2020 in Review: Chasing Emma Through Photos

I think it’s fair to say that 2020 was nothing like anyone of us could have imagined it would be. It really came out of the left field (did I use that spring reference correctly?) and has affected so many people in so many different ways.

I am blessed to say that I have been fortunate to live in Australia in an area outside of Melbourne and Sydney and haven’t been affected too terribly COVID-19. That’s not to say I haven’t experienced my share of ups and downs over the past 12 months, but it had been comparatively smooth sailing.

I have really enjoyed writing my monthly reviews using a relatively set template, but for my end of year round up I thought I’d take a different approach and make use of my phone’s camera roll to reflect on what I have done and achieved this year. But first, let’s take a quick look at 2020 in summary.

Bucket List Checks: Uluru & Kata Tjuta, Bali rice terraces, beating an escape room, snorkling with turtles, going wine tasting, climbed a volcano.

Ultimate Adventure: Girls trip to Bali! My first non-tour overseas trip.

Biggest Challenge: my mental health and chronic back pain.

Happiest Momement: Bringing Baxter Jones home.

I started the year in Bali on a girls trip.

I actually flew in on New Years Eve and actually witnessed the fireworks from above which was pretty cool, and I spent almost 2 and a half weeks exploring Bali with one of my girl friends. We explored Kuta, Gili Air, Ubud and Sanur.

This was actually my first overseas trip where I didn’t join a single group trip. I swam with turtles, tried SUP, explored the rice terraces, chased waterfalls, went zip lining, climbed Mt Batur and wore a bikini for the first time in YEARS.

I returned to Australia despite my desire to blow off work and relax a little longer and stepped into a brand new job.

In February I started a new job at a primary school. This was quite the change from teaching in a high school setting but I enjoyed it in many ways.

I taught a grade 4/5 class and they were such a pleasure to teach. They pushed me to try new things like creating interactive math tool displays, hands on big write prompts and creating cross-curricular units of work. I genuinely loved my class.

Despite this, during this time my teacher burn out had finally caught up with me and I found myself experiencing frequent panic attacks, inexplicable anger and frustration, and a genuine dread of getting up in the morning. My burn out was made worse by working in a poor environment.

I made the decision to resign from my permanent position in the midst of a pandemic. Some might call this a bold move, but I call it a life saving one. My resignation resulted in a vary reduction in panics attacks and provided me with the time and space for healing.

After resigning from my job I experienced 4 glorious weeks of compete freedom. There is a lot of stuff out there about how teachers are constantly thinking about work; whether it be planning, marking, looking for inspiration or just being concerned about individuals in their classes. Before experiencing burn out I would have superficially agreed with these comments, but it wasn’t until I didn’t actually have a job any more that it hit me. I actually didn’t know what to think about in my spare time. I had let my job consume me.

Having 4 weeks of carefree unemployment was such an amazing experience and I did things I would usually claim to be too busy to do like camping at Rainbow Valley, camping at Trephina Gorge, hiking John Hayes Rock Hole and completing various sections of the Larapinta Trail. These were all amazing experiences, even if I did end up having a major allergic reaction to sports tape on the process!

I am so grateful that I was in a position where this was financially feasible, especially given the economic context of 2020, and to my friends for joining me on my adventures.

In late July the NT opened it borders to South Australia and I was fortunate enough to make 2 trips down with my partner in place of our planned holiday to Vietnam that was cancelled thanks to the virus that shall not be named.

As a frequent visitor to Adelaide, my goal is to ‘do something new’ each time I visit. Over the course of these two trips I went wine tasting, played 2 escape rooms, went on a carousel, tried my hand at hunting for ghosts at the Old Adelaide Gaol and brought a selfie stick with a tripod #sorrynotsorry

Now for something a little controversial. This pandemic actually helped me achieve one of my dreams and for that I am grateful.

You see, I live 5 hours away from Uluru but have not been due to its insane popularity and price. The COVID shut down and border restrictions resulted in a locals only deal at the Sails in the Desert that my friend and I were able to take advantage of and resulted in us only having to share this amazing location with a literal FRACTION  of the people that would normally be there.

At times we had entire viewing platforms to our selves! That is unheard of.

Making this journey has been a major goal of mine and it was all thanks to COVID that it happened.

You can read about my experience at Uluru here.

October saw me make one of the biggest commitments in my life while fulfilling a life long dream. After multiple visits to the local animal shelter we spotted Baxter Jones.

He was 12 months old at the time and is seriously perfect. He’s gentle, loves cuddles, is not a fan of fetch, loves squeeky toys, doesn’t bark very often and makes me smile multiple times a day.

While I was initially not looking forward to spending the summer break at home since summer over the past few years had be characterised by dust storms, fly swarms and 40°+ weather. However we’ve been blessed with wonderful rainy weather which has made the next few weeks at the very least much more tolerable.

2021 Goals

Goal 1:

My partner and I often throw away food that we had purchased to cook with but has since gone off. I want to start producing less food waste. To achieve this goal I am going to hve to make 3 main lifestyle changes:

1. I am actually going to have to learn to cook and use my freezer to store meals.

2. I will need to eat in more often rather than ordering take-away. This bad habbit is the primary reason why I throw out so many of the groceries I buy.

3. Purchase and use a compost bin.

Goal 2:

I want to develop a healthy and manageable work-lie balance. I fully acknowledge that there will be times that I will be bringing work home to complete (hello report time!) but I don’t want it to become a staple of my evenings and weekends. To achieve this goal I am going to make plans for at least one event per weekend, whether it is visiting a waterhole, baking, hanging out with friends, etc. This links with my next goal…

Goal 3:

Geet out of the house more often. 2020 has resulted in me spending more and more time indoors on my couch. With the purchase of our new car it’s time for more hikes, more rides, more swims, and more sun.

Goal 4:

If you have read an of my monthly round up posts you would know that I have experienced chronic back pain and significant anxiety throughout the year. What I haven’t really discussed is how this has deeply affected my self image. I have spent the vast majority of the year hating on my body and feeling fat and ugly. I don’t neccessarily want to develop body positivity, at this point I would be happy with body neutrality. To achieve this I am going to focus on what my body can do, and not beat myself up over my chocolate consumption.

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