Ah 2016, I’m glad to see the back of you.
On August 8th this year, I started a draft blog post but never finished it. It had the working/title of ‘Why I won’t let June 24th define my year’.
The year started off rather well actually, I wrote a blog post about ‘Speaking Irish at Work – in London’. The Irish Times Generation Migration section asked me to turn it into a standalone piece for them. I also wrote a piece for them about coming Home to Vote in the Irish general election and featured on The Irish Times Women’s Podcast with a letter to the new Dail.
I also appeared on Talk Radio, speaking about coming out, later in the year spoke to Paul Ross about Black Friday, online shopping and small businesses.
I was also interviewed for Conor Scully’s Projections, speaking about life as a member of the Irish Diaspora, living in London.
June 24th – A Day I won’t forget
But June 24th happened. For those who have been hiding from all things news in 2016, fair play, how did you do it?
Going to bed on June 23rd, it looked like the British public were being a sensible lot and voting remain. I headed to bed, waking up at 6am to the news that a ‘Leave’ vote had won.
I was just kinda dumbstruck to be honest and couldn’t believe the short sightedness of some people, who were actually believing Farage and Co. Not for the first time that day, I felt a hole in the pit of my stomach.
I went to work and people were sitting around chatting, some just sitting, with no words. Some people were so emotional about it all that tears were shed.
I voted Remain but couldn’t partake in the conversations. I had a more pressing issue. I had a meeting which was to decide whether I would be made redundant or not. It went, as these things do, lasting about 3 hours. By 1645, I had a letter in my hand to say I was out of a job.
And so began my first adventures with the social welfare and benefits people in the UK.
August was tough, I managed to get some temp work through an agency for a couple of weeks in September and got a 12 week contract starting October 4th.
I’m not going to lie, the stress was just horrible and in London, if you’re not working, any savings at all are gone pretty quickly. Benefits come in at a whopping £73.50 per week. If you’re lucky, you might get some housing benefit too.
But Brexit and the June 24th announcement has impacted on my daily life in a way I never would have thought it could. My temp job exists because of Brexit, I have had my contract extended for another 12 weeks because of Brexit. What I do is existing because of Brexit.
Having a temp job now is great, better than £73.50 a week but no where as much as I was earning. This itself is another issue in London. Do you just want to exist somewhere or do you actually want to live?
June 24th and its fall out have made myself and Tahlula look at what the future holds. Being honest, I don’t want to exist. I want to live. That means 2017 could potentially be our last year in London. Something has to give.
Year of Flux and Celebrity deaths
Celebrity deaths in 2016, including my own beloved George Michael, have made us all question or own mortality.
2016 was a time of flux, a time of confusion. Now is a the time to kick the negatives of 2016 and start 2017 afresh.
Yes, getting a better job is top of the list but we all need to look after our own mental health, physical health and do stuff we enjoy and makes us happy.
During my time off this year, I lost nearly 3 stone. I want to continue that in 2017. I take medication for a dodgy immune system. I want to write more about that. 2017 is a year to throw myself into everything, try the ideas I have had see what sticks, what people like and what I enjoy doing.
The London Ear grows
I really enjoy presenting and producing my radio show, The London Ear on RTÉ 2XM. I’m thrilled at how the show has been received and how it has grown over the past few months. I don’t get paid for doing the show, so everything has to happen in the evening time, away from the 9-5 job. There’s no budget for promotion, all promotion is done via word of mouth and sharing on social media. So to see the show its listening audience and its social reach rise is very heartening and makes what I’m doing all worthwhile.
New beginnings, new starts, new adventures. 2017, it’s ours to to make the most of.
Last glimpse of light for 2016 from @aerlingus #EI174 from Dublin to Heathrow. Finally getting a flight 24 hours later than expected. Had a great time at home but now it's time for the next part of the plan. #NewYearsEve #NYE #NYE2016 #travel #travelireland #instatravel #blogger #bloggerlife #ukblogger #irishblogger #dublin #tourismireland #aerlingus #london #silhouette #dusk #lastlight #londonlife #maybeldner #instalondon #travelling #journey #airplane #heathrow #DUBTOLHR #londonlife #travelstagram
Here’s my Best 9 of 2016 from Instagram