2018…Twenty Eighteen… Two Thousand and Eighteen…

30 Dec

As I reflect on 2018 the most notable thing that comes to mind is that I started drinking coffee… yep, this has been a big change, opening a whole new world of socialising, reasons for cycling and running, and of course helping with shift work… Who said you can’t learn something new at 38!!

A few people have asked what my plans and goals are for 2019, and I’ve had some vague thoughts and ideas, to be honest I’m still trying to figure them out. I heard it said today that in order to make plans and goals for the New Year we need to finalise the ending year. You need to consider it, thinking honestly about what you wanted to happen, what happened, why it happened and what you need to change moving forward. So, it’s time to reflect on what happened in 2018 (aside from drinking coffee that is…) so that I can see what changes I need to make in order to move forward into 2019.

On the home front, Dave and I are still finding apartment living suits us well – the plants we have in pots are mostly managing to survive (nothing to do with me) – and there is far less upkeep than having a full garden. I have no further resolution in 2019 to be better at house maintenance – this is not my strength! We’ve been able to have a couple of mini breaks up on the Sunshine Coast when consecutive days off permit it. Queensland is such a lovely place to live and we are spoilt for the beaches and spectacular scenery we have on our doorstep.  Speaking of scenery, we were awed by Canada this year also when we had a much needed 3 week holiday over there.  Such an incredibly beautiful place – we went on numerous walks, canoed on the river, cycled through the national parks, and generally spent the weeks exploring the country. Hopefully we’ll fit a trip in in 2019 as well, the location and time of this is still very much not planned…

Travel in the first half of the year was limited as much of my energy was taken up with my new role (more about that shortly).  However, in the second half of the year we’ve managed to get back to Adelaide four times – hugs with the nieces and nephews are always very welcome. We’ve also had a few visitors come this way this year which has been fantastic. I felt incredibly thankful to be able to go home for two weeks this Christmas. A week at the beach before Christmas was what I needed – I think if I had to come straight from work into a busy Christmas week I may have spontaneously combusted… Note to self, in 2019 make sure you take some time to rest!

In March I was given the opportunity to step up into a Clinical Nurse position. This entailed a move within the same hospital, but on the other side of the campus to the other ICU.  I accepted this position with a bit of trepidation, not only was I going to embark on a team leader role, but it was with a whole new team, in a whole new environment. The learning curve was steep and exhausting. However, it has been a wonderful change for me. I have learned so much in the last 10 months, and the team have been so incredibly supportive and friendly. Every day I’m learning something new – and there is still so much to know. There are times where the things I don’t know still seem quite overwhelming, but in 2019 I hope to continue to build on what I do know, such that I can continue to be a member of this great multidisciplinary team.

From a fitness perspective, this year I’ve been healthy enough to complete the Tweed Enduro (Half Ironman), the Noosa Triathlon (Olympic distance) and the Bribie Triathlon three times (various sprint distances). We were also fortunate enough to be able to participate in a half marathon while in Banff, Canada. In training and racing I’ve cycled 4093km, run (or walked) 1323km, and swum 103km – for a total of 434 hours of exercise (with one day still to go!). There are many days where I am tough on myself about this – it was not the year I wanted in many respects and training often took a back seat to exhaustion from work, and getting used to a greater number of night shifts in my current role. I wanted to be fitter, stronger, and faster and I wanted to train more. However, it is important for me to cut myself a little slack and be thankful for the fact I can exercise at all – let alone have taken myself about 5,500 kilometres (across all three disciplines) – which in geographical terms is about Perth to Sydney, via Adelaide and Melbourne… or Brisbane to Adelaide two and a half times… That all said, in 2019 I want to ensure that my training doesn’t take a back seat. Being able to exercise is what helps recharge my batteries and take care of me, so that I can then take care of others. I can’t afford to neglect that, as I know when I do my emotional health suffers.

The toughest challenge for me was the MND and Me Pies to Pacific bike ride – 155km bike ride from Yatala to Byron Bay. I hadn’t ever cycled that far at once before, let alone in a peloton where I was unable to go at my own pace.  The team were incredibly supportive though, and of course the cause something very important to me. It was awesome that Peter was able to ride the same distance also (on his wind trainer at his place) – knowing he was riding in tougher conditions gave me the strength and energy to keep on going when I was ready to quit. I found this ride to be the biggest physical challenge I’ve undertaken – yes, harder than a Half Ironman (at least with a Half Ironman you spread your time across three sports!). There is another ride again in 2019, and I need to consider whether this will be included in my goals.

From a spiritual perspective I found the first part of the year tough. There is always plenty of growing for me to do in this area of my life.  In the first half of the year I found that I was working many Sunday mornings and I didn’t get to church very often at all. I noticed the absence of this. There is something about meeting corporately with a body of people with the same beliefs as you. I’ve made an effort to specifically request occasional weekends off, or night shifts on Sunday so that I can still go to church in the morning. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to get back more frequently in the second half of the year. As usual, I’m thankful for a God that loves me, who forgives me every time I stuff up (regularly), and who has walked with me every step of 2018 – even when I have been recalcitrant, and thought I could do it my own way. This will be an area of focus for me in 2019!

When I think about what 2019 might bring, there are various goals I might seek to make – often events or physical challenges.  But there is one area that I want to do better at and that is having an attitude of gratitude.  I feel that in 2018 I haven’t chose to be as thankful as I could/should have been. I want to really appreciate the life that I have been blessed with. My requested Christmas present this year was a big jar and a notepad – and each week I aim to write down something good that has happened in that week and put it in the jar. At the end of the year (assuming I can be disciplined about it), there should be 52 notes of thankfulness and gratitude.

So as 2018 comes to a close there are plenty of things that I could have done better. However, hopefully I’ve learned from my mistakes. As 2019 dawns, may I embrace opportunities as they are identified and may I be disciplined in being thankful and grateful. May I live a life such that I please my creator – full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control –it’s a tough ask, but I can only try!


My gratitude jar (especially awesome as it currently contains Fruchocs – my favourite treat)


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