Portraits by Sian
And just like that, another year and decade is coming to a close.
At this time of year I like to embrace the awkward Betwixmas lull by reflecting on the past 12 months, but this time around I’ve found it incredibly difficult to. In part I think it’s because I didn’t set myself any big goals for 2019, and as such haven’t had anything to benchmark my year’s ‘achievements’ against. But it’s also because 2019 has been a year of surviving, not thriving. I think the only listed in my bullet journal for ‘2019 achievements’ is ‘I only had three panic attacks’. I’ll put my hands up and admit that I felt completely overwhelmed for much of the year and not like myself at all, all because I’ve been working at pushing some bigger goals further along their respective paths.
It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow (can you believe it?!), and I feel like breathing a sigh of relief that the year is finally over. From multiple hospital appointments to grief, floundering in my career to extreme anxiety, I couldn’t be more glad to be rid of 2019, but I couldn’t wave a farewell to the 2010s — is there a name for this decade yet?! — without a big ol’ round-up of my highlights.
Let’s reflect on the past 10 years…
I moved countries!
One of the best things I’ve ever done was move to Hong Kong in 2014. After applying to one job and getting it, I moved just 30 days later and had the time of my life living abroad for two years. Not only did my Cantonese phenomenally improve, I grew into my current adult self there; I don’t think anything could’ve prepared me for the move at the age of just 23 but learning to survive, thrive and flourish several thousand miles away from home did me the world of good. I’m forever thankful for these two years because it taught me more than anything I could imagine.
Graduating with a First Class Honours degree
And on that note… Graduating Uni with a First Class Honours degree was a definite highlight! I’m the first female Chai to have gone through and graduated University, so it felt like a huge milestone and I’ll never forget how proud my grandparents were of me. Whilst University wasn’t quite the experience I’d hoped, it flung the doors wide open for my future career opportunities and meant I got to live with my best friend.
My beautiful pup, Milo
In 2016, we welcomed Milo to the family!
In case you weren’t already aware, I’m absolutely besotted with my dog and I can’t remember life before him. I didn’t grow up with pets and I had no idea just how much of an impact a little puppy could have on my life, but whilst I was navigating the fog of grief and losing my beloved Granny, Milo certainly helped to lift my spirits and keep me moving through life. And even now, he continues to motivate me to leave the house more, stop and admire every flower on my journey, chase after what I want and, most importantly, nap when I need it!
Facebook helped me reconnect with Harvey
Also in 2016 whilst travelling in Japan with my siblings, Facebook somehow slid into Harvey’s DMs whilst I was literally hiking Mount Fuji with no data, never mind WiFi. I first met Harvey in 2007 at college so it was a crazy twist of fate, and now almost four years later, we couldn’t be happier! (PS. We still don’t know how the message happened!)
I started and grew a successful business
When I unceremoniously moved home from Hong Kong, I didn’t have a plan. I’d already been successfully freelancing for a client (producing website content) alongside my full-time job, so I decided to take the plunge and take it full-time with six years of experience under my belt. Now, nearly four years on, my business is growing and flourishing and it’s even inspired hundreds of readers to do the same. I suppose I’d always had an inkling that I’d work for myself but never in my wildest dreams did I consider that that’d happen for me at the age of 25.
Daisybutter was a multi-award nominated blog!
Like I’ve mentioned before, writing this blog has been incredibly transformative upon my life and I have literally no idea where I’d be without this platform. I’ve watched my peers blossom and completely dominate the blogging industry whilst I decided to pursue a more traditional career path, but I’m thankful I decided to keep this on the side.
In 2012 Daisybutter was a finalist for Cosmopolitan’s first ever Blog Awards and for Marie Claire’s Blog and Twitter Awards. In 2018, I was a finalist for Blogosphere Magazine’s Blogger of the Year(!!), and this year I was announced as the Highly Commended Lifestyle Blog of the Year by the UK Blog Awards. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride, eh? Maybe 2020 will be the year that we nab an award!
I found my footing with fitness
In a plot twist that nobody saw coming, I found my groove when it comes to fitness. I was always the P.E. class avoider, so it’s kinda hilarious to think I now own about nine pairs of trainers — one of which are weight-training trainers! — and that I know my shit when it comes to working out. Moreover, I’m thrilled that I can see fitness as a vessel for my mental health and general strength, as well as a way of keeping traditionally fit. In fact now that I look back on it, joining the gym is totally one of my highlights from the 2010s. Who would’ve thunk it, eh?
I finally feel content and self-assured
Do you know what? I had another three or four things listed out to write about after this one but I’ve deleted them because they all contribute nicely to this point.
I feel content and self-assured at last.
I’m breathing another sigh of relief as I write this because for YEARS, I honestly felt as though this were unattainable. In between being incessantly bullied throughout school and enduring being othered throughout my early twenties, I felt constantly lost and at odds between who I was and who I wanted to be. It felt at times like a vicious circle: to ease the anxiety and sadness I’d immerse myself in my favourite things (K-pop, anime, Animal Crossing, Taylor Swift, reading, going for walks), but then I’d be almost punished for being ~omg so different~.
It might have taken the best part of a decade, but the best thing is that I feel content and self-assured. Assured in that these little snippets are what makes me ‘me’ and that my ‘me-ness’ is what will be my constant companion through life. I’m endlessly grateful, above all, to anybody that has reached out to me through my online platforms because I’d never feel this way without your support. Notes saying my Being British-Chinese articles helped them reconnect with their heritage; that my lo-fi diary posts make them feel less alone; that reading nods to my ‘K-pop, anime, Animal Crossing, Taylor Swift’ obsessions makes them feel like they have a new friend. I couldn’t be more happy.
“It was the end of a decade; But the start of an age.”
Thank you 2010s. You’ve been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Let’s try out this new decade on for size.