I’ve never been one to reflect on the calendar year ending and another year beginning, but I think that as a young millennial, recently out of school, I’ve never had the chance to sync up with the calendar year-end and plan ahead for the next year. Life, until recently, has always focused on a school calendar and goal setting only ever consisted of grades, when the next holiday was coming and maybe what books I needed for classes that were inevitably just about to start.
2009 was the first year that I worked, start to (sort of) finish, learned a lot of new adult-style life lessons, and made big decisions that were just that – BIG. And hard. But, these big, hard decisions have gotten me to where I am now – a place that I am very happy to be.
I’m planning big things for 2010 – it’s going to be MY year. But before I turn the page on 2010, it’s time to reflect – properly – on that year that was 2009.
BIG THINGS IN 2009:
- In January 2009, I began the year depressed, sad and discontented with how my life was rolling along. I was living in a place that I just didn’t feel comfortable in, working in a field that didn’t make me happy and I was miles and miles away from family. After days and days of agonizing (almost three months, to be precise) I decided to move back to my home province of Nova Scotia to feel good again, find a job that satisfied me and to be where my family was.
- In June 2009, happy to be home in NS, I started what became a ~100 day retirement. I slept, ate, slept, ate, ran, slept, ate, ran, yoga’d, slept, ate, ran, sat on the beach etc. until I was ready to move on to finding a new job. I can’t imagine not taking the time off that I did take off; simply because I needed to take care of me.
- In August 2009, I started networking, meeting people and exploring different job opportunities. I didn’t know what I wanted nor did I have any real measurement system in place to help me decide, but I did have a lot of real moments on the search. I gained new mentors, business contacts and friends and I lost the need to map everything out all at once – sometimes you can plan, plan, plan but at the end of the day, the best things happen when you least expect it.
- In October and November 2009, I moved into a new apartment in a new city and I started a new job. TONS of new things that all fit together like a puzzle. The parts became a whole again.
I didn’t travel the world, fall in love or get married, like some people I know. 2009 wasn’t my year for those things (and that’s okay, too).
I did face fears. I did challenge myself. I set out to solve my own problems one step at a time, palms sweating, heart racing, smiling ear to ear.
It was never completely clear sailing, but there were some distinct highs and lows:
- Not knowing where I was going to end up at any given point, once I left my job and my friends behind. I can’t say I had a lot of sleepless nights, but I had a few. I took risks knowing that I had to chart my path to the next destination while being blindfolded some of the time.
- Having more than a few mental ups and downs. I know myself well enough to know when I’m feeling happy or sad. There were a lot more sad days in the beginning of 2009 than I wanted to have, but I had to be sad (or depressed or mopey – whatever you want to call it) to realize the state of mind I was in and why it wasn’t the way I wanted to be longterm. Then, it’s just a matter of knowing that you can change you state of mind.
- Leaving things behind. I left friends, my pseudo-family (those that practically adopted me throughout university) and a lot of memories behind. Of course, I’ll always be able to visit, retrace my steps and remember what the good times were like with each of the lovely people I miss now that I am not near them all the time.
- Being single. It’s one of the major reasons I couldn’t sustain life in a city I didn’t know without family and a social network that didn’t support me well. But, I learned the value of independent decision making – everything I did in 2009, I did for me – and me alone.
- Being single. I never once had to make a decision based on someone else. I only had to answer to myself – I can (and did) do what I wanted when I wanted.
- Having serendipitous meetings and conversations. I live for the moments where you briefly connect with someone and somewhere in the process you create an experience – a memory – that will far outlive the moment, leaving and imprint on your heart, your mind, your soul forever going forward. They don’t happen often, but I had one of these moments in April with someone I had not seen in over three years. Oh how we had both changed, but in our reunion we helped each other out, a lot.
- Feeling free to do and be whatever I wanted. I still don’t know where I’m headed, or how to get there, but I laid a foundation that will get me where I want to be, once I get that all figured out.
- Friends show their value in the actions, not their words. Stick with the ones that show you they care.
- Do what your heart tells you to do. Don’t look back, but do make a plan.
- You are the only one that can make you happy. Other people can assist and increase your happiness, but you are the catalyst in your own happiness.
So, where am I now, and where am I going?
I made big changes to my life this year.
Big changes for a 23-year old. Maybe less big for others, but big for me.
I took big risks, but I did it because my gut, and my heart, told me it was what I needed to do to surivive and keep on thriving. In fact, the big move was what brought me back into a place that allowed me to become comfortable with who I am, what I want to be and how I am setting out to accomplish my goals.
Every day, every week, every month, every year is made up of moments.
Good moments, bad moments, simple moments, complex moments.
Moments we remember, moments we forget, moments we wish we could forget.
2009 had a lot of moments, the most important moment being the moment I knew I could change it all for the better.