Retrospectives are a nice way to analyse what has happened and whether the changes have been for better or for worse and I am all about analysing. In addition 2016 has been such an outlier, it should make for an interesting read years later when I discover this post.
A year ago I was still in the university. I had made the move from Sweden back to Estonia but my thoughts were still mostly back in Västerås concentrating on the defense that laid ahead. I traveled back there soon after the beginning of the year and did my presentation successfully. I received my PhD and that was that. From then on I was back in Estonia, thoughts and all.
Looking back now, moving to Estonia was for the better. Many things in my life have changed and while this process has been quite stressful at times, after four and a half years in Sweden, it was needed. Both me and Eva are more fulfilled now and can plan our lives more equally.
I have also reconnected with some of my dearest friends and gotten much closer to my family again. I see my parents almost weekly now and have found much more similarities with my brother than we had previously shared.
It has not only been about reconnecting. Making new close friends as an adult is difficult but necessary after being away for so long. For the most part however, it has gone surprisingly well. Nothing exemplifies this better than my friendship with Jim that was developed largely while recording the Popkulturistid podcast. We were friends before but this experience has brought us close and experiencing it in such a public way has been interesting.
Speaking about friends, as the year developed I began to look at my time in Sweden more often through rose-tinted glasses. While parts of the experience were very difficult, I met some incredibly lovely people who I miss very much. Social media is a great way to stay in touch but people I used to love talking to almost daily, are now often thousands of kilometers away. Takes a bit to get used to it.
Another thing that took a surprisingly long time to come to grips with was the fact that I was not a PhD student anymore. It had been such a big part of my identity that finally graduating left me feeling somewhat hollow. Happily it took me only a month to get back to work. Identifying myself as a governmental employee has been somewhat difficult for some reason but having such a practical outlet for my knowledge has been very rewarding and interesting. Plus, the people I work with are all very nice!
The year has also been defined by many side activities and projects that have helped me stabilize after such big changes. In addition to Popkulturistid, I have loved working as a co-author in the technology news portal Geenius. Having an outlet where I have to constantly think about the audience and consider both the accuracy and clarity of my texts has helped me grow as a writer immensely.
I have also had several very cool photo shoots this year. For a while I even toyed with the idea of doing something with my photography at a professional level but decided against it. Honestly, my skills are no where near that good anyway. The low stress experience of just going out with friends and making beautiful pictures together is much more what I need from photography at the moment. It is also something that we enjoy doing together with Eva, giving us a nice hobby to do as a couple.
So a year full of experiences as was to be expected with all the changes we had to make in our lives. From here, there will hopefully be some stability in which to grow both personally and professionally and enough change to keep things interesting.
I hope you all have great things to look back at today and expect form the year ahead.
Have a happy New Year’s Eve!