I figured I’d squeeze in a final word before the end of the year. An ominous thought almost, that an entire year has passed and yet I struggle to recall it…as if I were to have fallen asleep in a lecture and suddenly have been presented with a test on the everything I’d slept over. In one sense, that’s exactly how I feel, like I’ve slept through the year, unable to distinguish January from December; but on the other hand, I feel as though this year has been agonisingly long, where I feel as though my journey has been stretched and then shrunk back…antagonising my forever confused brain.
Taking a break now from catching up with the book I had started in April, just makes me realise how quickly everything has become a cloudy blur. Now that probably sounds odd, a blur is already cloudy…but I don’t mean a blur of clouded objects…I mean cloud coloured, murky, dull and often depressing. It’s been an odd year on an international scale, a lot has happened over the past 12 months and dare I say, a lot more is left to happen. In the name of what we’ve called ‘taking a stand’ a lot of stupid decisions have been made by people motivated by nothing more than scare tactics and tempered fears. Played on emotional insecurities and disillusioned that the state we are in can be changed by the political ideologies of those who run our respective countries. Leaving a continental union, building a wall, destroying currency.
But I’m not going to talk about those things, they affect us all and I’m pretty certain that several other voices can do a lot more justice than I can. I simply want to talk about the journey that I’ve made this year, from the little steps to the bigger leaps (although not that much bigger, since as a short person my stride is tiny!). I’ve transitioned into the ‘final’ year of my PhD, and it’s been a rocky ride, emotionally and physically unsettling and that hasn’t quite stopped. Whilst the torrents may have eased, the stormy waters haven’t passed and the fear that the worst is yet to come…still hangs in the air. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt this year especially, is that I’m not alone in this, even if sometimes I’ve felt more alienated than accepted, I know I’m not alone, and the stormy waters aren’t isolated. We all want to leave the waters, move forward and venture into a new territory…where even the worst may seem like clear skies. I feel more optimistic, and that may just be because I’m generally an optimist when my realist abilities have fallen asleep, but I’m hopeful that I can do this. I CAN do this. I can finish. And that’s the only motivation I need, just four words.
It’s scarier to think of what next, but again, I’m not alone. And suddenly, realising that you aren’t alone makes even the darkest alley less frightening. There are so many things that need to be aligned this coming year, my thesis, a job, a house…and something to go along with it. Lots to do and somehow I’m not as afraid as I might once have been. I’m not scared or put off by making those decisions, I’m not confined to my comfort zone. And that’s probably because a lot of firsts happened this year too. I went abroad alone for the first time in my life, had a downpour which became endless sunshine. Dublin, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, London. And nothing can compare with Makkah and Madinah. Every journey builds you, shapes you. Every obstacle exposes one more fact about you. Every struggle increases a strength.
I feel equipped to tackle the year to come…a year of fruits, well laboured for (iA).
PS. Titular reference: a lot of political decisions made from the rear…don’t you think?