Holy guacamole, it’s the last day of 2018 and in the wise words of Ariana Grande, I am more than ready to say, Thank you, next (next)! Honestly, this song could not have been released at a more perfect time and it is no surprise to see it become a popular mantra that can be applied beyond the relationship circle of events!
I’ve been wanting to pen down my thoughts on 2018 for a couple of weeks now, primarily because everyone seems to be sharing some of their best highlights from the year 2018. And look, 2018 presented with its sets of accomplishments and challenges that made it the year that it was. But was it a year that I’ll be looking back on? Was there anything worth noting as a “highlight”? How does one even begin to summarize the happenings of a whole year in less than 5 minutes? Well, here’s my attempt (sorry it’s a long read, but isn’t that what most of my articles tend to be?)!
2018 was, well, a major mood! A massive, complicated mood – with several exciting high points, coupled with some equally scary levels of lows. But it was the year it was and it’s time to say goodbye (thank riddance)! Don’t get me wrong – there were some curveballs thrown at me throughout the year, but at the end of it all, I ended up learning a great deal. So all in all, it was worth enduring the pain in 2018 to plan on achieving some gains in 2019!
What were some 2018 highlights?
- Attending the Adelaide Fringe season – the jam-packed month of festivities around performing arts and creative geniuses that come together every single year and leave Adelaide lit AF. This is the time of the year when I generally thrive the most and after 15 interviews, 27 reviews, and 11 photo shoots, I felt nothing but beaming pride and a sense of fulfillment at being able to contribute (however small) towards this intensely exciting festival that brings all of Adelaide together through a versatile range of themes, trends, and shows. I felt like I had connected with individuals from all over the world – each with their unique story, their quirky personality, and their own talent that left you in awe and wonderment.
- Progressing from a graduate to a working individual who (somehow) juggles 3 jobs across the Disability sector, whilst also managing the media aspect; with interviews conducted with some of the most incredible South Australian businesses that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through marketplaces such as Gathered SA, Bowerbird, and the Creative Lifestyle Market and through the power of social media (hello, Instagram!).
- Volunteering my time at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which will forever be a highlight of my career, because it was through this opportunity that I got to meet one of the most inspiring play therapists, who taught me how to connect with children on a more personal and goal-oriented level. Building rapport with kids is a HUGE challenge for me, so I will be forever grateful to Jo, who was able to show me the simple yet effective ways of aiding a child’s skills around learning, communication, and being in social situations.
- Being more open about my struggles around anxiety and offering a safe space to friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike to be able to have an honest conversation about what might be bothering them and doing whatever I can to be there for them.
- Acknowledging and understanding the value of self-love and self-care. It is so healthy and ~i m p o r t a n t~ to listen to your mind, body, and soul and recognize when it needs a moment to recharge!
- Engaging in fun experiences, such as Snuba diving with some incredibly friendly fishes down in Port Noarlunga, going on mini-road trips around SA with a bunch of 10/10s, being part of a deportation party on a boat (and not having my friend deported WOO!), and attending the Adelaide Fashion Festival in total glam mode!
- Connecting with loved ones and appreciating them by making time for the ones who matter the most and will stand by your side through the good, bad, and seriously d e p r e s s i n g of times!
What did 2018 teach me?
- 2018 allowed me to be able to connect with my family a lot more. As some of y’all may know, I came to Australia by myself at the age of 18 and have no family here in Adelaide. While I’ve enjoyed my independence that grows with each passing day, nothing is more important than the feeling of having a family by your side (not just emotionally, but also physically). When my mom and dad visited me mid-year, my heart was filled with nothing but contentment. It’s one of the most surreal experiences, where you get to (re)connect with your family on a completely different level. As cliché as it sounds, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
Thank you, family!
- 2018 allowed me to learn and grow as an individual by being in a relationship with a man who goes above and beyond to treat me right, makes me feel special 24×7, appreciates me for who I am and what I experienced before his time, puts up with my own battles and struggles, lets me in to his world, supports me in so many ways I didn’t think possible, reciprocates the love I give him with even more love and adoration, and is generally an all-rounder of a boyfriend.
Thank you, J!
- 2018 helped eliminate some of the most toxic of friendships and in return, nurture me with some new and returning beautiful souls who have quickly gone from being acquaintances to treasured beings with a special place in my life.
Thank you, friends!
- 2018 taught me the importance of investing more in experiences and less in things. I will admit, I got this from watching the brilliant guys from The Minimalists, who have a documentary on Netflix around the art of minimalism. Sure, it may not be for everyone, but it definitely appeals to me majorly. Throughout the year, I have tried to actively de-clutter my life – not only from a materialistic viewpoint, but also from a social and emotional standpoint. While I haven’t achieved my minimalistic zen just yet, it is a work in progress and I’m hoping to chip away at this goal further in 2019.
Thank you, The Minimalists!
- 2018 gave me a lot of moments of joy, happiness, and excitement, but it was also an eye-opener with (and not to sound dramatic here, but) certain aspects of my life that gave me misery, sadness, regret, and a general state of emotional turmoil. It was a year that made me realize that you simply can’t please everyone and you know what? That’s perfectly okay! It is 100% okay to do what will make YOU happy, not just others. It is 100% okay to share the positive AND negative experiences of your life as much (or as little) as you want. It is 100% okay to challenge the typical societal standards of what “fits” by adding it a (big) sprinkle of what may not.
Thank you, society!
- 2018 pushed me to step out of my shell even more and take on projects that would have (in the past) given me mild panic attacks, but consequently allowed me to face it with a brave, confident, and goal-oriented outlook. It is through this that I was able to pursue my passion of getting to know individuals around Adelaide and Australia and words cannot describe how much each individual who has come in contact with me throughout 2018 means to me and has contributed towards my personal growth.
Thank you, Adelaide / Australia!
What am I hoping to achieve in 2019?
While I’m hoping to see a lot more progress around the career aspect, I am also hoping to see myself grow as a person. For someone who is 27 and juggling 3 casual jobs, I think I am doing okay, but I know I could be doing a lot better. Not one for setting resolutions, but I would like to walk into the new year with some poignant and fresh thoughts:
- I hope to embrace personal experiences that involve spending quality time with friends and family, because that is something that I’ve been (unintentionally) neglecting for far too long. It doesn’t take much to make the time for people who care for you (and who you care for)!
- I hope to support more and more local and Australian-based businesses. It is a passion of mine to identify individuals whose work always ends up under the radar, but deserves nothing short of recognition for the impeccable work that they do. The best way to do this, as I have learned, is by visiting the markets and getting to know the stallholders / owners, so rest assured that there will be lots more of that in-store throughout 2019!
- I hope to be able to contribute greatly towards the Disability sector and care for individuals with visible and invisible disabilities. One of my other passions is being there for people who may not be able to be there for themselves and/or require a little bit of support to be fully functional and independent. I am so blessed to be able to channel my love for this career across my 3 jobs and I am hoping to further add to that pool, by focusing more on 1:1 support and being a (however small) ray of happiness and light in someone’s life.
- I hope to take time for myself and learn to be able to say “no” to things that do not stimulate me or interest me. If there’s something I saw myself doing a lot in 2018 and prior is that I’d always drop everything for everyone to give them what they want, without giving myself a second thought. Call me selfish, but I think it’s time to take back control over what matters to ME and MY LIFE. It’s time to bring back the give-and-take trend, not just the give-and-give trend.
- I hope to engage in activities that will stimulate the adventurer in me. Semi-extreme sports, traveling to an unknown space, exploring aspects that may not necessarily be “trending” but appeal to your own personal flair. Just simple, little things!
- I hope to keep reminding myself that there is so much to live for! Nothing will beat having a constant of supportive friends and/or a loving partner, so no matter how tough life gets, don’t throw it all away over an inconvenience, because believe me, it will pass! I am living proof of it, given how I nearly gave up ~5 times in 2018!
- I hope to take steps to further improve my wellbeing – physically and emotionally. Whether this involves cutting out toxic people, speaking to a qualified and relatable therapist, venting to friends over a (couple of) cocktails, or simply taking the day to unwind, recharge, and rejuvenate, I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that the dark side doesn’t win and I can get through the year with a lot more happy thoughts and a lot less scary thoughts.
I have nothing but mad respect for everyone and everything that has been a part of 2018 for me personally. However, I am more than ready to bid adieu to it and see what the new year has in store for me.
Thank you to everyone who has followed my journey and supported me over the last year (and more). You have no idea what you mean to me and it is a great deal! Here’s to more adventures, more memories, and more experiences over the next 365 days.
2019 – let’s bloody do this! I’m so ready for you, mate.