It’s a long-held tradition of mine to look back on the year that was, and examine it through the lens of lessons learned. I don’t do New Year resolutions, I do New Year revelations. I like to think about what went well. What didn’t. What I’d do differently. What I’d do again in a heartbeat. How can I keep moving forward? Striving? Am I living a rich (not as in money, but as in an abundance of experiences) life? 2015 is no exception. All-in-all, 2015 has been a turning point for me and as I step into the unknown that is 2016, I do so with a lightness and an optimism that I haven’t experienced in many years. It’s been that kind of year.
You never know what’s coming for you
Just when you think you’re going to sail into your 50s and 60s with a bit of a plan, life laughs hysterically in your face. I really thought I would see out my working years in the largely unsatisfactory public sector, scaling back my hours to a (more or less) comfortable semi-retired status. Of course I want success as an author, but I have relegated myself to the fact that it may never happen. Of course I want to move into a freelance income stream, but I’ve consoled myself with the fact that this may never happen either. Of course I’d love to work and live overseas, but the practicalities of uprooting myself (and by myself, I mean my cat) mean that this, too, may not happen. But I was content, and such is life. As those philosophical geniuses The Rolling Stones have said: You can’t always get what you want.
[bctt tweet=”I don’t do New Year resolutions, I do New Year revelations.”]
The retreat in Bali changed all that. I realised that there were alternative ways to live, and for the first time in a few years have started to imagine a different kind of life for myself. I’m investigating different possibilities. And I’m doing this because of what I learned in Bali: that you never know what’s coming for you. I never in a gazillion years thought that I would have a romance with my airport transfer driver. I had no idea that I would make deep and lasting connections with the people I met there (I’m looking at you Karen Willis and Jacq Burns!). I never thought that Bali would kick-start my freelance work. I did not know I would love Bali so much that I would seriously consider living there, at least half-time. I don’t know how or why, I just know that I want—no, need—to be in Bali.
Let go and relearn
Y’all know that I have this anxious adult attachment style. Hell, I’ve written about it enough that y’all should know! My anxious attachment style has been quite a crippling affliction because I feel like I am at the mercy of my stupid, sexy emotions whenever I embark on a new relationship, even if it doesn’t get off the ground. My thoughts are a white wash of noise culminating in panic, which, I’ve learned, is my stupid, sexy anxious attachment style swinging into gear and doing what it does best: being over-sensitive. It’s over-sensitive because that’s what it’s primed to be. Knowing that it’s not me (as such) has been a blessing. Knowing that I need (no, must) be with someone who has a secure attachment style has made choosing a mate that much easier. I am more in control than I have ever been.
I also chose not to be involved with anyone because I didn’t want to risk making another poor choice, even though I was damn sure I could pick out an avoidant (the ones I am usually attracted to and should avoid like the plague) at 50 paces. I was content with life, I told myself. I had travel, running, writing, work, friends, photography… and a cuddly cat. I didn’t want/need a man. (Go back to the previous post, particularly the bit about life laughing hysterically in your face when you think you have a plan. Yeah. That.) But I met Made when I was in Bali, and got involved with him very quickly. So quickly, that he kissed me the day after we met… and I had sexy times with him on the third day I’d known him. The funny thing about that is my normally anxious attachment system (apart from a few reactive, pre-programmed blips) was completely calm. It’s been completely calm (again, apart from a few reactive, pre-programmed blips) in the time since I’ve come home and have been making plans to go back again and there are several thousand kilometres between us. We are limited in our communication to texts, and I am completely calm (again, apart from aforementioned reactive, pre-programmed blips). I’m so calm, I’m almost nonchalant. This man has helped me to let go of helluva lot of stupid, sexy, unhelpful thoughts. To relearn what it’s like to be involved with someone, and the involvement just, well, is.
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It’s an awesome feeling to tick off goals
This year was an awesome year for kicking a few goals and making inroads. I ran two half-marathons and in the sec0nd one, knocked three minutes from last year’s time. I self published not one book, but six non-fiction books, three short stories and one short story compilation. I travelled more this year than any other, with a three week trip to crazy, beautiful, serene India and another three week to Bali. Working on my novel (the reason for going to Bali in the first place, and one of the reasons I’m going back to Bali this week) has made me feel more like a writer than at any other time in my life. I have continued my part-time hours at work so I can concentrate on my business interests, even though I have a reduced income. I now have four websites that I am looking to monetize in different ways (Google ads, affiliate links, merchandise, sponsored and premium content etc.) as well as pursuing freelance work.
There is still more work to do though, more goals to kick. On 8 December 2011, I published the post What next? 10 Goals in 10 years and in the four years since, I have only managed to tick off 1 and a half of those things: be published, and run a marathon. Actually, I’ve run three half marathons, just not a full one, hence the 1 and a half things.
I still have not:
- fallen truly, madly, deeply in love again (but who knows? Maybe my Bali romance might be my next big love)
- gotten married (see above point)
- had a photographic exhibition (I keep meaning to do something for SALA… hell, I have enough photos to have an exhibition a week for the next year!)
- made a living from being a creative (I’ve made some serious inroads lately, though)
- sought after as a speaker (I’ve been interviewed on a podcast, so it’s a start…!)
- lived and worked overseas (see the first point above)
- won a karaoke competition (probably because I haven’t entered any)
- met Dave Grohl (probably because I’d rather meet Tom Hardy. I
scaredtouched Benedict Cumberbatch at OzComicCon in 2014, which is sorta kinda close, given that Benny and Tom were in a move together).
What this tells me is that some of these goals are not within my sphere of control. I can’t know whether I’ll fall in love again, or get married or meet Tom Hardy. I can, however, have that exhibition, win a karaoke competition, increase my income from being a creative, and live and work overseas. I just have to want to do it badly enough and put things in place to ensure it happens.
If only it were that easy.
I recently learned that I have a rebel tendency to creating new habits and meeting expectations, including my own. What this means is that I highly value freedom and freedom of choice. I hate feeling constrained or obligated, even to myself! How’s that for contrary thinking? But knowing why you do what you do is part and parcel of understanding.
And that’s exactly why I do New Year revelations…
…not New Year resolutions.
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