Courage. I think that is what the coming year will need. A little here, a little there, and a dash of belief in everything. Oh, and not forgetting to smile and relax every so often.
Today was my first day back at work for the new year, so I’m guessing now is a good time to share what lies ahead.
In the small steps I took towards establishing some sort of balance in my life last year, I learnt a thing or two.
1. I still don’t know where my happy balance point is. But that’s okay. It’s a work in progress.
2. My partner and I communicate more. I don’t mean just the ‘how was your day, Dear?’ conversation over the frying pan in the kitchen of an evening. We’re both professionally driven and every now and then we need to be honest about where we’re at in terms of professional pursuits. Communicating what I’d like to achieve and what I need to say ‘no’ to keeps me to my word, and vice versa. We pull each other in line.
3. I can craft.
4. I get an itch to write if I haven’t in a few days.
5. I can have Twitter-free weekends….and it’ll still be there when I return.
While I have a few goals I’d like to achieve this year, and they’re big goals, I’ve identified areas of focus (apart from my job).
I have at least two research projects to complete this year as part of my LIS Masters. I extended my course to include the extra research units so I could gain experience as a researcher and perhaps take a step forward in pursuing a career path that is managing research data. Yes I’m crazy. Yes I’ve thought it through. Except now I feel anxious about the little time I have to complete them – less than 12 months. Plus travel. Plus fieldwork. Plus working full-time. Plus….
I’ll definitely need more than a little courage here.
I’m looking forward to it, but the pressure I have is that I’d really like to graduate this year. People have started the course and have graduated before me. Surely the academic staff are tired of me hanging around
I have set up a private space in which to journal my progress, work through ideas, so I can hopefully gain an understanding at the end of it of how I experienced and have learnt about the research process. I’m looking forward to participating in the research circle at QUT and finally be involved in a space I’ve been longing to be a part of.
I may love it. I may hate it.
I acquired a Kindle last year. I’ve found my reading mojo and reignited a joy I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager. I seek to explore new reading horizons this year by reading out of my comfort zone. I look to reading to feed me inspiration for writing and the direction in which to take it. My goal is to read 20 books this year. I think this is aiming rather high given my research commitments this year.
Last year I recovered something that was absent from within for a long time. I enjoy writing. Something clicked last year, or something triggered. I have awakened a passion. Or maybe ‘passion’ is too strong a word, but I’ll go with that for now. I’d like to write more.
I don’t claim to be a fabulous writer by any means. But I may be a writer who is just out of practice. Before I became increasingly competitive at gymnastics, I loved to write. I was good at it. I’d jump at writing assignments. As a nine year old, I wrote poems and made them into a little book. I wrote short stories. I now wonder how different my professional life might’ve been if I kept this up. Somewhere along the way of training, depression and senior high school study and uni, I’d lost my passion.
This year I’d like to explore where writing could take me. I need to practice, practice and practice. I’ve started a writing journal to keep me in touch with my writing projects. I record my word counts, my inspirations, my ideas and work through them. I’ve noticed I get irritable if I haven’t written for more than two days. I’ve also found I experience less anxiety about writing if I allow myself the freedom to explore an idea, brainstorm, and by not placing undue pressure on myself to produce something perfect every time. Through the journalling process I can put more consideration into my thoughts before publishing them. I’m really looking forward to my own writing projects this year. Let’s just hope my writing requirements for my research projects don’t kill what I’ve recently found.
I read a book called ‘Writer with a Day Job’ that kicked started some strategies to fit in my writing where possible. I have plans to do a short writing course with the Queensland Writers Centre and have picked out a few seminars and workshops I’d like to attend too. QWC have a writing morning on the first Friday of every month in the Library Cafe for an hour. I could do this before work. I’ve placed the time and dates in my diary.
Health and fitness will continue to be a priority this year. I’ve increased my goal to exercising four times a week. A little trick I do to myself to ensure I get to the gym is changing before I leave work. I have no excuse then, I’m dressed. I’m looking forward to the new fitness centre at QUT opening this month. I’d like to add swimming as an alternative cardio.
I made a conscious effort last year into placing my relationship and family above my professional commitments outside of work. I’ve done really well with this. What I’ve noticed though is that I spend a lot of time at home. My focus for this year will shift outward and ensure I can relax and hang out with my friends more often. A tipping point occurred a couple of months ago when I froze during a night out for a best friend’s birthday. I shut down, stood there. I realised I need to exercise the ‘relax and having fun’ muscle more frequently. This surprised me. But I only need to look at my last few years to find where I went wrong.
So they’re my areas of focus for the year. I fear I may need to reduce these to two or three but it’s a starting point. I received a lovely gift last year of a well-being journal that I’ll certainly put to good use in documenting my path.
Other plans and goals include completing fieldwork placements, a requirement for my LIS Masters; attending IFLA in August, and travelling to South America if it is confirmed my partner is sent there for work. I’d love to do a placement over there, if I can. I also continue to progress my three-year plan for an overseas work contract. I’m keeping an eye on possibilities.
Wow, so a big year, and an exciting one too. A little courage is needed to get through it. A little belief is needed so I can finish it. Throw in a smile and I’ve really got something.
Happy New Year!