So many heartbreaking and frightening things have happened lately, and are continuing to happen, most of us here in Australia are finding it hard to celebrate the new year this time around. But I’m taking a moment to take stock of what I can merrily shout about, to mark the end of the decade.
As we leave the Terrible Teens behind and head into 2020, here are my top ten personal achievements of the past ten years, in no particular order:
- I took a gigantic leap of faith and married my muse de bloke Deano, and we’ve made the homiest home I’ve ever known at The Bend.
- I’ve delighted in watching my boys grow into men, and acknowledged that I might have had something to do with that, warts and all (and plenty of grey hair to show for it).
- Seven of my novels were published, all of them going on into audio, too. Wowzies, that seems a lot in a bunch. A lot of work. A lot of love. A lot of persistence.
- One short story of mine shocked me out of the park by actually winning a prize.
- I donated a kidney and witnessed a miracle of life.
- I’ve learned to (mostly) control my social anxiety, and bit by bit I unleashed my true carny soul at author events all over the place – and even on the radio. Can’t shut me up now.
- I’ve made wonderful new friends, especially through books and reading, and strengthened some old bonds as well.
- I wrote my way through two quite scary depressions, crying buckets and shamelessly laughing at all my own jokes, and found a new respect for my resilience and tenacity (previously known as resistance and obstinacy).
- I began reviewing for The Newtown Review of Books, and discovered that even my sensible, grown-up voice needs to colour outside the lines.
- I’ve gradually been living smaller, with less waste, less plastic, less corporate crap, less stuff generally (except for frocks), and I’ve let this aphorism of Nietzsche’s speak to my heart every day: ‘We must remain as close to the flowers, the grass, and the butterflies as the child is who is not yet so much taller than they are … Whoever would partake of all good things must understand how to be small at times.’
May the next decade bring more of the same: love, curiosity, wisdom, growth, togetherness – and for everyone, as we face the challenges ahead. I hope we learn to care larger and more fiercely, for each other and for our world. Let’s try to make these coming years the Terrific Twenties.
Good health and good cheer to all, and if you feel like shouting out your own bunch of good things, please feel free to share them here.