Growing: The year that changed me

2020. When I first started the year, I was head over heels in love and I had two job interviews with places that I was astounded I would even be thought of as a potential employee. I had no idea that it would be the hardest and worst year of my life (so far).

I’ve been clinging onto a reference 10 years ago which has helped me ever so slightly in the darkest hours. When I was 18 undertaking my A Levels, a very good friend of mine became addicted to a drug and suffered terribly because of it. I was a port of call for many of their nights when they needed someone. That coupled with the passing away of my Mum’s Mum, being there for my Mum to help her process her grief, as well as the pressure of undertaking exams that would lead to my future, was quite a challenging few months. Looking back, that was something I could tell myself at times this year, ‘Vicky you have been through that, you can get through this,’ I chanted to myself regularly, trying to affirm my strength into the universe and myself, channelling my inner peace and courage. Little did I know that year was a mere blip in comparison to 2020.

Is this something that the universe likes to put in place for us? Every 10 years to test our strength? Screw bad things happening in threes, that hasn’t been the case for me this year, but more like in fives.

But with the darkest times and the biggest challenges I have faced, I’ve also faced truths that I had never even addressed before. In the past, I’ve been too busy trying to spread positivity in other peoples lives. But this year, on some days, I have really questioned my purpose in life and on those days, I’ve sat and I’ve really thought about everything, in detail, which I have never done before.

2020 is the year that I’ve learnt about boundaries, and why it is important to have them, and how they affect every area of your life. I’ve learnt about why I struggle to implement them and how it impacts the way I see myself. I’ve lost friends because I’ve finally put my foot down, standing up against people who have used me or walked all over my feelings and I’ve spoken up about things that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to so before.

Throughout this year of growth and my self love journey into my authentic self, I have also faced challenges that have tested my strength in new ways.

Firstly, going through a breakup with someone who you thought you would be spending the rest of your life with, in a pandemic is hardly a cup of tea. Is it my fault for having high expectations or for falling in love too quick? Blame aside, going through the pain of heartbreak without a dancefloor to conquer, escaping on a plane to new sights, or hugging a friend was its own challenge. Then came the incident that gave me PTSD and then lockdown hit, and I was on the front line of the pandemic in a different way to many other keyworkers, reacting to breaking news on a regular basis, and trying to provide clarity to the public in a chaotic time. As soon as lockdown hit, so did the persistence and harassment of my neighbour, where I quickly soon felt trapped in my own home. Approaching the summer months, I ended up moving four times in the space of four months.

Despite swinging between adrenaline and anxiety since February this year, I am finally feeling my pulse rate calm. I can always argue that things could have been a lot worse, and for many people, they are.

Just like I do every year (although this time I will leave out the travel list and bucket list areas for obvious reasons) here are the things I have managed to achieve this year, despite everything.

  1. My role changed to broadcast journalist and reporter
  2. I improved RAJAR figures for three shows I worked on at BBC Essex
  3. My stories reached BBC Breakfast, Sky News, Daily Mail and ITV Meridien
  4. I put together a range of exclusives for BBC Essex such as on alcoholism, test and trace, those who are visually impaired, and Excluded UK
  5. I delivered a talk at the Festival of Confidence on the subject of Being Too Much” 
  6. I wrote a piece for BBC News and it was on the front page for BBC England
  7. I also wrote for The Metro, Refinery 29 and Thought Catalog
  8. I researched, produced, and broadcast a story on Radio 1, 1xtra and Asian Network’s Newsbeat
  9. I shared my dating stories on paper on Stylist and on air on Radio 4 and BBC Berkshire
  10. I delivered three live online workshops on Storytelling and Podcasts for Future Foundations to 500 young people each time
  11. I did an online stand-up comedy gig
  12. I put together my own audio investigation and have started my own audio documentary – with no instruction or guidance – all on my own
  13. I made a video special of my podcast
  14. I have become a houseplant momma
  15. I survived the challenges I have faced this year and I have thrived

What about you? What was your 2020 like for you? Did you learn something about yourself and grow in new ways? 

Or fancy learning about my decade?