A Decade in Review

Standing at Cosy’s Beach, feeling the wind whip around my face and letting the fresh sea air soak into my bones, I stood reflecting on where I have been, where I am going and where I could go.

Despite all it’s messiness and challenges thrown at me (from what felt like left, right and centre), 2019 has been a year where I have grown from out of my shell and into a more confident being. This has not happened overnight, but rather as a result of the lessons I have learnt over my formative years that are my 20s.

My 20s (and simultaneously the decade) started with the freedom to explore what I thought I wanted to do career wise, which was a blend of NGO activism and media PR. The volunteering and the work I did cemented my belief of the change young people are capable of and learning that if you want to achieve something, you need to put effort into it.

Mid-decade was the start of the end of my naivety. Taking steps out of my previously sheltered life, I clashed with the complexities of reality where consequently, I had to learn harsh lessons. In response, I learnt to trust my instincts and that if my gut is telling me something is wrong, then something is most definitely wrong.

As I started to scrape myself back off the ground, I started to find my feet, found my confidence again and soared. Throughout the past few years, the end of the decade, the path (that seemed foggy and unclear to younger me) started to become clearer. My decisions, my experiences started to all slot together to show my calling – teaching. Despite some bumps in the road, I finally found my passion.

Looking towards the next decade, there is still a part of me that wishes that the chaos (that was present this year) will settle down over the next decade, but the wiser me knows that this is wishful thinking. I know that I am stronger and more capable of smoothing the chaos that is life into a somewhat smoother ride than I have been able to previously.

The past 10 years were eventful, but I grew and learnt new things. Here’s to another 10 years, where I hope to work towards my dreams and goals and continue to grow to be the best person I can be.

Love,
Sophia
x

A new year, new opportunities.

A new year ushers in new opportunities and chances for us. Be it a new opportunity that arises from a new job, a new relationship or simply a new location.

We make New Years Resolutions as a reminder (or the hoped-for conviction) to do things differently, to change something or to better oneself. We see a new year as a new blank slate, or a new blank piece of paper to write our stories on.

We reflect on what has been, and we plan what is upcoming. We see what we have achieved, and we think about we can beat what we have achieved. It makes me ponder on whether the way we go about new beginnings, new opportunities is flawed. Why do we feel the need to always do better? Why do we see our achievements as just a ‘step’ to our end goal? Why are we always running towards the destination? Why aren’t we enjoying the journey?

In reflecting on 2018, I find myself drifting towards the slowing my life down so that I’m doing life at the pace that is right for myself and my partner. The pace where I am doing things that are most important for myself – things I’m passionate about.

Doing the things that I’m passionate about – writing, teaching, community, knitting, family and friends – has meant that I’m out of my comfort zone far more than I’d like to admit. Being comfortable and accepting that I can express my passion and that my passion does not need to be hidden behind societal expectations, has been … well, tough.

For someone who feels far too at home with to-do lists, logistical planning, and could easily spend a whole day in a stationary shop, being comfortable in a dynamic community setting has been a learning curve and a half. I’ve come to realize that I over-logistical plan as a response to my social anxiety. Over-planning never results in a good time, just a stilted awkwardness.

Growth requires vulnerability, it requires strength and it requires acceptance. In learning to be strong through vulnerability and openness, in learning to be a better storyteller and a better teacher, I’ve come to realize the biggest growth I can have is being present in the moment.

So for 2019, I want to live life with authenticity, in line with the values and things important in my life. That means being present in the moment with people, whether it be students, friends, colleagues or family.

It means that at times I need to tear up the well thought out to-do lists, and trusting the dynamic flow of life. It means confronting my anxiety on a daily basis and not letting rule my life.

It means doing one thing at a time, and not rushing to get things done. It means saying no to things I don’t want to do so that I can say ‘yes’ to the important things. It’s about noticing details on a daily basis and expressing the beauty in life.

Moreover, it is about slowing things down in life to focus on things that are important to me, especially since the new year is bringing a new job, new location and a new chapter in my life.

Yours,

Sophia
xx

Dear 2017

Last year was a tough one for me personally.

It was a year of vulnerability, a year of losing things, a year of change. It was a year where I was diagnosed with depression, a year where my self-worth and self-confidence plummeting so low it became a year of wearing masks.

A year where it was easiest to believe in negative voices than in myself. Easiest to convince myself that because things outside my control were completely and irreversibly changed, I was worth nothing.

A year where I felt alone.
A year of darkness.

But in all that darkness, I found things again.

I found love.
I found my self-worth. I found my self-belief again.
I found light, just when I resigned myself to darkness.
I found my strength again.
I found my strength in my vulnerability.
I found strength in my words and most importantly, I found the strength within myself.

So, dear 2017, this year I am going to be vulnerable, I am going to be strong and brave.

This year, I’m going to surround myself and loved ones with love. This year, I’m going to walk a different road and grow into the person that I am. Be the storyteller that I am.

Yours,
Sophia x