At the end of last year, I wrote myself a letter and hid it away in the depths of my hard drive to not be opened until these last few days. I've read it back, and I'd like to think that pretty much everything in my letter worked out as well as could be.
Like everyone, there have been plenty of ups and downs. I've had a 12 months of relatively good productivity in life and with a bit of luck and some hard work, the next 12 months can be even better. The good times have been pretty good and the bad times...well, when you think about them, they weren't really that bad.
I got my dream work placement working for a motorsport media group doing translation work for the ADAC Masters weekend, and was lucky enough to spend several race weekends translating a string of articles for the GT Masters. As a little side job while at uni and as preparation for the year abroad, it was near perfect. Looking at the long term future of what I'd love to do when I get out of uni and I'm thrown into the real world, it was brilliant...it could open a door to get a job working in the industry, especially in the world of sportscar racing where I'm more interested than I've ever been.
Then that job fell through at the eleventh hour. There's a blog dedicated to that earlier in the year, so you can read all about that there if you haven't already or want to remind yourself of that wonderful time. It struck me hard, it really hurt and for a while I didn't have a clue what the year abroad had in store for me. Thankfully, there was the great supporting network to pick me back off my slightly shaky feet, brush me down and help me out. Hessie, for being crazy enough to answer her phone to me at almost midnight when I got the news and needed someone to talk to. She was there as someone to talk to, she sat with me for several hours, reassured me and we knew that things would be ok. Giles, who despite getting knocked a bit for not always being very quick to reply to emails, was there for me straight away when I told him and helped me to find something else for the year.
That something else, of course, was a job at euroShell. Four months into that job, and I'm very happy that I'm there. Obviously, I wish I could have taken the job in Austria with motorsport but the placement I have has allowed me to meet some really great people. I'm in a work environment where I'm allowed to push myself and find out just what I'm capable of. I've been given plenty of brand new situations to deal with, and I would like to think that I've dealt with them in a more than suitable manner. These are skills that I can continue to develop in the next eight months of my time in Hamburg, and no doubt I'll learn more skills and tricks along the way that can stand me in good stead when I graduate and start looking for jobs.
Aside from that, life has been pretty good. I was able to get back into playing cricket again this summer and despite not setting the world on fire, I had fun. We may not have won a game when I played, but if I can get enough practice in during Spring 2014, when summer rolls around (and if the weather holds off), I might be able to score a couple of runs and grab a wicket or two.
I've made some good decisions with my personal life and I've made some not so clever decisions, but I don't think I regret a single thing I did with my year. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes we have no control as to whether things work out.
2013 should be a good year. I've got plans and goals on where I want to take my life over the next 12 months. I've got plans to see friends, tickets for gigs and events (such as 16 Carat in March and Iron Maiden in June) and if things go well, I'll be making my first ventures into the world of sportscar racing by attending a couple of races. I might try and make it to an F1 race as well, but the main priorities in terms of motorsport are the 24 Hours of Nurburgring and going to Le Mans.
I said in the last entry that I'd be looking at starting a podcast too, which will be happening...usually with Rachel as my trusty sidekick and maybe once or twice with other people if I venture out and try to bring other people in to share their story.
It might be overused, it might be cliche...but as Bill Hicks said so brilliantly, life is just a ride. Strap in, let's see what the year throws at us and make the most of each opportunity.
See you in 2013!