Adios, 2018

Here we are. December 31st. The final day of the 365 that made up 2018. I, like many others I’m sure, am feeling a little reflective.

It occurs to me that at the end of every year, I focus on the bad. Even though the last few years haven’t been all bad, the culmination of each of these years has been negative. Though I’ve been fighting many battles, and even winning a few, it seems I’m constantly losing the great big war. So recently I’ve been doing a bit of…well, soul searching if you will. Trying to understand why I am where I am, and what I’m supposed to do. And if there’s one thing that I have discovered about myself in these last couple of weeks, it’s that I’ve been lost for a long time.

It’s difficult to put into words how I’m feeling. I feel like I’ve lost sight of the world around me, and the infinite possibilities that come with being human, with being alive. Imagine being in a room filled with hundreds of doors, and meticulously, systematically locking each of them in turn. That’s kind of where I am. I’ve allowed myself, however unintentionally, to become locked into a tiny space, and in turn locked out the world. Maybe I thought it was safer, maybe I thought I didn’t deserve more, maybe I’m just scared. Whatever the cause, I’ve realised that it’s time to start unlocking those doors again. Look, maybe it’s a hokey metaphor but I can’t think of any other way to put it.

I think setting goals can be an intensely personal thing. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because, as I’ve said before, the obligation to make them negates the possibility of improvement. What I do believe in, is setting achievable goals at any time of the year, so long as those goals are for you and not resulting from outside pressure to conform. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m setting a few personal goals myself. But I’m not going to share them here.

What I will say, is that I feel like I’ve been walking through a foggy mire, stumbling blindly through heaviness and all manner of things determined to hold me back, and drag me down. And I’ve been lost in that fog for the longest time, but now I’m ready to be found.

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Farewell, 2017

We are once again at the last day of the year. As with all years preceding it, this day is a time for reflection and, for those that participate, resolutions. For me, 2017 was…complicated. 

R E F L E C T I O N

I’m a very ‘glass half empty’ kind of person. I don’t mean to be, but it’s an inherent part of my nature and I can’t help it. So, when December 31st rolls around and I think about the year, my thoughts automatically default to the negative things that happened this year. And in 2017, believe me, there were plenty. I spent some of the most miserable months of my life living in the city, working 17 day stretches and 10 hour days, only to go ‘home’ to a living situation that was equally unsatisfactory. I slumped into a depression that affected not just me, but my relationships with those around me. And amidst all of that, I came very close to doing something I always swore to myself I wouldn’t. In June, to keep both my sanity and my health, I quit my job and moved back home.

2017 brought with it many challenges and setbacks, I won’t deny. Too many, (and a lot of them too personal) to delve into on a public platform. In recent days, I have been fighting with a feeling of loneliness that I can’t shake, whilst simultaneously longing to be living on my own and away from people. See what I mean about complicated? But despite all the negative, there were some good times too. The highlight of the year was the week I spent in Tasmania. The beautiful country, the amazing places I visited, the wonderful friends I have there, and the innate feeling that I was home, made it one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I think longingly of the day I get to go back.

In terms of sewing, I didn’t quite manage my ‘one make a month’ project. Instead, I made 11 projects, ranging from pyjama pants to a wedding dress. I think I did well, all things considered. I took on some challenges and surprised myself with how much I managed to achieve. I’ve come a long way from the early days of apron making, years ago when my sewing journey began.

All in all, I can’t say that 2017 was especially good. It had its moments, absolutely. I saw some great bands, made some new friends (and fell out with some old ones). I expanded my skills, took on new and frightening things, and went out of my comfort zone in a lot of aspects. But, nevertheless, I’m not sorry to see 2017 go.

R E S O L U T I O N S

As for resolutions, I don’t make them. What I am making, however, are plans. First, I am taking a tactical approach to sewing next year. This year I just winged it, and stitched anything that took my fancy. Next year, I am going to set myself nine projects that are different to anything I’ve made before, and I am finally going to take on the knit fabric beast. I have avoided it in the past because I’m scared of it, to be honest. Woven is so much easier. However, I know that Tilly Walnes, of Tilly and the Buttons, is bringing out a book on sewing with stretch fabric and so I am going to buy it when it comes out, and tackle the beast head on. Tilly really helped me when I first started sewing, with simple instructions and cute patterns, so I’m excited to see how I can continue to expand my skills with her second book.

Next on my list of plans is to do some research and find out where I plan to live next. As I explained to my best friend, the city didn’t work out for me so I think my next move will be coastal. But, learning from my mistakes, I will look around, visit and explore any potential homes before I barrel in head on and end up back in the City Situation. What will help, is that I plan once again to be living on my own, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at that prospect.

The rest of my plans are sketchy at best. I refuse to say I’ll write a certain amount, or read so many books, or lose any weight or any other thing that I know I won’t stick to. I have a tendency to take on too much too soon, and get overwhelmed and end up doing none. The only other thing I want to do is take my director up on the plan we made to have her teach me the violin. Once the play is over, and we have more time, I am going to ask her to help me learn the instrument. Because honestly, it’s about time I made the effort, since my string collection remains sadly unplayed and unlearned. My final plan for 2018 is to take things slow. To try not to take on too much, and to remember to breathe. That’s not too much to ask from myself, I feel.

To you, dear readers, I simply wish to say thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sticking with me on this blogging journey. A particular thank you to two that, in the words of Anne Shirley, I feel are my kindred spirits. To Quinn, for not only your wonderful writing, but also for your lovely comments when I needed words of encouragement. And to Arbie, who has been with me since the early days, thank you for your creative mind, the adorable photos of your ferrets, and your kind words, always. I look forward to reading both of your blogs in the coming year!

Well, that’s it. Happy New Year to you all. I leave you with this comic from Sarah Andersen, which I feel sufficiently sums up my feelings about the coming year.

Image is the property of Sarah Andersen

Choosing Happiness

It’s here again. With only four days left of this year, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that 2016 can fuck right off, and that I’ll be glad to see the end of it. I’ve had kind of a crap year. Or at least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself. See, it gets to this point in the year, every year, and I – like many others, I’m sure – can’t help but reflect on the past twelve months. And every year, without fail, I find myself focusing on the shitty times, and subsequently writing the year off as a bad one. In the case of 2016, it’s not really the year that has been bad for me personally. Just the last few months have been more difficult than most.

Now, I could tell you about all the bands I saw this year, and talk about the move to the city and my sadness over the loss of an ever growing list of celebrity idols and any number of other things. But that’t not what this post is really about. Yes, it’s about the year just gone, but not about the way I’ve experienced it. I’m certain nobody really cares all that much what I’ve spent the last twelve months doing. But just bear with me for a couple of minutes. I may ramble as I try to collect my thoughts coherently, but I’ve gotta get this out, so be patient with me, and forgive me my scattered mind.

People have a tendency to get to this stage in the year and start with the “New Year, new me”stuff. And if that’s what works for you, all power to you, my friend. But I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again; New Year is just another tomorrow, just another today. So why is it that we wait until January 1st to start making changes? I think it’s because we don’t actively realise that change happens all the time, and we believe that we are only allowed to change when the last digit in the calendar year changes.

“You know the great thing, though, is that change can be so constant you don’t even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don’t even notice that your life is better or worse, until it is. Or it can just blow you away, make you something different in an instant.” – George Munroe (Life as a House)

I’ve been doing a bit of self reflection of late. Life events and an increasingly negative headspace have me contemplating a whole lot of things that I was ignoring, either because it was too hard, or because I was too set in my ways. And I’ve come to a simple, yet profound conclusion. I deserve to be happy.

I am by no means the first person to come to this realisation. It’s not a new idea, the notion of happiness. Products will claim to be able to sell you that very thing every time you walk past a store front. I’m not talking about the idea of materialistic happiness. I am talking simply about allowing myself to live my life in a way that is fulfilling, and about trying not to see everything through rage coloured glasses. See, I think for a long time I’ve been holding myself back. I’ve been so set in the notion that the outside world is too unappealing, that I’ve somehow managed to lock myself away, at least emotionally. Easier to just avoid everything and confine myself to a state of slowly simmering hate and apathy. But lately I can’t help but wonder what I might be missing out on as a result.

I’m not saying I’m suddenly going to hop aboard the people-loving train. Simply saying I want to experience more of the things life has to offer doesn’t mean that I’m surgically removing my personality. I’m still an introvert, and I still don’t know how to express my feelings in a nice way, and I still think people are shit. What I’m saying is that I’m going to stop telling myself that I can’t. Because, whatever it is that I convince myself I can’t do, I totally can. I can let people in. I can break down the walls. I can run a business, and write a novel, and travel the globe, and talk to girls, and get a dog. The only person stopping me from experiencing life, is me. Which I guess makes me kind of a jerk. Fuck you, Me.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at. World, I’m coming for you, and not in four days. I am coming for you right now, so you better be ready, because we have a lot of adventures ahead.

 

2014 in Review

About this time twelve months ago, I wrote a blog that pretty much summed up my year. 2013 was not a good year for me. I am happy to say that 2014 was infinitely better.

This year I had three jobs, two of which I left of my own accord and one that I am currently employed at. This brought me to the realisation that I hate working for other people, and has prompted me to work with greater determination and motivation, on what I intend to be a best selling novel. At the moment I work because I have to but in the next twelve months, I intend to work on what I want to do.

This year was very creative for me actually. In addition to my writing, a few months ago I took up singing lessons, in preparation for my sister’s wedding next year. I performed properly in front of people for the first time ever, and loved it so much that I can’t wait to do it again. I subsequently went out and put a guitar on layby and next year, fully intend to immerse myself in learning. And about six or eight months ago, I purchased a sewing machine, and have spent the better part of the year making things. I want to expand on my current skills and hope eventually to sell my shizz at markets and such. I’m all about the learning and creating.

This year I finally got my license and bought my first car. Those two events have given me independence and the freedom to do what I want. Like drive two hours to drink chai and share a secret truth with a dear and trusted friend. I mean, I have road rage like you wouldn’t believe and actually don’t particularly like driving, but at least now I can go places with ease (and considerably less sweat).

It was an awesome year in music too. I said farewell to one of my favourite bands a couple of months back, when I saw them for the third (fourth?) and final time. Thanks in large part to my best friend, I got introduced to a bunch of great new music, which gave me about five billion new cds to buy. I saw some wonderful live gigs (and dealt with more drunken Pervy McPervesons than I would have liked) and rocked out until my ears were ringing. Good times were had!

This year has been about creating and learning. It has been about working and earning, spending and saving. It has been about falling, and dragging myself back up out of sheer stubbornness. I didn’t cry during The Fault in Our Stars, but I unexpectedly teared up over a speech Tim Minchin made. I have had deep conversations about…deep things, and stupid conversations about nipples, or whether other lollies use candy canes as walking sticks. I have been given a lapdance by an intoxicated friend, and inadvertently flashed my butt to strangers on a windy day. I have been slapped in the face by people you may know and insulted by strangers on the internet. It has been one crazy, whirlwind of a year, full of all kinds of crushing disappointments and fulfilled fantasies, learning curves and snap decisions. I’m ready for tomorrow. See you all next year.

2013 In (Brief) Review

Let me start simply by saying that for the most part, this year was pretty average. Most of the time it was pretty well below average if I were to be completely honest.

This year, particularly the last couple of months, has brought with it some hard truths and unpleasant realisations. First and foremost on this list is that I no longer have the luxury of being a kid. Something about the last couple of months have made me realise that, at 21, it’s probably time to start acting more like an adult. That means getting a full time job (eeep!) and working towards that big scary thing called a career. It means accepting responsibility and admitting when I’m wrong. It means working towards my goals instead of sitting on my butt (which will probably get fat if I continue to do so!) And it means living, instead of merely existing. After all, to quote an Anberlin favourite of mine, there’s more to living than being alive.

This year has taught me a few things. Firstly, you can’t rely on anyone, at least not completely. Even the people who are closest to you will eventually let you down. It doesn’t matter if they mean to or not, that feeling of disappointment when they do will hit you hard and will probably come with a healthy dose of hurt too. But don’t think you’re exempt from that because you will inevitably let people down too, and the truth is, that hurts just as much.

Another thing I’ve learnt is that life can and will throw you curveballs. The minute you become content in something, life will turn around, trip you over and then point at you and laugh while you try to pick up the pieces of your shattered illusions and put them back together. One of the biggest curveball moments for me in 2013 was when I lost my job at the bookstore. That, while being one of the lowest point of my life to date, just showed me that things can always change, especially when we least expect them to.

Over the last twelve months, I’ve realised that we often outgrow people. The friends for life pacts we make when we’re younger just don’t seem to be as strong as we hoped they would be when we were kids. But often too, we lose friends due to lack of contact. Relationships are a two way street and if one side fails to keep in contact, the other will soon follow suit. Unless you want your life to become a ‘How To’ guide to becoming a lonely recluse, pick up the goddamn phone. And if, after you’ve made plenty of effort and get no response, perhaps it’s time to cut ties and move on from pointless relationships that will inevitably drag you down.

And finally, one of the major things that I have discovered this year is that you can’t help who you fall in love with, or who you don’t. Unrequited love is a painful and miserable thing, but it is no one’s fault. Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be. But if you do fall in love with someone who feels the same way, then you should hold on to them and make sure that they know that they’re special to you. Even if, like me, affection is hard for you.

Basically this year for me has been largely unpleasant, with a few memorable times that I will remember until I either die or go senile. 2013 has been a year of sorrow and anger, of disappointment and discontent. It has been bitter and unmotivated, stressful and utterly exhausting. But in amongst that there have been incredible hugs and gentle kisses. There has been passion and laughter and great food and red wine. There has been love and friendship and the occasional moment where I can speak aloud as well as I can speak on paper. And I’m not saying 2014 is going to be any better or worse. I don’t know yet, because that’s still in the future. But I will say that I’ll be thankful when this year is done and hope that next year might be a little more fun.

Happy (ever so slightly early) New Year.