2019 has arrived!
Another year has passed– some of us are reminiscing about it, while some of us are glad to move on. Whether or not you believed that 2018 was a good or bad year, it’s without a doubt that a lot has happened for each and every one of us– the big events, the small ones, and everything in between.
From the global perspective, 2018 seemed to be the year of extremes. From the election win of the new Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to Donald Trump’s first-full year running the United States (and with scandal after scandal pervading the news every day), it appears as if the world was turning not only fascist, but also ultra-conservative and intolerant.
The gilets jaunes in France just a couple of months ago saw one of the biggest movements against the government in years– originally starting as opposition to increased tax on petrol, it soon spread nationwide concerning general discontentment over President Macron’s policies. Although I’ve been fortunate not to have been around during much of it (being on vacation and, currently, out of the country), it’s scary how it has caused pretty much anarchy, from looting to arson to even violence against the police.
Hate crimes in the U.S. have been reported to increase by 17 percent, with ethnic, religious, and LGBT minorities becoming victims of violence. Some people I’ve talked to have likened this wave of conservatism and intolerance to slavery and Nazi Germany and, from the way things are going, it appears that history just might repeat itself, even in the 21st century.
Natural disasters have devastated many parts of the world, as they continue to demonstrate that global warming really does exist (despite those who refused to believe it). From the tragic joint earthquake-tsunami in Indonesia to the largest raging wildfire in California history, it appears that the world not only is seemingly collapsing politically, but also naturally.
In spite of all of this, however, there has also been push-back. At least in the U.S., the midterm elections saw a notable number of Democrats being elected to the House of Representatives, and with many of them being women and people of color. And amid homophobic and gay-conversion supporters, the LGBT voice continues to remain vocal, with the media being more-inclusive of LGBT characters in TV and film, celebrities coming out and/or otherwise voicing their support for the community, and Pride parades continuing to grow and make themselves heard on the streets. While previous years had seen marginal improvements for the rights of minorities, it seems that 2018 had made a notable dent this time.
On a personal level, I found my 2018 to mirror that of the current events that happened throughout the year. Basically, it was tumultuous. While 2017 had been relatively tranquil, 2018 saw a lot of ups and downs: in work, relationships, and mental growth. I experienced waves of highs and lows throughout the year, which I attribute to the “quarter-life crisis” of turning 25, as well as being at a crossroad in my career.
I struggled in the spring semester of my first year as a lectrice in France, more than I ever had in teaching so far. My anxiety skyrocketed, situational depression ensued, and to be frank, I wasn’t in a good state for many months. I also had to take a step back this summer to reflect on my life in France– did I want to continue living abroad, or did I want walk away from it all, and return to the US?
2018 was also when I was reevaluating my life values. I was seeing where I stood in terms of caring for myself and loved ones. While I’d spent my early twenties trying to be independent by moving thousands of miles away from home for work, I spent this past year (now in my mid-twenties) thinking about home and family. My parents aren’t getting any younger, and soon enough, I’ll have to care for them in their old age, meaning I might need to stay closer to them in the long run. However, I’m still torn between wanting to stay just a bit longer in France and moving back to the comforts of the U.S.
Getting older has been a wake-up call, in many respects. Living abroad was no longer new to me– true, I still got time off to travel (which I did a lot of this year), but it also came with the sinking feel that maybe– just maybe— my time was running out. After my lectrice contract ends, I’ll have to get a full-time job, invest in my own healthcare, and be a “real adult,” thereby decreasing my opportunities to travel as much as I’ve done these past four years.
Perhaps there’s still that kid mentality in me, that I just want to have fun and put off responsibility. I acknowledge that, but then it’s a matter of getting myself together. Which means that I need to look into jobs soon, find a healthcare plan once I’m off my family’s in March (when I turn 26), and seriously reevaluate my financial priorities. I guess I’m still left with many questions, even after years living overseas and growing so much since then– I’m hoping that I’ll find an answer this year, whether or not I’ll be pleased with it. I guess we’ll have to see.
Moving on from the *unexpected* depressing turn of this post, I do hope that things will look up for this year, in terms of getting through my last semester as a lectrice, finding a different job afterwards, and traveling some more in-between. Likewise, I wish all of you a fruitful year– no matter what happens in 2019, it’s without a doubt that we will learn a great deal about ourselves, others, and the world– and all for a good change. 🙂
Happy 2019 once more!