2017: a year of reflection

December 30, 2017
carefree love

Sitting at my desk, sipping my cup of tea. No change here as to how I like to write. But I don’t overstate when I say 2017 was a transformative year for me. Truly. A year of renewal. My biggest challenges have also been my biggest achievements. Previous years of beavering away finally paid off this year. And I can’t be more grateful.

A year of profound learning

I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, thanks to the six month traveling sabbatical. 2017 was three months of leading up to the sabbatical, working myself crazy to have everything I needed done; six months of travel, letting go and journaling along the way, then three months of settling back into everyday life, the full time job, the commute, fitting in exercise, the works. I have no doubt that realising and seeing what I’ve learned this year will happen well into 2018.

My lessons relate to re-thinking about how I approach work, other life stuff and how I use my capacity across commitments – the things I want to do and the things I have to do. I’ve learned more about who I am as a person. It’s kind of amazing what happens within when you have space to think and feel. With no work, I felt exposed and vulnerable and I learned to sit with that discomfort until I came out the other side. I learned that I am more than my work and there is another side of me, including priorities and what matters, that I’ve grown to accept, appreciate and embrace. I’ve written about how busyness is a good hiding place for what’s really going on, with more lessons and revelations to be shared in 2018.

A year of a mindset shift

Before we left for our sabbatical, I started to read ‘The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F’. This book kick-started a shift in my mindset about how I use my time and energy. Building on this, the sabbatical helped with revealing and confirming my priorities and what matters to me. Combining the two, re-reading and finishing the book after coming home, I realised I now embodied the mindset of being okay with not giving an f about some things. A history of being a people-pleaser and upholder, this was massive.

Not giving a F is not about not caring about people, but caring about what is important and then not caring so much about what people think (there’s a difference). For example, I used to care about looking a certain way for my job, my library profession. Yes, I wear cardigans. But many librarians these days have a distinct sense of style which to me, requires a lot of effort and coordination. Just. For. Work. I used to diss myself for not looking like I belong in my own friggin profession (Oh for goodness sake!) The fact is, I’m in my profession because I enjoy what I do, I’m good at what I do and I make a difference, directly or indirectly, while doing it. I don’t give a crap about looking a certain way anymore or having a wardrobe with the right pieces. I don’t give a crap about spending time in the morning carefully curating an outfit. Pants and a blouse will do me. Jeans on Fridays. I organise what I’m wearing for the week on Sundays. Save 10 minutes in the mornings. Thank you. Very much.

A year to be proud

Though I feel like I did only one thing this year – go on sabbatical, there were a few things I’d been working on that came to fruition in 2017. Mostly to do with work, I nonetheless am still proud of…

  • being awarded the ALIA Metcalfe Award, recognising excellence in practice and contribution to the library and information profession in my first five years of practice.
  • presenting at an international conference in July this year
  • having another conference submission with my supervisor accepted for next year
  • co-authoring four journal articles that were published this year
  • being interviewed for a library-related podcast

What I’m most proud of this year however, are….

  • NOT doing any work for 3 months, the second half of sabbatical (I had to prepare my conference presentation on the road)
  • journaling my way through the sabbatical
  • road-tripping around Iceland (driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road), sleeping in a camper van for 11 days, exploring, going on hikes and loving every moment I was there.

 

If I could give myself advice at the start of 2017, I would have told myself to not worry so much and that things work out the way they should. You are where you need to be and where that is, is totally, absolutely and completely fine.

Here’s to an epic, life changing and adventurous 2017!


Featured image by raw pixel at Pixabay.

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