I’m not big on new year’s resolutions. Rather than relying on a train that only departs once, it’s more empowering to see change as something we make whenever we’re ready to commit. That could be any month of the year or day of the week. What I am a fan of is looking back on the year that’s been and plotting a path for the year ahead. So here is my 2022 review. This post will be a whole-lotta-me, obviously. But hopefully, you’ll find yourself saying I-get-that-too as you read along. After all, we can learn from our own experiences as well as those of others.
The old normal
Despite getting it twice, 2022 was the year I thought about COVID the least. Masks, QR codes, lockdowns and watching the weekly numbers seemed like a thing of the past. This is despite being told endlessly that they were all part of “the new normal”. My life – as a healthy person in Australia – was very much back to the old normal. I recognise I’m privileged to not have any immune or health issues, but I also can’t look past my efforts to take care of my health. I was only in bed for two days after catching the latest variant. Others reported similar, so it’s good to know that COVID is becoming less threatening. That said, I don’t know what other variants may emerge in the future. But I know my chances are at their best if I continue to prioritise my health through exercising and eating well. I have been able to encourage healthier habits in close friends in the past, so hopefully, I can also do the same using my online platforms.
With lockdowns and restrictions out of the way, I wasn’t held back. I made some big moves in my life. The first was having my partner move in with me before moving together out of the apartment that was my home ever since I landed in Melbourne. It was challenging to say goodbye to so many comforts, but I now can see how it was required to bring a sense of newness into my life. A shake-up, be it in scenery, a job or a haircut, can have a revitalising flow-on effect.
The other benefit of moving was that it allowed me to create a dedicated counselling space for my newly started private practice. Where I had previously resorted to hiring consulting rooms that were on the blander side, I was able to intentionally design an atmosphere that reflects who I am and my approach to counselling. It has natural light and earthy, wooden tones. On the wall is an artwork of Ularu – a tribute to my journey through the Australian outback in 2018 where I made the decision to change career and study counselling.
I also started a new role as a Threautputic Youth Worker working in out-of-home care with young people in need. This wasn’t something I had been working towards, but rather an opportunity that came up through a connection I made during my studies. I’ve always believed in staying open to opportunities as opposed to being committed to a given path (such as my volunteer assignment in Tonga), and this experience has reinforced my reasoning why.
I’m still establishing my steady standing in the role – there is so much to learn. But all the feedback shows I’m somewhere I belong. In contrast to when I found myself staring into a computer screen in my early twenties questioning “is this it?”, it’s a huge relief to be in a more dynamic environment that gives me a sense of meaning and suits the way my neuro-divergent mind works. I’m particularly proud of myself for getting past the initial doubts and sense of imposter syndrome. I almost ran in my early days – before I had even really started. It’s something I do. But I didn’t this time. I pushed out of my comfort zone and kept showing up until I started to feel more capable and confident.
Continuing the theme of staying open to opportunities, I answered a call out by the show, SBS Insight for personal stories relating to masculinity. I shared my journey with working out and moving away from it – from something that defined my worth towards something I just did for my health as I invested in other ways to express myself. This led to immediate interest from the show’s producer who did a phone interview before organising to fly me up to Sydney. Although I didn’t get the chance to say too much on the show itself, the whole process encouraged me to really reflect on who I am and my values, as well as the journey I’ve been on to get here. The TV episode will air this year so keep an eye out. Oh, and a fun trivia fact – this is the second time I’ve been in the national media.
The extra benefit was spending time in Sydney itself – which was my home in 2015. Visiting always gives me a sense of perspective on how far I’ve come since one of the most challenging and character-building years of my life. I still don’t know if I was truly confident or just young with big dreams, but I really faced the mountain, gritted my teeth and marched ahead into the unknown. Sydney isn’t somewhere I’d live again, but there are things I enjoy about it. I love the coastal walks along Coogee, the hipness of Newtown, and catching up with the handful of friends I still remain close with.
Plans for 2023
2022 saw me make big moves, but also little progress at other times. Due to burnout (working 3 jobs) or nerves as I moved into new territory, I just found myself stuck. I want to keep the momentum going this year. My mental health starts to become impacted when I’m not progressing, so I’m going to aim to string together little steps that add up. This is in contrast to working in infrequent and longer sprints. A big project I’ve started is my second book, Home which I’ll only complete bird by bird (a reference to a book on writing).
There’s another intention for 2023 that I’ve picked up and it’s come from gardening. The new place has a big back and front yard. I’ve enjoyed getting my hands dirty – mostly pulling out weeds because that’s where my skills are at – but it’s undeniably therapeutic. It’s also encouraged me to think about ‘weeding’ in my own life – maintaining habits and relationships that enrich me and contribute to my growth. I specifically thinking about cutting out the doom scrolling and content that isn’t helpful. I want to replace that with meditation, journalling, walks and yoga – more mindful and emotionally regulating practices. I’ve also got my acoustic guitar gathering dust…
See you soon
I could sit on this post even longer, but at some point, you just have to leap. There will be things I’ve missed, but I’m confident I’ve covered enough to give myself that pep in my step. I sometimes get this sense of a new-year-slump – as if we’ve just got back to the start, but I know that’s not the case. The coming months and days are only the same in their names. What makes the months of 2023, what fills this year, is up to me. And it can be pretty damn new and exciting.
Thank you for reading. I wish you an eventful year – filled with sunflowers, sunsets and smiles.
- moving house and creating a new space with my partner
- starting my counselling business
- starting a new role as Therapeutic Youth Worker, juggling multiple jobs
- first art exhibition
- going on TV, enjoying a trip to Sydney
- attending a childhood friend’s wedding
- being the face of a fundraising appeal
- writing a reflective article about out-of-home-care featured in the organisation’s annual report
In 2023 I want to:
- finish my second book, Home
- manage my time better, get in the habit of chipping away at bigger tasks daily
- reduce unproductive social media use
- develop my gloving ability and other flow toys
- learn acoustic guitar
- develop my private practice
- develop in my role as a Therapeutic Youth Worker
- save and plan for some big travel in 2024 – walking the Camino de Santiago
- connect with my local community in the new area