So, the new year seems to be the time to reflect on the old year and look ahead to the new… I see it happening on other blogs but I wasn’t sure I wanted to look back on my own year as it hasn’t been the best year for me. However, I find that as much as I am fighting looking back, I am still doing it, which means I might just as well write about it. I am also realizing that I see goals forming for 2016 and they very much spring from all that has happened in 2015. Looking back and looking ahead and putting things into perspective may not be so bad.
The event overshadowing everything else is the passing away of my dad this past year in March. That sounds like quite a while ago but really it isn’t. He is still in my thoughts every single day. Only the other day I was out drinking hot chocolate at a café with my family when I saw a man seated there who was looking away from us and from the side/back he looked so much like my dad (he even wore a similar coat!) that my heart jumped and I almost got up to go over to him. Then he turned and I saw that he looked nothing like my dad, he had very different features and was a lot bigger than my dad had been. I even took a picture of this man, as if that would make my dad really be there again!
The disappointment that it wasn’t him was like a punch in the gut and it took me a while to recover from that. My dad’s passing overshadows everything this past year… Sometimes I feel like the worst of the pain is over and then something small happens, like seeing this man, and the emotion is still as raw as it was in March.
Besides that my job situation has been very insecure for all of last year. A little over two years ago I lost a job I had loved at an organisation I loved due to restructuring. It was a very political, negative restructuring to boot, something I had not believed possible at that company before it actually happened. It showed me that I have more bravery to stand up for what I believe in and for the people I believe in than I thought (and I think that is part of what cost me my job) but it also left me wounded and rethinking the work I had been doing. I found a job almost immediately after that but I soon found I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. After five months I quit that job to take a temporary assignment at another organisation, working in development aid. I love what the organisation does but from the get go it was clear my work there would be temporary. I didn’t care. I left the job I didn’t like for this temporary opportunity and have managed to extend the temporary work to a year and a half’s work, but the end is now really in sight. The organisation is totally restructuring as of January 1st and I will be on the lookout for other work very soon. In fact, I have already been on the lookout. Oh, how I hate applying for jobs and job interviews; building yourself up every time and then being disappointed when things don’t work out. I know something will work out in the end, I just hate the road towards that.
And finally, there is my health situation this past year. I have been dealing with dizziness for a few months now which has left me mostly unfit for work. While the complaints are finally slowly subsiding, I am not out of the woods yet. It looks like 2016 will bring improvement, however, so that’s something I hope I won’t have to be worrying about much longer.
So, yeah, 2015 hasn’t been great for me… But I am nothing if not an optimist and I try to remember that 2015 also brought good things. It has cemented yet again the conviction that my husband is my perfect soulmate and the love of my life. How lucky I am to have him, I am very aware of that!
The passing of my dad also brought my brothers, sisters and myself close together as a family, which is a valuable experience I shall cherish forever. More good things have happened: I had a lovely family vacation in the Czech Republic with my husband and the kids this past year (here and here), I have been praised for my work (even though it is ending), I have seen friends, watched movies and read books that I loved, I have seen Richard Armitage stretch his talents in Hannibal to a degree I had never seen before and I have enjoyed blogging and the interactions that has brought more than I ever thought I would! So, in this past dark year there have been highlights and some very cherished ones too.
With this past year in mind, what is coming up for 2016? There are a two highlights that are already planned: a Muse concert to go to in Amsterdam in March (I’m going with my kids and my sister) and a week long holiday to London planned with my husband and kids for the beginning of May. My brother lives there but my kids have never been and we finally decided to correct that. Carpe Diem, right?
Most importantly I find that, continuing on from events in 2015, I see some clear goals emerging for 2016. The three things I feel I need to concentrate on this coming year are: work, social engagement and writing! All of that needs to be combined with my family life and social life as well, which will be a challenge as the social engagement and the ‘real’ writing elements will be new.
First off: work! I need to find a job I enjoy where I can easily combine work with mothering. Yes, my kids are teens (well, my youngest at 12 is almost a teen) and more independent than ever but they also need definite coaching in organising themselves around school, school-work and friends and I want to be there for them. That means that I am looking for a well paying job of 24-30 hours a week and not too far from home. Also, finding a job I enjoy will be difficult. Ideally I would change my field of work and become a social worker (something that in hindsight was always in my heart) but I have no patience to go back to school to study social work for four years. So, I need to find work that fulfills my social heart but that fits with the skills I already have. No mean feat…
Secondly: social engagement! If I can’t be a social worker, the least I can do is volunteer for something close to it. I had volunteered to work for a refugee organisation some months ago but because of the dizziness I wasn’t able to follow through with that. I still plan on taking that up, even if only for 4 hours a week or so.
Thirdly: writing! I have this writing project that I have my heart set on. It’s biographical in nature and has been on my mind for many years now. I have always been too impatient in my writing to actually go for it. Besides, I also didn’t quite know how to tackle it so I have left it on a slow burn in the back of my mind all these years. My dad’s passing has brought this project to the forefront of my mind again and when I recently happened upon certain very valuable documents that could help me, I suddenly knew how I wanted to tackle this project. I really really need to do this, yet with the two goals I have already set myself, I don’t know how that will go and if I will be able to keep the motivation going. I may be unemployed for a bit, so I can use that time, but that time can not take too long as I need an income as well!
So, yes, some challenges ahead for me in 2016 and I really wonder how I will look back on this year in 12 months time. Will I have attained any of my goals? I am ready to fight for them, albeit in a different style from my model-Aragorn and model-Thorin..
… and time will tell whether I will succeed…