20 moments of 2018

I always find myself looking back onto what a year has been in its entirety, notwithstanding the moments that have rendered it difficult. A lifetime of education means not thinking of a year in its academic terms can be difficult – with 2018, this seemed, especially, to be the case. Yet at the same time, that very handful of months outlined by graduation, a strange sense of emptiness, too much free time, once that handful came to an end along with 2017, so did that same confusion linked to the way I would divide my years up. 2018 came into its own in the same way that I did – a year of growth and of bravery – of risks, of different places, of old friendships being rekindled, while also being sometimes teary and exhausting. I have added, to this post, testimonies from my journal on the year that’s coming to an end – a fun way to look back on what I was saying throughout the past twelve months, to appreciate change and even irritation, to see what past me was thinking and feeling. The whole reason I write a journal, and read literature, is to gain insight into peoples’ views, emotions and experiences – a window into my mind might interest those who think along the same lines.


Florence, January 1st, 2018


“I got back relatively early this morning, around 3 or so. Best New Year’s I’ve had in a while, besides the glass table nearly being broken. We watched fireworks from the Lungarno, which was lovely, though it felt weirdly anti-climactic too (I suppose I just have high expectations because I think of San Giovanni from a few years ago). Feeling quite excited for what’s to come though my feet are absolutely killing me, it was idiocy to wear heels. It does feel a bit like my teenage years have hit me in the face with a peach-flavoured vodka bottle again sometimes (that is such a sad sentence to have written, my God). Every year I say I’ve got feeling about things but I do actually mean it this time.”

Florence, January 20th, 2018


“Is it normal to forget how old you’re turning for your birthday on a regular basis? It can’t be a great sign. M&D are insisting on going to some restaurant near the opera I’ve never been to, so I gave in. I feel as though I should have some major goal I wanted to reach for tomorrow, but all I can really think is that I’m edging closer to my mid-twenties, which is vaguely depressing. Feeling slightly grey in every way – not particularly excited about things. Spoke to L about this and was essentially told I need distractions (what a revelation). Trying to get back into reading, not really working. Feel mainly exhausted and slightly aimless. ”



Florence, 5th February 2018


“This month is dragging on needlessly. Too slowly, with not much ahead to look forward to. Bored, lonely, irritable most of the time.”

New York, 17th March 2018


“Today I walked 37 km – and that is genuinely no exaggeration. All the way to the Met, all the way over to Chelsea, and back up to 42nd. Being here feels like being on a film set every morning, and I have, already, my little habits – a grapefruit juice in the morning, getting off a stop early on the subway to take in the sea of people making their way home. I like wrapping mum’s coat around myself to look like a busy businesswoman on her way to work. Alex and I met too, we went for a lovely dinner and a walk along Brooklyn Bridge. Been listening to Oasis song “Half the world away” a lot. Time zones fascinate me. I should be tired after today but I feel incredibly alive. ”

London, 11th April 2018


“It is going to be ok, even if I suddenly feel completely absurd despair arising from quite literally nothing as I walk down Kingsway. My brain is quite annoying these days. I think I need to get out of here quickly – I know what it is, I feel slightly overwhelmed and am growing weary of the cold mornings when it’s so mild back home. I’m having that thing where the cold air makes me look like I’ve been crying. I also hate interning in Westminster, frankly, I’ve never been anywhere more stressful in my life in terms of the area. ”

Florence, 7th May 2018

“What in the WORLD possesses my parents to buy such industrial quantities of bloody radicchio? Everything this week has been a tinge of pink. It truly is the mark of maniacs and I feel I’ve not eaten a vegetable that isn’t radicchio in about a week.”


Oxford, 15th June 2018


“Crying on the steps to the Sheldonian is not the way I wanted this trip to go. I feel so incredibly angry at myself for how my time here has gone, sometimes, and this time feels different to November. I tried to go on  a long walk along the river to distract myself, but it seems today all I really should be doing is crying, which is clearly some bizarre joke given how incongruous it is with the glee around me – punting, exams ending, this world that isn’t really mine anymore. I think letting go is always difficult, but all the more so when it’s something that has been such a mixed bag.

Saw Dr Paul this evening after this morning’s shenanigans. Long, long talk about careers and the future and things going the right way, which felt a bit like The Ultimate Tutorial. I feel so much better than this morning, I clearly just need someone to inject a bit of rationality into my life every so often.”

Oxford, 21st June 2018


“Writing this watching the world’s most beautiful sunset. Leave tomorrow. Mixed feelings but mainly feeling pretty content. I think it was always going to be a strange week. But I can deal with curveballs, by the looks of it.”

London, 27th June 2018 


“Got back to Kensal Green earlier than expected today and picked up a book to take to Hampstead Heath. The weather is absurdly un-English and I love it. Listening to the New York Times’ Modern Love as I wander around Parliament Hill. Feeling exceptionally less worried about Friday (scholarship interview) than I thought I would be. Not much else I can do about it really other than just be myself, I suppose. London doesn’t really feel like London, but oddly Wiesbaden-ish. It must be the world cup, the air feels fizzy.”

Mola, 14th August 2018


“Every single summer, I do this. I get to the last day of the holidays and tell myself I’ll go for a swim at sunrise, and then end up sleeping in, instead of actually doing so. But this year I actually did do it, and nobody was down by the lagoon – I cycled to the beach and read my book, feet sinking into the damp sand, for maybe about half an hour, before braving myself up to go for a swim. No phone, no change of clothing, just my towel and my book. It was already warm by 7:30, and I swam out, as far as I can, then I floated out towards the lighthouse, looking up at the sky before it could blind me completely. In these moments I feel so light and full of potential, every summer I think back onto how I felt on the last day the previous year – and, well, today I feel so sad at the idea of leaving. My heart always feels a bit like it’s bending onto itself, despite all my talk of hating summer, when I have to leave Puglia and embark on the inevitably sweaty train back to Florence. I have nearly finished reading this book which has me crying at 2pm in the garden on a regular basis. Mum keeps telling me to put it down. I haven’t felt this taken by something in a long time. ”

Braunton, 25th August 2018


“A wonderful day, if slightly surreal. Growing up is a strange thing.”

Florence, 31st August


“Beautiful San Miniato while rereading A Little Life (the book from July). Feel really happy in enjoying my own company right now. The stone I’m sat on is really warm and no one’s here which makes for a great experience. Still smells fresh from this morning’s storm. – I’ve always said summer storms are my favourite part of summer and this is just confirmation of that. I am so tanned that my shoulders have an entirely white line across them – it doesn’t even look like my own skin. ”


Florence, 2nd September 2018


“I need to get a grip. Have been Nutribulleting every possible thing in the house almost all day out of boredom. Made smoothie, soup (which led to realisation you do actually need to cook the vegetables beforehand), a dip (artichoke and rocket), a sauce (basil and pecorino), and paté (a DISGUSTING attempt at making gazpacho that just became mashed tomatoes). I genuinely need to be stopped. Thankfully everyone is back tomorrow because I’m going vaguely nuts.”

London, 8th September 2018


“Never thought the time I’d give into the easy way out would come, but it did today when I took an Uber with my enormous suitcases in tow, from Liverpool  Street to my new room, a mere fifteen minutes’ walk. I’d say I’m ashamed, but I don’t have the energy. We drove through the City, and I felt filled with both a recollection – this is where I’ve been hanging around for the past six month, Fleet Street and this end of the woods – and sudden anxiety. I do want this to work, I know it’s a new beginning, but part of me can’t help but wonder whether things will fall into place. Ultimately, a new stage begins – what it is will be what I decide to do with it, I suppose. Hammersmith tomorrow, which will be strange – like being eleven or so again. I think this is probably just tiredness but I do feel a bit like I’ve been blinking too frequently”.

London, October 27th 2018


“It is quite depressing how the high from my 5k was immediately followed by the horribly stale corridors of City University as I traipsed my way there this morning.  A bit of a multifaceted day.  My hands are frozen still and I tried to do work all day but failed. Not sure why I feel so distracted all the time but it isn’t good at all. Got home and sat looking at Fran’s flowers for a while. I miss us being all in each other’s proximity a lot sometimes. The planning and the texting and the organising can get a bit much. Today’s been good though, I’m just making it sound bad. I got a personal best, so not all bad! Itching to find out about anonymous £40 donation though. ”

London, 10th November 2018


“I don’t feel like I’m very good at life at the moment, to be honest, what with this whole law business, but trying to remind myself things happen for a reason, etc, etc. What a rubbish day overall, mainly spent running from Gray’s to City after I left my laptop in one when on way to the other – I could probably recite the order of shops on the Clerkenwell Road seamlessly now. I tried to cheer myself up by making myself a nice dinner of tofu stir fry post run but I was too tired to even eat it, am quite sure I didn’t cook the tofu properly, and it will probably be disgusting tomorrow, so feels like I’ve wasted food. Can’t win. ”

London, 29th November 2018


“Bit of a miserable afternoon. November’s that strange transitional month and I’ve been feeling strange for most of it. I have lots of things on my mind, really, but am also being very much not productive. I don’t really know how to move forward. I probably shouldn’t even be writing this but doing work – don’t really know what to do with myself sometimes other than think about things. Everything feels vaguely topsy-turvy – brain, heart, all of it.”

London, December 5th 2018 


“Gregory Alan Isakov tonight, good way to perk up a nightmare week and distract from all of my absurd behaviour – my mind is getting far too distracted by non-legal things at the moment and it’s driving me slightly up the wall. Anyway, I am in awe at how bad the security is at the O2 in Shepherd’s Bush just as much as I am at this incredible artist now I’ve seen him live. I love him, and I love all of his lyrics – he turned the lights off when he sang The Universe, and I thought I’d cry. What a wonderful, intimate evening. Don’t think I’m going to be very good at describing just how good it was but my heart is singing. The opening act was EXTREMELY irritating though (despite having a good voice). ”

London, December 15th 2018


“I quite simply have no idea what to think, all  I know is I’m thinking too much.”

Florence, 20th December 2018


“My heart is so full of joy. I couldn’t write much more to express that, it just is.  I’ve been back a few days now and have been finding the small bits of being home that are inextricably linked to habit and familiarity so incredibly comforting. It’s that, the relief of the term having come to a long break, and a series of relieving and surprising and amazing and terrifying and just GOOD conversations (well, single conversation, I suppose),  all of that, it is all adding up to what is just pure joy. I cannot believe, sometimes, times like this, the luck life has reserved for me. And this time last year I did feel an inkling of this kind of happiness, but now it floods me entirely, and it feels like a novelty and a long-awaited  sensation all at the same time. Perhaps it was always coming my way? […] and all of this is making me put everything else on a lower level.”


Happy New Year, readers – hope your 2019 is as wonderful a year as my 2018 has been overall (perspective is important!)





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