We’re almost at the end of the year. My finals are done so I don’t have to think about studying, the days are short and grey, and I’ve cozied up at my parent’s place where the Christmas spirit is high and the Christmas songs constant.
In these surreal days between Christmas and New Years, when no-one actually knows what day it is, my brain gets the opportunity to reflect on the last year. Even though it happens every time, it’s still a strange feeling. Suddenly you decide not to rush ahead and finish a never ending to-do list. Suddenly you sit your ass down and contemplate, melancholic songs serving as the background noise for your thoughts.
The last week of the year I always think back to what I’ve accomplished in the past year. I started with a really fun job, which I then said goodbye to for a high quality internship. That internship was difficult at times and frequently made me face my shortcomings, but in the end it taught me an incredible amount. My way of getting things done and communicating will never be the same again. Thank god.
I also spent an amazing summer in Croatia and Scotland, and welcomed far-away friends into my home. I fell back in love and because of that made the decision to move to Toronto next year. In the winter I went on a trip to sunny Madrid with my oldest friends and I bloody started a Masters in Biotechnology in September!
And how could I forget the fact that I finally started my blog?!?! I am so incredibly proud of myself that I did that. I opened up to everyone who cares to listen, and I am (still) loving it.
These days however also often make me feel melancholic. And that’s usually more a negative than a positive. Because when I think back on my last year and my entire life before that, I tend to focus more on what I have NOT accomplished. What went wrong, what was embarrassing, what did I not even dare to do.
I did not start my driving lessons; I did not prioritize my health as I should have; I did not start volunteer work; I didn’t learn programming or Spanish; I’m still not a size 6(probably never will); I often didn’t write my blogs on time and the blog hasn’t grown yet.
Some of these wishes are silly and by the sheer amount of what I wanted it’s obvious I failed at accomplishing most of them, I know. But the ideas remain in the back of my mind and feed into the most important part I reflect on with my melancholy:
I reflect on how I felt in the last year.
Was I happy? Content? If yes or no, can I figure out why? This is not something I only do at the end of a year. I make it a priority to be aware of my moods and emotions every day. But the end of the year always gives a nice overview.
This year… It started out great, I was feeling good about myself, my life, my future. The second part of the year was a different story however. The elaborate plans I made for uni didn’t really happen one way or the other. The climate wasn’t as I had expected and I am actually still adjusting to the new (for me) way of teaching and learning. I was suddenly a lot less busy, felt I was failing at keeping friendships and making new ones, and didn’t have many planned activities to distract me. What’s more, I started feeling less confident and came to dislike parts of my own personality. A lot of doubts and insecurities that I thought I beat came back up over the year.
At the beginning of 2018 I felt like I could conquer the world, but increasingly more during the last 12 months I felt like the world was crushing me instead.
What’s with the Oversharing?
Reflection is important, but it’s not always correct. Especially not if the reflections concern judgement on yourself. For some reason we use much harsher words for ourselves than we would ever do with any other person. The problem is that if you keep your thoughts only in the dark corners of your own brain, you won’t figure that out.
Writing this down was extremely cathartic for me, sharing it with you even more. It’s crazy to think that these ‘failure’ thoughts are at times flying around in my mind. Because as you can read in the beginning of this article, I have A LOT to feel pretty great about. And I DO celebrate all of that.
Of course I won’t start 2019 with just an observation on the past year. Stick around for the second part of this article and I’ll let you know how I’m going to tackle the next year in bright spirits, kicking my negative judgments to the curve.
Happy New Years!