2017 – Looking back on the year that was

good mom

I know, these are totally cliche, right? Looking back on how the year went and all that can be a bit lame. But so much happened this year, and it’s nice to have one place where I can think about everything that happened, and also start to think through what I want to do in 2018. Looking back on the year that was can help me figure out what I want the year ahead to be like.

I did this last year and used a rather deep diving set of only 10 questions. It helped me to formulate my 2017 goals, which I somehow managed to achieve this year. So, I might as well use the same questions and see where it gets me.

What’s been the best and why?

1. What are you most proud in terms of what you achieved, accomplished or brought into being this year – in life and work?

For the life part, it was without a doubt, our emigration. It was a lot bigger and harder than I had originally imagined, but we are now living in another country! It was a massive task with many hurdles to overcome, but we made it. We are still getting started in many ways, but I’m happy and feel incredibly accomplished for making it happen.

As for work, it’s been interesting to essentially experience a career change as a result of moving. I’m no longer officially a video game and tech journalist, although I do plan to contribute articles and want to get back into writing about those topics. However, my ‘day job’ is now working as a freelance writer, and it been a wonderful change.

2. What did these achievements or actions in turn make possible – for you, your family, your organization, your financial situation, and your health and well-being, for others? Why did they matter so much to you?

Um, EVERYTHING! We are now in a new place which means that Harley is at a wonderful new school, with a future that’s bright and filled with incredible schooling, summer camps, university and whatever else she might desire. There are just so many more opportunities here, for her as well as for me and Dean. We have room to grow in our careers as well as our hobbies and passions, and I’m excited about what the years ahead will hold for us.

3. What makes your heart warm just to think about it today?

Quite a few things, actually. I love the connections I’ve made this year. It was amazing to finally meet the amazing ladies I chat to every day, to all be together at an event before I left for the States. It also makes me smile to think of all the incredible friends we had in SA, and the fun playdates and silly get togethers we had.

I also love how quickly Harley took to my mom. I think she knew her because of all the Skype chats we had when I was in SA, but it was amazing to see how from the first moment we walked through the door at my mom’s place and I pretty much threw Harley at her so that I could move suitcases and cat crates, it was just easy and familiar. Harley adores her Omi so much and it makes my heart so happy to know that she will grow up with wonderful memories of going to Omi’s house.

What’s been the hardest?

4. What event or experience represented the “worst” of the year, and why exactly?

In the same breath that emigration was the best, it was also the worst. It was so hard being in flux for so many months, feeling like we couldn’t make plans in SA because we didn’t know when we were leaving, while also feeling like we couldn’t plan for the States for the same reason. It was also awful to say goodbye – to our friends, to our family, to Harley’s school, to our home of 10 years… It was really hard to leave it all behind, even as we knew that it was worthwhile.

5. What action(s) did you take that you want to eradicate from your behavior forever?

This is a hard one, as I suppose is intended by the question. I think I let my ideas of the future impact my current actions too much. Sometimes I’d plan on things happening in the future from a work perspective, relying on them in a way I shouldn’t have when it came to money or time management. I did the same with friends and family, jumping to conclusions about how things would be in the future and adjusting my current behavior, instead of just waiting to see what was. Going forward, I’d like to not let good or bad ideas of what’s coming impact what’s already happened.

6. What makes you feel ashamed and “less than,” or even toxic to others?

I hope I wasn’t toxic to anyone this year, and I don’t really think I was. I started to type out a whole thing about how I wish I had done more for my friends and family, but I actually think I was pretty good about being available and staying in touch this year. Instead, I think I felt bad and “less than” in terms of parenting when I shouldn’t have. I have let mom guilt run my life a lot this year and really struggled to prioritize myself. I’ve managed it, but I think I felt more guilt and stress about it than I should have. It’d like to set a better example for Harley that self-care is important and should be a top priority.

7. What brings tears of unhappiness and feelings of shame when you think about it?

I think how much I let myself go for months of the year. I’m back on track and taking care of myself again, physically, emotionally and mentally. But there was a long period in the year when I was looking after everyone else and simply doing the absolute minimum for myself. I still hold some of the self-doubts and worry that I need to let go of, and I keep reminding myself that I’m not responsible for anyone else’s happiness except my own.

What do you want to accentuate and amplify in your life next year?

8. What outcomes or achievements do you want to build on next year?

Well, we are only just getting started in the States. I’d like to work more, explore the area and make friends here. I want to get our home in order and plan a trip overseas if we can.

9. What parts of yourself do you wish to expand and strengthen, and let out in the world?

I want to use my voice more. I feel like I spend the majority of my time doing what needs to be done for others. Whether I’m writing content according to a specific brief for my work or making sure to act and speak in a way that conforms with social norms here, I’m feeling a bit stifled at the moment. I hope to find other ways of expressing myself in the coming year, here on my blog as well as out in the world.

10. What role models and supportive people do you want to connect with more deeply?

Maybe I think of role models in a weird way, but that word doesn’t fit for me right now. I would like to find friends and mentors, though, particularly locally. I still have a range of interests in terms of blogging, gaming, and even politics, and I’d love to meet other people who are doing well in those fields here to see where I can learn and grow in 2018.

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  • laurakim123

    This is a pretty “deep” look back at the year!! But it is always great to do these to see just how much we have achieved.

    • Zoe Hawkins

      For sure. as much as it’s a cliche, i like doing year in review, year ahead kinda stuff. seems like a natural time of year to pause and reflect a bit

  • These questions…I would need a therapy session to unpack them.

    • Zoe Hawkins

      hahahaha, yeah, i kept thinking “oh, i’ll just do my year wrap” and then it’s like “what brings you shame to think about”…. O_O