Sandy’s 10-year Challenge has inspired me to do one of my own (something which the original 10-year challenge she mentioned did not manage – she is clearly more inspiration than it was :-p ). A whole decade is coming to an end (something which escaped my attention until I read Sandy’s post – I blame the cough and snot-fest I’ve been partaking of since Christmas Eve…) so I concur it’s a good time for a reflective activity.
Here is a photo of me from April 2010 (the first photo of me from 2010 I could find on Facebook where my face is vaguely visible and I’m not with other people who may not want their faces in this blog post!):
It’s at a crag called Bamford Edge in the Peak District. Up until June 2010 was the last time I climbed at this level or frequency so this photo is definitely fittingly symbolic of the decade preceding this one. What happened to make me stop? Don’t worry, no horrific accident or anything. What happened was I completed my CELTA in March 2010 and then went abroad, to Indonesia, to teach: the beginning of my ELT career. I didn’t manage to keep up the climbing and got woefully out of practice. Since moving back to the UK in 2015, to date I’ve not been able to bring the single-minded energy and focus back to it that it would need for me to get properly into it again. The point of this ramble is that priorities change and that’s ok. A lot of outdoor climbing may not have happened this decade but a lot of other cool stuff has!
Here is a photo of me taken in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, on Christmas Eve (the third of the only three healthy days this holiday!):
Just like Sandy did, I will list 20 things that have happened in the 2010-2019 decade:
- Got my CELTA (Pass B, which I sulked about for ages because it wasn’t an A :-p, March 2010), did my Delta (Triple Distinction, which I worked very hard for so once in a decade I will exercise my bragging rights, August 2013), did my M.A. ELT (with distinction, see above, alongside the Delta, September 2013).
- Did various other training courses e.g. the IH Certificate in Teaching Young Learners and Teenagers course and the IH teacher trainer certificate course. (While at IHPA, 2013-2015)
- Won an ELTon (“New talent in writing”, May 2014).
- Published one or two posts on this blog (!), (which I started writing in May 2011 if I remember correctly, though not in earnest til 2012/2013 when I embarked on the Delta/M.A. thing). Got published in a peer reviewed journal and an edited book:
- Worked as a teacher in two different parts of Indonesia (Lampung and Jakarta, 2010-2012), Sicily (Palermo 2013-2015) and three different towns/cities in the U.K. (Newbury 2011, Sheffield summer 2014, 2015-now, and Leeds summer 2013).
- Presented at various conferences including IATEFL several times.
- Became an Assistant Director of Studies (ADoS) where I work now (April 2018-ongoing) and a Teacher Development Coordinator where I work now (September 2019-ongoing). (With the recent promotion of one of my co-ADoSes to interim Academic Director, I will now be the most experienced member of the current ADoS team by length of time in service in the role, which is weird!)
- Finally got an open-ended contract (May 2019), thus fulfilling a goal/dream set at the start of the decade (being able to live where I want to – here in Sheffield – and work in a job I want to work in – at the uni).
- Ran 30 miles in one go (an ultramarathon event, Dig Deep, August 2016). Ok so I walked on some of the uphill bits. It was in the Peak District for goodness sake! Also done a 78 mile bike ride (and lots of other cycling – this year alone a few thousand miles worth!), lots of indoor bouldering and even climbed outdoors a couple of times post-June 2010.
- Did an Olympic distance triathlon (by myself rather than an event, summer 2019). So much fun that one of my goals for 2020 (and/or beyond) is a half ironman!
- Rescued/adopted the best horse in the world (Alba, June 2015), been surprised by a horse pregnancy, watched a baby horse grow in his mum’s belly and then outside it as well, Nursed the best horse in the world through colic and lost her (September 2018). Baby horse (Star) now 2.75yrs old!
- Adopted and cared for five hamsters, two of whom are still with me, all with unique personalities. Being a hamster mama is important to me. 🙂
- Understood and become comfortable with my sexuality (gay, demisexual*) and been on some nice dates. (I believe losing my mum at age 25 delayed things somewhat as grief took centre stage for a long time.) *Google it if it is a new term to you! 🙂 . Lucky to work somewhere where colleagues of any sexuality can and frequently do choose to wear a rainbow lanyard to show their support of LGBTQIA+ colleagues. I love my lanyard and I love seeing so many of them around.
- Became vegan (July 2014) and learnt how to cook lots of lovely things (ever since). Living in line with my values with regards to compassion for all living beings and respect for the environment in this way has made a positive difference to my mental wellbeing as well as my physical health.
- Learnt Italian (Summer 2014, intensive self-study) as well as bits and bobs of a host of languages that Memrise supports. I love Italian and continue to enjoy reading/watching/listening and when in Sicily speaking it. Memrise is one of the many things I don’t do enough of because I have so many places to put every minute.
- Started practising mindfulness/kindfulness and meditating regularly (since February 2019) which has improved my mental health/wellbeing dramatically. Done the Monash Futurelearn courses Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance and Maintaining a Mindful life.
- Spent my longest time living full-time in one house (and therefore also one place) since when I turned 11 and went to boarding school (the house I am currently in, in Sheffield, since June 2015! Very nearly long enough to be able to fill in my CRB check application form – no longer called that but you know that thing – were I to need to, without reference to the several pages long list of addresses I previously had to type up and save for such occasions!).
- Got a piano again! (May 2017) I don’t play it as often as I “should” (so many things competing for my time!) but I do love it.
- Met and got to know loads of amazing people in all the different aspects of my life, who have inspired me and helped me become who I am today. Thank you all!
- Learning how to live without my mum who I lost in August 2009 (so it was a decade since she died this August just gone) and have space for happy too. This has been the first decade without her, so I am even prouder and more grateful of 1-19 in that context.
Been quite the decade! What’s next? Well, this time 10 years ago I would have been hard-pushed to predict any of the above! In fact if you had put this list in front of me this time 10 years ago, I would have probably sniggered and gone “sure, yeah, as if…” or similar. So, who knows where the next 10 years will take me? All I can hope is that I can continue to be positive and live life to the full, whatever it brings, and learn to befriend all moments and events, so to place myself firmly in the life I am living. There is only one and this is it. Today. Now.
Happy 2020 and beyond, everybody!