excited about the whole thing. It was nice to have something to plan that was nothing but good, and full of love.
The Writing – all mine!
Then there was my writing career. It blew up!
From writing my first piece, for free, for Huffington Post in October 2018 I’ve now written for over 12 other publications, and been paid! I’ve done paid and unpaid public speaking events, I’ve been asked on BBC Radio twice to speak about my zero waste experiences. I even auditioned and was successful for a very exciting – slightly cheesy – recording which will be coming out in early 2020.
I’ve officially been branded a freelance journalist and I’m commissioned for pieces, as well as pitching them to publications. It’s extraordinary and something I feel very privileged and lucky to be able to do.
The Job Change
This year I realised just how good I am at my job. Now, that comes across as very arrogant, but I consider it a simple show of self-belief. In three years I’ve gone from a graduate to a Marketing Manager at one of the big five publishers in the world. This is not the sort of career path you would expect for a 23-year-old.
In June of this year, I moved from Canelo to HarperCollins, a decision that was kismet rather than a definitive choice. I wasn’t looking for another role, but an opportunity came up and I took it and succeeded. I loved my job at Canelo, and I miss my colleagues dearly. They were very supportive – even when I screwed up – and I hope that they know that I can’t wait to see them rule the publishing world one day.
However, whilst I may have loved my old job I recently felt that I’ve come into my own at my new one. It takes six months to acclimatise and settle into a new position, but in the last six months at HarperCollins not only have I felt very welcomed and had so much fun, I’ve also become an award-winning marketer.
My mentor and I won an award for best debut marketing campaign for Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams. Winning the award was amazing – but not only because it’s great to receive praise for hard work, but also because this was my first ever paperback campaign! And these awards are not easy to win at the best of times.
It was a confidence boost like no other and it definitely concreted my job change as a good move in 2019. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings and what we as an imprint can do next.
I’ve lived in my own flat in London for over 18 months now, and I still love it.
Sadly, at the end of November, there was an attack on London Bridge. My office is very close to London Bridge and we were actually put into lockdown from 2pm until 6:30pm on that Friday. Which was scary, but the safest thing to do.
It reminded me just how fleeting and easy it would be for change to happen. Obviously, whilst I was nearby I wasn’t anywhere near danger truly. But I could see it from my office window and I experienced the lockdown with every single one of my colleagues in that day. Yet, no one worried or got frustrated with it. Instead, we all put our wine in the fridge – and yes, we publishers all have wine on our desk for some reason – and there was an an Assist-Mas party in one of the conference rooms. (Assist-mas = Assistant’s Christmas Party).
Everyone rallied together, kept everyone up to date and insisted we all stopped working early. It was a show of great camaraderie, even in a frightening time. But I’m not afraid of this city, what would be the point? No one knows when something bad is going to happen, but I’m sure as hell not going to be looking over my shoulder for it and forget to live.
This year I have gone to the National Gallery to kill time after an interview. I’ve been to new areas of London I’ve never seen before, new theatres and new gardens. I’ve gone on dates to boardgames cafes, comedy clubs, new pubs, and new restaurants. Honestly, dating is becoming my new version of tourism.
I love this city. It never grows old for me. Maybe that’s a rose-tinted look at it, as it’s not perfect and I know that, but it still it’s the place I want to be.
I realise this post is a very positive, happy-go-lucky look at 2019 and I do want to reiterate that it hasn’t been perfect. Friends of mine lost loved ones, I got the norovirus, I’ve had to have awkward conversations and made mistakes whilst doing my new job, rifts have been opened in my own family and I’ve upset people and had to apologise, back-track or move on.
No year is going to be perfect, if it was we wouldn’t appreciate it.
This year I truly do appreciate it though. Like I keep saying, it’s been one of the best years of my life for me. And that’s because I didn’t look back at all the crappy stuff that’s happened before, I just got on with what I wanted to do and stopped wallowing.
As I said before, this all comes across a bit arrogant but I have decided modesty isn’t for me. Humility, yes, but modesty can go shove itself. If I’ve done a good job I’m going to say so, if I feel hot I’ll instagram it, if I am proud of something I’ll tweet it.
2019 is the year that has made me believe in myself. And who knows what 2020 will bring.