Bravo, we made it.
For so many reasons, 2021 has been a tough one. And I’m guessing it’s been especially hard for you too.
Whether it’s been a series of minor disappointments or terrible tragedies, this year has been a struggle for most.
Every year I like to look back on what I’ve achieved and what I can look forward to next year. My life audits help me celebrate the past and plan for the future.
But this year has rather unusual right?
For me, this year, more than any, has been about celebrating unseen wins.
Yes, I’m proud that after many months of study and workshops, I can now call myself a life coach for women. Sure, I’m chuffed to have completed my Leadership programme with Harvard Business School. I was thrilled to be accepted on my MSc in psychology.
However, in reality that’s not what I am most proud of.
No one gives you a certificate for travelling 36 hours solo with three kids in a pandemic. There is no award for embarking on my own journey to a new life in Uruguay, when so many voices told me it was a bad idea. There’s no trophy for putting the needs of the people you love above your own.
No one gives you a badge for doing the best you possible can in challenging, ever shifting circumstances.
And the same applies to all the people who helped me and others along the way too.
A friend organising charitable donations for people in need in Chile. A friend in Uruguay giving me everything from visa advice, to tennis rackets. A friend in the UK checking in on me while she was facing serious health issues of her own. My school mum friends helping me settle. There’s no prize for being who you are.
It’s not the glossy certificates which count. It’s the phone calls, the Whatsapp giggles, the coffee meet ups, the letters, the socially distanced hugs, the silly GIF messages, and more serious ‘hey, are you OK?’ messages.
Among fellow women abroad friends, the feeling of not achieving anything is a recurrent theme. When we move abroad, it can be hard to see through a job, an education and to gain tangible results. But that’s not to say you haven’t made a huge difference in your own life, and that of others.
This year, more than any, I reckon it’s time to recognise the hidden wins. You may not have a certificate for this year, but chances are you should be proud.