Friday, 28 December 2012

2012 was quite a year, wasn't it?

At the end of every year, I like to summarise my experiences over the course of the year and to remember what the highs and lows were, and I thought this year shouldn't be any different even though my life has changed dramatically.

But how do I go about this, really? There is so much to say.

Chinese New Year- couldn't find a photo of myself but here's an adorable one of my cousin giving my grandpa a big hug!
I started the year in Shanghai. Then I went home. Then I came to Melbourne to start another academic year. Even travel-wise it's been quite a busy year for me- I visited Tasmania and stepped foot in Africa for the very first time. But it all came at quite a cost- I find myself struggling sometimes to understand this, but this year has made me quite a different person, in so many ways.

The pits
One of the biggest achievements of my life happened this year- I graduated from uni! But you've already known that, I'm assuming. But I might not have written about how tired I was of university this year. Although I was still doing relatively well, I was not as motivated as before and I think it definitely showed. In many assignments I was taking a very laid back approach and didn't seem to bother whether or not I did well.

Spinning in the water during Easter break
And when you add in AIESEC and everything else, life suddenly becomes quite exhausting. The moment I had finished uni I just spent weeks sleeping in and recovering. It's quite amazing how when you overexert yourself you don't realise just how thinly spread you are. Well, towards the end of the year I did realise this, and I did consider that perhaps I'm burnt out (symptoms I displayed: Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy - You’re exhausted all the time - The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming).

That was probably one of the worst things to happen this year- knowing that I had virtually lost my motivation for so many things and still have to continue. I knew then that I could not go back to university anytime soon- I need other pursuits now. I need something fresh and new that would make me feel alive and make me burn with enthusiasm and passion.

I love this picture- at a safari at the Nairobi National Park with a Pakistani, Uzbek, Spaniard, Panamanian and Egyptian. 
But whether or not it was an accurate diagnosis, I will not know. I am now putting it all behind me and just focusing on finding something that I can be passionate about again. And resting, of course.

The peaks
Having said all that, I must say this was still one of the best years for me. Even though I did say that I became a less motivated person, I did think that I became a happier person. And this was all because of the people that I've met this year- they all shaped me in their own ways. The coworkers in Shanghai, the supervisors in Melbourne, my uni friends and people I met in Kenya all helped in this process.

Kenya was pretty good, too- even though I was only there for 10 or 11 days, I still saw a lot of things and experienced quite a bit. I had never been to Africa before, and to suddenly go alone was quite daunting at first, but perhaps it was my self-diagnosed burnout but I wasn't too worried about what might happen. I was careful, of course, and nothing happened. The conference I attended was filled with people so inspirational that it really did make me feel like I can do so much more with my life.

Conference time! - with the South East Asian (plus Australian) delegation
And gosh, travelling! I get so excited by travel. Including Kenya, I had 3 trips this year. Earlier in the year I just travelled around the state, where I snorkelled and dived with dolphins and hiked in a national park (amazing!). Then I visited Kenya and saw for myself how life is for people there- opened my eyes quite a bit after being in Australia for so long. And finally, recently I got the chance to go to Tasmania. It's quite a nice place, and if I wouldn't mind going back so long as I don't have to visit the same attractions.

Finishing uni would also be one of the sweetest achievements of my life, and one of the best things that happened to me this year. I did not feel it much during graduation as I'd already been living the life of a graduate for more than a month by then, but in the first few weeks of me being done with uni I was happy. I was so proud of myself for persevering through it all. I was happy that I can finally call myself a university graduate. But I was also saddened at the thought of me having to graduate and leave schooling life as it meant that I'm now getting older.

But if I had to sum up the year, I'd say that 2012 for me was the year of achievements and milestones.

Graduation attire while travelling! 
Aspirations for the coming year
One of my goals is to definitely get a job and be financially independent. But I also hope that my visa application goes through and I'll be able to stay for a little while more. I also hope to find more meaning with my life and to discover my passion. I also want to live a life of no regrets, and be more optimistic about everything. I just finished that travel book and throughout the entire book, I was really struck by how the author constantly talked about how he wanted to live life to the fullest and would rather die saying 'I did that' rather than 'I wish I did that', so that's how I hope to live this year- try new things and make the best of every situation.

On a cruise in Tasmania
To conclude, I shall leave you with a quote that the author constantly mentioned throughout:

'Regrets over yesterday and worries about tomorrow are the twin thieves that rob you of the moment'
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