It is the beginning of another year. This means 365 blank pages with the opportunity to have new and exciting experiences every day.
As I reflect over the last twelve months it has been a roller coaster of a year, and one that I wouldn’t ever willingly ride again. Though if I am completely honest I am not sure we are quite at the end of the ride just yet.
Personally and professionally I have had many highs. There have been lows as well, though I am starting to learn that it actually is of no benefit to me to dwell on the lows. 2020 has provided me with many teachable moments and the opportunity to understand that focusing on the lows serves no-one. This is a hard realisation and a difficult pattern to break for this little ol’ Eeyore, where focusing on the negative comes far more naturally than looking for the good in each moment.
This time last year I was a gently dipping my toe back into the big world of work after a long time out and a protracted recovery that is most certainly still ongoing. I had a lovely part time, short term contract gig.
This gentle beginning lead to bigger and more exciting opportunities within the same organisation and sees me starting 2021 in a fourth contract role this time with Media & Comms team. I am excited, scared, nervous and battling with a little (ok a lot) of imposter syndrome about my new role. Mostly though I am looking forward to jumping in with both feet and seeing where this leads.
I am very excited that this new role is part time. After working full time for most of the year I recognise that this is just a little too much for me on a personal level. I struggled to find a balance and I have missed my writing for fun. I have also missed my passion projects sharing the stories of women doing the ordinary in extraordinary ways. I am looking forward to spending time at my desk tapping away at the keyboard again in the near future.
Looking back over the year that was I had two lovely little breaks away at the very beginning just before the world changed in ways we couldn’t have ever imagined. If I had known what the year ahead was going to be I would have made more of the time we had. I took things for granted and was planning my next break before I had even finished on the first holiday. This moment alone has taught me that I need to be more present to life. Slow down, enjoy what is happening there and then, experience that moment; don’t worry about what hasn’t happened or what might be. Just stop, breathe and be.
And before the world as we knew it shutdown I spent an amazing day surrounded by some of my favourite people at two events for International Women’s Day. I can’t wait until we can see people properly in real life, at events and hug them again.
In amongst a year of ups and downs we had to transition overnight to working from home and the girls doing school from home. I must say I have never been so thankful for teenagers and high school students! Their school was next level amazing and we barely even noticed they were home.
We had lots of opportunities to slow down and take stock of the little moments throughout the year. My gym moved to online classes this meant the whole family could join in. We went for lots of walks on the beach to break up the time when we were in lockdown. Lucky for us the beach was close by (not so close anymore but now were have the mountains and cows!) We commemorated and celebrated in very different ways in 2020 doing ANZAC dawn service in our driveway and birthday’s with our very nearest and dearest. There was the very occasional trip out when things looked to be returning to normal, though as the year ends there is nothing normal about how we can spend time together.
Probably the most random event for us this year was selling our family home of the last 19yrs and moving to our new forever home. After trying so hard in 2019 to sell and move we had given up and decided that we would do some renovations to our old home. However, in the midst of a global pandemic we sold our house, bought a new one and are now settled. It is slowly starting to feel just like home. We have had our first Christmas in our new home and a few birthdays as well.
I am a planner and I feel more in control when I know what is coming next. Another teachable moment from 2020 was that I just had to let it go. If anyone had told me that international travel would cease and realistically trying to plan anything more than two weeks out would be ambitious I would have laughed. Though this is exactly where we find ourselves today at the beginning of a new year. So I am trying really hard to just be, go with the flow and not look too far into the future.
As a family we are in a really lovely place. Our kids are happy and mostly healthy (save recovery from a busted shoulder for number one son), hubs and I are doing really well personally and professionally and our pups Chewy and Obi are an endless source of joy. We have been incredibly blessed to be surrounded by the most amazing family and framily* again. They support us in everything we do.
On a very personal note my mental health has certainly kept me on my toes this year with some really dark times but with the support of my family and framily* I am still standing (well sitting if the truth be told) here today. Though things as always are precariously balanced there. Which is why it is important that I put some boundaries into place which include recognising my limits and knowing (accepting) that I am not wonder woman. On the FND front I have had a few little flares here and there mostly people wouldn’t notice because I push through which is not the best option really and again this comes back to boundaries, knowing my limits and pacing myself. I also had the opportunity to share with my work colleagues a little about my mental health journey and if by sharing my experiences (even if it is uncomfortable to put it out there) helps one other person know they are not alone and they find the strength to reach out then it is worth every little bit of uncomfortableness on my part.
As I look forward to 2021 I am excited by the possibilities that are ahead. I am looking forward to new professional opportunities (even if I am talking myself off the imposter syndrome ledge at the moment.) On a personal writing front it is the year of me. It is going to be the year I find my voice again. I look forward to sharing my own stories and those of other amazing women. I would like to do some study, I just haven’t settle on what just yet.
This year is full of lots of big 0 celebrations in our marriage and our ages. Though my standard line is if I do not get to sit on a tropical island somewhere sipping drinks with little umbrellas then my birthday is not happening. I am hopeful that we might be able to travel this year even if it is just short breaks here and there. Though this is a little reliant on the States opening borders to those of us from the unclean NSW.
Upon reflection 2020 was a bit of a bin fire of a year, yet there were some real gems amongst it all. There were many teachable moments for me and I am really excited for what is to come. Most of all I look forward to being surrounded by and sharing it with my framily* and family because without each and every one of them life would be very boring.
* I am so very lucky to not only have friends I have friends who have become family – my framily.