So there was no post on Friday for one main reason. editing software. I was at my sister's for the wee catsitting, which was lovely and relaxing I binge watched Netflix a lot,  and I'd downloaded a trial of premier pro to use. But I couldn't use it because it's so laggy and frustrating so now I have to find a new software to edit videos on; any suggestions? Then my train home got cancelled and I just didn't have the energy to edit when I got home so I decided to give up on a Friday post and just leaev it to today. I don't normally post on a Monday but given no Friday post and it being my Birthday I thought screw my schedule's write. And that's where I am now.

Right now that's up to date onto my actual post. Firstly with a little Happy Birthday to me!

So I've known I've wanted to make a post like this for a few months. I always do my reflective New Year post and talk about all the wonderful things the year had brought me but this one is different. This is more about how I've changed this year which is definitely significantly and very positively.
When i was at pride lat week I was really just thinking about how much I'd changed, how much confidence I'd gained how much anxiety and worry about general every day stuff I'd gotten rid of and it was just a wonderful feeling. So here's to looking back at my first year as an "adult".
Photo from Greenman 2015 Post

So I started Eighteen at Greenman, with bright purple hair and a side shave. The first time I'd ever dyed my hair and it went very wrong but turned out all right in the end.  I had an amazing Start to my birthday but a very tired end. I didn't actually end Eighteen at Greenman because I decided not to go this year, with arriving late, having no one to go with, and having the last day on my Birthday all after being pretty non stop for six months didn't really appeal and I'm very glad to be having a chilled out Birthday at home where I'm probably going to wander down to my favourite stop at the beach and chill there for a few hours.
The first legal drink I bought myself at eighteen was.... one I was allergic to and had to give to someone else. Well done me. But all the anxieties of going out under eighteen were gone and it was a huuuge relief.
From the post "Shifting Perspectives"
The next sort of big thing that happened was that all of my friends left for uni and I was very much lost for a month or two. I didn't know what to do with myself, didn't know what to do with my gap year and didn't quite know how to deal with being on my own. The idea of going out into the world and making new friends was a nice one but also a scary one, something I'd never really had to do before. And seeing all my friends with their new friends going on nights out and having the time of their lives was difficult. But my time was to come I just had to stick it out.
From Diffusion Festival 2015 post
So I managed to find a place volunteering at Diffusion festival, a photography festival across Cardiff. I was so painfully shy and really didn't know how to talk to people properly. I'd had a job before that meant interacting with people but that didn't mean I was amazing at it. Whenever people talked to me it was just a shy laugh and a yes or no, not much of a conversationalist,  but I did enjoy my time volunteering among beautiful photography and doing all the little workshops.
I also did a photography course around this time, trying to figure out if photography was what I should be doing at uni. I loved the course and having more of an excuse to photography everything but it did help me decide I'd rather have photography as a hobby and possible future job than pinning all my hopes on a job in it.
Being on the dole was then a pain in the arse. All I wanted was a job, to be earning money and doing something and to stop feeling so lost again. They tried to put me in "adult education" and it felt so much like I was being sent back to school I was willing to give up my dole money then and there just to get out of it. I don't think I've ever felt so suffocated before. But it did push me to get a job.
From "Thank You 2015" post
This was a totally new experience and one I went in with the mindset of "no one knows me so I'm going to be a different version of me" and it worked. I decided to stop being shy and scared of human interaction and to just be my smiley happy positive self.  It was a place I genuinely felt that people were glad I was there, for the first time. Hospitality isn't the nicest job in the world but I had a great time. I had the nights out with friends I'd been loathing my school friends for months earlier. A fair few hair colours, a lot of hours, and feet-ache later and it was time for me to leave to travel.
There was heartache over a heart-scan and discovering I had a tiny hole in my heart (nothing dangerous unless you're deep underwater) meaning I can never dive. My dreams of a diving trip to Belize were shattered. Then shattered again as I was too late to book a place saving manatees. But I found the perfect place for me in Costa Rica looking after the Sloths. And it was probably all good anyway because I'm not sure I was fit enough to dive 6 days a week.
From "Sloths, sloths, Sloths" Post
And so I jetted off to Costa Rica in what I thought was going to be a pretty scary trip, but it all felt so natural. What didn't feel natural was the jet lag that took me about a week to get over, but that was an experience in itself. Here was another place I felt at home but mainly because of the animals. I let my confidence go and became a bit of a blabber. I'm sorry to people who I met in Costa Rica that I did not stop talking, even when I was talking absolute shit. I guess I just wanted to be accepted again and wasn't sure how to make that happen with people constantly coming and going and with a totally new experience. I had the ups and downs that most people do when they're travelling alone for the first time and spend pretty much 24/7 with the same people, and basically no private time. But I wouldn't go back and change things, I learnt a lot from those six weeks and at some points felt the loneliest I ever have. I made mistakes and said some stupid shit all in the name of being accepted but I learnt that I'd rather just be happy me, who is genuine and compassionate, than someone who tries to be liked by everyone and just hurts themselves in the process. I guess everyone goes through a lot when they're out on their own in the world for the first time though.
From "Giving Up Judgement" Post
Then it was home for six weeks with a lot of shit to sort out, I had visas and payments and doctors appointments and blog posts to make. But I also had a "new improved Izzy 2.0" to test out. Someone who was willing to work hard at home, actually do chores and help out, someone who appreciated the life they had a lot more and who had actually grown up from avoiding doing the dishwasher (I mean it isn't hard).  I had a new determination to learn things and do things for myself rather than just feeling sorry for myself. And pretty damn quickly I was off again.

Photo from "A to B" 

This time I was more relaxed, less keen to impress, gradually.  I  became so grateful for my life and the chances I've been given. Seeing people barely scraping by and still seeing the joy in life made me realise how beautiful life is and how much I want to cherish it and see more of it. And slowly I got better at talking to people, being around people. I was calmer, and didn't let their emotions affect me as much. Sure I had grumpy days where I was a bit of a dick but who doesn't? I finally learned how to be myself around people.
India made me see my privilege, made me just start to fathom how versatile the world is, and realise how strong my stomach is. Nepal was too beautiful not to live in the moment, where I discovered I don't like trekking for seven hours a day, and that I really do like and appreciate people. In Thailand I saw just how gentle and beautiful elephants really are, how much I can withstand physical exercise if I want, and how shit soya makes me feel when i eat it. In Cambodia I truly realised how the world can be scary and brutal and horrible, met the most inspirational people I could ever hope to, and where I found my drive to want to do something positive for the world. Vietnam I started to see so much less value in material possessions, tasted some of the best things I ever have, and experienced a proper burn out. Finally in Hong Kong I slept, and shopped, and ate, and slept.

Then I was home for a week which felt like a minute, time to unpack and repack, and to get all my hair cut of. Then it was Norway with my parents. From the poorest country in the world to the richest in six months was a contrast. And travelling with my parents whilst still pretty burnt our from being non stop for two months made it hard work at times but that was beautiful too. I do need to work on the way I see the world when I'm tired though. I could've appreciated the beauty of the place so much more but all I wanted to do most of the time there was sleep. I did appreciate the rain though, I missed the rain. And I do have all the photos to look back on and appreciate the beauty.

Fast-forward a week and a half and you're here. I'm so glad I took a gap year and spent this year working hard, figuring myself out a bit and becoming so so much happier. It's been a good one I gotta say, with a hell of a lot more highs than lows.
 As usual there's still a lot to do and I really need to get back into my positive routines rather than just lying in bed until midday but I'm allowed a bit of laziness for a week or so. I'll get back to it.

Oh and in this year I've found a new purpose for this blog, which I've talked about a little bit. I'm just waiting for my header to be finished and then I'll roll it out the design fully (the posts have already started). This is going to be a ethical fashion, travel and life blog. A blog not just to talk about clothes anymore but to talk about experiences, amazing people I've met, organisations doing good things for the world and me trying to make my impact on the world more positive.

So yeah that's that, this is probably the longest post I've ever written and than you for sticking with it till the end. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to the next year and all the wonderful people I'm going to meet.

Hope you liked this very short post and if you've been to any Pride celebrations this year what have they been like?
Thanks for reading!