Reflections on 2016 and my hopes for 2017

2016 was an absolute whirlwind of a year full of many ups and downs. I am absolutely gobsmacked by just how much took place in the space of a year.

In saying that, for once I do not feel drained or disillusioned nor do I yearn for the New Year to hurry up and arrive. Sure, I’m excited about what 2017 has in store for me but I’m not so hung up on fresh starts, maybe because I’ve had plenty of those this year. I’ve also come to the realisation that every moment is an opportunity for a fresh start  – we don’t need to wait until January 1st.

This will be my last post for the year, so I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year that has gone by and share some of my goals and hopes for 2017.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016

Life coaching: This was a huge game changer and the reason why so much magic has manifested in my life, especially in the last few months.

Working with George Helou, I was able to take a good look at myself and really understand the reasoning behind my beliefs, thoughts and actions. At times it was absolutely painful, but it was exactly the thing I needed.

This doesn’t mean that every day is now perfect and nothing wrong ever happens. Far from it! But I now have the tools to take the bull by its horns and make the most of every situation regardless of the outcome. It’s such a fantastic, liberating feeling.

Life coaching with George Helou, EP7 program in Perth, Australia
Life coaching with George Helou has been an absolute game changer!

Career: If you had said to me earlier this year that soon enough I would find myself in a new job in a completely new industry and that I would absolutely love that job, I would have thought you were crazy. Seriously. Earlier this year I was so burnt out and drained by my last job but so hung up on my supposed commitments and obligations that I didn’t see a way out. I was only a centimetre away from quitting it all and just packing my bags and going off travelling for a few years.

While that didn’t happen, somehow I managed to see the light at the end of the tunnel and in October I was offered a job as a .NET developer/consultant for a company developing sports analytics software in Brisbane.

I’ve only been in the job for 3 weeks now but I absolutely love it. Every day I wake up excited to go to work, ready to learn and absorb as much knowledge as possible. Already I’m working on some pretty exciting stuff, in particular a project for the NRL (National Rugby League) and have gotten to do a few things for the USTA (US Tennis Association) and Cricket Australia.

I’m excited to see what 2017 has in store for me at work. It will take me a while longer to really get up to speed. At the same time I plan to bring the skills and experiences I’ve gained from my last job, especially in front-end design, user experience and data visualisation to this new job. There are also opportunities to get Microsoft accreditations and join technical meet-up groups here in Brisbane, so I will definitely be keeping busy.

In saying that, I have a fantastic and supportive boss and a great working environment. I start work about 8:15 am each morning and am out the door by 5pm with a decent lunch break. On my lunch breaks, I’ll go sit out by the river, either at the office or down at the local park or if it’s too hot and I desperately need to get out, I’ll drive down to the local shopping centre. I have never felt so relaxed and chilled at work before; it’s a bizzare but wonderful feeling.

Moving cities: As a result of changing jobs, I changed cities too. Again, never in a million years did I think I would move to Brisbane of all cities.

Brisbane is a seriously great city and I have already done a fair bit of exploring – hiking around Moggill Regional Park, spending the afternoon listening to live music out in Southbank and travelling along the Brisbane River by ferry, spending an entire day in art galleries, museums and the State Library.

I’m looking forward to making this place home and getting to know every nook and cranny of it.

Settling in and making the most of living in a new city! Brisbane, Australia
Settling in and making the most of living in a new city!

Relationships: Dating wise, things have been very up and down here. For most of the year I practically lived on Tinder, to the point that it was starting to really burn me out and I quit on August 31st 2016. I had, met a few great guys, in particular an English traveller, whose story I shall share in the coming months but most of my experiences with the app had been absolutely awful and to the point where I started really questioning what was wrong with myself but what was wrong with humanity as a whole.

I also ended up crushing on and eventually falling big time for someone already in a relationship. I guess at the time it felt like a highlight in that him and I shared a fantastic chemistry and I had a wonderful time getting to know him. But obviously a huge lowlight in the amount of confusion and stress it caused. But it taught me a wonderful lesson in the importance of just continuing to keep loving myself and having faith that the right one, the available one is out there.

All in all, this year has been a wonderful journey of learning to love myself and just focus on my own interests and needs rather than obsess so much with dating. I feel more chilled and relaxed and completely on top of the world!

In fact I had a moment in the car driving home one night when I realised, “I am really happy not dating and not being with anyone. Life is really, really great.”

Friendship-wise… I feel like I struggled with spending time with my friends especially earlier on in the year and I had a real knack for just saying “no” and not wanting to go out most of the time. But I like to think that hopefully I did dedicate enough time with my friends and made myself available especially when they needed it the most.

And where once upon a time I would have felt envious and bitter about it, I am filled with utter joy when I see friends reach milestones in their lives, whether that’s getting married, having children or moving overseas.

Health and Fitness: Big things happened to me in this arena. By March 2016, I had lost 10kg having gone from 76 kg all the way down to 66 kg. I nabbed myself a wonderful personal trainer (check her out here!) who really helped me build my strength and held me to account for my eating.

I also travelled to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand for a fitness bootcamp. And while it was incredibly tough, it was the most life-changing, life-affirming experience ever. I realised just how much my body is capable of, but more importantly just how strong my mind is. All it took was a 40 km bike ride, running up and down hills with tyres, hiking through the muddy jungle, training with pro muay thai fighters and climbing up and down hundreds of steps at a temple to make me realise this.

In saying this, my weight has probably hovered up and down a lot, especially as I struggle to keep up the consistency. But I am learning to come to peace with just being able to find balance rather than stress out because I’m not always eating cleanly or training ruthlessly everyday.

I also started to fall in love with hiking and getting out and about in nature. Highlights include completing the first 20 km of the Bibbulmun Track and climbing Mt Batur in Bali.

Hiking has been one of the ways I've stayed fit and active. Bibbulmun Track, Kalamunda, Northern Terminus, Western Australia.
Hiking has been one of the ways I’ve stayed fit and active.

Travel: It is no secret that I adore travelling. And I got to do a good deal of it this year. In terms of international travel, it was all about South-East Asia: Singapore, Thailand and Bali.

I fell in love with Thailand as soon as I got there and I am yearning to go back. Chiang Mai is absolutely breathtaking – the mountains, the jungle, the refreshing summer rain that just dumps itself down on you. Northern Thailand is high on my list of places to explore in more depth at some point in the future.

Bali however was a place I highly doubt I’ll go back to. Yes it’s fantastically cheap but it was way too touristy and frustrating for me.

Singapore was disgustingly hot but it’s a great city, with lots to do and it’s super easy to get around. I think I’ll go back but make a trip of it rather than just a one day stopover after a 5 hour flight during the night.

I also got to do a fair bit of domestic travelling, most notably visiting the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and taking a weekend roadtrip down to Bunbury, a two-hour drive from Perth. Both trips made me appreciate just how wonderful Australia is and that you’d have to be crazy to not want to travel around this amazing country of ours.

Visiting the Blue Mountains in NSW: One of my many travels this year
Visiting the Blue Mountains in NSW: One of my many travels this year.

Starting this blog

I almost forgot to include this! Never in a million years did I think I would find the courage to start a blog and actually share it with others! I’ve always loved writing so it’s been liberating using this as a platform to share my thoughts, experiences and ideas with everyone. However it’s been scary at times and quite difficult conquering writer’s block. But the support and kind words and feedback from everyone has made the journey worth it. I’m looking forward to sharing more stories with you all next year.

PLANS FOR 2017

Explore Queensland and the East Coast

I think I’ll be easing up on the international travel and focusing more on Australia this year, especially now that I live on the East Coast. I’m eyeing up some time to head up to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Sunshine Coast is definitely on the list as are trips out to the islands off the coast of Brisbane such as Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island.

I’m also going to the Gold Coast with my work mates for the Microsoft Ignite Conference in February. I may possibly stay there over the weekend and explore the area.

Build a good network of friends in Brisbane

Meeting people and making new friends will be my toughest challenge of 2017. I’m not sure how well I’m going to go with this – it was easy making friends in Perth because I started work with 50 other grads my age.

The plan will be to attend meetups and just get out and about and maybe go crazy and start randomly talking to people. I’ll be sure to document my successes/failures in this arena.

In saying that I also hope that the relationships I have with my friends in Perth and New Zealand will stay strong and that we’ll always keep in regular touch.

Getting to know my father again

Another story for another time. But basically my father lives here in Brisbane. Before my move, we hadn’t seen each in other in 4 or 5 years and we barely talked – admittedly, this was my choice. This may be our chance to get to know each other again.

Read more

I’ve read plenty of articles on the Internet but nowhere near enough books. I want to start questioning what I read online and in the media too – I think the US election really highlighted just how dangerous the media can be in spreading false information and propaganda.

I want to read a wide range of genres and things that will challenge me. Guess I better join the library or invest in a kindle.

Keep fit and healthy

This is a big one, especially since I don’t deal with my stress very well and often use food as a crutch. However I am going to do my best to stay disciplined and keep active on a daily basis, whether that’s going walking, exercising in the local park, hiking, joining the gym or playing a sport like indoor soccer.

Work on some projects…

Keep an eye out – I’ve got a few cool projects in my mind and every intention to make them a reality next year! I’ve also got plenty more stories to share with you right here on this blog.

 

Tomorrow I fly back to Perth and I am looking forward to just having a good break and spending some quality time with my friends and family in Perth – it’s going to be a while until I see everyone again. Merry Christmas to you all and here’s to a happy, wonderful 2017!

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