We’re only a few days away from the New Year. And I don’t know exactly when that came about because only yesterday (so it seemed) I was scrubbing elephants in Sri Lanka at Millennium Elephant Foundation, drinking tequila shots at my hen party in Split, Croatia, moving house to Streatham, getting married, getting a cat, having a belated honeymoon/house hunting in France in October and another house hunting trip in France in December, changing jobs and going through all the series of Game of Thrones up to date and finally understanding what the fuss was all about about 5 years too late (this has never been on my New Year resolutions list, but I took it as a bonus, because, damn, I love Game of Thrones and it had to be on the list.)
But talking about New Year resolutions, before I go ahead and think about my list for next year, I’d like to examine what happened to the New Year’s resolutions I envisaged last year.
Last year I used a vision board rather than new year’s resolutions list and that vision board featured Oprah, Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, JK Rawlings, Helen Fielding (you got it – all of them successful women and writers). Because yes, writing is, has been and will always be my biggest dream in this world. Sadly this year, my writing had taken the back seat with everything else that’s been going on, but I somehow managed to rewrite The Love Project completely following feedback from one of the London agents I had submitted my application to in December last year.
I remember receiving all those polite rejections and feeling more and more disheartened about getting picked up by an agent anytime soon. One day, when I was in Sri Lanka volunteering with the elephants, I checked my emails at lunch break to find another reply from an agent. Expecting another polite rejection, I was shocked to read that they wanted to read my entire manuscript. I screamed so loud that I even disrupted the elephant traffic around the camp. With tears in my eyes, I ran to my husband, who was working on building concrete steps for the elephants to have easier access to the river, and told him the good news. A few months later the agent got back to me with feedback which I decided to take it on board, by rewriting the whole book. Now, almost a year later, I have produced another book, which is still very much about dating and finding love, but it has a more personal narrative, focusing on my childhood, my parents’ failed relationship and being a Romanian in London.
Maybe I’m not quite yet signing copies of The Love Project in Waterstones or being invited on Oprah’s show, but I did get to see Cheryl Strayed this year at a talk in London and engaged in a Twitter conversation with her and I did take a step closer to getting an agent. My vision for 2017 still stands, as my writing goals remain unchanged.
Amongst other personal goals, I wanted to continue exploring the world with the man I love and to expand my potential. We started 2016 with six weeks in Sri Lanka and ended it in London, planning our move to France, towards a life lived closer to nature and in more contact with the community. As for me and my full potential, it was a year that took a lot of energy and required a lot of personal time, spent with those closest to me. The time will come when I will make a ’dent’ in the universe and 2016 has not been it.
I also found myself feeling very disheartened about the state of the world last year. Like many of you I’m sure, I wept for those who lost their lives in the Paris terrorist attack (sadly many more such attacks followed since), for those whose hearts are fuelled by hatred, for the rapacity with which we decimate nature and wildlife. And so I created a vision board not just for myself, but for the world. I hoped we would emerge better in the New Year and, even though it found me and Alistair helping with improving the lives of captive elephants in Sri Lanka, the year didn’t bring that many good news. In fact, 2016 rolled on with an unprecedented number of celebrity deaths, followed by Brexit and Donald Trump becoming the next president of the USA, countless global warming warnings and less and less hope for the future. It didn’t look like 2016 delivered on those ideals I had on my vision board, but I think it brought the destruction before the rebuilding can begin. 2016 has been the year that saw many of us mobilised against hatred, racism and xenophobia, saw many of us waking up from lethargy and becoming more mindful and respectful of the world we live in. So my vision for the world in the New Year still stands. I still think we will see a better world at the end of it all, even if it takes twenty, fifty or a hundred years to get there. We just need to hold on to that vision.
I know it doesn’t look like 2016 has brought much to life (I can confidently say that all my resolutions still stand unchanged for the year ahead) but it was like Mercury retrograde: it may not have delivered the remarkable palpable change I (and we) have been waiting for, but it worked hard in the background on old projects. Let’s hope the year ahead will see us stepping to a brighter future and let’s continue to dream and believe that all our wishes will come true.
And now, get to work! Make your own vision board for 2017. And share your vision for the world with us:)