My mum used to try and write a summary letter of our year around Christmas time, and send it along with Christmas cards to our family and friends back in the US. I haven’t kept up with this since she passed away, but it is nice to reflect on the year’s accomplishments around this time, so I thought I’d try to write one now.
At the beginning of the year, I started my 101 things in 1001 days mission, as I figured I needed some goals to work toward to feel accomplished while I was also digging into the role of “stay-at-home-mum.” I didn’t want motherhood to be the only thing to define me. My first year of the 2.75 years is up, and I can safely say that I am ahead of schedule, though some goals that were meant to be ongoing have sort of fallen by the wayside, and may have to be changed. I’ve achieved 38 of the 101 goals thus far, and have 24 or so in progress. I’ll likely mention some of the bigger achievements in more detail throughout this post, but feel free to peruse my full list at the link provided.
2008 was a year of old life endings, and new beginnings. Jeremy finished his PhD thesis in March, but didn’t land a job until October, so we found several things to fill that time with that wasn’t too far out of our price range. We did have to sell some property in order to live while we were both unemployed and unable to get any government benefits, but this also allowed Jeremy to fly to New York to sit the bar exam, that would allow him to practice Law in a good deal of the US. We figured this would be a good career move, as it was a requirement for most jobs he had been looking at in the US. Jeremy also made some additions and changes to his thesis, and self-published it as a book in May. Then in October he was offered a job with Consumers International in Malaysia, and we had approximately one month (Jeremy had left the country in two weeks) to completely upend our life in Perth and relocate overseas.
Doyle turned one at the beginning of the year, and had a lot of guests for his birthday for a Wednesday afternoon! I enjoyed making the majority of the party food, and received a ton of compliments for my cooking.
Cooking has actually been a strong focus for me this year, having thus far tried 51 new recipes, including several I invented myself. Though I have not progressed on this goal since September, and it’s been hard on me. I shall definitely have to dig through my books and find some more new things to try over the Christmas break. I would like to find a Christmas recipe I can start as a tradition to make every year! I also enjoyed getting back into drawing when I worked toward my “draw 30 things in 30 days” goal – so much so that I am contemplating changing one of my other goals to a new drawing one, as I haven’t drawn anything since completing that goal. I think I need something with a longer period, like “draw an average of 2 things a month for a year, and colour at least half of these.”
The biggest thing I personally accomplished from my list was the drive across the Nullarbor – not once, but twice. I think travelling is a bit of an addiction I picked up as a youngster when my Mum used to take me and my siblings to the US to visit family. Since 2004, when I first had a real job, there has not a year pass without me getting on a plane (or in fact to fly internationally – admittedly this year it was solely to move to another country). It’s an expensive hobby, but somehow I always manage to afford it. I must not buy much else! I discovered a real passion for driving on that trip, and reconfirmed that travelling to visit friends (even if only friends I met online) is one of the best reasons to travel anywhere. The other major reason I travel is to see and experience things and places I’ve never been before – and it doesn’t hurt to get a story out of it. My around-the-world experiences have already been the subject of much conversation with new friends here in Malaysia.
Doyle has grown up so much this past year, it really is quite amazing. I’ve enjoyed seeing his personality grow and develop – and he really can be quite the cheeky boy. Sometimes he is shy when meeting new people, but at other times he will warm to someone new very quickly. I am not sure what it is that affects how he will react when he meets someone, but it is interesting to watch.
Another event we quite enjoyed was the brief return of Jeremy’s brother’s family to Perth, thus allowing us to have a big family photo of 3 generations of Jeremy’s family. It was the first time they had met their niece, and about a year after we had all last been together. We are hoping for another reunion of everyone in Nottingham, England for Christmas next year. At this stage it looks like only Jeremy, Doyle and myself that won’t be, in one way or another, ‘living’ there at the time.
Though I accomplished so much from my list in this past year, which may have been written in part because I was already encroaching on the mid-late twenties questioning of where I’m going in life (though in my case partly because I’d already done so much and was worried there wasn’t much to do in the future that I hadn’t already), this questioning has been a little more apparent since arriving in Malaysia and hitting a quarter of a century of life. I think I may have to reassess some of the goals I wrote on a whim last year to more realistic ones, while still allowing me to feel accomplished upon completion. Having goals to work towards, I think, has given way to me achieving more than I might have done without this list – the fact I am ahead of schedule just shows me how much I’m truly capable of when I set my mind to it, and that goal setting really works for me.