2016 is done.
In numerology 2+0+1+6=9 and 9 is the year of endings and change. No one could deny there was so much of it last year, losing iconic celebrities like David Bowie and Alan Rickman at the start through to George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds at the end, and so many in between. There were countless terrorist attacks – I was very close by during two of them – plus the usual and at times, unusually-located flurry of weather hazards and natural disasters. Then there was senseless tragedy, helplessness and devastation for the vulnerable people of Aleppo, as well as broader Syria and Yemen. The wider Western public gave in to fear and wayward politicians, voting in Brexit and Trump and changing this liberal world as we know it. Time will tell but I think what people were really voting for was a pre-neoliberalist, pre-Reagan/Thatcher world where everyone had a full time job, comfortable wages and job security and adult children could afford their own house and dreams. Something no politician can achieve these days without dramatically changing the massive corporate power and wealth influencing the global government and world today.
Quite simply, it was quite a year.
For me 2016 embraced both endings and change, but not really in any negative way. While I did lose a family friend and my beloved grandmother, and had to bid farewell to my childhood in the selling of her house, overall I embraced change. I graduated from my postgraduate studies, signalling an end to 10 years of full and part time tertiary education. That in itself was a huge relief of time and mental clutter. I paid off my university debt and in doing so became 100% debt free. I cleaned out my storage unit in a few days and moved into a storage unit half the original size, marking a huge step toward the freedom I’m looking for. Health was my focus throughout the year and I managed to get an MRI of my back and find out how I can maintain an injury free spine. My gut was found to be free of gluten which for a Coeliac is a massive accomplishment. I also established a routine of preventative health measures including osteopathy, reflexology and massage. These measures are vital in order to avoid stress impacts that accompany a job like mine. On a more fun note, I visited Paris and New York and Los Angeles, Spanish and Italian isles and Fiji, and I was home to see my sister get married. My youngest children charges also set out to do as many roller coasters as possible in LA, and guess which reluctant rider was forced to embrace her fears and ride them as the accompanying adult. Actually they weren’t so bad and I wondered why I’d held back in fear so long, but they were never really a part of my childhood or travels so the longing as an adult to try them was just never there. Lastly, how could I forget my blog? I started my blog and in doing so, found a therapeutic way to mentally take on my clutter and say goodbye to so many things. I was also able to share my journey with so many like-minded people and gain your support just as I was able to cheer for so many of you. Without doubt, those busier work weeks when I haven’t been able to write have felt unbalanced and unhinged without writing as my stress reliever and creative outlet. Overall, for me the year wasn’t bad. It had a lot of challenges and triumphs but the journey was important to work through.
Now we have shifted into 2017. 2+0+1+7=10 and 1+0=1 and 1 is the year of beginnings. What’s in store?
Many years ago I did away with the idea of resolutions because of the negativity surrounding the idea that they are something you break within a month. If I am starting a new year afresh, I want to embrace change and stick with it. A close friend also once talked about creating goals to achieve throughout the year, after I’d started my habit, but it solidified for me the idea of planning a journey of goals to check off throughout the year. In the beginning, my new year goals were environmentally focussed – stop buying tissues and use hankies instead (except when sick), use washable cloths, glass instead of plastic food containers. Lately however, what’s emerged are goals related to a theme. 2013 and 2014 were about graduation and wrapping up the education chapter. 2015 focussed on starting a new life in full-time employment that would allow me to thrive instead of survive. In 2016 I started my focus on health and for each of these years, many goals were achieved.
2017 for me is about finding balance. My job has so many demands and spontaneous challenges or tasks that lately the only time that’s mine is for quick showers and sleep. I might get to browse Facebook blankly and add a futile comment to someone’s thread or write a brief reply to a message with a foggy brain, but that’s about as far as things go. Such is the nature of working for VIPs; it’s what you sign up for. Often mundane things like washing my hair, tidying my house or doing laundry get put off. I’ve become unhappy with this imbalance recently and seek change. I want to reduce time on social media and call or message my friends and family more. I miss the relationships I have cultivated outside of this box I live in. I want to write more since I enjoy it so much. I want to get fit – physically and mentally. Be in the best shape I can. I also want to go deeper into my minimalist journey, closing chapters where possible, like finalising my education chapter by throwing out all the study resources I no longer want access to or need to keep: so that’s including tidying up my hard drive folders too. I want to rid myself of old photo frames, negatives and albums and digitalise them all, then streamline them into one of those digital picture frames. That’s four boxes in my storage unit I don’t need to keep. I also want to read more, as a leisure activity rather than a minimalist task based on reduction, but either way it will help me further eliminate boxes in my storage. I really hate that phrase “I don’t have time” and its sister “I’m too busy”. They are a twist on the more truthful “I’m not prioritising you/that.” So this is my year’s mantra, to search for ways to find balance and become a more freer person and engage in the things I enjoy. So far I’m off to a good start; one week in I have tried to make conscious decisions throughout every day, and I have even started a new book.
What’s your goal?