For me, 2021 has been a mixed bag of good and bad. Charles said it best:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” ― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
2021 didn't start out the best for me. I had put off a lot of things for far too long and they ended up getting the best of me over the New Year. Luckily I had the spoons to try and do something about it until I could get help (shout out to my wonderful psychologist <3). I was meditating everyday, a habit that only lasted a few months but helped nonetheless, soon other tools and techniques replaced it, and I can now say that mentally I'm in a far better position than I have ever been.
To continue the dichotomy of the year, I found myself really enjoying teaching swing dancing. Sure I had massive impostor syndrome, but it was a challenge that I needed in my life. It improved my dancing, helped me be more outgoing and social, and gave me the best friendships that I am ever grateful for. Teaching beginners gives me such great joy, I get to be silly and have fun and generally help people enjoy themselves. Sadly, due to low numbers, we closed the location I was teaching at, but I still fill in for others and attend classes.
In other dancing news (look it's my life now ok), I attended my first Hullabaloo! Not only that but as PSDS Treasurer I was on the committee, and I have to say it was one of the best committee's I've ever been on! Everyone was keen and engaged and wanted it to be the best event. Sadly we got shut down due to COVID, after months of planning. We regrouped, rebuilt, and managed to pull off a fun event later in the year. This year I also attended my first dance exchange, getting to hang out with nine other dancers (and dear friends) down south for a weekend. I learnt a lot about myself that trip and I will look back on it fondly I feel.
My writing challenge from the previous year was achieved, I managed to finish writing Hel is a Four Letter Word. I also started work on a new Deus Ex story, the remainder of which has been put on the back burner for the time being. After some very strong executive dysfunction issues, I managed to enrol in my last two uni units for my BA. Both were creative writing units and they have been the most enjoyable classes I've done my entire degree. In them I wrote a short story, which I'll be expanding on in the last unit (and writing a novel based on them eventually), and some poetry I'm happy with. The feedback on my writing was, I feel, the most rewarding part. The tutor and students seemed to really enjoy my writing and having some external validation was just what I needed (thanks Ashleigh!).
I had been struggling professionally for a while now, feeling stuck and not at all into my career. This year I pulled the plug on my involvement with newCardigan, a group of amazing people I was very lucky to work with. After four or so years as Treasurer I felt I needed to take some more time for myself (and let's be honest here, my dancing). I hadn't really achieved anything major this year, lock-downs and general day-to-day tasks taking up my time, nothing really pulling me in. For a while I had been looking at new jobs, knowing that my time in public libraries was coming to an end, as there was little joy left in it for me.
In November I interviewed for a position at the State Library, and after a while I was offered the role. So from the end of January I will be entering the field of Digital Preservation, guiding policy and practice. I am genuinely looking forward to this huge challenge ahead of me, specialising in a field that is relativity new for our state. Hopefully I can eventually give back to the wonderful community that is Australasia Preserves.
Despite feelings of anxiety around the COVID and the unknown, I'm entering 2022 from a better position than I did 2021. This is mainly due to some wonderful and amazing friends, professional help, and a lot of hard work. Professionally I'm looking forward to finally finishing my degree, creating some new written works, getting my teeth stuck into a new career path, and learning a lot. While personally I'm hoping to explore friendship, love, and kindness on a variety of levels. Whatever this year brings, I want to remind myself that there is good and there is bad, light and dark, hope and despair, and it'll all balance out in the end.