Seeing as a look back at the year seems to be a thing, thought I’d do a little recap as well.

2013 was a funny old year for me. I was unemployed when it started and looking seriously at getting a job in a book shop or library (would still love this but hey ho). I was book blogging primarily at this point and had resolved myself to get back on the horse as I’d somewhat started slacking on the book blog and read and write more. I’d also resolved myself to focus more on fantasy and less on what I felt I should read. As a book blogger, I was receiving oodles of free books in exchange for reviews and it was just overwhelming. So I started using the library more and I got on with reading some great fantasy. My mood at this point wasn’t at its’ best but I was dealing.

Spring came around and I headed back home to Leicester for a week to see my dad and get my car M.O.T.ed as it had failed back here. My dad is a mechanic so he set about getting that sorted while I played games on my laptop and wandered around the city I’d grown up with. I headed home listening to my very first audiobook, The Last Werewolf. It was very good but I stopped listening around halfway because it was getting a bit too freaky. This is also around the time I baked my first batch of chocolate orange cookies and they were frickin’ good.

Shortly after, myself and Dan started on a diet which we stuck to throughout the Summer and into Autumn.

It was also around this time that my anxiety flared up something rotten. I cannot tell you what set it off, nor could I pinpoint exactly when it started, but it went on for months and I was a terror to be around because I was constantly on edge. It was a heavy bout of social anxiety, and while living in a seaside town is not very helpful. I barely went out and played a bunch of World of Warcraft to keep me calm but my resolution to read and blog more on the book blog completely fell through as I just could not read.

I tried to use World of Warcraft as a crutch, almost, to calm me when I was feeling particularly bad and ease me back up to a safer level of mental health. Not in a bad way, not like I used to, but just in a way that relaxed me when I really needed it. I had a fantastic Summer in World of Warcraft. While this was the time I left Harvest Moon, which was extremely sucky at the time, it was also the time I started taking it easy and having fun with friends. Rummaging around Blackwing Lair with Kaitz and working heartily on my pet battles.

However, as per usual, I grew bored and cancelled, off to other gaming adventures. Still hoping that my ability to read would come back soon. I saw my doctor and we changed my meds to something more focused on anxiety. Blizzard released the island, where I spent my time when I was at my very worst which is exactly the reason I didn’t return for months, not wanting that tainting my gaming time. And my dad came to visit.

We visited a couple of castles which were fantastic, we went out for meals, we just generally had a good week.

Then in early September I had a call back from a job I hadn’t got telling me a second position had opened up and was I still looking and I jumped at the chance. This was the petrol station I now work in and have trained up for the second level. Dan also found a job at this point in the kitchen of a local restaurant. Finally, we had some real stability and could escape the rotten Job Center who were doing nothing but making my anxiety ten times worse.

I found myself driving along on my way to a shift on early evening at dusk, smiling and feeling very strange. I was happy. I’d actually forgotten what it felt like to be actually, properly happy, and not just the pretend happy that I put on so not to come across as a whiny bitch. September 2013 was a huge huge turning point in my life and one I will always remember.

Over the last few months of 2013, I progressed in my job. It’s tough work. We work shifts solo and we have to stock up, clean the shop, serve customers, bring in deliveries of shop goods and fuel, and now there’s paperwork to do as well. It’s manic and will only get crazier in Summer but the stability is worth it, my colleagues are fab, and our regulars are crazy people and I love them. That all makes it worth it.

I was able to read once again, though I took it slowly, just casually reading a little chick lit to begin with. Even now I’m hardly reading but that’s okay because I am just going with the flow and doing what makes me happy. Which right now, is gaming.

I’ve been flitting between various MMOs, willing to try anything new (except for World of Warcraft, which as much as I will value the memories and friends that game has given me, is now tainted with memories of mental illness, 6 years worth, and has become a nostalgic memory) and poking through a few indie games I’ve found on Steam, including Cook Serve Delicious, Long Live the Queen, and Magical Diary. I also modded Skyrim and played a bit of that and I’ve been watching a buttload of TV shows, particularly loving Once Upon a Time, Dracula, Sleepy Hollow, Witches of East End, Walking Dead, and Supernatural.

And finally started dying my hair again. I hadn’t bothered in the past couple of years I’ve been down here because I don’t have a hairdresser but I bit the bullet one night and did it myself and loving being a redhead again. We spent Christmas at home which was lovely and my dad came down for the weekend. I was sad the day he left, a weekend just isn’t long enough, but it was so good to see him. He gave me some money towards getting a PC which will run modern MMOs (yes, he has always spoiled me like that) and we had a lovely time together. Not always talking, but there was a fair bit of that.

Looking to the Future

2014 will be good. That is my only resolution. I’ll continue working hard at my job to ease me into the hectic time that is tourist season in South Wales. My PC should arrive mid-January, at which point I’ll jump straight into The Secret World and FFXIV which my laptop sadly won’t run, and look forwards to Wildstar and Elder Scrolls Online. I haven’t decided which I most want to play yet so I’m very much hoping they won’t release too close together, they’re just such different concepts and I can’t wait.

I want to spend more time with friends, exploring Pembrokeshire and Camarthenshire. I want to read through some of the amazing books on my shelves, also tidying through the shelves and selling/donating/swapping any I don’t want to hold on to because it’s a bit crazy in there right now. I would love to get back to book blogging but it will be at Tea in the Treetops, not Once Upon A Time as I’m also blogging back here now.

Most of all, I just want to see where life takes us in 2014. May it be a great year!