Hello! Happy New Year!
What’s this? A happy and positive posted early? Like, before the end of the month? (By one day but it counts okay!)
January is such a strange month. It’s the one that people look to in order to start something new, become a new version of themselves and yet at the same time, it’s seriously depressing.
The ‘January Blues’ are a real thing and boy did they hit hard this month. It’s no longer December with its joyful Christmas tunes, family gatherings and the chance to eat whatever you want. The cold and the snow that were once seen as festive, are now seen as a pain and everyone seems to be looking at their lives and their bodies differently to see how they can improve them.
For me, January was the time I said I would start working out what I was going to do with my life once my contract here in Vienna was up at the end of June. I allowed myself the freedom to enjoy the busy festive season before I knuckled down and applied for various jobs and training courses. It is this that I have been struggling with the most this month; where do I go next? Do I have enough training or money for where I want to go next? Do I even know what I want to do next? It was all these questions that were as difficult to answer as “what is the meaning of life?” As well as this I have been struggling with the idea of actually leaving the students I work with. They drive me crazy on an almost daily basis, but picturing them graduating and leaving them always makes me emotional and is not something I want to think about too much.
Plus, the weather! Sunshine is so tempting to go out in, but it’s still freezing. I can’t wait for it to get slightly warmer so I can start wearing thin jackets and heading out without a plan again. There’s something about winter that makes you just want to stay indoors and when you do decide you need to get out, you feel the need to create a plan for what to do. (There’s no sitting and reading a book in a park in the middle of January!)
It has been an odd emotional state to be in; excited at the possibility of what the future holds one minute, then terrified the next. Wishing for the warmer months to come around quicker, but then the realisation that Spring means being closer to finishing this job and saying goodbye to my girls and then I find myself partially wishing it would stay winter for just a little longer.
However, whilst these initial thoughts may make me sound like a complete ‘Downer’ and that January was an absolute flop, there were a few happy and positive moments that are worth noting.
1. After a cozy Christmas spent with my close family, my dad, brother and myself headed up to my Uncle and Aunt’s for New Year. Unfortunately because my Nan was not well, my Mum stayed behind with her. It seemed sad that we would not all be together for the New Year, but my family likes to make the best out of a bad situation, so we connected the TV up to a phone so we could video call and all countdown into 2018 together. The highlight had to be my Mum whipping out a set of kazoos to play ‘Guess that Tune’ via Skype. Nobody quite realised there was a slight time delay on the video and I almost died laughing at everyone shouting “Yankee-doodle-dandy” whilst my Nan desperatly was trying to get the tune out of a bright yellow Kazoo.
2. A few days into 2018 I headed back up to Scotland to spend some time with Colbie and her family. We had a day in Glasgow and did an escape room, which if you have not tried is a must do. Ours was a science lab theme and we got out with 15 minutes to spare! I also managed to see Edinburgh’s Christmas market a few days before it closed. It seems funny to want to go to it after the amazing markets in Vienna, but it is one of the best there is in the UK and always brings back a lot of memories from university days.
3. Colbie booked us tickets to go and see Shrek the Musical at the Edinburgh Playhouse. I had always had a funny opinion about it because I thought it wouldn’t make a good musical, but then I also thought that about Legally Blonde: The Musical and how wrong was I about that?! Shrek was amazing, made even better by our front row seats! The singing, costumes and set were all to an incredibly high standard and the show itself was absolutely hilarious.
4. Whilst I am already talking about great shows to see; I also saw The Greatest Showman, twice, in January. The first time was in Edinburgh and I was singing the songs for days. Then after I recommended that we take the students to see it for a Boarding House activity, I ended up seeing it again. It is such a great film which is full of joy and is about inclusivity. A few of the students who are still learning English were worried they were not going to understand it, but it did not matter so much because it was worth it to see them dancing in their seats to the music.
5. I am continuing on with my goal from last year (to read more books) and have even set myself the target to read even more this year. I am doing well so far and have collected a number of different genres which will bring some variety to my reading list for 2018.
6. I spent my full weekend off last week in Innsbruck. I booked a hotel a week before and just decided to get away. Whilst I probably should have booked it slightly more in advance, I got a pretty good deal just outside of the centre (and halfway up a mountain may I add!) It was the perfect amount of time away and I used it in equal measures to relax and see the city. I will be posting a blog post on it really soon (when I get my act together)
7. Whilst the weather has been freezing, (obviously, it’s January!), I did manage to catch a few rays at the top of the Nordkette mountain in Innsbruck. It was so nice to just sit in the sunshine with an Aperol spritz in hand and watch people skiing down the mountain. Next time I’ll have to take my skis!
8. I have a good list of blog posts I want to write in the near future and that is a good place to be. I like having ideas for what I can write about in the future rather than panicking that I cannot think of any content worth posting. I have a few more mental health related posts in the planning, a trip to Amsterdam to write about after I go in two weeks time and I want to start developing posts related to the drama classes I teach for the primary years
9. Whilst in Glasgow earlier this month I celebrated it being three years since I left for Canada by making a stop at the Tim Hortons in Glasgow. It felt so strange to see it after so many years. I ordered a box of Timbits and thought about everything I had done since last visiting a Timmies.
10. There’s a lot to look forward too! I know this doesn’t seem very specific, however I think it’s important to recognise that whilst you might be feeling a bit rubbish right now, you can find positivity thinking about all that good that is still to come. I have a trip to look forward to and I’m finishing up one online course and about to start a second one with FutureLearn that is all about filmmaking. Exciting times ahead!
I realise that this post did not sound initially positive. January is always going to be one of the more difficult months. When we look back over the course of the year, there are always going to be months in which you consider being slightly more or slightly less positive. It is important however to recognise that whilst a month might seem particularly long and sometimes depressing, that we can still find positive and happy moments. If we can try to find positivity and note it down, it may be a great reminder for yourself in the future, that what you are feeling in that present moment does not last forever.