Today I finally bought my 2016 diary. A few days short of February. I’m a little bit late to the party I know…but I’ll explain why. In the past each year has usually concluded with thoughtful reflections on my part and rigorous resolutions, whilst I glided a foot into the first of the first.
2015 diverged from this dramatically. I am currently studying nursing at university in Australia, which means that the start of December typically marks summer and 3 months of freedom until next semester. Whilst I did wrap up my exams at the end of November, I jumped straight into a late prac placement at a tuberculosis and refugee health clinic, which was a pass requirement for my nursing unit. 2 weeks of that and bam I fell straight into working back to back 9, 10, 11 hour shifts at my job at a post office. Which around Christmas time is sweaty, hectic work. Picture me buried under a tall stack of parcels flailing around and that sums it up.
Christmas Day should have come as sweet relief, but my world was rocked when my Baba (Macedonian for grandma) died on Christmas Eve. Was it a shock? No..my sweet Baba had been on a downward decline ever since her 2nd stroke a few weeks prior. I can’t begin to explain what it’s like to watch the strongest, most independent female figure in my life waste away from the inability to swallow food and water.
I’ll never forget when I visited her a week prior by myself..I walked into the nursing home and found her in her wheelchair, propped up in front of the Christmas tree. A paper crown sat crookedly on her head as her eyes drooped, weary with the burden of death.
Wheeling her out into the courtyard my heart broke watching as her pureed Christmas lunch drooled out from the side of her mouth… and I sobbed and sobbed as I knew she was in death’s clutches. I couldn’t breathe, I was gasping for air… all the while clutching tightly onto Baba’s hands and trying to stifle my tears, because I knew her hearing was still intact.
The funeral was on New Year’s Eve; a cathartic experience which began with chanting and incense at the Macedonian Church and ended with shots of Baileys and fresh bread at the cemetery (all in the name of tradition of course).
It might seem odd to you that I went out New Year’s Eve still..but it didn’t diminish my grief. I knew that I was in desperate need of the release that comes from a bottle of wine and reckless dancing.
So that’s how I came to wake up on New Year’s Day, wondering what the unidentified stains were on my dress and wincing at the 7x surcharge on my Uber ride home in a Merc. I didn’t regret anything, but I couldn’t shake the sensation of feeling like I had been catapulted into 2016. This feeling has stuck with me throughout the whole month, so I figured it’s about time I bought a diary and start getting my shit in order.
Included in this is a little session of reflection on how I thought 2015 went. I did try conducting this a week ago while I had a few days away..but it went down like this.
Arielle goes for a run by the river, followed by stretching on the grass. It seems like the perfect opportunity to linger and reflect on the previous year whist enjoying the sunset. Seemingly innocent old man walks past, appears to also be enjoying the sunset..until he approaches the water, leans down and (talking to a fish?) yells GET FUCKEDDDDDD!!!!!!!!! repeatedly. Safe to say the atmosphere was shattered and I retreated quickly from the scene with a grin on my face, laughing at the bizarre situation.
So now from the mundane comfort of my bed I’ve concluded that 2015 was a bloody good year for me. An amazing year, if I dare to say it.
Nothing else can compare to the satisfaction I have of knowing with every fibre of my being that nursing is my calling. After previous periods of feeling lost, depressed and unmotivated, the passion that exploded from me once I started nursing seeped into all areas of my life.
I discovered that this passion, in combination with eating well and exercising, created the best version of myself that I had ever seen. In pouring love and self-respect into myself, I found I had an abundance to give back to people. My private nature shifted to one which allowed me to become more open and share my passion with people, and my energy for life. Whereas in the past I felt like I had to hide parts of myself..I’ve come to a place where I feel like I can reveal more of who I am with people. In doing this, I have experienced moments of enriching connection with others.
This is what I want to bring to the table in 2016… I want to continue this journey of self discovery and continue reaping the rewards from opening my mind and heart to people.