As I sit down on New Years Eve to think about what’s happened in my life this year, there’s so much to reflect upon: overseas trips, new adventures at work, and the death of a close family member.
I ended last year feeling 2009 had been a year of treading water: I hadn’t really done all that much exciting in either my personal or professional life.
I began 2010 with a renewed sense of anticipation: in March I was returning to Sweden in significantly different circumstances to the last time in 2008. and I was to be on a panel at the Radio Days Conference in Copenhagen.
After my trip there in the summer two years ago, I was keen to go back and experience Sweden at a different time of the year. “Could I cope with the long, dark cold winter months?”, I asked myself. Probably not is the answer, but I gave the end of winter/the start of spring a try by visiting Sweden during March. When I arrived it was snowing and the waterways around Stockholm were frozen over. I went out on a ice-breaker and walked on ice for the first time in my life, nearly escaping plunging to my death by walking too close to the edge of a wharf. It would have been a dramatic way to go, though, wouldn’t it?
As well as experiencing the delights of a Swedish spring, I also went to Melodifestivalen, the Swedish finals for Eurovision, attended quite a few pop concerts, met some interesting people, and generally had a fine holiday.
I was also lucky enough to be invited to be a panelist at the Radio Days Europe Conference held in March in Copenhagen, and got to meet some people working in similar jobs in different parts of the world.
My last trip was very much a backpacker’s adventure, whereas this was a more grown up holiday experience. Deep in the back of my mind throughout was the question about whether or not I’d like to live in Sweden for a while, or whether this was a short-term obsession that would pass with time. I’ve concluded the answer is yes, I’d like to live there, and have 2012 as the ball-park year I’d like to do it, though that may go back a little depending on what happens with work.
My second overseas trip this year was to China. My friend Kate has been living there on and off for a few years, and I’ve been thinking of going for a while. As she had an exhibition opening in November, I asked when she had a window of opportunity and grabbed it. I loved Beijing. Seriously the best food I’ve ever eaten consistently on any holiday ever. And there was a lot to see and do, includng all of the obvious tourist spots. It was great to hang out with Kate and with some of the artists she was looking after while there. A return trip to China? Yes possibly.
On the professional front, I enjoyed the challenges of a new “acting” position throughout most of the year looking after nationally networked content on ABC Radio. And then towards the end of the year, “acting” in the role of Netnwork Development Manager which looks after a range of special event programming and other associated “development” work. Many aspects of the job are pretty sexy, and I loved acting in the role, and then securing it in the days before Christmas.
On the personal front, I went on a couple of dates this year, though nothing long-term came from either. I’ve yet to come to grips with how I feel about the idea of a relationship. Sometimes I feel like it would be nice to have someone there in a different way to close friends. Other times I feel like it may be all too much, and that deep down I know that I’m probably still too selfish to share my life with someone else and vice versa. I’m also reminded of advice several years ago which was “don’t leave it to late”.
Sadness struck our family this year with the death of Gloria, who plays a special role in my life. After several years suffering with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s she died in June this year. In many ways her passing was a relief as she had been in a lot of pain for quite some time. Her death has affected her immediate family of Sharon and John deeply, as they had also lost son, John, three years ago. On the positive side, I’m hoping it’s lead to a renewed closeness between all of us.
I spent the last ten days of the year at home with my family in Lismore. Usually I just come home for a few days and then head back to Sydney, but I think I got the mix right this year. I was allowed to work from the office in Lismore which meant I could spend daytime at work, but night-time and weekend with my family which made for a very happy combination for all of us.
This time last year I felt as though I’d spent the year “treading water”. A year later, I feel like I’m happier, healthier (I’ve also lost weight this year), and generally feeling quite good about myself and my life.
Looking ahead to 2011, there’s a lot to anticipate. I have a new job, and hopefully the capacity to do some interesting work. Our art group, Hawkesbury One, winds up with an exhibition at the Newcastle Regional Gallery. And although I have no firm travel plans for the year, I’m sure something will eventuate. But overall, looking ahead to 2011, I’m feeling pretty good about life.