rambles

5 Aims For 2017

16:00

It's that time of year again where Christmas is over and the New Year is yet to begin. No one is really sure what day it is and the only thing you really want to do is curl up and watch some feel good films and eat left over turkey sandwiches and Quality Streets. Well, that's what I want to do anyway. 
But before you know it, 2017 will be here and it will be back to the normal cycle, this little bubble of semi-permanent bliss and relaxation over for another year. So looking forward to next year, I have come up with my main 17 aims for the year.

Read More

I've always loved reading and with a bookshelf that is now bulging with books that I am yet to read and I know that it will make me a lot happier and a lot more peaceful with myself, probably. Whilst I write a lot, I don't read much which seems silly as by reading, my writing should become better. It's probably also why I did so bad in both of my English GCSEs.

Be Happier

Now this is a bit ironic for someone with depression to say but it's true. I just want to cheer up a bit and stop being such a miserable sod all the time. I think it's about time that I finally realise that I'm only going to live ones and I may as well make the most of it and not see the shitty side to things all the time. I've always been a firm believer in the 'thinking makes it so' logic that I learnt from Simon Amstell, so by me constantly thinking negatively, it's going to make my life worse. Positive thinking is the key to a positive life.

Go Out More

Yet another problem with having both depression and anxiety is my fear of going outside. Every time I go into town with a friend, or even with my mum, something always seems to go wrong, whether it's me not having enough change when I'm paying for something in a shop, or I manage to trip over something, every time something goes wrong it makes me want to leave the house even less. I might start walking or something; I live in such a beautiful part of the world and it seems a shame to not see it for all it's glory.

Work Out What I Want To Do With My Life

I'll be going to University in 2018. That's a pretty terrifying thought. But the only problem is that I have no clue as to what it is that I want to do. I've always loved writing and journalism has always been my ideal path but after starting my A-Levels and becoming a lot more interested in politics, I would love to work for the government, preferably GCHQ or MI6. I know that it's a big deal but if I suddenly disappear from social media in the next few years, you'll know which path I managed to stumble down.

Work Harder

The only reason why my GCSEs weren't what I wanted them to be was because I didn't work as hard as I could. If I work harder this year, I'll do well in my A-Levels and get a better degree in the long run. The more I learn now, the less I will have to work next year when it comes to my exams and I'm panicking because I can't remember everything. Working for just an extra hour a day is going to give me such a great advantage by the time the summer rolls around and I'm taking my AS exams which are vital for me to get back into sixth form. When I do finish school and go to work or university, I'll be working ten times harder than I am now and instead of having the shock of this sudden change, working harder now will lead to me being a lot calmer and more relaxed then.

Have you got any aims for 2017? Let me know in the comments down below!

lifestyle

What I Read in 2016

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2016 has been a very busy year for me. I've spent most of it panicking about school and when I have had time to finally relax, I've been writing my own book rather than reading. But when I do get around to reading, as rare as that may be (sadly) there is one particular author that I gravitate to, the wonderful Jon Ronson.

I got into Jon's books through Louis Tomlinson. He was seen holding a copy of The Psychopath Test when he left LAX at some point in 2015 and after that, I was desperate to read the book purely because the love of my life had been reading it. I was, from 2011-2015, the crazy One Direction lady so anything that Louis touched had to be mine. As it turns out, I made a good choice in asking for the Psychopath Test for Christmas.

The Psychopath Test is number two in my Jon Ronson top five. The book was an odd mixture of funny and terrifying, although the tale of Tony from Broadmoor was by far my favourite. Tony, who had committed GBH and was told by his fellow prisoners that if he told the prison's workers that he was insane, he would get sent to a 'cushy' prison instead, faked his mental illness by telling the workers that he had committed crimes that he had read about in books, such as in A Clockwork Orange or Ted Bundy's autobiography. Of course, he was believed and was sent to Broadmoor. I won't ruin the rest of the story for you. But all in all, it was a fantastic book that did leave me slightly relieved that there was no possible way I could be a psychopath, even if I did tick off a few things from the Hare checklist.

The second book I read this year was So You've Been Publicly Shamed which is at number one on my Jon Ronson top 5 list. The book was a real eye opener, especially as I live most of my life on social media. Justine Sacco's story was by far my favourite and since looking into her, I have made sure to never tweet anything that could be taken the wrong way. In my opinion, everyone who has some sort of online presence must read this book as it truly has made me cautious of everything I tweet or retweet.

The Men Who Stare At Goats was my third book of the year and I'm not going to lie, I never finished it. I didn't enjoy it as much as the other two, even after reading at least 100 pages. The themes within the book are ones that don't really interest me and, whilst the writing is excellent, I was so rarely picking it up that I just ended up putting it on my bookshelf and forgetting about it. You never know, I might pick it up again at some point.

Frank scrapes its way into my top five at number five. I read it in just over an hour on the night that I bought it after having watched the film a few months before. I had never really heard of Frank Sidebottom before watching the film which I admittedly only bought because Michael Fassbender is in it. But the book was great and did make me cry at one point, but then I am a massive softie. If you've seen the film then defiantly pick up a copy of the book too as it really gives a different perspective to what happened.

I recently finished Them and found myself never wanting it to end. The people and topics within the book are possibly more relevant now than when the book was published back in 2001. Jon's portrayal of Islamist extremist Omar Bakri was questionable at times, but I did find myself actually quite liking him by the end of the book. But my favourite segment of the book is all about Jon's involvement with Alex Jones (no, not the The One Show presenter) and the Bilderberg Group. It's a very long story that left me crying with laughter and on the edge of my seat at the same time.

But finally, on to the book that I am currently reading. I decided to not mix up my author choice and am now in the middle of Out Of The Ordinary after I came across it in a bookshop in Whitstable during the summer (that's also where I picked up Frank.) My friend described it as 'fucked up' after he spend our silent reading session at school reading the blurb. But the book is very different to any of Jon's other books, mainly because it focuses more on his life and his experiences than other peoples stories. It's far more autobiographical which I almost prefer as it gives some context to Jon's other books from around the same time frame.

The only other book that I read this year was by my friend Josh Fox. 140 Characters of Truth is an honest and heartbreaking Tweet-based book all about Josh's secret battle with depression. After having done the same thing for a few years, it really made me realise how different things can be when you take away the constant pressure to constantly be happy and positive on social media. Remember to always tell your friends you love them and appreciate them, yeah?

I've now only got two of Jon's books left to read on my bookshelf, Lost at Sea and What I Do. I am contemplating reading What I Do first and then leaving Lost At Sea for when I go to New York next October, but it does mean that I'm going to find another handful of books to read once I finish What I Do. I'm contemplating picking up The Looting Machine again after I bought it when I was doing NCS, either that or The Evolution of Everything which I also picked up when I was doing NCS.

If you have any books like Jon's that you would recommend then please let me know as I'm going to have to start reading books by a different author next year!