Reflection for me is something I don’t spend a huge amount of time doing, however at this time of the year I do like to look back over what has happened in the previous 12 months before planning for the New Year.
So, in the spirit of welcoming a year anew next week, here is my 2015 reflective post. I hope you’ll join me and share the highlights of your own year too via a comment here or on social media.
I set “focus” as my word for the year. While I’ve been very focused in some areas (training and trekking in Peru), I’ve let a few other aspects slide more than they should (I wanted to write more for pleasure and my PhD supervisor is nodding about now). So I’ve got some work to do to catch up in the next year, but here’s a run down of what did happen in 2015.
As a journalist and non-fiction author I’ve had many words published, but I decided to concentrate on genres I wasn’t so confident in. As a result, Transportation Press published my first piece of fiction, Dear S, and I had two personal essays published in international anthologies. The Sting of Regret appeared in Unfinished Chapters and When One Door Closes was published in Love Alters. I also worked on my writing craft with the Eros weekend workshop in Hobart covering romance and erotic writing.
As well as working full time on my PhD research covering, Social Media as a News Source: The Way Newspapers Use Social Media Texts to Report on Crisis Events, I also completed the Vice Chancellor Leadership Award at the University of Tasmania and took up the offer of a permanent office at the Launceston campus, which has increased my productivity.
The big trip for the year was trekking the Andes in Peru to Machu Picchu, but I also explored new (to me) parts of Tasmania, such as the Great Eastern Drive, the North West and West Coasts and Lilydale Falls.
I took part in two MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) this year – How to Survive Your PhD and Social Media Analytics for Journalists, and have also recently started a photography for social media course.
I combined my two blogs (T-changers and Business & Baby on Board) and created a space for my personal writing at JohannaBD.com, continued blogging at the ABN’s HerBusiness Blog and started blogging for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Tasmania.
Business & Baby on Board
My book was listed in the Anthill SMART 100 index and nominated for an Innovative Tasmania Award this year, plus recognised by Reckon as a key business book.
I’m usually the one behind the scenes making the headlines happen, but this year as well as doing that I generated some PR for myself. There were articles about my fundraising trip to Peru, I was invited to speak about PR on The Mumpreneur Show and Yellow Click Road podcasts and interviewed for The Biz Buzz.
As a mum I was thrilled to watch my sons grow in confidence as they completed their Grade 3 and Prep years and am very proud that my husband has turned his depression and anxiety into an opportunity to help others by sharing his experience and techniques as a peer support worker.
After the huge drama with my foot last year I decided to put my health first in 2015. This means I make time to walk every day (usually in the mornings with my friend Suse and dog Bas), watch my sugar intake and take up more opportunities to move my body, such as Colour Run, Million Paws Walk, Park Run (Walk) and the big one – trekking in Peru. As a result I’m starting 2016 much fitter than I began this year and I lost 10kg as well!
Giving back in some way has always been important to me, but this year I’ve found my altruism growing. I’ve supported numerous friends in their fundraising aims, including Annalisa’s and my Trek Towards A Cure in Peru (we raised more than $10,000 for breast cancer research), I’ve donated my time and expertise as the social media coordinator for Food Plant Solutions and I’ve mentored others through speaking and coffee meetings.
By far the biggest thing for me this year was trekking in Peru. Visiting Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for longer than I remember so it was a no-brainer for me when I could combine that with fundraising. Trekking wasn’t really on my agenda, but I took up the challenge and embraced the training I needed to do to walk for four days through the Peruvian Andes. I definitely don’t regret that and would even be willing to trek again (even with the tents).
I’m really happy with how this year has happened for me. I tried new things and challenged myself to reach new heights (literally) and so I’m finishing 2015 knowing I can do whatever I put my mind to next year. And, really, that should be finishing my PhD!