Last year, around this time, I wrote a blog post about the wonderful year I had just had. And 2009, for me, was wonderful. This year... not so much. I thought for a moment about writing all the things that annoyed me about 2010, and then decided that would be very painful for you to read. So here is my list of good things about 2010 that I decided it would do me good to remember. The funny thing is ... there turned out to be more of them than I thought. Huh. That taught me a lesson.
1. I started the year with a lovely, although brief, time with the family. All of my siblings were in Christchurch at some point over the summer, and there was even one day when we were all in town at the same time. This is rare, and precious!
2. I have good friends, and I have made new ones this year. Some of them got married, or engaged. One of my best friends returned last week after fifteen months abroad. The last time I saw her was in Poland. It's really good to have her back.
3. Finally, after several years of wanting to do this, I ran a singalong Sound of Music! I put a ridiculous amount of work into it because I was so ridiculously excited, and it was worth every hour spent painting recognisable scenes from the movie. A bunch of people came who were as ridiculously excited as we were, and a good time was had by all.
4. Slowly, I've been coming to terms with my thesis. I have felt, at times during this year, painfully stupid. I've felt like I've been losing control of it, that I'll never get it figured out, let alone finished. It's not finished yet. But that's getting closer. And I'm figuring it out. I have much more of a handle on the things I am arguing and writing about.
Perhaps, pain has been gain. Perhaps I can do anything?
5. Four issues of Halfway Down the Stairs in 2010, marking five years of publication. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it on the last two without our web design expert, who had to leave our editing team - but I think we have made it! I'm loving the way the 'zine is going. I'm very proud of it.
6. 2010 was the year of Tuesdays-with-my-nieces, R. and M. I had to have part-time work this year, and I was so lucky to (a) devote one solid, single day to it instead of having to break up several days of the week, like most students, and (b) "work" a job that involved spending time with two of my favourite people. I've enjoyed Tuesdays so much. It's involved a kind of creativity that is so different to thesis-writing but has rejuvenated me for the days spent in the office thinking and reading and writing.
7. I have a new nephew, who is two weeks old. He is healthy and charming and calm, and he is a beautiful addition to the family. I can't wait to see some more of him post-Christmas!
8. I moved into a new flat this year, a flat which is lovely and which is owned by lovely landlords. That in itself was a huge improvement on 2009.
9. Said flat has not always been the warmest place to live, especially for people who can't afford much heating, which has given me a new appreciation of heat! Therefore, the onset of summer is more enjoyable than it has ever been before!
10. 2010 has been a year of beaching it up. My flatmates and I discovered at the beginning of the year that we all love swimming at the beach, love it so much that we discover our inner children. Then, later this year, I discovered the joys of bonfires on the beach and fire juggling. Below is a photo of me! Me! Spinning things around in my hands that have fire on the end of them!
11. I'm a social person, in some ways, but I can be quite shy and I freak out a little (or sometimes a lot) about certain types of social things. I don't like the thought of big parties, I don't like the thought of things where I may be expected to dance in front of people! It usually means I make excuses and get out of going to things. This year I have made much more of an effort to go to things. It means I've had more moments of anxiety than usual. It also means that I've usually ended up having more fun, getting to know people better, trying things and finding out they're not that bad.
I've hardly cured my tendency to stress out. But I've become more determined to do things despite it.
12. I got to visit the three other major cities of New Zealand - one entirely paid for by other people, one on air points, and the other for very very cheap. I had a great time in each one, and one in particular (Wellington) completely exceeded my expectations.
13. I also went away briefly, to Duvauchelles with some friends for a nice weekend, and on the Tranzalpine train across the Southern Alps. Rather beautiful and relaxing.
14. Figuring out the concept of assertion. Ask and you will be given, seek and you will find, etc. I asked some publishing companies and they have given me free books to review. Hooray! This has been part of how I started my new blog.
15. I went to the U2 concert on November 25! It was unbelievably cool.
16. So many things to be thankful for, and still this year has been a hard one. The West Coast mining tragedy and the Christchurch earthquake were the big, obvious things. The earthquakes are still coming every day. It's not that pleasant. Surely I should have got used to them? Instead I'm just getting worse.
In a less dramatic way, this year has been slightly difficult for me when it comes to worry. I don't know what I'm going to do when I finish my thesis, I haven't had much money and I have absolutely no savings, we've had to find flatmates suddenly with very little notice and are still at this moment hoping to find a flatmate within the next couple of weeks, and there have been a few personal things that have just been so very unsettling.
In a peculiar way, though, I'm glad this year has been tough. I have had to lean on God so much more. He has provided for me in completely unexpected ways and I have had to learn to trust him in a way that I never had to when everything was settled and safe. It would be nice if I could just learn a lesson and stop worrying. I know that's not going to happen. But I'm very grateful to him that the lesson has begun.