Life

Goodbye 2019 #Yearinreview

goodbye 2019

Hello everyone! We’re almost at the end of the decade and you know what that means – it’s time to say goodbye to 2019. At the start of the year, I set myself three intentions for 2019 instead of a word: Live courageously, make a difference and pay attention. I don’t think I paid attention all that much but I do think ‘living courageously and making a difference’ was a motto I lived by in 2019. Here’s how it manifested itself in different parts of my life in 2019.

Work in 2019

At the start of the year, I was a month into a new job in the public health system on the coast. It wasn’t without its challenges as it was a new role and there were people averse to change resulting in me needing to be quite assertive. Fortunately, I had good support from my managers and supervision was invaluable. However, six months into the role and I was not feeling fulfilled. I found short-term crisis work left me feeling quite helpless and although there were parts of the job I liked, there were others I didn’t. In the end, I applied for other roles and ended up taking up a job in Sydney in the not-for-profit sector. This was a scary prospect as I’ve been in the public system for more than a decade {barring a few years in private schools} but I bit the bullet and did it anyway. I started my new job in December and so far, it’s been a nice place to work. I know it has its challenges too but I’m open to learning and growing in the role. Also, despite me thinking I didn’t do much in the previous job, on my last day, I got some really unexpected positive feedback from not just my managers but a couple of the medical staff about the difference I’d made with the role so that was heartening, to say the least.

Writing in 2019

I submitted a couple of short stories for competitions this year and wrote on the blog for YeahWrite. I continued to write a bit of poetry on the side but didn’t do much else. I signed up for NaNoWriMo but it might not have been the best time given I decided to move to Sydney that month too. That said, I have a couple of ideas I have jotted down and now just need to get my butt on that chair and write away. It hasn’t been a fantastic writing year but I’ve kept writing, kept going. And that’s probably all that matters.

Relationships in 2019

I’d like to think I carried on from 2018 and continued to strengthen ties with my friends on the coast, in Sydney and even overseas. These ties were especially important when I struggled with some challenging issues early in the year. I had friends provide me with support in person, via messages and online. I dated a bit this year but didn’t get into anything serious. Mostly though, I have been so very grateful for a lot of the people in my life and I hope I have made the effort to express that to them personally too.

Travel in 2019

This was a good travel year! In June, I had a spontaneous trip to Melbourne for a long weekend of sorts with my friend VP. It was great exploring the streets, the street art, the food, the library and the bookstores in Melbourne. It was bloody cold though! In July, I had a solo trip to Brisbane mainly for the Dead of Winter festival. I really enjoyed exploring the city and catching up with bloggers, Vanessa and Sarah. And finally, the big trip of the year was in August-September for four weeks when I travelled to Europe for the very first time. If you followed me on Instagram, you probably saw my gazillion stories and pictures from Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and of course, Greece. I realise I haven’t written about my travels on the blog but sometimes, words don’t do it justice.

Physical health in 2019

This was a bit of a mixed bag this year. Early in the year, I signed up with a personal trainer/exercise physiologist to help build lean muscle mass. I noticed changes in how I felt and how my body felt and I most certainly felt stronger. But around wintertime this year, my sinuses started playing up and I kept missing the gym and found it harder and harder to motivate myself. Then, the month-long holiday occurred where I drank a lot and gained weight. Upon coming back, I fell sick again and even lost my voice, and struggled with exercising and had issues around my weight. Thankfully though, in the past month, I have become more consistent with exercising at the gym and getting back to being strong. Another achievement this year was running the Bay to Bay run back in June. Having said that, not much running {if any!} has happened after that 12 km run! But overall, I’m currently grateful to be in decent health and in decent shape.

Mental health in 2019

Unlike 2017 and 2018, I didn’t go to therapy this year. That hasn’t necessarily meant my mental health has been fabulous, but it has definitely been better than the years before. I did though, occasionally spiral into periods of self-loathing and the rabbit hole of darkness but managed to pull myself out of it with the support of friends and more so, being aware of the signs and symptoms and doing what needs to be done. Early in the year {around February to May}, there was a significant stressor that contributed to a lot of anxiety but once that got sorted, I felt a bit better too. I had grand plans of practising self-compassion and mindfulness but will confess I didn’t succeed all the time. I am trying though and hopefully, will continue to grow on this front.

Highlights of 2019

How do I even begin to capture the highlights this year? I feel like there were so many. Travelling through Europe and in particular, the sunset kayak at Dubrovnik, Lake Plitvice National Park, the Parthenon in Greece and watching the sunset in Meteora were highlights of my travel. I also managed to attend at least one gig a month this year and a total of 16 gigs – by far, my favourite was We Lost the Sea in November followed very closely by Karnivool in Newcastle, then Sydney and then, at the Good Things festival. Getting a new job in Sydney and relocating back to the city but to a brand new area has been a highlight. Being emotionally invested in some of the books I read this year, seeing some lovely authors, spending time with friends – they are all highlights this year.

Challenges in 2019

One of the biggest challenges was early in the year when I had to stop posting publicly on the blog and had to watch what I was saying here. Eventually, though, I sought legal support and by May this year, the problem died down and I sincerely hope it stays that way. Apart from that, there were some challenges at work as well and the occasional challenges confronting my own demons. Let’s just say, it took a lot of fucking courage to get through some of these as it was not always easy and I was not always calm. On a more global front, the election results were demoralising and the current bushfires are heartbreaking. It’s hard to not feel helpless and hopeless some days.

Lessons from 2019

Overall, 2019 hasn’t been too shabby a year personally. There weren’t significant highs or lowest of lows but definitely lots of moments to be savoured. I learnt to live life to the fullest and for that, I’m glad. If anything, the way of the world saddens me and scares me – the hate, the climate crisis, the division – it’s enough to make you feel hopeless. But then, I look at people around me, people I encounter and I get a glimmer of hope that maybe it’s not all bad. Similar to 2018, I learn time and again, the importance of people in my life. My friends have been amazing and one of the hardest things about moving away from the Central Coast was leaving some friends behind. Even though I know it’s not that far and I will continue to visit them often and keep in touch, it’s not easy knowing I can’t just pop in to see them on a whim. I also learnt that I need to stop looking at the next thing and the next and the next – it’s something I realise I’ve done a lot this year and I think something I need to keep an eye on next year. When I’ve been at gigs, or sometimes at the beach or while reading, I have been completely immersed and lost in the moment without contemplating ‘the next step’. And I think I need more of that.

Finally though, like before, life has thrown curveballs and challenges and it hasn’t always been easy. Even though I have fallen down the rabbit hole of self-loathing and despair, I have learnt to pick myself back up again. I also learn time and again that even when I’m shitting myself, I am giving things a go. I am being brave.

Thank you 2019; it’s been a year of lessons, learnings and figuring out this thing called life. Here’s hoping 2020 is a decent year.

How was your 2019?

Do share!

***Linking with Vidya for the final gratitude circle of the decade***

Until next time,

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  • Deborah
    31 December 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Such a big year Sanch and I love that you’ve been able to learn stuff from those things that haven’t gone as well as you’d liked – esp around work and your health.
    Deborah recently posted…Book review: The Weekend by Charlotte WoodMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      31 December 2019 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks Deb! It’s weird – as I reflected, there weren’t any major lows or massive highs but definitely some challenges and a lot of good stuff. Grateful for it all though ?

  • Lilian Magill
    31 December 2019 at 3:58 pm

    A good reflection. Don’t be to hard on yourself, you have achieved quite alot. Hugs, Lilian xx

  • Aarti Krishnakumar
    31 December 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Sounds like you have had one very interesting 2019, heres to an awesome 2020.. My 2019 has been good, cant complain.. yes i did have the usual ups & downs, but the UPs were so good that the lows just fade into the background.. hoping the HIGHS spills over into 2020 😀

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  • Parul Thakur
    2 January 2020 at 2:07 am

    I have always admired your courage and in 2019, through our little chats and reading your posts – I am again immensely proud of you. I am happy that your job is now something that you are enjoying and also learning. Loved your travel pictures and envied also those heavy weights you lifted. 😉 May you travel to newer places, stay fit, and live life like you want.
    Grateful to know you as a friend. <3 Hugs and love!
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  • Shalzmojo
    6 January 2020 at 7:05 pm

    I have said it before and saying it again-You are one helluva rockstar!! Taking charge of one’s life and that too singly is a huge thing to do. Then when the going gets tough, you are only one around to prop you up too. I think you are doing an incredible job of that-following your updates and posts, I can see how well you have been faring.

    Meeting you in person was one of the best things thats happened to me in a while and I am hopeful of keeping this friendship going on for a long time to come! I hope you know that I am one SMS away 🙂

    Wishing you a very happy and happening 2020!
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  • Unishta
    7 January 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Don’t be hard on yourself for your weight issues. You’ve had a fulfilling year and hope that 2020 is equally good for you.
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