Lets Talk About 2017.

Hey, hi, hello!! Happy 2018!! How are we all? I spent christmas at home with my family, the only thing I really wanted, and gained like 7lbs so it’s swings and roundabouts…

Anyway. Most of the time away I’ve spent trying to adjust to moving home from living on my own but mainly the challenges that come along with my new job. Throughout my degree I’ve known I wanted to work with young people in mental health settings and currently I work at an adolescents inpatient hospital. Great! It’s exactly what I wanted…on paper, but the reality of it can be just a bit too real for me sometimes. Seeing young people at their lowest day in, day out can be seriously tough. Seeing them improve or show their trust in you can be the exact opposite.

BUT. This week, after what feels like centuries, I begin my travels of 2018 with my first stop being one that’s clung onto my wishlist for too long. So yes, I’m excited (just unprepared). But while we’re still fresh in the new year, I thought I’d reflect on 2017.

To say it started off rocky is an understatement, I don’t remember January or February (aside from going to Krakow, that’s about it). It was basically just two months of pure survival mode and contemplating dropping out of Uni with 6 months to go. It was, however, a time that I can look back on over different periods and be thankful for how much I’ve grown when at that time I didn’t think I had any space inside of myself to give. Around March time I had a pipedream of getting a ticket to China and making my way back somehow, which probably wouldn’t have made for as much of an entertaining story as what happened.

By the time April rolled around I had finally submitted my dissertation, my fragile newborn, centred around something personal but controversial that required me to stand up in front of a room full of people and discuss. For the first time in months I felt like I’d achieved something and that a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt empowered and as if I could now physically close the book on Uni. At the time, I was worried about the future, however much of a struggle it was to get through each day there, it was comfortable. Predictable. I got up, I went to Uni or Work and then came home or travelled. It was miserable but protecting. From January to June I didn’t travel aside from Krakow, it was strange! What’s even stranger is that it was the longest time I hadn’t travelled for a whole year. I had finally booked my tickets to Hong Kong and it was no longer just a pipedream. I wanted to challenge myself to being as far away from home for as long as I ever had been at that point.

Packing my car in June with everything I’d picked up over the past three years, it’s safe to say that I was terrified. There was only one day in between going home and going to the airport and I am completely truthful when I say I considered not going, which is a mad thing looking back on it now. At this point I was unemployed, moving back to Wales with a car full of belongings and an ok-ish amount in my bank to survive. It was so freeing. Before leaving London one of my friends from work gave me two books: The Alchemist and New Earth. Reading hasn’t ever really been my thing. I love psychology and self development books but sitting down to read is not something I can do.

Well.

Reading has, without any hesitancy, changed my outlook within the past 6 months. I feel like I’m picking up one book and then within a week I’m yearning for another, books which had gotten dusty over the years have been blown off and read cover to cover at least two times. This really happened while I was in Norway, with a lot of time to do nothing I found myself taking in the concepts and alternative ways of thinking that I was reading. Non-attachment, mindfulness, accepting reality and the ego. Travelling in June gave me the adventure of Asia and the confidence of being alone on the other side of the world, but Norway gave me the peace I needed to really address some well overdue internal reflection.

I spent August to September wondering if I had made a mistake of coming to Norway. Don’t get me wrong, I love Norway…I was just so angry. Looking back, the mixture of time, solitude and change created this tornado inside of me and I’m so glad that I belted up and got comfortable enough to ride through it- because it’s something that needed to happen. I worked hard, I reflected and opened up to difference. I let go. October through November was a time where I was excited for the next step.

I have always been someone who is resistant to change, I hate endings, but by the time I left Norway it felt if I had stayed a day longer, the confidence I had would have turned to frustration in wanting to leave. The day after I returned to Wales I had a job interview and, well, that’s where I am now. Step up after step up. At the end of 2016 I really only wanted to be this person who was well travelled, educated, learnt a different language and just all round an interesting person.

Right now I think I’m a pretty cool person to hang out with.

My plan for 2018…changes daily. I want to progress in my job, I also want to do my Masters. I also want to travel and I want to find a decent person to come along for the ride! So, I don’t know what to say about that one aside from it’ll be another step up.

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