I’m only about a month late, so I figure I can still get away with a “Looking Back on 2014” type post, right?
The short version is that 2014 was a mixed bag for me. I grew in a number of ways I had never imagined possible but also took a couple of hard knocks. Basically, 2014 kicked my ass.
Some of the highlights (and lows) for me were:
Starting off the year on a high, having closed a massive deal in late 2013. There is a lot to be said for a running start to the year. It’s a fantastic motivator and driving force. Sadly, the running start was short lived, as it became increasingly evident as the year progressed, that the people I was in business with and I were nowhere near on the same page. I took some serious losses from this, both monetary and mental. And in the end, I had to write it all off as school fees paid. Which is a lot easier said than done.
It does something to you when, even though you’ve put hours of time and effort into something, you have nothing to show for it at the end. It messes with your head and your sense of the value that you add, of your contribution to your group.
With things set up the way they were between us and the business partners, I began to question my value to my family , my worth in the workplace and my ability to deliver and/or contribute anything of any use.
The tide turned when, later in the year, David and I took a hard look at where things were headed and looked into some of the possible reasons why we weren’t seeing the returns we’d been expecting. We enrolled on a couple of financial and administration management courses, recognised where we were going wrong and started taking steps to correct those areas. This led to us taking the plunge, separating from our business partners and opening up shop on our own. Together, we have now established a far more realistic and workable business model and we are beginning to see the results.
On a more personal level, the year 2014 was one of self-discovery and self-enhancement for me. Running – actual running – became a part of my life and forced me to challenge myself in ways I hadn’t considered for many years. And it taught me that I am capable of high levels of perseverance and self-discipline.
Then, Winter saw my running die a sudden death and my self-worth plummet every time I hit that snooze button instead of lacing up and heading out the door.
And then I read this post on Tanya Kovarsky’s blog, and had to comment as follows:
“I moan a lot about not having run at all this winter, especially when I have no-one to run with, to keep me motivated. But in all likelihood, once I find it in me to brave the (admittedly slightly warmer) cold mornings again, I’m not sure I’m going to want that running buddy anymore. I love plugging in my earphones and setting off, up the first hill of my local route. I love how my breath and steps syncronise with the music tempo and the sting of the cold on my face and shoulders becomes a soothing coolness. I love how the voices and the things in my head start lining up and stop bickering amongst each other for space. This is how I know I’ll run again, even if I haven’t gone in weeks.
I loved seeing your tweets on this race. They reminded me that I love running, too.”
And I did run again. I signed up for the Soweto half marathon which took place on 2 November and finished it in 2:26:58. I met some beautiful people along the way and was thrilled to run into Jenty there, too. It was a wonderful, humbling and empowering experience.
There were a lot of Twitter, Facebook and blogging folk running Soweto and I saw many of them post about their training, their sports watches, their running buddies and so on. Often, seeing these posts deepened the chip on my shoulder, that feeling of disconnectedness, of not having made the cut, (still) not being cool enough to sit with the popular girls.
What the hell did I know about training for a race? How the hell would I justify blowing a couple of K on a sports watch? How could I go running with other people in my 9 year old running shoes and only one set of running clothes to wear, when all of them have the latest gadgets and gear and they all run faster than I do, too?
So I started filtering what I looked at and engaged with online. I spent more time entering competitions and less time participating in conversations. I fell (hard) back into the habit of wasting time on Facebook instead of working. I hated myself a little bit more every day. I spent less time with my husband and kids and more time with my face stuck in my phone.
And then the year came to an end. We went away on holiday, despite my misgivings. We spent a lot of time on the beach and I left my phone behind a lot of the time. It dawned on me that I was exhausted and depressed and I needed to disengage from the world outside of my family for a bit. So I did. And while I was doing it, I realised that I needed to check out of the social media space for real, because it was creating expectations in me that could not possibly be realistically met, and just find myself again. So I am.
I deleted my Facebook profile shortly after retuning to Johannesburg from our holiday at the coast. And the next day, I killed my Twitter profile too. Like any addict, I have the occasional twinge of longing. I see a “WIN” in big, bold letters in one of the hundreds of newsletters I’m subscribed to (yes, I’m slowly purging those, too), and have to stop myself from clicking on it and letting myself go down that rabbit hole again. But then I look around my newly de-cluttered office space and remember that I’m working toward something bigger. That I’ve set off on a different path, of my own making. One that I’ve had to overcome so many odds and learn so many lessons and make so many changes in order to find.
And I love that 2014 kicked my ass.