As we edge closer to the start of 2019, I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on this past year. It has been, without a doubt, the hardest of my life. It turns out that getting used to life in a new country isn’t all that easy, particularly when it coincides with turning away from just about everything that formed the foundations of your status quo. I left a career path that had been my preoccupation and identity for over a decade. And my husband and I went from being students, together 24/7 for most of our relationship, to being thrust into the adult world of work and responsibilities. The learning curve has been steep and my mental health at an all-time low. But I’m fortunate to have so many places that I can turn to when crisis hits. An amazing husband, an irritatingly insightful therapist, and a decision to embrace my new-found freedom have all helped me to reach the end of 2018 with some semblance of optimism!
One other thing that helped to shift my attitude this year was the decision I made that, when all else failed, I would not stop reading. If I couldn’t drag myself out of bed or find the energy to get dressed, I would read. When making contact with the outside world felt like an impossibility, read. It was the best choice I could have made for myself. It allowed me to feel connected without having to connect. It gave me the space to reeducate myself on my place in the world, through the perspective of a hundred different lives, all with their own struggles and fears. Most of all, it helped me remember that writing and reading will always provide places for me to seize back some of the power I’ve relinquished. Everyone has the ability to create those spaces for themselves, although they will look different for us all. It is this lesson that I’ll be carrying forward with me into the new year.