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Plans for 2018

Well, this post is being published later than I expected (a running theme on this blog in recent months, albeit one I hope to rectify).

I was so tired and rundown over the Christmas break that I didn't give much thought to any potential 2018 goals  I was too busy eating, spending time with my friends and family, and binge-watching The Crown  and then I went back to work, slipped into my normal routine, and got on with things.

Even reading about everyone else's plans, which I love doing, didn't inspire me to make any of my own.

But something clicked at the end of January, when I realised how much has changed since this time last year. In 2017 I had to step out of my comfort zone almost continuously and I'd like to think I've grown up a lot. If nothing else, my perspective has changed  I care less, but in a good way.

In the end, I narrowed it down to four plans (goals, resolutions  whatever you want to call them, I'm not fussy). So here they are, and I hope you enjoy reading about them, even now the new year buzz is long-gone.

I don't think I'll ever get over the views in Dubai. If you ever visit the city then please make time for the Burj Khalifa  it's well worth the ear-popping lift ride.

1. Get more confident behind the wheel

I bought my first car last September  a little secondhand Citroen C1, which my housemates once compared to a hamster cage on wheels  and was so excited to finally have my own transport. I passed my test way back in 2012 and didn't drive again until July 2017, so it was a long wait.

I found re-learning to drive really hard at first, especially getting used to a different car (I'd only ever driven Renault Clios before) but things seemed to click just before I started my current job. And then I had an accident on my first day.

It was relatively minor, could have been a lot worse, and no one got hurt, but to say I was shaken up by it would be an understatement. Driving home afterwards was one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my entire life, and it's taken a long time for me to be able to get back in the car without having some kind of panic attack.

As I write this, I'm at a point where I'm fine when someone else is in the car with me, but shit-scared when I'm by myself. So my next step is to start venturing out by myself, get my route to work sorted, and start driving in each morning instead of faffing about on the train. I'll start getting to know the roads near me once I'm comfortable with that (I'm still relatively new to the area) and then go from there.

I still have my P plates on, and although you get the odd moron who tries to drive right up your backside to make you go faster  not gonna happen, pal, if anything I'll be slowing down  most people have been considerate.

2. Meet some of the cruelty free community

I'm very lucky to follow and chat with such a lovely bunch of fellow bloggers and committed cruelty-free babes, and I think it's about time we had some kind of meet-up in person. They're supportive, they inspire me and make me laugh, and they're just as obsessed with butts as I am. Plus who better to go on a vegan food tour with?

3. Book some trips abroad

Spending time in Dubai last year was an eye-opener. It was a huge culture shock, and I had to adjust quickly. In the end it wasn't the right place for me (although there are lots of things I miss  the people I met and the community, the food, the incredible skyline...) but I'm very grateful for the experience, and I'm still pinching myself that it even happened.

As a result, I've been well and truly bitten by the travel bug, and this is the year I'm going to get off my arse and start exploring. I'm already going to Austria with work, I've got a week's holiday to northern Italy planned later this year, and there are some other places on my (very long) list which I could tick off this year if I get my act together: Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam... and maybe a little trip to Cardiff because I miss it so much.

4. Keep cutting out the crap

I feel like my priorities suddenly shifted in 2017. I read up on the concept of minimalism and something just clicked  what's the point in holding onto a load of clutter when you can recycle/donate/get rid of it? What's the point in doing things that drain your energy if you don't have to? So in 2018 I'm going to continue to focus on everything that's important to me, and leave the rest behind. When it comes right down to it, all I want is to be content (don't we all?) and living a more streamlined life is going to help me get there.

What are your plans for this year? Let me know in the comments.

Beth, 24, UK. I'm a writer who loves books, animals, yoga, travel, and the Oxford comma. I share my experiences of trying a cruelty-free, vegetarian and low waste lifestyle, with the odd bit of twenty-something angst thrown in. beth.toasty@gmail.com

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