A look back at 2019

And with that, it’s time for another annual re-cap post. Although quite how we’ve got to 31 December 2019, I couldn’t tell you! Yet, here we are on the cusp of 2020.

My primary goal for the year (aside from graduating) was to be more mindful and more aware. When I think about how best to measure the success of that goal, I tend to think about the amount of time I’ve spent reflecting on my life. And that’s something I’ve done a fair amount of through a regular journaling habit that I worked to create this year. That process has forced helped me to reflect on each day. I’ve also been keeping a to-do book that includes a section for a weekly recap that allows to me share my highlight and lowlight each week. This has all helped me to be more aware and reflective about how I spend my time – and the emotions that follow.

I have also spent the year logging all of my exercises each day along with logging my weight every week and my measurements every month. That process helped me to be more aware of my physical outputs, whilst also helping to motivate me to do more. After all, it would be a sad year-end reflection otherwise! On the same theme, this year found me keeping a habit tracker for the first time in my life. I started the process in March by tracking a couple of things every week. And eventually, my habit tracking grew into a monthly grid of 12 different habits or activities. It has been really great to see how I have improved my routines over the year – including an increase in leisure reading, which I added to the habit tracker so that I would be more likely to prioritise it.

In the end, when I reflect on the year and on how my awareness has changed over these 365 days, I have to say that my goal was met. Maybe not exceeded, but definitely met. And that makes me very happy!

In addition to that big goal, I also had a few milestones that I hoped to accomplish. And I am pleased to say that I managed them. For example:

I passed my PhD viva! Of course, there was a bit of work to be finished after that point, but this was a very important milestone.

I received my PhD in Information Science! (Which you can read here.) And I collected my degree whilst wearing a copy of my thesis as shoes, which was pretty cool.

I travelled to Slovenia to present a paper. This was one of my last acts as a PhD student, which was a nice feeling.

I got a job! OK, it’s only a short-term contract that will run out in a few months, but it’s my first proper post-doctoral job so it’s a definite milestone to mention.

And, as always, I enjoyed a lot of great adventures. Like a visit to the Homelanda weekend away in Berwicka walk along the Fife Coastal Path, and a sing-a-long weekend with friends.

Although, this year also marked my 10th anniversary as a widow. And whilst the years have made coping with the grief of widowhood easier, there is something quite sad about the fact that I have spent 10 years without my husband.

This year has also brought the return of my immigration worries, as my current visa expires in mid-2020 and the only way I can stay here in Scotland is if I get a long-term job. And those, I fear, are hard to come by. That means that the last couple of months have been spent with a bit of anxiety as I don’t really know what I am doing from June, which means I can’t make any firm plans for holidays home or even marathon races. (But I’ll get it sorted, I’m sure!)

So yes. This year has been quite the whirlwind for me filled with many wonderful, amazing things. Although it would be unfair to say that it’s been a “best” year by any measure. But, ultimately, as the year is ending with much uncertainty, it is hard to elevate the entire year to the top of the list. Instead, it’s been a good year with a couple of best moments that will stand out for a lifetime.

I am looking forward to a new year starting tomorrow. Even though I know that the year will be filled with all sorts of uncertainty as I look for a long-term job, I know that there will also be plenty of moments of love and laughter. And, hopefully, there will be a lot of opportunities to make the world (or at least my world) a better place.

See you next year!

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