It has been a big year. Like, a really big year. The sort of year where all my weird impulsive and dramatic choices have paid off and I feel a bit like a gambling addict on a winning streak unsure of when, if ever, it will come to an end.
I say that like it’s all been daisies and rainbows and sunshine, and it hasn’t. There’s been hard times, tough days and some bad consequences from the way life has turned out, but overall I’m pretty ecstatic about where I am right now.
Growing up is weird in the fact that we’re at an age where it feels like EVERYTHING can change within a year. You complete the cycle of 365 days and look back at where you started that chilly January 12 months ago and you’re like fuck. You feel like a different person, someone who’s learnt and been through more than you ever expected to and life has taken you down bendy little lanes you never expected it to, not ever.
So here it is, the moments and life changes that happened in my world this year. And yes, I’m sat here writing this like FUCK 2014, YOU’VE BEEN ALL KINDS OF INTERESTING, HAVEN’T YOU?
1. I quit journalism
I did a journalism degree, I got a string of jobs for well-respected online publications and then this year, the other week, I sacked it all in. I took a risk on doing something awesome and relatively new as far as the job market goes – I became a full-time blogger. Sure, I don’t have anywhere near the social media following as a lot of my ‘competitors’, but I’ve got the traffic and I’ve got the experience to know what works online and what sure as hell doesn’t.
All I wanted was to write for Glamour magazine, to have my features in print, and, when there were no graduate jobs in print or magazines I turned my hand to online journalism instead. Now it feels like a lot of websites, especially fashion and women’s lifestyle ones, are pretty tired and falling behind, so my next step to keep ahead with the journalism and content industry? To create my own content. It’s all about staying one step ahead to make sure you’re always at the top of your game. I’m picturing that A-OK emoticon right now.
2. I got a new car
Like an actual new bright red Fiat 500 called Augustus Bloom. It’s exciting not only because I get the freedom to go wherever I want without the weather and Tubes getting in the way, but because it’s shared with Chris, which feels like one more step up in our relationship.
3. I became a size 14
OK, so a lot of my clothes are still a 12, there’s even the odd 10 sneaking around in my wardrobe, but now I tend to pick up a 14 first when I’m clothes shopping. It’s probably one of the big changes of 2014 which makes me most unhappy, I feel that previously when I’ve thought I’ve been fat I’ve actually looked pretty normal and now I do actually look bigger than before. It’s hard to just accept yourself as bigger or curvier, especially as the weight gain has been a result of happiness. Whether i’ll remain at this new size or go back to my original weight will be a question for 2015.
4. My blog went viral
OK, so it went viral a few times. Humble brag over. It went from something that had a handful of posts on, uploaded every six months, to my career, my passion. And it got shared hundreds of thousands of times all around the world which is pretty fucking insane. My most popular posts to date being… 42 things all noughties teenagers will remember, 17 things all girls need to remember at all times and 31 thoughts every twenty-something girl has on a daily basis.
5. That day I had 1.5 million page views
I doubt I will ever hit a high the way I did in April this year when my noughties post went live. It all went a bit mental and it was my first day of unemployment following my abrupt departure from LOOK. I think it was supposed to happen when it did, a sign that even though I had no source of income and rent to pay, that everything was about to kick off big time and work itself out. The next day I was snapped up by Metro.
6. The time my blog was tweeted by Michelle Keegan
Same day as number five. I was lying in bed just watching all the blog madness unfold when suddenly I had people ringing, texting and tweeting me to be like MICHELLE KEEGAN JUST TWEETED OUT A LINK TO YOUR POST. So yeah, next stop Kim Kardashian.
7. I came off my anti-depressants
After a bitter sweet 18 months on Citalopram I called it quits in July this year. I’d been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and stress at the end of 2012 and had been signed off work for a stint in 2013, but 2014 saw me come fighting back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still plagued with flair ups and a bit of a mental head, but I’m in a place now where I don’t need medication every day and it feels good.
A lot of people are against medication for mental illnesses and I disagree. The fact you need pills with chemicals in shows that there’s some chemical deficiency in your body causing the symptoms they do. I’ve found Citalopram to work better than counsellors and therapists, the only downside being that the stronger the dosage, the less emotions you feel in general. I went up to 40mg for a couple of months and I really, really struggled to cry or find anything that made me deeply happy and excited, it was pretty bloody weird.
8. My hair got long
I always had long, pretty fine, blonde hair, always. Until second year of uni where I got a bit over-excited and told the hairdresser I wanted a graduated bob (paid for with my student overdraft, obvs). It’s taken me five years to decide that I look like a boy with a bob (plus, it’s mega high maintenance) and then to grow it out. I’d say it’s mid to long now and I’m not sure what my next hair move will be, but I love the fact I do nothing to my hair anymore. No curlers, straighteners or hair dryer, just wash it and leave it. It’s a dream.
9. I hit peak holiday
I went on 8 jaunts this year, 5 of them overseas and they were bloody amazing. I’m a big believer that holidays are good for your soul and overall health, and are one of the best things you could spend money on. They say money spent on experiences brings more happiness than money spent on possessions so there you go.
This year I was lucky enough to visit Stockholm, Washington, Baltimore, New York, Dublin and Greece just to name a few and I feel so bloody lucky to be able to travel as much as I do.
10. I got my dream eyebrows
It has taken years, YEARS to grow my eyebrows back into a good natural place following years of plucking abuse. I don’t get them waxed or threaded anymore, I just pluck the stray hairs every few days and let them do their own thing. The most exciting beauty product to come out of 2014 was my MAC eyebrow pencil in Brunette which just gives my brows the shape and fullness that they lack naturally. Now my brows are one of my favourite features, I just hope they look natural and not tattooed on. Wah.
11. I left London
I feel like this is the sort of thing that 35 year olds do just before they attempt to will their fertility to have a last ditch attempt at getting pregnant, I just did it early. I’m happier in Ipswich, I have more time, more sleep, more energy. I have a family, a home. I am settled and content and feel secure.
Sure there are times when I miss London and my social life and all my invites, but I wouldn’t go back if it meant sacrificing what I have now. I’ve always thought of myself as a city girl, and sure, maybe if me and Chris had the money for a house and garden in London it would be nice, I miss my friends, and I think it would be beneficial for my blogging career, but right now this is what is right for us and for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
12. I got confident with lipstick
Sure, I’ve always been a lipstick girl. I remember in year 8 being attacked the a shimmery pink one from Maybelline (because it was ALL about shimmery pink. Why? WHY?), but this year i’ve got bolder and sassier. I wear lipstick much more often than I ever have done before. I love deep plums, dark berry hues, bright reds and sexy rich pinks and I like to think that they’re becoming part of me, part of my personality, part of who I am, that people associate a statement lip with Hannah Gale.
The first time I wore a bright lip my friends told me it didn’t suit me. It was a standard bold red colour, a colour I still wear now and i’m glad that I ignored them because lipstick makes me appreciate my face when I look in the mirror, and all girls will know how great that feeling is.
13. I decided to go to Al-Anon
You’ll have to Google what this is, but it’s something that was suggested to me by a counsellor when I was at uni and I never went. I’ve just found a weekly session in Ipswich on a Monday evening and I think it could be for me. It could be exactly what I need as my next step into happiness. I’ll let you know how it goes and I’m terrified, but it has the makings of something that could make my mind healthier than it’s ever been before.
14. I became a full-time blogger
Will I have to admit defeat in a few months time and take on some freelance work? Maybe. But if you don’t take a ginormous leap and trust your instincts and your abilities then you’ll never know what could have been.
Here’s to an exciting new year with new adventures, scary changes and a whole lot of memories, some incredible and some less incredible, about to be made <3
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