An economic downturn in my industry mid-way through 2012 left me reeling, as I changed jobs (again) and saw huge amounts of staff made redundant. So much so, that I had the awful realisation one day that I didn't know anyone at work anymore, because they'd all been fired! It was horrible. Having begun the year on an absolute high work-wise in terms of loving my job, rushing to work each day because there was so much fun and fulfilment to be had to ending it on a low was pretty tough mentally. By the end of this year, it felt like I was trudging against the current of thick rivers of sludgy mud.
On the positive side, I most certainly learnt a lot... And again learnt the important lesson of being grateful for what I have, and remembering that diplomacy is essential at all times of the day. Saying what you really think is rarely appropriate in the office (unless you're the boss - then you can knock yourself out). Thankfully, the last meeting of the year that I had put things into perspective, and I have new enthusiasm for the role. Here's hoping it lasts throughout 2013! (I'm sure it will. I need the money!)
Speaking of diplomacy, I re-learnt the very important lesson of trusting your instincts and the importance of living with integrity. An instinct I'd had in 2002/3 about someone who had resurfaced in my life turned out to be correct. I have actually been horrified to hear some of the stories that have emerged from others' encounters with this person. As they say - a leopard doesn't change its spots. Or as I would say - once a snake, always a snake.
Lots of my friends had beautiful little babies, which was absolutely lovely. I frequently marvel at these women, because it seems like such a lot to juggle and yet they do it with absolute grace. Yeah it's a natural instinct, and yeah women rule and are brilliant at multi-tasking, but child rearing is the ultimate in multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking yummy mummy, fashion designer Victoria Beckham with baby Harper
Probably my favourite new mum of the year would be Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Her advice to new mums: "You have to ruthlessly prioritise." And clearly work is a major priority, back at work within hours of giving birth, and doing full days within a few weeks. She has copped a lot of flack for this - particularly when she said she was pleasantly surprised by how easily she juggled baby and work (the Twitterverse went nutso from the crazy mother contingent). Good luck to her I say. If you can do it, why not do it and be proud of that? I think she's an inspiration, showing that you can return to work and not be considered a terrible mother, AND for being honest - she got lucky and has a good baby. It happens. It's not all horror stories and babies screaming the house down all night.
I got to travel a little this year, heading back to Japan with my lovely boyfriend. Japan still captures my fascination - intimidating, bewildering, mind-boggling, hilarious and proudly beautiful. It's an amazing country, and such an enigma.
In global politics, China had a relatively peaceful transition to its new leadership and the USA continued to give the world hope by re-electing Barack Obama.
The issue of misogyny went bananas in Australia, and I was horrified by how Australians have chosen to deal with their female leader. I'll decline to get started on Australia's rampant tall poppy syndrome and our overwhelming conservatism which seems to be borne of fear of anything out of the box. And we have the hide to laugh at the ignorance of American red necks. The shame.
My mini-obsession with the Royals grew, reading Wolf Hall (fabulous, multi-award winning book about Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII and the Boleyn family), tracking Kate Middleton's fashion as she toured south east Asia and then announcing her pregnancy! It was almost too much!
In the romantic realm, I learnt that the old adage all good things come to those who wait is absolutely, 100% true. On the 19th December, I got engaged via the most gorgeous, thoughtful proposal I could have ever dreamed of. Every day I feel so lucky to be with him, and I marvel at how much better life is when shared with the right person. All the wondering, all the waiting ... it has all been worth it. I am very excited (and a little stressed - I'm not great at planning) to be getting married next year. I'm going to be a Mrs!
And that, my friends, is that. 2012 can fade into the good night, as we all ponder a wonderful 2013.
Happy New Year! xo