January 04, 2015

The end of year recap is HERE!

Twentyfourteen is over and I am pretty sure YOU are OVER reading recaps. But this post will help me remember some of the things I did in the last 365 days, which is essential due to the irregularity with which I have tended to the blog this year as well as the short term memory loss I acquired due to an overstuffed brain. And I know you're nosy so don't even pretend you're not interested in my life.

Also I meant to go to the beach today and awoke to typical Queenslandian torrential rain that is known to equally fuck up people's plans and hair dos, so here I go.

In 2014 I discovered that I am terrific at sports, so long as the activity of my choice does not involve continuous cardiovascular exercise. I started training for POWER LIFTING competitions and it was one of the most empowering things I have ever tackled. There were numerous moments in which I was transferred back to my primary school gym, mocked by teachers and fellow class members because I couldn't climb a rope or touch my nose to my heels because (quoting my obese teacher here) "the bacon belly was in the way" (For the record I hated bacon as a kid. Stupid hag.)
And here I was, dead lifting 100 kg and showing off to the hunks while observing one of my biggest insecurities, namely not being fit in conjunction with also not being skinny, partially melting away along with the skin layers on my hands. (Calluses are part of the game, deal with it soft hand advocates!)

I had the opportunity to beat personal bests and high five my trainer in the jockiest way possible and it felt good. My ass is tight, my thighs are huge and my hour glass shape is firmer than ever, so no I do not look like the Hulk but I'm going to say thanks for all the ignorant and sexist concerns for my womanly shape voiced to me this year because I am way too polite for my own good.

You may be asking yourself now if I competed and the answer is no. I love squatting 10 kg more than my body weight, but preparing for and competing itself is expensive and time consuming and along with a packed life, I couldn't fit it in. Which isn't to say it's not going to happen this year.

As for my PROFESSIONAL LIFE, it was another year of learning, of set backs and occasional despair but also progress and some great experiences. Funnily enough all I can remember in this very moment are the many super early morning flights and exhausting days ahead of those flights, but the truth is I have grown to handle it all. I am in control of it and I am in the process of cultivating a rich and worthwhile life outside of work. (A healthy work-life balance is hard to re-introduce once it's gone!) This year marks a milestone in a different way for me too. For the first time in my life I asked for a pay rise. I had built up so much frustration and insecurities about my ability that I was starting to feel desperate. At times I felt as though I was stuck on a bike in the lowest gear, kicking tirelessly without making progress but still ending up exhausted. Conclusively I learned that you won't get what you don't ask for (repeatedly... and persistently though), which is a mentality that so uncomfortably clashes with my modesty-focused upbringing. After months of contemplation, I sat down one afternoon and wrote about how valuable I was, what I had achieved and how my work matters. And the rest is history...

THERAPY was another first for me in 2014. Wow - you might think something along the lines of "too much information" right now, but I like to keep things real around here.
I felt more and more messed up as the year progressed due to crazy amounts of stress and guilt. I chose to move a 30 hr/$ 2500 flight away from my family and all my friends to end up being away from the person I live with here for 80 hrs every week. Something was bound to give. I knew crying in the car after work wouldn't be a sustainable de-stressing method ("You don't say.."). So I went to six therapy sessions. I sobbed non stop for the first two and felt hilariously ridiculous. I learned how to use emotional freedom technique (EFT) and discovered ways to cope with stress. My doctor pointed out behavioral patterns that weren't doing me any good, that I could clearly recognize in my parents or mentors. It was soothing to find out where the weird was coming from and empowering to make connections between my everyday actions and the preceding emotions that led to them. Although I had a lot of work ahead of me, I finally felt like someone had handed me the controls over my life. I was never the type of person to radiate happiness or positivity. I was a generally content but melancholic kid, a depressed teenager and am now a sarcastic adult with a tendency to workaholism. But for some reason I always thought I could wake up one day a personified ray of sunshine. The magic surrounding "naturally happy people" was extinguished as soon as I learned the mechanics behind my own. I had to counter act negative emotions with sterile techniques such as EFT and that in itself was in harsh contrast to my previous concept of happiness. But hey, it works. And it may just be the most valuable thing I have learned not only in 2014, but for life.

Moving on to less personal stuff!
Not a year goes by without me succumbing to my hunger for TRAVEL, so I went home to Austria with my partner in crime in July. I wrote about it here.
I also schemed a trip to Bali while being in Austria with my best friend and it was a marvel of an idea. I wrote about it here, here, here, here, here and here. During the latter trip to Indonesia I re-kindled my love for photography, something I have been passionate about my whole life but that has been put on the back burner for a while now. I am taking this a step further in the new year, having signed up for a basics course to really get to know my camera. I have a few more courses planned after that one too. Who am I kidding, I am secretly planning to work for NatGeo at some stage and become the highest paid photographer in history. But for starters my goal is to produce imagery that is as close to the vibrancy that my eyes absorb on a travel day.

There were some other interesting moments in 2014. I won a photo shoot at a quirky studio, with full hair and make up done by professionals absolutely for free and I loved it so much I considered starving for a few months and then trying to become a photo model.

Marlow has well and truly left adolescent behind and has become a dog so well-behaved and confident I sometimes wonder who the hell raised this once crazy puppy. I devote most of my spare time to him and he is the most loveable distraction there is.

I became and airline gold member and am now one of those people you see at the airport snobbishly line up in the priority boarding lane and secretly want to punch in the face. What can I say, I'll enjoy it while it lasts, peasants! :)

But enough about me. Here's a bit of appreciation for all of my lovely readers! Everyone who has stuck around the past year aka "The Dry Spell Era" deserves my fullest gratitude. To those people in my life who encourage me to write - thank you!  It means so much more than you will every know!
I'm ready to take this baby a step further.

Here's to an exciting 2015!

Bali Video Song: The Preatures - Is this how you feel?
Plane Video Song: The Shins - Young Pilgrims
I don't own these songs. Duh.