Didn’t I just do this? Wasn’t I just sitting at my old laptop (may he rest in peace) typing out my reflections on 2014?
Part of me feels like nothing has changed and yet the girl who sits here typing this out into the abyss is a wildly different one from the one who nattered away all throughout 2014 on this little blog which no one reads.
This time last year I was restless. I wanted out of this tiny little bubble that is The Shire. I loved the place I lived, I loved the people I was seeing all the time and I loved my little life, as insignificant as it is. Despite loving all these things I was so ready to get out, to see different people, to see how they lived, to do something different in my comfortable yet monotonous life.
One year later, I feel exactly the same but it’s a different restlessness. If you had told me, even so late as the 1st of March 2015, that I would grab a backpack and head off to the UK on my own, I would have laughed you straight out of town. It’s the kind of thing that I had always wished I would be brave enough to do. It seems small potatoes compared to the trips some other brave, intrepid people do, but for me, it always seemed out of reach. My anxiety and my apparent inability to be independent were just too much, too big of a roadblock, for me to ever consider it.
Three months later, I cried at an airport employee and he said “You’re coming back though?” and I blubbed some undecipherable words back at him. He patted me on the shoulder and let me go through. When I landed in London I cried again, but out of happiness. Suddenly London wasn’t a dream, it wasn’t a story in a book or a tale told by my many other adventurous friends and heroes; it was a reality.
The next six weeks were the most fun I’ve had in my life, to date. I never left my hostel or hotel without a smile on my face, I was never lonely and I don’t think I panicked over something insignificant once. A personal record on all of those counts.
I choked on a fish-bone on Brighton Beach, I laugh-cried hysterically whilst on the phone to my best friend in a bookshop in Inverness; I had a few near-death moments in the Scottish Highlands (a story for another day, perhaps) and I met a lot of beautiful, crazy people. I fell over a few times in public from the weight of my backpack – I am not a light packer – I ambled over Scottish rocks, explored Welsh castles and visited the places that my favourite English authors lived, breathed, wrote and were inspired by. Perhaps most significant of all, I have added three countries to my list of ‘Places I Have Vomited’.
Then I landed back in Sydney. Usually when I get back from travels, whether they be across oceans or just across states, I see my city in a much better light. I usually love everything about this place for a good month or so. It lasted much less this time. I think it took a little over a week for the battle to begin. The urge to go away comes up against the need to stay put, to get a real job and to concentrate on loving the people and the place that God has given me for now.
Since July, my time has been filled by ministry, work, writing (clearly not on this blog, sorry!), applying for jobs, being rejected by jobs and small weekend trips to not-so-far-off places – Melbourne, Port Stephens, and the Highlands of NSW. I’ve completed an internship, added SEVEN families to my babysitting repertoire, read 100 books and taken about 3.5 million Buzzfeed quizzes. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about how little money is in my bank account, I’ve watched my little sister finish high school with flying colours and, on that note, I watched all her friends – who I now consider my friends as well – finish school in style too. I’ve starting learning French, I’ve made the courageous decision to grow out my fringe and I’ve inexplicably added Justin Bieber songs to my latest playlists on Spotify. It’s been a weird and wonderful year.
When I graduated, over a year ago, I had just made the decision to take a post-uni gap year and I pretended like I was confident in this decision but secretly I felt like weeing my pants. I was worried about my lack of motivation; I didn’t want to find myself lying in bed in August, having done nothing of note and crying about my sad, pathetic life. It’s happened before and I didn’t want it to happen again. As usual though, God had me safe in His hands and I had the most productive year of my life, while still being able to lounge around in my PJ’s until noon if I wanted to. I had so much time to be able to visit people, to strengthen certain friendships that had fallen by the wayside. I had more time to be able to help people out at the drop of a hat – every week looked different and I was never ever bored.
Last year I wasn’t ready to work full-time. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do. This year has given me such a wide range of experience in so many different things work-related and leisure-related that I don’t feel totally unprepared anymore. I don’t feel like a little girl, I feel like an adult and I feel ready to tackle whatever gets thrown at me next.
I’m so excited for 2016 and all the ridiculous challenges it’s going to bring – because there will be many. There is so much in store – good and bad. What about you? How was your year? Tell me everything.