What a total flip-swizzing-upturning-juggle-cat of a year 2022 has been. Many unexpected things happened-thankfully mainly the delightful kind, although some not so much – such is the balance of life. When 2022 started I had no real idea how it’d end, but I’m not sure I expected to be where I’m at right now.
I love that sumptuous feeling of not knowing how life will pan out, and having the freedom and opportunity to say yes–or fuck it–to opportunities that might come along. With that though, comes a mild chaos, and the energy-draining effort of change.
I feel like I’ve uttered the words ‘I’m so tired’ for years now, and frankly I’m getting a bit bored of myself. I wonder if it’s become a default, unconscious response. Some would argue it’s just part of being an adult over 30. Because I’m not tired all the time, not really. Just a bit weary when there’s lots going on, and overwhelmed when I have lots to do. Do our brains get fried as we get older? Less able to deal with several things at once? Or is it just me?
After I turned 40, I made a conscious decision to slow down. I’ve been on the go for over 10 years now, doing ALL the things after I got divorced, figuring things out and, if I’m honest, probably distracting myself from dealing with stuff. 2022 was the year I’d finally started feeling myself again, and facing the stuff, and getting better in tune with my intuition. Maybe I’ll write about the stuff one day. But today is not that day.
February saw me get my New Zealand residency, which meant I could live properly, not tied to anything or anyone. FREEDOM, in so many senses of the word. It’s really hard to describe the constraints, stress, and subsequent relief to anyone who hasn’t been through the whole work-to-residency thing. I read that post from back then and I want to give myself such a big hug. Oh, 2021 Tara was so burnt out. I was so fragile. But yet, I managed to do so much. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that. It wasn’t easy, and honestly, I’m not sure how I did it. I read some of my 2021 posts and felt the stress all over again.
As soon as I got my residency, I went straight to 4 days a week at work, although only dropping 4 hours, from 40 to 36. Still, I got every Friday off again (I’ve since gone ‘proper’ part time 4 days a week on 32 hours, I’m 100% here for the work life balance). My boss agreed to 10 weeks off (although I actually ended up leaving that job and taking over 3 months off between jobs – oh and how much needed it was. Financially hard, but mentally priceless).
I picked up some freelance writing stuff, and can now definitely say I’m a writer without feeling like a fraud. I get paid for it and everything. It’s not going to pay the bills the way I’m doing it at the moment, but I’m playing around to see what it feels like and figure out what I enjoy (Spoiler: it’s writing about people, which I think I already knew, based on Tales from lockdown and Tales from lockdown – revisited).
I bought The Little Red Cottage. I literally can’t begin to describe how much I love my new home, so I’m not going to even try. Over ten years of wanting a very temporary lifestyle has been amazing, and suited me, but I’ve felt such a pull in the last year or so to have a base. A home. To feel settled. Somewhere I can put pictures up without having to ask anyone, or worry about the inventory when I moved on. It’s a strange feeling, but I’m leaning into it, and just figuring that this is me now. Might not be next year, but right now, this is me and how I’m feeling.
I’ve not got any physical achievements to speak of compared to previous years, but just keeping myself alive and mildly fit and active last year was an achievement in itself, so I’m 100% OK with that. I’ve experienced that in times of stress my body basically is like ‘nah, nah, nah’ to anything high impact or endurance based, so I’ve learned to listen to it and stop pushing. I mean, I’m not doing the yoga I’ve been talking about for ten years now, but, maybe one day right? (I do really need to, I’m stiffer than a sheet of dry plywood in the mornings, but one thing at a time)
A good chunk of last year was spent in the UK, surrounded by so many people who I love, and who love me, and again, I can’t begin to tell you how that feels. Maybe I can equate it to like a big squishy duvet and bed that you can sink into, knowing that you don’t have get up early in the morning. COMFORTING.
Then I came back to a new job, as a consultant, so really, we have two lots of new job stuff – the first is the company you’re employed by, then the client(s) you’re booked with. And as a consultant, you’re paid to be able to get up to speed at probably around 30 times faster than any permanent employee. Start a project, and in two days you should understand the organisation, their processes, culture, ways of working, hierarchy, the entire project and project team so you can write a project brief, business case or status report. It’s hard, but I’m not gonna lie though, I love it. I’m enjoying the disconnect from an organisation I’m doing most of my work in, and my work life balance is GREAT.
My first week was intense, as any new job is, but I was also dealing with the fact my Dad was critically ill in hospital. The last day of my first week, I was on the phone to my brother, both of us in tears, talking about whether I’d need to look at flights to go back. I’d only just stepped off a plane a couple of weeks earlier. It was 10 minutes before I was due to head out to a meeting with some potential clients. I had to slap on the professional face, but inside it was so hard to keep it together. I changed my plans that day and drove home that night, crying the entire 3 hour journey. Proper, gut-wrenching, loud crying, because no one can see or hear you in the car, right?
That was the start of November, and my feet haven’t touched the floor since really. The day I got back after that awful journey, Ben came over and just literally held me all night. He whispered ‘I’ve got you’ in my ear, and didn’t let go for hours, and I don’t think I’ve told him how grateful I am for that.
Speaking of Ben, he’s THE BEST. Sadly early 2022 saw the end of my relationship with Pete (the Poet), and I honestly didn’t expect to meet anyone anytime soon. Or ever. A little part of me thought maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this relationship malarky.
It was unexpected, I wasn’t looking for anyone or anything, but we just clicked, and man, are we SO aligned. Our first date, just meeting for a coffee (or tea, in my case), lasted 7 hours. Our second date was more than 24 hours, only ending because Ben didn’t bring his work laptop. And so, as they say, the rest is history. I love what we have so far, and what we might have in the future, and I love how I feel and who I am when I’m with him. “You make me feel, Like I’m drunk on stars and we’re dancing out into space” Ed Sheeran, Celestial
I do a yearly word – basically a word that describes how I want to live my life by that year. 2022 was ‘positivity’ because I sure needed that after so long feeling anything but. This year’s word is ‘courage’. I feel ready to take a leap of faith or a risk with life, in all aspects. I feel empowered and energised, which is a welcome change after feeling tired for so long. I mean, physically I still feel about 80 sometimes, but I think that’s just life in your 40’s, right?
Watch this space.