Thoughts about the year that’s been

As is so often the case at the end of the year, I find myself today mulling over things, thinking about the year that’s just about to close and the new one that will begin when the clock hits twelve tonight. For me, 2012 has been a really tough but ultimately rewarding year.

I’ve moved house twice (once interstate), taught yoga full time, finished a Masters degree, begun new friendships and built on existing ones, spent time with my family, spent time alone, had some essays published, worked more on my larger writing project, tried my hand again at short fiction. I’ve said goodbye (for now) to some friends and hello to others. I’ve spent plenty of time outdoors, upside down, prone and supine. I’ve watched the plants in my various gardens grow and change and sometimes die. I’ve walked many, many kilometres. I’ve read a lot, cried a lot, laughed a lot. Friendships have been tested and, happily, survived. Ideas and hopes and dreams about life’s direction have shifted, sometimes subtly, other times massively. I’ve spent an awful lot of time practicing yoga. And cooking. And being surprised at myself and at life.

Honestly, if I think back to this time last year, I can hardly believe it was only a year ago. The year that will end tonight feels like two or three years squished into one.

I have a few bits and pieces lined up for 2013, but mostly I have no idea what’s in store for me, which is both exciting and absolutely terrifying. Life is pretty unsettled and confusing right now, but that’s not hugely surprising, given that it was only just over two months ago that I landed in Melbourne. I know I can expect a whole lot more uncertainty and probably some more shifts in perspective—but then that’s half the reason I wanted to make the move to Melbourne. As difficult as change can be, it’s also a really good way of noticing patterns in my thinking and behaviour (in yogic philosophy these are called samskaras, or ‘traces of deeds done in the past’) and giving myself a chance to figure out which of those patterns are useful and which are not. Letting go of the less useful patterns is an additional challenge, of course. Probably a life-long one.

It will be interesting (that word we use when we’re not sure whether something is good or bad or somewhere in between) to see how things unfold in the next few months. To see which patterns stay and which ones go.

Tonight I’ll be celebrating the year that’s been with a couple of dear friends. I’m looking forward to 2013, to getting on with whatever it is that the new year will bring. Happy new year.

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End of Year

Before writing this post, I decided that I’d have a look at what I posted here this time last year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the general gist of it was very similar to what’s in my mind as I approach the end of the year now. Last year I said I’m not big on resolutions, but I do like to think of New Year’s Eve as a chance to reflect a little, and to let go of some things that have passed to make room for things that might be. This year I feel much the same. I probably won’t make any specific resolutions, but there are some things I’d like to let go of, and some small changes in attitude and behaviour that I’d like to encourage in myself.

Today I’ve read two very different things that have contributed to the Let Go and Look Forward ideas in my head (I was going to call them lists, but that implies some kind of logical structure that just doesn’t exist). Rather than share those half-formed ideas, I’ll simply link to the two posts; one written by my cousin Julia, and another by a yoga teacher, Yogitastic, I’ve become friendly with on Twitter.

In last year’s post, I included this quote from a book I’ve got — and often refer to — on Yoga for Anxiety. The last two months or so have been frustrating for me, and I’m not entirely sure why (which probably means it’s no one thing — although it could just mean that I really needed a holiday), so this is a good reminder for me.

“Perhaps the simplest and most profound practice for deactivating old patterns,” say Mary and Rick NurrieStearns – a pyschotherapist and yoga teacher, and meditation teacher respectively, “is taking the time to be still and quiet. Sitting down and doing nothing gives you a chance to unwind and let your mind relax. You literally stop moving long enough to get your bearings, to see where you are and what’s going on.”

In that spirit, I’m going to spend at least a little time today or tomorrow just sitting quietly, encouraging reflection.

Happy new year.

An end and a beginning

Somehow it’s suddenly new year’s eve and I’m all thoughtful and excited, and just a little bit sad. The coming year brings exciting things, it brings change. But of course change means leaving things behind, it means missing people. I’m sure the positive will outweigh the negative, but there are certain faces I’ll miss seeing most days.

So! The year that was. This year I was published in Voiceworks; I made some new friends and spent as much time as I could with old ones; I got rained on, I got sunburnt; I went to some exhibitions; I read far more books than I realised, but far fewer than I would have liked; I wrote a short screenplay, about four short stories and the beginning of a novella; I worked full-time and studied part-time (and went a little crazy doing so); I joined a book club for a while; I stayed with my writers’ group and grew to love them all even more; I drank copious amounts of tea, and slightly less coffee; I cooked and cooked and cooked.

And the year that will be. So far, a yoga teacher training course and some more writing, and perhaps some radio production. And who knows what else!

I, like most people, say I don’t like to make new year’s resolutions but secretly make promises to myself. (On a side note, here’s an interesting article about why we insist on making and breaking resolutions each year.) So some of my promises to myself are to read more, to write more, to play the piano and sing again, to cook more, and to show some more dedication to this space and The Monday Project. I’m sure I’ll manage to think of a few more over vodka at the Russian Coachman tonight.

Have fun tonight, whatever you’re doing, and stay safe.