New Year’s is a good time for reflection. I’m finding myself in an even more reflective mood than usual. Perhaps it’s because I’m living in a new country right now. Or, perhaps it’s living under another year of Covid and restrictions. Whatever the reason, I thought I would share some of my biggest personal reflections. Maybe you can relate to some of them. Or, maybe it will be a starting point to your own personal reflections on the past year.
So I thought I would frame my reflection through questions to myself. I encourage you to take the questions and think about how you would respond.
What “stuff” do I really need?
I moved to Norway with only two suitcases and a backpack. The year before that, I moved back in with my parents while I waited for the green light to go to Norway. So, I have a whole apartment’s worth of boxes and furniture sitting in storage in the U.S. right now. Granted, the apartment in Norway came furnished so I didn’t have to buy much when I got here.
However, the past two years have made me really think about the “stuff” I have. Some of it is sentimental, but much of it is probably things I don’t actually need. And now I’m considering staying in Europe for another year (country TBD). I’ll have to also revisit the selling my car debate because that is also sitting not being used right now.
How should I spend my time?
I think we can all agree that time is precious and managing it effectively can be challenging sometimes. For years, I have been very deliberate about my schedule and my calendar. Now, in a new job in a new country, I have had to adapt to a bit more flexibility to allow for changes and updates and unknowns.
This is because of the type of work and also the fact that we are still in a pandemic. When I first moved to Norway, I had so much downtime I didn’t know what to do with myself. I spent it exploring the city and generally taking some time for myself after a year of working multiple jobs and finishing a dissertation.
So, I ask myself if being so strict about my time hinders my creativity or allows it to flourish in its time? Or, am I giving myself enough time to let the creativity out? I like being organized and thorough, which leads me to my next question…
What do I still need to work on for my personal health journey?
Mental health is hugely important to me. And I’ve spent the better part of the last 5 years working on self-improvement and self-care. And getting to know me and what I need to thrive and be the best version possible so that I can be that person for myself and for the people I love and care about.
But in that journey, my physical health has not been where I’d like it to be. I am ready for a bridge between the physical and the mental. In years past, that used to be running. But for some reason, I let the habit go and now it’s harder to rebuild. But I’m working on it and I am planning to run another half marathon in April 2022. I have action steps and now it’s about prioritizing this in my life.
What am I most proud of this past year?
As far as accomplishments go, this year has been a good one. I graduated with my doctorate 12 years after I initially started one. For my career, I started a new job in another country and I get to travel all over Norway doing something I love to do. I finally decided to join the world of online content creation with a blog, YouTube, and Etsy shop. I got to spend quality time with my family, even my grandparents.
So while it’s hard to pin down exactly what I’m most proud of, I don’t think it’s an accomplishment. I think it’s more of an internal feeling that I’m finally on a path of being true to myself. All my life, I’ve been an overachiever, constantly trying to prove that I’m smart enough or hard-working enough to be deserving of an opportunity. I am finally starting to believe that I am enough just the way I am and I get to choose what’s best for my life.
How do I make the most of the year ahead?
Well, the next 6 months of my life are planned and known. I will finish out my current role in Norway, then take a 14-day trip through Europe traveling to countries I’ve never been to. Hopefully, I still get to travel this spring, but that will be determined by Covid.
I will make the most of the year ahead by being open to opportunities. Originally, I planned to go back to the U.S., but now I feel like there is so much of the world I have yet to see. So I’m exploring more job opportunities in Europe, specifically in Norway and Spain.
One of the really great books I read this past year was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. While I am generally extroverted and agree to many things, there are still lots of things in life I am ready to experience. I would like to improve public speaking, go ziplining, and take a chance on myself by continuing to build my consulting business. But first, I will start with some skiing, which I never thought I would try again. But, when in Norway, right?
If you have been reading my blog posts this past year, you might know I have a lot more questions I’m asking myself. And if you want to take on a 30-day self-reflection challenge, check out this earlier post I made with prompts you can utilize.