Winter Solstice and a 2020 Round Up

Header Credit: Maddie Sullivan / @deadlysalmon / maddiesullivanpaints.com

Happy Winter Solstice!

A few months back I posted about Summer Solstice celebrations, and so I’ve decided to do the same with the Winter Solstice – as well as a general round up of how 2020 has been for me.

Like the Summer Solstice marks the longest day, the Winter Solstice marks the shortest. Luckily for many, it means the nights are going to begin getting shorter, and we will see more daylight hours as the weeks progress.

What is the importance of the Winter Solstice?

The Winter Solstice also means the onset of Winter, and this day is also the beginning of the Yuletide Season. Lots of exciting things to happen, in spiritual, religious, and other ways.

One major importance of the Winter Solstice is that, before modern society was on the rise, the Winter Solstice would mark the changing of the seasons and therefore alert farmers that a changing of the crops was needed.

Usually, the Winter Solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge. Since this wasn’t possible this year, the even was once again live streamed. Additionally, English Heritage have created a Stonehenge Skyscape, which allows you to view the night skies above Stonehenge. You can view this at stonehengeskyscape.co.uk.

The Great Conjunction

The Winter Solstice has a great significance this year. You might have noticed today’s Google Doodle, which is a celebration of The Great Conjunction. The Great Conjunction is the alignment of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the night sky – visible even with the naked eye!

It only appears for a short time after sunset, and an incredibly rare sight that is going to visible for the next couple of days – so don’t worry if you missed it tonight, or if (like me) you had incredibly cloudy skies.

Space.com has this to say about the event:

A conjunction occurs when planets appear incredibly close to one another in the sky because they line up with Earth in their respective orbits. While Jupiter and Saturn align about once every 20 years, this year’s conjunction marks the first time since 1623 that the two gas giants have passed this close to one another in our sky ā€” and nearly 800 years since skywatchers were able to witness the event at night. … They will remain in close alignment for a few days and will be easily visible to the naked eye when looking toward the southwest just after sunset. 

So there you have it: information on this rare celestial event.

There is further information surrounding Zodiac signs and how The Great Conjunction can affect you – I kind of like the sound of Virgo’s prediction. (Remember: the 13th Zodiac was debunked and proved to be made up by social media). If you’re still confused, horoscope.com has a breakdown of all the signs and the corresponding dates (which do not change, but may have a +/-1 day variant).

2020 Round Up: How the Stars Aligned for Me

This is where it gets a little boastful, so please, feel free not to read on. But remember: you, too, have accomplished great things this year. You have survived the biggest global pandemic of this generation, and that is no small feat.

I decided, at the end of last year, that 2020 would be the year I start enjoying my own company more, and doing things for myself. Unfortunately, that goal was dashed somewhat, but I still managed a thing or two.

In February, I went to to my first solo concert, an event which I blogged about – ‘Oh Wonder: My First Solo Concert‘. I was able to see my one of my favourite bands, have my CD signed, and get a picture with them. I had fun dancing and singing along with people I didn’t know – like I was in a club, but infinitely more chilled and fun, and despite not knowing anyone, there wasn’t a moment where I felt alone. I also finished working as a stockroom delivery assistant in Argos.

I had booked a solo trip to Venice in March, but the pandemic (which at the time had barely breached UK boarders) meant my flight was cancelled, and I haven’t been able to book another.

I had a fortune cookie yesterday. To my delight, it contained to pieces of scripture. The first: It’s not too late to travel the world.

The second: Patience is a virtue.

I cannot help but think that is the universe telling me that the latter half of 2021/2022 will be a good year for travel, for exploration, and for finding myself. I hope I can get that solo weekend away in Venice.

Around a similar time, just two days before the first UK lockdown commenced, I met my boyfriend. We have been together for seven months, and he makes happier and happier with each passing day. He recently got me into playing Hearthstone, which is pretty fun.

In June, I self-published my third year dissertation – an LGBT+ coming out short story that I poured my heart and soul into. If you fancy giving it a read, you have three options – directly from this blog, from Ko-fi, or from Amazon.

In August, I finished my Masters in Publishing – just last week I received my official certification proving it! My final project also included publishing a piece of work – this time, I published a collection poems, short stories, and stream of consciousness writings that were written whilst under the influence of THC. Devil’s Lettuce can also be purchased on this blog, from Ko-fi, or from Amazon. I started a job at Pets at Home.

In October, I left Pets at Home – and started an internship with Reboot Digital Marketing, working in Digital PR.

Since sending out my first digital campaign in November, I have achieved over 75 placements – some on the Sun (and their snapchat!), syndicates in Australia and Canada, and even in print in a Portsmouth based newspaper!

I’m really excited for where my career will go, and how I will grow into the role. I know I still have a lot to learn, too, which is equally as exciting. I don’t think I will reach 100 placements before 2021, but maybe with some stroke of luck/final pushes in this run up to Christmas! I’m also excited to meet all of my co-workers – I have only been into the office once since beginning, and not every one was present on that day due to health regulations.

To further my education, this year I completed a diploma in German, and began studying Welsh A1. In 2021, I’d like to have a formal qualification in Welsh, too. I’m currently working on a Level 4 Diploma in Copywriting, which I know will help me in my career.

Every year since 2013, I have set the same goal on Goodreads: read 100 books. I’ve completed it only once, but I set the same goal every year, just because. I hope to break it in 2021 – but it’s no bother if I don’t. I’m really lucky that I’m not someone who beats themselves up over not meeting self-set goals. I just aspire to be better next time – I’m still a work in progress.

I’ve remembered to take my anti-depressant more often than not – I still slip up, and go a couple days here and there – but I always get back on track. I’ve had no harmful urges or detrimental thoughts for more than a year, which is so crazy. I started jogging – I haven’t continuously kept to this, and will go months between stints, so for 2021 I would like to get a solid routine and (hopefully) start to run as far as 5k. I’d also like to get back into horse riding, so in my spare time I’ve been looking for a sharer to loan.

I also want a new car in 2021, so I better get saving. My engine warning light has been on since October, and in July some van driver reversed into my parked car, creating a pretty sizable dent.

I’ve had a pretty great year, all things considered – and I think, despite these unprecedented times – that it will only get better.

As 2021 approaches, I wish the same for you.

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