This year started on a boat, off the coast of New Zealand, filled with drunken shenanigans, tuxedos and a serious hangover. It honestly doesn't feel like what has come since has took place within the same year.
Over a hundred and fifty articles and podcasts written for Green and Gold Rugby. News editing at Music Insight. Working with the Bawurra Foundation. Working with the Rugby Union Players Association. Signing with Lime Books. Hunter & Bligh. 2SER. Trips to New Zealand and Thailand. New jobs. Moving. Graduation. Yeah, this was a big year.
Very often, it's easy for us to get caught in a rut and wonder if we're making any progress at all. We often spend most of our time worrying about our pathway to the future. I do that all the time. Like, at least three or four times a week.
But we only have to take the time to look back at the year we've had to realise that we really have done so much. When I started this year, I had simple goals because I was aiming to be realistic. To try and get into an industry such as writing and journalism is hard, even more so these days in the cacophonous world that is online media.
Out of university, you always fall into this idea that a job will spring up. It often doesn't. Particularly these days because EVERYONE has a degree. If anything, experience is what matters. To show that you are doing your field of interest is probably more important than anything else.
So, I set simple goals. To do writing. I aimed to improve my rugby writing coverage. I aimed to try and get a story published. Above all, I aimed to get something published AND get paid for it. It's the dream, to make your hobby your job.
But I didn't think that by the end of this year, I would be lucky enough to be news writer and Podcast Producer for Green and Gold Rugby, and as well as the News Coordinator for Music Insight. It's an awesome opportunity to be given and one that has reaffirmed my desire to get into media.
Not only that, but it has also allowed me to speak and work with people in the industry whom I'd never expected I would be involved with. From interviewing up-and-coming musicians such as Running Touch, Jordan Merrick to more established names like Grinspoon and American rock act Spoon.
Or on the Rugby front: getting the chance to hang out with blokes like the Honey Badger at the Shute Shield Grand Final, to going to my first ever press launch at the 2017 National Rugby Championship. I even had some of my articles translated into another language!!! If you had told me that at the start of this year I'd be doing that, I'd probably laugh.
But what was most rewarding was seeing that the work I did really resonated with people. My biggest enjoyment out of writing is to inspire, but also be inspired.
At the end of last year, I did a small piece about letting the armour go, where I referred to a speech by Jim Carrey to the 2014 Graduation class at the Maharishi University of Management. Carrey often talks about the idea that "to find real peace, you have to let the armour go... [you should] never stand in the way of the light that shines through you. Risk being seen in all of your glory.”
If you're interested, have a read here.
I often come back to this speech by Carrey, and did many times over the course of this year whenever I had any issues of self-doubt, both at a professional and personal level. One thing that I always worry about this year was that what I was doing wasn't enough, or I wasn't good enough. Whether it be making a deadline in time, or being there for friends or family. Really, whenever I am in doubt, I suffer from a severe case of overthinking. When I overthink, that's when fear sets in.
Carrey says a lot about this.
"Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, and worrying about the pathway to the future. But all there will ever be is what's happening here, in the decisions we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our paths out of fear disguised as practicality. What we want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I'm saying: I'm the proof that you can ask the universe for it."
But Carrey, at the end of this speech, said something that really resonated with me; that you should “set yourself a goal and work towards it, without worrying about how it comes to pass.”
It's one of the best pieces of advice that I've ever heard. And this year I can honestly say I did that. I just set a goal, and worked on it without worrying about whether I'd make it. And not only did I reach it, I exceeded it, and kept going. It was something that surprised me. Now, with the hindsight to look back on this year, I can honestly say that I did achieve a lot of what I set out to do, and more. And that's fantastic.
Not that I didn't achieve everything I wanted. I aimed to complete a novel, which is still very much in it's writing stage. But hey, everything doesn't come to you at once. What really matters is that you have fun while you're doing it. And really, for all the stress, the challenges and the struggles this year has had, it has also been fun. A huge amount of fun.
I am going to have hard days ahead, and I know I'm going to struggle often. But the struggle is part of the journey, and makes the reward sweeter. And I'm going to look back upon this year and think, this was when I really started to take being a writer seriously. I'm so blessed to have been supported by many fantastic friends, an amazing and incredibly supportive partner, and some awesome workmates.
Next year is looking like a big one, with a couple of articles planned with a band, a novel to finish and put out, and much more. But the biggest goal I'm aiming for is to be a working writer. It's a big goal, but this year has shown me my direction. Next year, it's time to go for it!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope it makes you feel inspired too. I wish you all a happy new year.
Bring on 2018! It's gonna be a whopper!