I’m the first to admit that 2011 didn’t go exactly as planned and I wouldn’t particularly rate it as momentous. I’d committed myself to stay focussed on centre this year, and for the second half of the year, I did. I’ve never really done that before and what a rollercoaster ride it set me on. Yes, you can. No, you can’t. I got things wrong. I dodged curve balls. I forgot about relevance and calibrated.The pictures at the end of the ride would have showcased one loud scream: get me off.
So before I rush off from last year, forget about it, and move on by writing a big long list of all the things I’d like to do this year, I felt a little need to recognise what did happen.
So in no particular order, here goes my 2011 bloody ripper wrap up from which to boldly take ten key lessons with me into the new year.
1. Learned how to say no
No and I have never had an easy relationship. It’s pretty easy to say and yet I’ve always had a problem getting it out. When I realised mid-year that I was in a job I didn’t apply for, saying yes too many times and no to everything I wanted to do, it was time to say a very fervent no, not just to the job, but to all that wasn’t taking me in the direction I wished to head. I realised I had yes exhaustion and really had to learn the meaning, and benefits, of no. I think I’m getting there. I’ve said no to lots of events, requests and people these past six months. I even told worry to fuck off. Saying no to others allows one to proclaim yes to self.
2. Went to university
I’ve never been to university. Work, life and opportunity always seemed to have got in the way. This year, I decided I wanted to learn a new skill I could take with me anywhere and allow me to make some money so I could commit to my writing. In the second half of the year, I was so busy saying yes to myself that I realised I was doing two Diplomas and a Masters in Wellness. As well as working. And attempting to write. Woah. Apart from needing to get a little balance on the yes/no relationship, I realised that I loved to learn. It helped the studies had purpose, and not just because I needed a job out of school. Never be too old to stop asking why.
3. Love… actually…
It’s not happened very often in my life when I see someone from a distance and their energy makes me want to meet them. And meet them I do. I recall him saying “it will be fun”. I remember walking away from that offer and one hour later, grieving and writing condolences for my loss of spontaneity and randomness. Eight months later, that person is still in my life. He doesn’t need to be in my life every day. I don’t need to know his every movement. To close the open hand is hard. Love… actually… is a deep respect for another human being that simply allows them to be themselves. To not expect them to be someone else. For then they would not be the one you love… actually… accept others for who they are, because of what they bring.
4. Completed a mission
My mission is detailed in Chapter 39.95, its success here. After riding around on the back of a motorbike for half a day, I managed to meet Nyoman, the moto driver, Ketut, his daughter and her baby son. Whilst looking at the family photo album, Ketut brought me another book with a photograph of her prior to the operation, and my Dad. Nyoman started to cry, dug into his pocket and pulled out the driver’s license I had earlier returned, passing it back into my hands. “I miss your Daddy. He is a good man. You tell your Daddy to come and find me, like you found me.” Closure provides a door waiting to be opened.
5. Failures and demons
Like most years, I learned a lot in 2011. When I decided to go it alone, I learned how much better I am doing things for other people and not myself. I’ve learned I’m my own worst enemy. I’m far too independent. I admit I procrastinate when I sit in a room by myself. I confess I have let people down and am not afraid of sending out the apologies. I’ve dug out a few skeletons, brushed off a few chips and am still working on a few demons. I’ve said I’d do things. And didn’t. My hand is up high. No one is perfect. Everyone grows.
Thanks to my local council, I opted in for a ten week outdoor exercise program at my local park. Thanks to some wonderful friends, I stuck a second hand up for some Nia dance lessons. Over the last couple of months in the year, I’ve pedalled, swum, run, boxed, tapped, walked and squatted. Now the classes have finished, I miss it. My body and mind miss the adrenalin, stress relief, meditation and feeling of knowing I’d pushed just enough. Push some more.
7. Asked for help
It didn’t matter the request came back negative. I asked. Ask again.
I never thought I could draw. After picking up a pencil mid-way through the year, quite often I’ll be found curled up on a couch or under a tree with a sketch book. A few people have suggested they’re not too bad and I should take lessons to learn a few finer skills. I thought about it. I won’t. I like being one with an image and a blank canvas. It’s my meditation. I don’t need to seek perfection. Love what you do. Do what you love. Love what YOU love.
9. Climbed a volcano
It wasn’t a momentous year, but it nailed a momentous 40th birthday. With my yes exhaustion, I decided to head to Bali for some rest and relaxation. A few weeks out, I was determined to find myself a challenge to complete: and a 3100m volcano had my name on it. Commencing the ascent at 1.00am on the morning of my birthday, I climbed with the only female guide on the mountain. One foot in front of the other, a small headlamp beam providing the only glimpses of tropical growth and volcanic rock. The moon was hidden, and the hope of a magic sunrise slowly retreated as rain began its unwelcome fall. I had done a month’s half-hearted training before leaving Australia and spent the two days prior to climbing wandering around the hills of Bali’s central region.
One foot in front of the other. I was exhausted. Fear had crossed my path countless times. “Tina, we have 800m to go. It is the most difficult part of the climb. When you are ready we will go”. It was then I sat down and cried. An accumulation of fear swept through me: the fear I had felt as I’d slipped down a wall of loose rocks, the fear of coming down in the morning when it was light and seeing the vastness below me, my legs that could hardly move, the fear of again having to push myself, myself. “I can’t do it.” And I cried some more. “It is up to you Tina. You came here for a reason and it is your choice if you achieve that reason.”
Damn it. As the tears continued to fall, I began to laugh. I realised what I’d put people through. I realised the belief I have had in others, but never myself. I’d never climbed a mountain by myself. I didn’t like it. “There’s a boiled birthday egg to be had on top of that mountain. Let’s go.” Those shear rock walls that weren’t walked but free climbed, in the pitch darkness, were totally insane. I got there. To an unbelievable sunrise. I believe I can fly.
10. My biggest regret
This year I retreated – online and offline. In a world of information overload, I felt the necessity to step back and find more wisdom from within. As a creative person who has spent a good working lifetime helping others with creative ideas for their projects, apart from this blog and my new found appreciation of pencils, I have neglected to explore my creativity in the pursuit of my own projects. Two weeks ago, when I asked for help (and remember I got a no), I sat down and thought if my last test results weren’t so good and I was looking at a terminal illness, what would I regret? I went back to my ten things of value. Without hesitation, I answered that question. I thank my withdrawal for allowing me the space to be influenced by self. As much as I love my study, I’ve deferred the majority of my studies for next year. It’s time.
Now that’s all out in the air, it’s time for my 2012 resolutions
1. Get on with it!
you bloody ripper!