Hello, 2021, and Happy New Year, readers!

I think many of us have been waiting for the start of 2021 with anticipation after what has been the strangest year. I know things are still mightily peculiar for much of the world and that many of us remain ‘stuck’ in some way. Maybe that’s at home in some form of lockdown, in your career or in a different country, like myself.

My Christmas and New Year were lovely, I’m lucky to say, and I hope yours were too, wherever you were. I spent Christmas at home with Ol, and the penultimate days of 2020 among palm trees and friends on Phu Quoc island for some winter sun: a stark contrast to the gray and chilly Hanoi.

Now, I’m back in the city, mentally and physically preparing for my return to work tomorrow. For me, the start of this year is much the same as the last few, which I know isn’t the case for everyone.

Despite my relative freedom within Vietnam, 2020 certainly had its highs (like a wonderful summer of travel, getting artwork published and receiving a top grade for my journalism diploma) and lows (lockdown, stress/anxiety and not being able to go back home). I’ve reflected on the year and what I achieved and learnt, and noted this down in my journal. Now, I’m ready to focus on 2021.

2021 is going to be a big year for me, for reasons I’ll explain in a later post. I’m both nervous and excited about it, but I think my primary emotion is that of hope.

I’m hopeful for the world, that the vaccines and lockdowns will help us get out of this pandemic-induced mess. I’m hopeful for the Biden/Harris presidency. I’m hopeful for environmental changes and improvements.

Of course, I’m hopeful for myself too. I’ve got ideas & plans, goals & dreams. Yes, the new year is a time I like to look forward and envision what life might be at the end of it. Not quite ‘new year, new me’, but something not too different either.

A few goals & intentions for this year:

  • Create more: articles and art. Engage my mind in this.
  • Nurture my body by developing my new found (vague) interest in exercise and rekindling my love of cooking
  • Develop this blog with a focused but sustainable schedule
  • Explore locally
  • Make solid steps towards the future [more on this later!]
  • Most importantly, believe in myself & love myself more. Control anxious thoughts, use the strategies I learnt at therapy and continue practising gratitude every day

Have a lovely day,

Niobe x

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