Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simplify (and expand) my life challenge

(SMLC 01- 2011 reflections)

In moments of total craziness of last year's study and work commitments I would dream of having time, time to sit and think, to write, to create, to read. At times I thought 2011 and all it's stresses would never come to a close. But as sure a time goes, it did, and here I am fresh from a short Christmas and New Year break ready to take on 2012 and all the free time it provides. While last year was a year of my brain, 2012 is the year of my soul. I plan to both rest and nourish myself, and explore all the new possibilities I discover along the way.

To get the year kicked off I decided to do the 52 weeks to simplify your life challenge. It's going to be a challenge for sure, but fun one. Here goes with week 1....

What energised you?

2011 was as crazy as my cat; a stressful year moving home, finishing my psych degree, taking on a year long leadership program and leading a huge project at work. There were some hefty challenges along the way and at times I felt completely overwhelmed by what I had taken on. Yet these challenges turned out to be motivations in themselves. Sure, I had to put in the long hours, but ultimately it was my choice to do it. Part of the motivation with my degree was because I was so close to ending something that had taken me so long, but also generally because I was not alone in any of these activities. I worked with the most amazing people that always got me pumping when I thought I had run out of steam.

What made you feel happy?

I became a homeowner, buying my very own apartment last year. I still relish the feeling of putting my key in the door and coming home to a calm space that's my own. I always felt a bit like I was camping when I rented, never really settled; and yearned for ‘a room of one’s own’. And I love it. Yet now, having some roots (well carpet and paint), I strangely feel ready to fly. To add to the domestic scene I adopted a cat, Sasha. Although I was apprehensive about the responsibility of having a pet, she is a great little personality and provides endless amusement and comfort to me.

What made you feel at peace?

Finishing my degree, getting the results and feeling the first taste of the freedom of time that was to come was an amazing feeling. For eight years I have had assignments and study hanging over my head. Studying and working full time was a total brain drain. I am only just beginning to feel proud of what I have achieved (though it's definitely not sunk in yet) and ready to take on some new, perhaps more creative challenges.

What positive people lifted you up?

My family supported me so much through the study with numerous cups of tea and dealing with my stressing. Friends were also there to drag me out of my cave. But it was two new friends whom I met through work that really brought a smile to my face on dark days. They both understood what I was tackling and, dealing with their own challenges, we helped each other reach Christmas with smiles on our faces.

What filled your “tank”?

With such a hectic timetable, quiet times really rejuvenated me. It might be a late evening perusing a bookstore, lots of tea, a glass of wine with a friend and cooking new things. And there were the occasional nights letting my hair down…

What is something that made you feel excited to dive right in?

I did a therapeutic writing course in October that was absolutely amazing. Through the writing and drawing tasks I learned a lot about myself that I had never recognised, or had forgotten. I had so missed writing for pleasure and rediscovered how rewarding the process can be.

What did you learn (positive things)?

I learned a lot about myself this year. Some of these things include I have capacity to achieve where I doubted myself, that I have the capacity to inspire others while being inspired by those around me. Very importantly I learned its important I nurture myself in addition to others. 

What are you grateful for?

I am grateful for my health, for the opportunities I have had in life and for the people who continue to inspire me. I am so excited about what 2012 might bring. 


  1. CONGRATS on finishing your degree, that is a massive achievement! It sounds like you have had a great year, i look forward to reading more of you through the challenge!

    1. Thanks so much Lyndaal. It was a great year - I'm hoping 2012 is even better! Good luck with your challenge.

  2. Congrats on finishing your degree. I agree, there is nothing quite like having your own place.

  3. I love that you altered the title to simplify (and expand) - that is so in tune with my vision - it is through simplifying, cutting out and getting focused that you actually expand, allow new things in / growth, have time for the things that matter etc. Congrats on your achievements for 2011 and your expansion into a home and having a pet!

    deb @ home life simplified

  4. Owning a home of your own is certainly a great way to get settled in. Congrats on your degree and best of luck in 2012!

  5. Eight years of studying. Boy! So glad you are joining me as my 'buddy' on this challenge. Be great to reconnect as I 'lost you to the books' for a few years!

    Kate (Simply Kate, My Dear Angel)

  6. Wow can hardly imagine 8 years of study ... you certainly have one hell of an achievement under your belt and I can only imagine the sense of freedom/opportunity that greets you in 2012. I hope you enjoy the SYL challenge and find that creative outlet you seek after such a structured time. Good luck


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