I read an article (in psychologies magazine: http://www.psychologies.co.uk/) which gave 6 questions to help reflect on the year that has gone. These questions were:
1) What can you learn from looking back?
2) What brought you the greatest joy this year?
3) What mantra sustained you this year?
4) What did you learn to let go of this year?
5) What did you learn about yourself this year?
6) What are you most proud of achieving this year?
As I pondered over these I realised, this year has been one of the hardest (if not, the hardest) year of my life. I started it with no expectations or structure, leaving the results entirely in the hands of God. I don’t regret that, but that in itself made it an enlightening year.
The lack of structure allowed me to try new things, experiment and challenge myself. All the while knowing that God was watching and would protect me, and He did. I’m no saint. Far from it… but I’d like think I’m somewhere on God’s radar and He’s watching over me.
I’ve learnt a lot this year, about people, including myself; about ambition and motivation; about security and trust and most importantly about what ‘rock bottom’ really means.
I enjoyed listening to J K Rowling’s Harvard Speech, where she spoke about how rock bottom was the foundation from which she built her life. I hit rock bottom this year. Not in the same way she did, but in a way that opened up my eyes to all the possibilities around me. I had no sense of direction or motivation, I was wandering aimlessly from one idea to the next. There was a dream of a career at the back of my head, but a lot of time in between choosing the dream and being able to step towards it.
In those months I found a lot of joy and peace, as well as anxiety. Waiting is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you know what you’re waiting for. It makes you second guess your decisions and aims. You need to become rigid in what you want in order to see it come to light, and that requires faith as well as determination.
Looking back I now feel more certain and content about the decisions I made because of that time to ponder. Every doubt was pushed out by my growing understanding of who I am and what I need.
The journey hasn’t been without bumps or blocked roads. I have turned around many times in order to find my way, but I don’t regret a second of it. As it all opened my eyes to the truth about this world and the people in it. As the year draws to a close, I’m in the same place I began, with the same environment and people around me. I’ve felt loss and pain as well as joy and success. I am grateful to know that throughout it all I’ve had everything I needed. Strength. The same strength that keeps all of us fighting another day.
The truth is anything that was lost was never mine to begin with – we’re all living on borrowed time and we’re all walking our own paths. These paths may join up for a short while and convince us that we have companions, but that’s not the truth. However everyone we are fortunate to join with will teach us something, and I’ve learnt a lot from the people around me this year.
Everything makes you who you are, so I have to say thank you to God for challenging me and shaping me into (I hope) a better person this year. May I continue on this journey in the year to come.