At this time of year I normally write a ‘Christmas Letter’ to my email contacts and recount the events of the past year, but because this year has been poor (and I have already done this to some extent) I have decided to pass this year. Rather than focus on a year of shit, I thought I might focus on the year to come. One of the trickiest things about setting personal goals is the fact that outcomes are essentially unattainable. Every year, I promise that will I achieve goals in my academic work and I fail. Every year I am determined to develop more meaningful and lasting relationships and I fail at that too. At least I have achieved part of that goal, even if the last piece remains elusive.
The overarching goal for this year was to reconstruct my life after totally bottoming out last year. As the clock hit 2011, I was in the far corner of my bed tucked up in the fetal position hoping the enormous amounts of pain I was in would just disappear. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was probably the lowest point of my life. At this stage almost 12 months on, the framework for the rebuild has been constructed. There is little more I can do to change my behaviour, because it finally seems like all the rubbish has been cleared.
The goal for next year is as simple as it is sweeping: I have to act my age. I must balance the responsibility of being an independent 28 year old, but also behave like 28 year olds generally do. I must make mistakes that are not catastrophic, and destroy my sense of well being. I must develop relationships that will last in the long term. Previously they have flared up with great brightness and faded just as quickly. I need to develop a sense of evenness in my life that I have yet to experience.
Most of all I have to regain my motivation to finish the PhD. For the quicker I finish the thesis, the quicker I gain 100% control of my life. Though it will be hard enough orchestrating a move to Brisbane in the next 12 months, I’m starting to think I got at least one thing right in 2010: I need to move interstate. Of course it would be easier to stay within the confines of the big regional centre that is Brisbane, and I may well, but depending on job opportunities I’d love to move to Melbourne and become a full time academic researcher/writer. After searching the entire year for a long term goal, at least this could be beginnings of one. Although this year is proof that even if I don’t change my mind, circumstances might just do it for me.
One thing is certain: I won’t be here next year. My elongated adolescence will finally be at an end. Whoever said ‘What does not kill you makes you stronger’ obviously had some in reserve. For he does not know that looking forward is and will always be harder than looking back. Going south is very easy when there is no true north.
This should all be regained next year. Or at least I hope so. 2011 is, and will always be, a wound made of time that will constantly seep beneath several layers of bandages. The trick for me is to keep the wounds covered.