Every year most of us say ‘Next year will be so much better’ but I find this approach very counterproductive. Instead, I focus on the year I’ve just lived – appreciating any successes, making peace with myself over certain issues, acknowledging any mistakes I’ve made and how I can address them in the future.
Ask yourself 10 questions without being over critical or harsh on yourself….
1. What makes this year unforgettable?
2. What did you enjoy doing this year?
3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?
4. What’s your biggest win this year?
5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?
6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?
7. What was your biggest regret and why?
8. What’s one thing that changed about yourself?
9. What surprised you the most this year?
10. If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?
Here are my answers, obviously they are going to quite travel orientated…..
1. Making it to the end relatively unscathed? That’s always a bonus, and I seemingly have made it without any major mishaps. On a serious note, it has to be my trip to Kefalonia, where I lost my heart to the island; so far no other Greek island has come close, although they are all beautiful in their own ways. I came home glowing, relaxed and full of ‘peace’.
2. Travelling – 2017 has seen me visiting the Czech Republic, Kefalonia, Ithaca, Bulgaria, Kos, Malta, Gozo and Morocco, all very different and all very special.
3. Charlie Bear – daft, I know, to some, but I really get why a child has a ‘comfort blanket’ to makes them feel safe. CB’s my constant companion, who I can tell anything to without any criticism, or reprisals. He picks me up when I’m down and makes me feel secure when I’m scared & lost – quite often when I’m travelling, my useless sense of direction needs much improvement! We grow up too quickly and lose our sense of fun, I hope I’ve maintained that – my father hopes one day that I’ll grow up 😉
4. Collecting my University award back in January – it seems such a long time ago now but to receive the AOUG regional award for the south of England, one of only 13 given throughout the country, was such an honour. I will never be the brainiest of students and I battle with my mental health issues at times, but I am determined to succeed and I will get that PhD, eventually!
5. Sadly it has to be reading about the war crimes of Darfur featured in the international law module for my Master’s degree – it was so traumatic at times, I literally had to put it down and take a break. We are usually only party to what we are exposed to in the media, but the full ICC and UN reports are available online and it makes for harrowing reading.
6. My trip to Marrakech – I was fearful about what to expect, especially venturing into the Medina and Jemaa el-Fnaa. Yes, I was right to be on my guard and have my senses about me at all times, but fearful? perhaps not. It was the most ‘full-on’ experience I could ever imagine, frantic at times but once you get over this fact, and just go with the flow, it becomes a far more fun adventure. Would I do it again? Of course! 😉
7. I’m not one for regrets, they serve little purpose and can eat you up. If I were to come up with anything, it would be not having made it to the waterfall at Boyana in Bulgaria and letting my fear of heights get the better of me, but I can’t class it as a regret, just a lesson learned in respect for myself and knowing my limitations.
8. I’ve I have acquired a strength and fearlessness I never knew I had. I’ve always been very practical but I have become assertive and more determined than ever; travelling alone has taught me a lot about myself – and I hope I’m a far better person for it. Maybe this ‘strength’ has always been there, lurking somewhere deep inside me but it’s taken until now to surface.
9. I could say the above, I’ve quite surprised myself at times! I’m surprised at how much I’m loving doing my LL.M, but shocked at the level of input required at this level compared to my degree and how much hard work it actually is – maybe choosing law, when my degree is in psychology & criminology, has something to do with that?
10. Don’t listen to others when they try to tell you how to live your life, ignore the fault finders and pessimists and just because they don’t want to spread their wings, doesn’t mean you can’t! I take too much to heart, always have, along with psychoanalysing everything – maybe going with the flow a bit more and embracing the words of the sign at Zia would be advisable in 2018…..