So, it is time for the #AnnualReview! It is the third year of my participation, and I am always excited and looking forward to this chance to take a look at the year which I am leaving behind.
To be honest, there is much more to the process offered by Chris Guillebeau, but for me the two first questions carry the most importance. Over the years, I had the tendency to undervalue the actions that I take on the day-to-day basis. It seemed so often that there should have been something better, more important to do, or the thing that I was doing could be done more efficiently and with better results. I also have quite a selective memory, which locks onto some events for a lot time and easily lets go of others. These two questions provide me a framework for a reflection.
As for setting and reviewing goals… I feel like the fixed goal setting has never really worked for me long-term, because I enjoy the new opportunities, the one coming of the moment, the ones which I could not foresee. As it happens, the year 2015 has given birth to a few key directions which would stay for me into 2016. At the top of that list, there are the following items:
1) settle in France (in terms of acquiring the right of legal residency and earning income),
2) free myself from the PhD project,
3) develop my coaching practice so I can at least cover my bills and basic expenses from it.
But let’s for now look back and examine the year 2015.
What went well this year?
I have accomplished two “dream trips” that has been on my mind for quite a while: visiting München/Munich in January, and visiting Marseille in February. I fell in love with Marseille from the first sight and realized that a weekend trip was really too short for me to experience this wonderful city… The desire to be there longer, much longer was born. In the circumstances, I decided to go there for a month of March.
On my way to the month-long stay in Marseille the life brought me in touch with a wonderful artist girl… with whom we fell in love, discovering and exploring depth, tenderness, care and understanding which I never had before in a relationship. I have finally experienced what it means to love someone unconditionally and wholeheartedly. Over the course of the year we managed to keep in touch with each other, visit each other, spend time together, even while living at a thousand kilometers from each other with quite limited financial means. This also brought me on the road enough to satisfy my hunger for movement and also clarify what and how I like in traveling.
In Marseille, I went to the Open Doors Day at the university and discovered a program which I became very curious about. I talked with a few professors, dropped by a few classes and even had an interview with the program’s director. They were interested in having me, and I was interested in joining them.
In the second half of the year, I went with an incredible intensity into studying the inside-out understanding of the human experience, mostly through the materials and products of Michael Neill. Together with a course of coaching with a person trained in this understanding, I had a transformation of my experience. Now I could see how this process and this undestanding were what I had been looking for a few years as the basis for working with people, and helping them to enjoy the life deeper, have a more wonderful and happier life experience.
Amazingly, financial resources have been showing up as I really needed them. (I would love to be able to say they came from unexpected sources, but no, these were “good old” sources which I thought had been exhausted already).
I had two productive periods on the blog: March-April and December. Both times they started with prompts of Live Your Legend Blogging Challenge, fueled by my readiness and daring to step forward for my dreams and deep desires.
What did not go well this year?
The life did not really go that well during this year. At least, that is the first feeling which I get switching to this section, even after mentioning a few very important milestones above as “went well”.
First of all, that was a year of uncertainty, particularly in the questions of european residence permits and financial means of existence.
The generous PhD stipend finished in the middle of January. I, however, continued making financial decisions in about the same way as in the last years, trusting that the life will catch up and something will close the gap… but it did not. I have been worrying and stressing about it a lot this year (until my deeper realization of the inside-out nature of our experience)… Even worse, the lack in the area made me cancel my trip to the US (was planned to be: Seattle -> WDS in Portland -> New York), give up the offer to enroll at the Aix-Marseille University, say “no” to the chance of having summer holidays with my girlfriend (any proper summer holidays, in fact), and also say “no” to visiting my parents and relatives (whom I haven’t seen in person since April 2013) or bringing them to visit me.
The inner pressure I had been creating from the situation had both a positive consequence of the month I spent in Marseille (“now or never”), but also completely spoiled my plan to spend the summer in Hamburg (as I went to Paris to try to find an opportunity to move to France, in the same frame of mind of “now or never”). I might also say that it spoiled my fall months, as I accepted the offer of 3-month funding towards completion of the PhD thesis… but in fact, these months were so multifaceted that when left them behind I would rather not put a single label on them.
Which brings me to the second worst point: I am still not done with the PhD. Writing the thesis has been a very, very painful process for me, and it is the area that experienced the smallest shift from my inside-out transformation: I simply started care less about my inability to work on it on most of the days, I stopped experience any guilt about the time when I do things which I actually want to do instead, and I became less ashamed of my slow progress. But I still don’t think I can “break the agreement” and quit the project. It still “does not make sense”.
Lastly, except for the three months mentioned above, my creative expressions moved to the opposite side from a breakthrough. The app development project I took with me to a Focus55 weekend had a very short active life after the event, and my 100-Euro iOS development membership went largely unclaimed. The remake of my first musical composition stopped at the final stages of recording. The photo-artist portfolio also got stuck after I selected the photos I wanted to include into it. The photo-subsite made exactly two stumbling steps and froze again. In eight months from May to November, I have written only four relatively short posts here on the blog… Too much of my energy was spent onto creating a though-based “daymare”.
It has been a challenging year.
I went into it freaking out about the future “after the PhD”, and coming out of it clearly knowing the country I want to live in, the person I want to create a family with, and the kind of work to which I want to devote the most of my attention in the next period of my life. And also with a completely transformed relationship to myself, my thoughts, the outside world and the flow of life.
I would like to say… this year has been hard and painful. But if this is what it takes to come to such results, then I would not have it any other way.
Love from France,