As I prepare to relaunch myself into the blogosphere, I knew I wanted to begin 2016 with a reflective post. I could sit here and write out a handful of pretentious new years resolutions, which I will fail to live up to by next week, or I could offer you ideas on how to better yourself in a lengthy, motivational spiel. However, you could find this information on the majority of the some 152 million blogs that currently exist on the web. So, as I was pondering exactly what I wanted to get across in my first post of 2016, I figured I should use this fresh start to speak directly to myself. At the risk of sounding conceited, I consider myself to be very good at giving advice, however I fall short at putting the advice I give to others into practice in my own life. Therefore, I'm going to write myself an open letter with the intention that I or anyone else who needs it, can revisit and re read when needed.
First off, well done for getting through 2015 relatively unscathed. It was a tough year but also extremely rewarding. When it was great, it was really great, remember that, and try not to focus on the not so great things that happened. Life is too short to dwell. What will be, will be.
I know it's difficult at the moment, but don't agonise over the fact that you're not where you want to be in life. Some people get really lucky, really quickly, others only earn success after years of hard graft. Your time will come. Take every opportunity that comes your way and be brave enough to put yourself out there - if you don't ask, you don't get!
On that note, in 2016 I think you should try being more impulsive. You've spent so many years of your life being plagued by fear and anxiety (more on that in a bit) and quite frankly, I think it's time to inject a little more fun and spontaneity into your life. Save, book a flight and create an adventure. You are not going to see the world by sitting on the sofa binge-watching Criminal Minds and drinking tea. Likewise, you won't be able to afford any kind adventure if you keep wasting your money on things you really don't need. Be careful with your money - you're most likely going to go off that jumper in 2 months time. Remove it from your basket and put the £45 in your savings account - that could be a night in a hotel somewhere across the globe!
This year, try not to care so much about what people think of you. I know it's hard, you're a people pleaser and always try to stay on everyone's good side. But it's very easy to get caught up in the personalities of those around you. Don't join in on the bitchiness, it's not you. Also, don't waste your time longing to be like someone else, that is time wasted you could be using to build on yourself.
Let's try to limit our time on social media this year. You've pretty much become a slave to your phone and it's about time you stop living through your iPhone lens. Why? Because it's not real. You know all too well about creating a false reality on instagram, because you're good at it. Everyone is. But let's try and be more real. Turn off your phone once in a while and appreciate life and the people you have in it. *side note, make time to tell those you love how much you appreciate them*
Cook more, and take a yoga class. You've been dying to. Also, EXERCISE. God may have blessed you with a slim figure but boy are you unfit! Let's see if by the end of 2016 you can run up a flight of stairs and still have your breath when you get to the top.
And lastly, I know this is a difficult one, but it's time to go back and get help with your anxiety and eating issues. You've struggled on your own for too long and no matter how much you lie to yourself and others, you are not fine. But don't worry, you will be. Chin up champ, you got this!
No matter what this year throws at you, remember that you are strong enough to cope with it. Life doesn't give you challenges you can't handle. Never loose your spark. Never stop listening to One Direction because you're friends make fun of you and if in doubt - What Would Olivia Pope Do?
Photographer: Fiona Rennie