There are only two days left in 2015 and I have come to the end of the gratitude challenge. Week 52 is dedicated to reflection on the last year.
Did the challenge change me?
I’d really like to say yes. I’d like to say that I am now a more open and grateful person, and that the dark and twisty days are few and far between. The thing is though, I don’t feel any different. I feel like the same old me I was this time last year. I’m still in the grips of depression, still get moments of the dark and twisty, and more often than not, I would not focus on the good in my life until I sat down to write my weekly post as part of the challenge.
While the challenge made not have changed me, it certainly did save me. This time last year I was scheduling meetings with academic departments and people way above my paygrade to hear my fate in the EdD programme. I knew that I was going to get the boot, and I knew that my dream of earning a doctorate in the United States was over. I was feeling lower than low and had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
I was broken. My mother would pretend to need help with errands and chores to make sure that I got out of bed, and she would text me several times throughout the day to make sure I was still alive (to be fair, even in my deepest dark and twisty, I never reached that point). I went nowhere and saw no one. I celebrated the new year with the wombmate and her friends, but I felt out of place and awkward.
Taking some time each week to remind myself that there was still good in my world, that there were at least 52 things to be grateful for (and in this case, I was able to make a list of 100) was a great break from the dark and twisty. It was fairly easy to think about what memory, person, place, or thing fit the criteria for the challenge, and for an hour or so a week, I was solely focused on the positive. I know that I started more than one post of the challenge by saying that I needed the post to help get me out of my funk.
2015 was not my year. Not my year at all. Yes, there was some really great things that came from it, I am currently in my own flat, in Scotland. I am relatively healthy, I have a job that I like and a job that provides a little extra cash, and people around me that love and care about me, but on the whole, 2015 was a shit year.
I’m happy to be rid of it. It is too early to say what 2016 will be like, but I am guessing that it will be a whole lot more exciting.