So in five days time I’ll be twenty six years old. I have to say? I probably couldn’t be more proud of myself.
I managed to break through what felt like the worst time in my life, remarkably intact thanks to good people, good medication, and good counseling. And you know what else? I survived it because I’m me. Because I’m a pretty strong person when it comes down to it, with my own quirks, faults, failures, and pitfalls. I’m also kind of amazing.
The best thing I learnt this year was to be gentle to myself. It took my counsellor and my doctor at University telling me to do it every week for four months before I started listening, but that’s not the point, the point is that I learnt how to do it – I’m still not perfect at it, and like any good skill I need to constantly refine and re-learn it, but I’m not at the point where I mentally beat myself up for every tiny perceived failure and missed opportunity.
This year I got my blue belt, and that felt pretty big. I’m now four steps away from black belt. (Ok, four steps, 20 kgs, and a health and fitness regime away from black belt.) Along with that (amazing) blue belt, I’m now officially further away from my initial expectation for myself than I’ve ever been before – considering my initial expectation was yellow belt – a mere four gradings ago! So I’m four gradings, five medals, and three years past what I expected of myself. And one of those medals? Is for an international competition.
This year I made myself face that I wasn’t in a position to keep studying. I love learning, and I will one day finish my Degree, but for now? For now finishing University is outside of scope. I had to let it go because it was one of the biggest pressure points in my life – it made me incredibly unhappy. I went from a B+ student to failing. A. Lot.
I need to find a way of modifying traditional university learning to something that suits me personally, so my goal for the year ahead is to set a proper plan for finishing off my last couple of papers. I’m not in a position to do it next year yet – the idea of writing an essay still fills me with gut-churning dread and paralysing panic, but I have hope that I’m going to be there soon. Before I am I have to spend some time confidence building, and slaying the part of myself that second guesses to the point of panic.
This year I ticked a lot off my list of things to do:
- I had my quarter-life crisis (go depression!).
- I dated someone with a motorbike (Unfortunately not long enough to be allowed to drive the motorbike.)
- I paid off (some) debt.
- I dressed like a flapper, and an Amish person and posed for completely serious family portraits.
- I got a haircut, and a real job.
- I learnt how to build networks (surprisingly my greatest tool seems to be the question “How’s your day going?”)
- I went to a burlesque show, and that, combined with seven years of gym changing rooms has thoroughly disabused me of the notion that the female body is a perfect thing – and that therefore, that I was somehow abhorrent, abnormally squidgy, and gross. I’m far happier with what I look like now, than I’ve ever been before.
- Also I HAVE to tell you about that Burlesque show. Because I thought I was going to a musical about zombies. Imagine my surprise when nearly-nude ladies started doing ill-advised things with candles. (Really.) Remind me!
- I’ve found a career path that I want to shoot for in the next few years.
- I wore a pirate costume on a work day and called my boss a scurvy landlubber.
- I’ve finally started learning how to accept change graciously. I’m learning to take my instinctive negative response and re-examine it.
So yeah. A year of awesome, and suck, and bad and good. And now I’m 25, five days away from being 26, and getting to shake hands with a five legged sheep. Life is good.
My year ahead:
- Re-learning algebra via smart phone. Theres an app for that. I’ve started with Linear Equations using Integers. (I swear I’ve never used any of those words seriously before. I must have slept through that lesson in High School.)
- Entering another patterns competition for TKD… And maybe finally managing to break a board in competition! Or, even sparring, If I’m feeling very brave. (Except sparring is terrifying.)
- SAVE MONEY.
- Challenge myself physically. It might mean a change in gym though. Because new and exciting, is new and exciting.
- Take another step up the career ladder.
- Be brave enough to speak in a fake russian accent and introduce myself as Ivanna in a bar to a stranger.
- Working on my trust issues, and being more open to new people – it’s hard to make friends when your first instinct is to clam-up and stare suspiciously at new people.
- Drinking more green tea. (Even though it’s gross and tastes like bitter grass clippings.)
- Learn how to do the perfect side piercing kick.
- I hope to meet a guy worthy of introducing to the parental units – BUT that’s not really a to-do list item. It’s more of a hope. Which is why I said hope I guess.
- Dress like a pirate and take a photo of myself holding a sword on a bronze cannon.
- Be awesome at extreme sports. In my head.
- Take up a hobby for later on when I’m a grandma. Like scrapbooking, knitting, bowls, or coupon cutting.
- Buy a car, and get my full licence
- Take a long road-trip to somewhere weird and a bit silly. Like Matamata. Or Hamilton.
- Find the perfect place to live alone and own a cat.
- Think about maybe moving into that place. Unless I’m still having too much fun flatting with Becks and Jasmyne.