Raise your hand if you spent all of yesterday on the couch! My first of January reminded me painfully why I don’t drink large amounts of alcohol when partying. I somehow end up repeating that mistake every year, and yesterday was particularly awful. Self-induced, yes, but I still suffered a little. The only thing that made it better was the fact that my boyfriend and I cuddled all day and truly rested…something we rarely do together!
Today, I am ready to jump start 2016 – as promised in my Intro to Jump Start Week! I really wanted to write this blog post yesterday, but turns out our internet connection was down (and honestly, my brain wasn’t functioning too well, so it’s probably better that I didn’t).
On this day, I want to invite you to join me in remembering 2015. Yes, it’s obviously not long gone, but I found myself reflecting a lot on my life and myself as the year came to an end…never consciously, but in talking to others you somehow always end up reminiscing. And boy, last year was definitely a defining one for me.
I started 2015 with a lot of fear and anxiety. I had my final exams of my studies in February, and I am a big fretter when it comes to tests. Those of you who were following me back then probably stopped reading my posts at some point, as every single one started with me whining about how horrible my state of being was.
But, lo and behold, exams passed and I survived…and didn’t do too badly, either. It was an extremely intense, pressure-laden phase of my life that I am super glad is over, mostly because it dragged on for such a long time. I started studying for those tests in October 2014 and had my last (oral) exam in May 2015. That’s 8 months of my life that I invested in a total of 7 exams – and when I say I invested my life, I mean it. I didn’t go out, I didn’t relax, I literally was caught up in my books. My studying habits are anything but healthy, I fear.
After finishing my exams, I sadly wasn’t able to relax, either. If there is one thing I have learnt about myself in the past year, it’s that I need structure to function. And by function I mean both working and relaxing – the latter of which is probably my biggest struggle in life. I finally got a structured week when I started working in the middle of September, but the 3 months between my last exam and becoming a working citizen should have definitely been a lot more relaxing than I experienced them. It took me much too long to get out of the studious mindset, and I realize that I didn’t really take charge of my own situation during that time.
I expected everything to fall into place after I finished exams. I was super disappointed the day of my last written test, as I had imagined that day for such a long time that when the moment was actually there, and the world didn’t stop spinning to bow down to me, I was in tears. Sounds completely irrational, and believe me, I was NOT a particularly rational person for the first half of 2015 at least, but looking back, the only thing that would have saved me the feeling of emptiness after exams if if I had immediately jumped into something else…a job, an internship, or something like that.
After 3 months of forced relaxation, I moved 300 km away from my family and boyfriend to start working as a teacher. And I have to say, that was one of those moments I felt I had and have truly arrived in myself. As exciting and nervous as I felt during the first few weeks of working, and as time-consuming and tough the weeks before Christmas break were, I have never felt more purposeful, fulfilled and calm as I did and do right now. Starting to work as a teacher has changed my life. And it has changed me, incredibly.
I might do a separate post about what teaching really entails for me etc., but I reminisced about all of 2015 so that you may be inspired to do the same. Instead of stuffing the past year away and forgetting “everything” in order to start over, I’d like to invite you to look back and discover how far you’ve come. I started 2015 scared and a nervous wreck. Over the course of a year, I somehow managed to pass all those tests, move away, start working, learned how to deal with a long-distance relationship, and have found my true purpose amongst all of that.
I start this year with a smile on my lips. I start this year excited for what’s to come – respectful of the work entailed, but mostly giddy. I am ready, and I know that I will manage it all. I know I have people who’ve got my back through it all, I know I will get through the tough bits. I have gotten to know myself even better in 2015, and am so ready to continue becoming who I know I am deep down.
Who are you this year? Who have you become? Who do you want to be?
I invite you to ask yourself those questions. And if you don’t know the answers, don’t fret – and start by reflecting the last year. In my opinion, that’s much more helpful than scribbling a few goals or resolutions on a piece of paper and then forgetting all about them.
It’s great to have goals, of course. We will talk about those tomorrow. But today, I think it’s better to look back, kindly. And then jump start the New Year from there.
(By the way: The picture above shows my new favorite juice – a mix of cucumber, beet, grapefruit and apple. Just in case you’re wondering. :))