New year, taking stock


It’s hard to sum up what 2010 was about for me. I suppose if 2009 was about stretching to breaking point, 2010 was about rebounding. Seeing what shape I’m left in after throwing off the tensions; seeing what has stuck, which influences remain etched in my personality, and how I fit into my life now. Feeling a mixture of euphoric highs and depressive lows, but overall, satisfied with myself: I can trust myself to make bloody good decisions, even if they are hard ones.

I am learning to judge less; to take a less idealistic, more organic, flexible and open-minded approach to everything – without making this into another ideal! The questions that consume me now are questions of change vs acceptance. In a sense it is about defining myself. Not “fixing” myself by someone else’s definition of “normal”, but to a large extent throwing normal – such an oppressive concept – out the window, and seeing the multi-dimensional beauty in all people. I believe self-transformation is possible like I never did before, but it’s a question of picking the battles to fight: which changes would be worth the effort?

Perhaps it’s a question that can only be answered through experience. And what better place to start than with the challenges that are smacking me in the face right now.

I’ve already had one little victory this year: passed my driving test. πŸ˜€ What’s interesting is that in the last few lessons, driving quite suddenly started to feel more natural and easy; as if the looming test actually forced me to overcome the fears. The first mock test had a similar effect. In fact all along I have been firmly pushed out of my comfort zone by a supportive instructor and it has worked wonders for me.

I think the difficulty with a PhD is that you don’t necessarily have that supportive pressure. For long periods, it’s possible to hide in your comfort zone. Maybe I am not good at putting the right kind of pressure on myself, and maybe one possible answer is that I should try to find someone who can hold me to account. Someone I would have to be fully honest with about it in a way that I’m not even fully honest with myself right now… which would be risky in itself.

So what I hope 2011 will be about for me is defining myself, not through armchair philosophising as much as through harnessing all possible ways of forcing myself out of comfort zones and seeing what happens… πŸ˜‰

Happy New Year!


4 responses »

  1. Nice to read this analysis of your year! And congrats on passing your driver’s test. I hope you are getting plenty of opportunities to drive! Or as many as you want anyway. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! I haven’t driven since my test unfortunately, but I’m going to look into joining the City Car Club or something so I can get access to a car and try driving without the instructor. Scary! πŸ™‚

  2. Congratulations on passing the test! Last year I resolved to say “yes” more often – as a result I did end up with some interesting experiences – sometimes it was just what I needed to make myself go out and about.

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