This year I’m determined to get my annual ‘what worked’ post published before February (note – see posts from 2017 and 2018)! As for the last 7 years, I finished 2019 and saw in the new year (and did my usual associated reflection and introspection) in the little beach town in on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia where my mum has a holiday house. The significant difference this year is that this is now our home (at least for the next 12 months). This was definitely the most notable decision we’ve made and action we’ve taken in 2019 – to leave Canberra and move permanently (as permanently as these decisions ever are!) to SA. After 20+ years it feels sad to say goodbye to Canberra (and my wonderful friends and colleagues there) but a necessary step to move on to the next chapter for our family. It’s too early to say if this ‘worked’ and include it on the list, but I’m excited to see what this change brings…
On to the list for 2019….
I think this has had the most positive influence on my life in 2019. I started the year doing the C25K, ran/walked my first parkrun, hired a running coach (this was an excellent decision and a huge part of why I’ve kept running), and ran some fun runs. I’m physically fitter than I was 12 months ago but I’ve really noticed the huge mental impact too. I don’t think I would have navigated some of the challenging moments of the year without the mental clarity and resilience I’ve taken from running. I like who I am when I run. I am slow slow slow but I like having ‘runner’ as part of my identity. I want to continue to run for the rest of my life and believe that I will.
Not dying my hair
I dyed my hair for the last time in February and I love the freedom and ease and authenticity of not having to worry about it anymore. As I’ve written previously, I feel more ‘me’. The grombre Instagram account was significant in making me realise that grey hair wasn’t something to be resigned to, but actually something to lean in to! And having a good hairdresser (shout out to Steve at Lush Hair in Kingston) on board was essential too!
I did a lot of it in 2019! We had a large intake to the graduate program I work with and some changes to coach availability meant that I picked up a lot of the coaching workload. It was draining and hard at times but for the most part I found it so energizing and rewarding. The advantage of doing a lot of something in a relatively short period is that you learn and develop quickly. I have evolved so much as a coach and while that’s partly about practicing skills, I think it’s more about getting over my imposter syndrome, trusting my intuition and letting go of needing to ‘do it right’.
Online grocery shopping
This is another thing I’ve written about previously. It may not be the most environmentally sustainable option (but is better now that Coles Online has a bag-free option) but right now in my life this is eliminating a pain point (who wants to go to the supermarket with children?!) and freeing up my time. It takes a little bit of organisation (you obviously need to think about what you need about 24 hours in advance so is no good for those who like to wander the aisles and see what dinner inspiration strikes) but on the whole, it’s definitely been a time, energy and sanity saver.
Buying clothes second hand
In a continued effort to bring more environmental sustainability and frugality to my life, I’ve been buying more of my (and the kids’) clothes second hand. My best find was a fantastic electric blue vintage Adam Bennett coat at Vinnie’s which I got heaps of wear from last winter. I’ve mainly just been eBaying (sticking to brands/sizes that I know) as it’s more efficient than trawling op shops. It doesn’t always work out and sometimes pieces end up being re-donated as a result, but I’ve definitely saved money and felt better about my consumption.
Communication with Ella
I am most definitely not a perfect parent but I’m pretty proud of how I’ve been able to foster open dialogue with Ella (6) and to quickly, calmly and kindly ‘repair’ our relationship after the inevitable (and reasonably) frequent ‘ruptures’. I’ve picked up various little parenting tips from listening to people I admire (like Brene Brown and Adam Grant). These aren’t huge things…. telling Ella at least once a day that I will always love her no matter what, modeling self-awareness and apologising quickly when I act or speak without kindness and compassion, being prepared to sit with her in the (metaphorical) ‘dark’ without rushing to turn on the light and fix things for her, and helping her to practice little mindfulness exercises. I’m conscious of creating positive strategies for the ‘little’ stuff so that when shit gets really real in a few years, we’ll have a strong base to work from.
And finally, some things from 2018 continued to be an important part of my life in 2019, in particular walking to school with Ella, continuing to journal using Day One (I’m not always consistent but take a ‘something is better than nothing’ approach), and the week-in-review reflective emails that my friend Emily and I exchange (we’ve now done this for the last 90+ weeks).