Fuck you and thank you, 2016
2016 chewed us up, fucked us up and woke us up.
I don't know a single person who doesn't agree with this to some degree.
As we go through the passing of this monstrous year over the next 24 hours, we'll see more reflective commentary filling our newsfeed than ever before. Some will reiterate their disbelief of the political curveballs, some will mourn the enormous amount of talent lost and some will tell us to "shut the fuck up with the sentiment, guys, a year is just a year."
The cynics will remind us that things are set to get worse, the optimists will find various ways to incorporate the word "slay" into their public promise to make 2017 a better year. Comedians will see these few days as their chance to shine.
I'll contribute with a link to this post (sorry, not sorry) - and probably re-sharing some of the satire that the comedy world churns out.
I've never known a year like this one. Perhaps that's because I've only lived through 24 and a half of them - and for most of which, I was fairly oblivious to the state of the world. Or perhaps social media has simply highlighted the tragedies that we've been through more than previous years because the majority of the population "gets the internet" now.
Whatever the reasons, there's a general consensus on this New Years Eve that it's been a really big year, and the whole "new year, new me" statuses just won't cut it.
As previous readers and pretty much every person who knows me in the offline world will know, I like to establish the lessons that I can learn from both shitty and enormously overwhelming situations.
And my word, 2016 has taught me a massive one.
To give you some context, 2016 was the year that my heart shattered into a million pieces, and stitched itself back together again. It was the year that I lived in three different Brighton flats, and travelled to Copenhagen, Portugal, Bournemouth, the Lake District and Berlin (twice).
I started the year with one job, switched to another one, then started a business, picked up some freelance work, and racked up my working time to over 110 hours a week until I realised that it wasn't a healthy way to live and I had to choose. I followed my gut, for the first time in my career, and handed in my second notice of the year. I'll be self-employed from the 28th January 2017.
This was also the year that I realised how powerful a support network is. I created the Brighton Girl network, almost by accident, and have made friends that I now can't imagine life without. I was showered with support from friends, old and new, my colleagues and my family, over my decision to embrace the entrepreneur within myself. And I watched my oldest friend get married, learning more about love than I had from any past relationship.
All the while, it seemed that 2016 was tearing the world apart.
Being British, I was personally most affected by Brexit.
I consoled friends who were living in Britain because they were EU members, feeling like the place they called home no longer felt the same about them. I also consoled the friends who were planning to build their lives in EU countries, feeling like their future was even more uncertain.
The Britain that I thought I knew is not the Britain that I'm going into 2017 with.
That being said, what I've learnt from this year is one of the most liberating lessons of all: nothing is set in stone.
What we are lead to believe is the right thing to do is not necessarily the right thing to do.
I was born and bred in a country where people are making decisions on things that they aren't going to be around to see. Half of my time is spent living in an online world, where people's perception of who I am is most likely a little skewed - because internet impressions are entirely different to actual ones.
Our idols die and new ones are born from the most unexpected places. People are famous for being themselves. Writers can become authors, without training. And political decisions do not actually represent the culture of the places it affects.
That safety bubble you're building around yourself isn't going to keep you safe. You'll fall out of love with the person you once thought you'd marry. Your job you once loved can one day make you miserable. The place you once believed would forever be your home can lose its sentiment.
And most importantly, every moment could be your last.
Life is fickle and unexpected. Social media makes you feel like you're totally in the know, but it's actually just built on algorithms that give you the news that it thinks you want to see - or, rather, news that someone else has paid for you to see.
It's always been this way, I just needed a year like 2016 to see it.
I don't know if 2017 will be a better or worse year, I'm not sure if I'll slay it either, but I do know that I'm going into 2017 doing things my own way.
My only real ask of you, is that you do the same.