December 27th marks my first full year of true independence, something that was 29 years in the making. As I’ve often discussed, people told me constantly through my childhood that this year would come; I never truly believed it would happen. To me the dream always remained a distant hope, one in which I was not confident in taking. I did not think I could cope on my own without the distant gaze of parental supervision, the ever-reliable cushion that had helped me survive.
2013 was not only the year I proved myself wrong, it was The Year of Living Properly.
One with the necessary help, I have lived the way I have always wanted to. Life for me is not easy with each day providing more challenges than the last. This is why I must give credit to Wesley Mission Brisbane, the real unsung hero of the operation. Though I do a lot of volunteer work for Youngcare, and they get most of the media attention, Wesley Mission are responsible for funding the services, and the salaries of the carers, which comprise more than 30 staff members. They all come from a number of backgrounds, from the young to the experienced. Though their origins may be varied, all of the staff are of the highest quality, without exception (It helps that I have had the final say in recruiting them since I became chairman of the Residents’ Committee in August). Staff often receive huge amounts of unjustified criticism from many Residents, as they perform thankless tasks that we all take for granted. However, I could not have achieved anything this past year without their help.
For the first time in recent memory I am on top of my PhD thesis, which is due for completion at the end of 2014. Currently, I only have one more chapter to write (an extended examination of Kevin Rudd), mostly because I have been able to consult with my two supervisors on a more regular basis and have had more frequent access to much needed resources.
Most importantly, 2013 has been a year of fun. Though I had been able to attend both the Brisbane Writer’s and Film Festivals in the past, I attended almost triple the number of events this year now that I am a fully fledged Brisbanite. In April, the undoubted highlight was being able to meet Tegan and Sara, my musical heroes. This was only the peak of many concerts I attended, which included a diverse range of artists such as Taylor Swift, Julie Andrews, City and Colour and Mandy Patinkin. I have even managed to catch some live theatre too. On average I have been going to the cinema once a fortnight. It is a simple pleasure I cherish every time I go.
The biggest lesson I have learnt this year is that 2013 is only the beginning. I can do what I want, where I want, how I want without having to justify myself to anyone. It has made the terribly traumatic journey of the previous two years worthwhile.
I made it through the darkness and I’m genuinely happy for the first time in literal decades.