2014…a year of rebuilding and success!

by Dr Anthony D. Cliffe

As customary at the end of every year I always do a review blog of how I feel the year has gone. I promise I’ll do a really fun one before the end of the year, especially as I’ve compiled a list of all the funny and crazy things that have happened this year! From being chatted up by a 60 year old woman to being handed a wedding present as the groom to a wedding I wasn’t meant to be apart of. But for now here is an emotive blog looking back on this year which has been a year of vindication and achievement!
2012’s review was about a brilliant year and then an extremely sad ending, for the most part of 2013, it was a massive struggle and it wasn’t until the very few final months where things started to look up.
Last year on the whole was difficult for numerous reasons of which I’ve blogged to death at the time. It was my philosophy that in 2014 I was going back to basics. I’d seen so many doors shut in 2013, in quite brutal fashion at times that I had one door that opened for me and that was my masters. I knew that I had to do everything to pass it and pass it well, it was something to cling onto in a year which was pretty dire. I’d been knocked down in 2013 and I found it difficult to rebuild. I would get so far, for something else to happen to knock me back again. So I said to myself at the start of the year, lets cut everything back. I’d seen when I was in a difficult time the false friends disappear; some I thought would never leave my side but did. I was fine with that eventually because I found who the true friends where and I’m glad that they stuck through it because they now share in my success and it has been a very, very successful year.
I wanted to cut back on all the negativity and heartache of the year before, the false friends were gone, I had to get my head down and smash the masters. That was my number one goal. Pass my masters. No romance this year, I didn’t want any of that crap to happen again.
I’ve gone through dips in my life but never as bad as 2013 so to strip myself back to basics was really quite revolutionary for me. The end of 2013 things started to look up and I felt more positive. 2014 was a year of consolidation and a fresh start and it worked.
I type here now having got a distinction in my Masters thesis, a Merit overall, I’ve presented my undergraduate research to Parliament and was in the top 20 of all undergraduates in the UK. I’ve had my book published with brilliant sales. I’m getting my masters dissertation published next year in an academic journal. I came 28th out of 80 in my first ever timed cycled race and my Merseyrail blog went viral to 97 countries with over 36,000 views! I now have a brilliant job doing something I absolutely love and have always wanted to do, which was to be a lecturer and academic researcher. Above all I have an amazing small network of friends and family around me and I feel really grateful to come out of the otherside.
I look back on 2014 as a very important year in my life. It’s not about how hard you get hit, it’s about how you get back up and be better than before. A lot of that has to do with my masters and that is something that I am immensely proud of as this rebuild of myself was built around that. It was a tough goal to achieve but I did it, and I knew it would open up so many doors for me if I got it. Fundamentally I look back on that with a real sense of pride, not for just my own achievement but the vindication of people’s belief in me. I’ve always been one to project an outward confidence and self-belief in myself, to not have that in 2013 was something I think that really threw me. So when people club together to find money to put you through a masters course and believe in you to do well Is something inspiring. It’s especially inspiring when you jumped at the masters through desperation and had no idea how it would turn out or if you were good enough for it. It’s weird how things work out in life, all those little things, little decisions so insignificant at the time all come together for a reason.
There was that pressure all throughout the year of wanting to do well so I could go back to my family and friends, my investors in my future and say hey, thank you, your investment paid off, here I am. I’ve done it!
To complete a masters course is extremely difficult and I have a real sense of pride to have climbed that mountain. I have to say a huge thank you to my fellow masters gang! We were all in the same boat and it was really quite an interesting journey! I found myself a really good set of friends in them and I don’t think I’d have wanted to have shared that journey with anyone else. I’m really glad that we all passed and you should all be immensely proud of your achievements! Not only are you brilliant people, but you’re also brilliantly clever people too and I can’t wait to be reunited with everyone and celebrate next year at our graduation!
Selfishly I have to look back on the year and give myself a big pat on the back. Although friends and family and other people have been immensely helpful this year, for which I will mention later but end of the day it was me who wrote the essays, it was me who worked my absolute arse off this year to make things better. Opportunity knocks but only if you work hard to build the door. I take such pride from that this year, not in a smug way like I would have in the past but in a real, you know what Tony, Good on you mate!
I’m a people person and as much as I don’t like to show it I take criticism to heart, especially from those I love or look up to. When people leave your life it always comes across to me like they don’t believe in you anymore and some people said stuff to the tone of “You’re never going to be much”. So when people left my life in 2013 and jumped off this ride I would have, at the start of the year, done a big speech about well HA! Look at me know bitches! But it actually makes it much sweeter to let my success as a person do the talking. I see these people on Twitter/Facebook and look at their fake happy statuses and hear the backstabbing stories and inner turmoil through various people and wonder how lonely their life must be and how bitter it’s become. Most people take it at face value but after being so close to these people I can read between the lines.
Very recently one or two have come back, realising they made a mistake, their I’m sure actually quite sincere apologies but that ship sailed a long time ago and that makes me feel absolutely amazing. I didn’t jump into bed with another person or friendship to make myself feel better, I didn’t hit the bottle, push my real friends away and go off with fake friends to bury my head in the sand to not deal with my own problems. No, I put my head down, I was kind, polite and friendly to all those who were to me and I worked hard, I worked so god-dam hard this year, harder than I ever have in my life and now I reap the rewards of my success. It could have been very easy to turn into a right twat this year but it takes a lot to do it the hard way, to reassess yourself and rebuild yourself and be the best person you can be.
That’s where my pride comes from this year, it’s pride and thanks to absolutely everyone who believed in me and where I was going. You guys sit on my shoulders now as I move forward with my life, having achieved what I’ve achieved this year and that is down to you, true friends and family for your belief in me which I will always remember and repay. I’m not just talking about the big players either such as family and close friends (which I am and always will be grateful for your support) but those few kind words from people I haven’t talked to in years, or just on Facebook it all adds up.
I started 2014 with the feeling that I was not the person I wanted to be or could be, I felt like life had not panned out how I planned it. The vision and goals I always had and how I always wanted it to work out didn’t happen, the goal posts changed. I’d spent a year getting kicked to the kerb and having my face in the mud. I looked up from the ground at the mountain. I was down here and I needed to be there at the top of the mountain. New goals, new outlook on life.
That self belief that I will get there if I worked hard burned within me, you guys helped me along the way with a hand and a cheer and a whisper of encouragement. Slowly I plugged away, keeping my head down and working extremely hard and now I stand at the summit, in the sunlight and I look down on the path from the mountain. I take a deep breath of air and I look forward to the next mountain, the next goal.
Next year is another big year, a consolidation year continues. It’s time to continue this rebuild, to be better than I was yesterday but not better than tomorrow. I’m going to continue this with those who stuck by me. I feel as if I’ve done you proud this year and I feel proud personally to see where I was to where I am now.
I don’t know where next year will take me but I look forward to the adventure.
Hard work always pays off in the end.
I’ll always have haters in my life, I’ll always have people who leave and I’ll always have those who try to push me down to climb the ladder of their own agendas but for everyone of you there is a ten of them, the ones who burn brightly in the nights sky, the good ones.
So, 2015 I’m ready for you! Let’s make it a good one.
Happy New Year guys! I hope 2015 is a great year for you!
Until next time