2019: Year of Learning

Inspired in part by Neil Gaiman’s New Year wish for 2012, which reads as follows:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

And so I have declared 2019 to be my Year of Learning. Not that learning isn’t already a lifelong pursuit, but I want to be quite deliberate about reading more, doing more, learning more.

As I begin a new job and career as a primary school teacher, learning will be what I teach and what I am. And surely, surely there will be many mistakes. “New Mistakes”, and hopefully, “glorious, amazing mistakes”.

By choosing “learning” as my word for 2019, I hope it helps to cultivate some good habits that will last me well into “next year and forever”. And of course, I hope it reminds me of what I am here to do, how much more yet to discover, how admirable it is to not be afraid of making mistakes.

Learning in my work – and oh, how very much there is to learn about everything and anything! Learning about myself and pushing myself to be better. Learning to better manage relationships and friendships, to parent, to love – I am excited and maybe even overwhelmed by the lofty task I have set.

Who knows what the year will bring? But if I remain humble and hungry, eager to learn and ready to embrace my mistakes, I just might emerge a little better, a little stronger.

That New Year wish from Neil Gaiman and the beginning of my year-end reflections

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

– Neil Gaiman, 2001

With the school term finished, Christmas festivities finally over and the sister back to work, I opened my eyes this morning to our first truly free day at home. We haven’t had one of these since school ended, and certainly not in those last hectic weeks as the term charged towards its welcome conclusion.

In typical fashion, knowing our holidays were truly upon us, the first thing I did last night was make a to-do list. Actually, “make” isn’t the right word. I’ve had three different lists going since November, so all I had to do was review and update them. And then I started reflecting on how 2018 really is over, as you do, which has put me in rather a contemplative mood all day, as it does.

I read an article this morning on “taking the guilt out of New Year’s resolutions and reflecting on the good stuff“, and the four of us did the questions together:

  • What am I grateful for this year?
  • What things have brought me the greatest pain this year?
  • What do I want more of in my life next year?

Except we were dealing with an 8yo and 13yo so we rephrased question 2 to “what made you sad” — answers: nothing and Japanese (the subject, not the people), respectively.

All of this to say we’re finally settling into the holidays and I’ve begun to put words to my annual year-end reflections and think about 2019. In the coming weeks, we hope to spend time reading, reflecting and preparing for what will surely be a very big year. Hence the Nail Gaiman quote above — while probably not the specific wish I’ll be carrying with me into the New Year, it is always a wonderful starting point.

2018: Year of New Beginnings

It’s been a while.

That seems to be how I start everything I write when it’s personal.

The problem with working as a (copy)writer is you just don’t feel like doing any more writing outside of work hours, even though writing for work is completely different to writing for and about myself.

Long gone are the days of several-times-a-week blog posts. I keep a private journal, but at last count I think I clocked nine entries in a year. And I’m not sure I’ll ever show those to the world.

I want to go back to writing this year. Not as a day job but for me. I’ve said that before, but 2018, what I’m christening the Year of New Beginnings – maybe this will be the year it finally sticks.

I read somewhere that the key to writing is to just write. And if you chip away at it long enough, eventually all the nonsensical crap and glorified rambling will give way to better stuff. I hope it’s true because this, right now, this is the crap.

Also, hardly anyone reads blogs anymore and if they do they’re certainly not browsing my collection of quotes and YouTube videos so I feel like maybe it’s okay for me to leave this here.

With a bit of luck and a whole lot of determination, there will be more where this came from.

Back in 2008, I decided to give each year a theme as a way of setting the direction and tone for the coming months. Some years it worked great, some I found myself reflecting and changing themes when the year was over and done.

Last year I didn’t even have one, but I’ve posthumously appointed it the Year of Gratitude. Gratitude was (and still is) a big thing for me. Ask my daughter and she will tell you my loudest lectures are those that relate to gratitude or the lack of it.

This year I’m calling it: 2018 will be the Year of New Beginnings. I was hoping for something catchier and less of a mouthful, but this stuck. Here’s the obvious one: if all goes well, I will graduate with a Master of Primary Teaching in July. This not only (potentially) means the beginning of a new career as a primary school teacher, but also the beginning of life not as a working writer. I’ve been writing professionally since 2005 so it’s a little bit of a change.

With that I’m also hoping to start a new chapter with my writing, literally and figuratively. Perhaps, with the burden of writing for work lifted, I will find the desire and inspiration to write about other things. Even if it is all just rubbish at first. The Man and I were talking about writing 1000 words a month. It can be anything and of course it will be absolutely hideous, but we just need to get back into it.

Along with new beginnings, I want to try new things. I’ve always preferred having experiences to buying stuff anyway, and I already have a maiden trip to Koh Samui (in January) and my first mud run (in March) lined up. I’m also hoping to make a trip to Tasmania at some point.

Every year brings change and new discoveries, but I guess the point of this year is to be more mindful and deliberate about the journey. To embrace the changing seasons, to not shy away from attempting the unfamiliar, to jump even though I might be afraid. It’s sometimes bloody hard to tell the difference between intuition and wishful thinking, but I feel like this is going to be a big year.

Fingers crossed it’s also going to be a good one.