I left 2018 with a message of hope. Tired hope. A little “just let me rest my eyes a minute” before tackling a new year. I was beaten down, fed up and ready to really start living again. 2018 was a strange year. I left my job expecting to have surgery and then a better job. My new job wasn’t better and my surgery, as it turns out, wasn’t happening. The rest of the year felt like a non-starter because the plans I had made fell through and while I believe in quiet determination, I was just too sad. That’s as frank as I want to be about it.

January brought good chaos with it. Quiet magic. A softness that can only be felt following the festive season. My friends and I burrowed in bars, in restaurants and under blankets in one another’s homes. Our messages of support were more necessary than ever in such a tumultuous political climate. We celebrated my boyfriend’s birthday with a family dinner, a tiny get together and terrible balloons. I remained quietly hopeful but afraid of the year ahead. I still am.

I saw my best pal’s band play their first gig of the year, I saw Frank Turner for the fourth and perhaps my favourite time. I kept making plans. I hid in corners of the internet, whispering to other creatives about my plans. Hidden, hidden, hopeful.

My days still felt long and tiresome but the days of that felt numbered.

Then, on January 28th – the day of my mum’s and my best pal Rob’s birthday – I was made redundant. My work were kind about it, a client had cut their budget and that happened to be the budget that covered my salary. Fair enough, fine. I cried a little at the time because the shock and shame were a little uncomfortable. I called my mum, I called a friend. Then I got to work. My secret plans didn’t have to be secret anymore. I started gathering freelance opportunities, reaching out, asking professional contacts to help me out. I got to work for a few hours and then I took Rob out for a few drinks.

The future that I’d been hoping for arrived prematurely, without warning. I wasn’t ready but you never are for the best things.

It’s the most excited and thankful I’ve felt in a long time. Sometimes a job doesn’t fit you. Sometimes a life doesn’t fit you. Sometimes, as another friend said, “Mother Nature pulls the parachute for you”. I didn’t know what was coming but I was excited to find out. I still am.

Thank you January, you invited the best kind of chaos following the sweetest period of rest.

I’m excited for the future. I’d forgotten what that felt like.