So, another year comes to a close. 2014 has been an interesting experience for me. I learned a lot, professionally and personally. It was tough at times, but in a way that has deepened and broadened and clarified my mind, and helped me gain some much needed perspective and contentment.
I have found that as I have left the university and early twenty-something years behind, where there is so much change and upheaval and opportunity, it can be difficult to adjust when life settles into a more permanent routine. After all, it’s hard to feel like your life is going somewhere when you’re literally not going anywhere. I’ve been in the same place for three years now, and being settled, being static, is a state I am still getting used to. I often have moments where I feel my life lacks excitement and purpose, and my wanderlust begins to kick in, calling me to responsibility-free foreign climes rather than the 9-5 in the Home Counties. It doesn’t help when social media is constantly showing me photographs of friends who are doing all manner of ridiculous things, like saving children in Uganda or kayaking their way around Scandinavia, or getting married on top of a mountain in India, or setting up their own internet company from their penthouse apartment in New York. In comparison, my photos, if I could be bothered to upload any, would consist of the pile of A Level essays I marked, a graveyard I visited or a rubbish cake that I made. I couldn’t be more boring if I tried.
However, as I have been mulling over my year and considering what I will take away from my experiences of the past twelve months, I’ve been amazed at how much I have achieved, and how much I’ve grown. I’ve come to realise that staying put doesn’t mean I’m not going anywhere. Far from it, actually. I don’t need to go travelling around the world to have adventures any more, because I have them every day just by going to work. Even though it is often exhausting and sometimes incredibly frustrating, I find such a deep sense of fulfilment and pleasure in teaching my students that I know, deep down, if someone offered me a free round the world trip tomorrow, I wouldn’t want to take it. Nothing could challenge me more. Nothing could inspire me more. Nothing could teach me more. Nothing could delight me more than the children in my classroom. They teach me more about myself and give me more inspiration than I could ever give them, and they change me for the better, every single day.
I’ve watched my beautiful, clever, brilliant, hilarious, amazing nephews grow another year older and another year wiser. I’ve made some fantastic new friends. I’ve visited two new countries. I’ve started a choir at work. I’ve read a lot of fascinating books and visited a lot of interesting exhibitions and seen a lot of wonderful plays. I’ve truly learned something new every day. I’ve had a lot of fun. I finally stopped talking about writing a book and actually wrote it, which I am enormously proud of, even if I am the only person who ever reads it. And, of course, I got to share all of these moments with you, and notched up another year in the blogosphere in the process, which is always an achievement worth celebrating. I might not have set the world on fire, but it’s been a pretty brilliant year nonetheless.
So, here’s to 2015…it’s got a lot to live up to!