2021 the year of balance

I’m honestly struggling to write this post, but I still want to finish it because it’s becoming a yearly thing for me. And I want future me to be able to find this snapshot of life when she looks back at it. Ending the year, and starting another is an arbitrary checkpoint for most of us to relook at our yearly goals and set new resolutions. I’ve not set any, because I wanted to flow. I think I’ve gained some momentum to flow from 2021 to 2022. Sure, there are some transitions and changes to get used to, but I’m still me. There’s no New Year, New Me. I’m always still ever changing.

At the end of 2020, I told myself I’ll not plan out things I want to do. Instead, I wanted to go with the flow and take the lessons from the past year. It was a good decision, I did so much more than I ever would have thought about. Diving head first into situations that I thought would pay off. Pushing through the walls that my mind put up, and doing what’s good for me, not just what I felt like doing, or feel like that day - which was nothing at times. It paved the way to happy accidents, serendipity, beautiful mistakes, unexpected adventures.

Since 2021’s experiment with no goal setting proved itself to work for me, so here’s to taking positive lessons (most of it written on my birthday) into the next year.

After hitting the age of 25, becoming a ‘late-twenties’ human, years pass in a blink of an eye. And yet, it can’t be quick enough as the pandemic drags on. It’s all starting to blur. How many times were we disappointed by heightened restrictions and foiled plans? I can’t even keep track anymore. It is what it is, but I will do what I can to make the best out of whatever it is.

If life was a dance, and every year is a run through, I would say 2021 is where the rehearsals and practices paid off. It was a year I can genuinely say to myself, “Hey. You did well. I’m insanely proud of how far you’ve come.”

If life was climbing mountains, 2020 was a death zone, and 2021 is where I experienced one peak. I’m excited to push further to summit higher peaks. It is also fraught with uncertainty as I have no idea where I’m heading towards, and what obstacles will come my way.

It’s a year where I finally began to self-regulate, and got a sense of balance in my life. I didn’t feel burnt out as much as past years. I took enough breaks to keep going. There’s a healthier relationship with rest, even when the current year-long project at work was the most complex and stressful one I’ve done so far. Because of an unexpected push into a more intensive role, I had to take antidepressants for a while longer than I expected. I couldn’t risk falling into the deep end again from stress and anxiety. And it was all worth it because I have grown so much into the role. As I start to wean off the meds, I hope my brain has learnt to produce enough serotonin I need to be a functioning human.

In September, I felt an urge to pick up something new with my hands, and I started crocheting. It is one of the slowest form of crafting I’ve enjoyed so far. When I wanted to switch off, I could sit and crochet for hours until my wrists needed a break. In some ways, it reflects how I think about rest. I feel bad when I do nothing. I feel best when I can make something out of nothing. Rest AND do something productive that I enjoy. Welp, I also decided to start a crochet IG account and also sell pieces to fund my yarn addiction. Here it is, in all its glory and badly aligned embed:

In the last 3 months of the year, I have been kept busy. Helping out with a garage sales to empty out the apartment that I had the chance to live in for 3 months. Closing up the year of work before going on a 1 week break. Hanging out with friends, old and new, to soak in the holiday spirit. Truly feeling joy, instead of masking the sadness deep in my bones. Holidays can either be magical, or fucking depressive. I empathise wholeheartedly with the latter, but I still love to jam to Christmas tunes.

To end off the year, I took the plunge and joined a 3-day contemporary intensive, Step Collective. Talking and dancing with 10 other brave souls; expressing fear, guilt; turning our stories into art. The emotional intensity of those 3 days were just, indescribable. A still that I really liked from the final solo improv during the intensive as I danced to honour my fight with depression:

the collective

This post came late, as there’s this thing where I can’t write much when everything seems to be going well. There’s not much to contemplate. I mean, there were shitty days. I just dealt with them better than I ever did in my entire 27 years of existence. In the past I would cry a lot when shit happened, and felt angry at myself for crying, along with shame, blame, all that jazz of feelings about the feelings aka secondary emotions. Now, I just let myself cry. And once the waterworks dry out, emotions done pouring, I move on to what I need to do. Simple to say, not the easiest to do. And I can do it now. Yay, me. However I’m still working on communicating my needs to others when I need a response. At least communicating with myself has been gentler, kinder, and more validating. Something I should have learnt to do so much earlier, and maybe my past selves would have been less tortured.

Maybe this is what it feels like to grow older, and indeed wiser than before.

What would the future hold? The idea of mortality scares me on some days. I fear losing people around me. I fear for a premature ending to me finally being able to live a more balanced and fulfilled life. There’s also a tiny bit of anxiety of not being able to make the best of my time in this lifetime.

If this is a peak, then what’s my next climb?

I held on to the words “This too, shall pass” whenever I feel bad. Perhaps, when things are going well, I need to remember those words too. Because it will always ebb and flow.

TLDR; The year went really well. Much better than I could ever expect. And I’m scared + excited on what’s coming next.

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