2019 in review - helluva year

2019 in review: it’s been one helluva year

It’s no secret that 2019 has been one helluva year. I have lurched and free-wheeled from crisis to crisis, never feeling I was on solid ground. I felt like I was either wading through partially set concrete or scanning for shifting sands or watching out for storm clouds brewing on the horizon. My boat of The Self has been hammered by a relentless ocean of awful situations, pelted with rain and hail of always being on high alert. I haven’t been able to come up for air. And. Just. Breathe.

In January, I’d been in hospital with my liver failing. I also started my company. In April, I ended a 10 month dangerously toxic relationship. It took five months to start feeling like myself again. In October, I started the process to exit my business partner from the company, not because he’s a bad person but because we have different priorities. I’ve not been able to stabilise or grow my business, despite the opportunities in Vietnam, because of the vagaries of running a company here. It’s difficult, and not just because of language issues. There are endless meeting that never go anywhere, for one. In November, I had to renew my passport and all the paperwork and expense that goes with updating my Vietnamese work permit and temporary residence card. The process to exit my business partner still hasn’t been finalised.

In between the cracks, I met some fabulous people, said good-bye — or a thanks, but no thanks — to some not so fabulous ones, and embraced solitude and my aloneness. My wish for 2020 is for calmer, quieter and more still and steady waters. In the meantime, this is what I’ve learned, consolidated or observed about 2019, in no particular order.

  1. I can’t work 9-5 in an office. I just can’t.
  2. I am unemployable because I don’t like to be controlled by a “boss”.
  3. Classes are not for me: I learn better one-to-one.
  4. The most I can absorb in any learning session is three things.
  5. Competent teachers are rare.
  6. Teaching English to non-English speakers is generally not enjoyable.
  7. I can’t explain English grammar to anyone.
  8. PayPal might be painful but its consumer protection is awesome.
  9. Ask many, many questions.
  10. Read the fine print carefully.
  11. If there’s no fine print, avoid.
  12. Validate, clarify, research, check.
  13. Solid boundaries are the best protection I can have.
  14. Practice saying no on a regular basis: it’s a life saver.
  15. Red flags should never, ever be ignored because some people are dangerous.
  16. Manipulators are not cool, and should always be avoided.
  17. Never, ever take anything or anyone on face value.
  18. Never, ever ignore my gut because it’s always right.
  19. Never, ever give anyone the benefit of the doubt.
  20. Finding a good, competent, English-speaking accountant who is not expensive has been difficult.
  21. Lawyers suck and are self-serving.
  22. Meditation is the best thing you can do for an emotionally damaged brain.
  23. Self-saucing chocolate pudding in a mug is the question and the answer.
  24. Vietnamese is not an easy language to learn.
  25. Being able to speak Vietnamese is incredibly useful.
  26. I speak better Vietnamese than I can hear it.
  27. I’m not a vengeful person, although I have every right to be.
  28. My cat is the best companion.
  29. Not drinking alcohol is awesome from a health perspective.
  30. Not drinking alcohol curtails my social life.
  31. Family is complicated, mother-daughter relationships more so.
  32. I am the same person anywhere in the world.
  33. I’m a homebody and like my own company
  34. I do like chit-chatting and I’m always loud.
  35. Time on my own is precious and necessary.
  36. There’s nothing wrong with staying in.
  37. I can’t socialise two nights in a row.
  38. Facebook is a time sucker and a hard habit to break.
  39. I don’t care about Instagram.
  40. I no longer care about Twitter.
  41. I didn’t care about Medium two years ago for a reason. I care even less now.
  42. I do care about Pinterest.
  43. I’m mildly interested in YouTube.
  44. I love Netflix, especially as an evening, wind-down ritual.
  45. I could eat cha ca every day.
  46. Being pescatarian is easy in Vietnam.
  47. I don’t eat anything that can hug me.
  48. The South Australian Public Library is a life-saver for reading material.
  49. I like the thought of travel more than the reality of it, mainly because of packing, visas and immigration.
  50. I never thought about visas and immigration before Vietnam. Now it’s my constant companion.
  51. When I do travel, I enjoy it.
  52. I didn’t used to like airports, now I do. Especially Changi.
  53. The mountains of Vietnam are spectacular.
  54. The bureaucracy of Vietnam and dodgy service providers are not.
  55. Chiang Mai is healing.
  56. I take great photographs.
  57. Writing doesn’t get written unless you actually write.
  58. Writing doesn’t get published unless you actually pitch.
  59. In a city of 10,000,000 people, I like living in my village.
  60. Notice patterns, particularly of other people’s behaviour.
  61. Pay attention to my own patterns and change what isn’t working.
  62. My childhood will haunt me forever.
  63. I’m not wired correctly for relationships.
  64. I neither want nor need any more emotional entanglements because it’s way too risky.
  65. It is highly likely that I will be alone for the rest of my life, and that’s ok.
  66. Learning guitar is harder than learning piano.
  67. Udemy is like a gym membership — you buy it but never use it.
  68. Exercise is its own reward and is best done in the morning, in a fasted state.
  69. Running and lifting weights slow ageing.
  70. The spa is my happy place.
  71. Too much time on my hands is as unproductive and stressful as not enough time.
  72. Routine and schedules are helpful when you’re healing.
  73. Being alone is helpful and necessary to healing.
  74. Trust only when it has been earned.
  75. True friends are relatively few.
  76. Self-proclaimed friends that only want to be around you so they can talk about themselves are many.
  77. There are not a lot of people I want to give my time to.
  78. Most people are really only interested in themselves and their own agenda, and that includes me.
  79. I’ve gotten used to people leaving Hanoi and am hardly ever sad.
  80. Good leadership is hard to find, in any country.
  81. I’m moving into old lady territory, and I wonder how long I’ve got left on this planet.
  82. I ponder my legacy frequently.
  83. Calendar holidays are ridiculous, arbitrary and meaningless.
  84. I used to be an ENFJ but now I’m an INFJ.
  85. Clean air is a luxury we all take for granted. Except if you live in Hanoi, where the AQI is off the charts.
  86. Living plastic-free is a challenge.
  87. A motorcycle taxi is an efficient form of transport.
  88. Just because I don’t drive a motorcycle doesn’t mean I can’t do a motorcycle tour.
  89. Procrastination is not a bad thing if you pay attention to what you do when you procrastinate.
  90. I prefer writing for myself rather than others.
  91. I don’t care about fame or being famous but I do care about doing good work and sharing my experiences.
  92. Working on my travel blog is one of my favourite things to do.
  93. The finale of Game of Throne was shite. Hodor held the door for that?
  94. I can’t believe how tough and resilient and determined and patient and spirited and me I am.
  95. Despite everything, I have prevailed.
  96. I will always be an Australian citizen.
  97. There are people in far, far worse situations than me, who have nowhere to call home.
  98. My white privilege makes it possible for me to be in Vietnam.
  99. I lucky to have the good people in my life that I do.
  100. Time sorts everything out because this too shall pass.

Feature image by Noupload from Pixabay

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