Every year, since 2011, I have done an annual review. The first one was inspired by blogger and author Chris Guillebeau, and founder of the popular Art of Non-Conformity blog.
So every year since then, I take time out at the end of the year (usually between Christmas and New Year) to reflect on the year that’s been and focus on what I would like to create for the year to come. This process is really helpful to me, not only in achieving my goals, but also as a space for a deeper and more long-view reflection on where I am at in my life journey and what I feel is next on the horizon for me. Now that I have these ten Annual Reviews, I am able to recognise themes, and patterns in the way I live and what I do, that helps me to avoid future stumbling blocks in doing the things I want to do and becoming the next version of myself.
Each year, I write my Annual Review as a Word Doc, under the headings as outlined below. Sometimes I make lists, other times it’s more a journalling flow. I have found this practice to be really useful, especially when I can look back at old Annual Reviews and see how I am progressing in my life and as a person. I hope this is inspiring for you!
2021 started out for me in hotel quarantine, which to me felt more like hotel jail. I was perfectly well, and had tested negative to the COVID flu virus before getting on the plane from Jakarta on boxing day, so I wondered why I needed to be locked up for 2 weeks in a hotel without opening windows, and without a balcony, at my own expense?
While I understand the thinking behind putting every single person who arrives from abroad in a hotel to make sure they won’t infect the local population with a virus (which is fatal to about 2% of those who contract it), it seemed to me at the time that 2 weeks was overkill, and unreasonable. I tested negative to COVID after three days in my hotel jail, so why was I kept in there for another twelve days? And then charged for this? Luckily, it seems that now the hotel quarantine has been stopped for international arrivals, at least in some states in Australia.
In response to this deprivation of my liberty, I made a song about it, a cover version of another song, called ‘There is no excuse, Government’. This was a fun and productive way of using my time in there, in between watching, with my jaw dropping lower each day, at the non-stop fear funnel which the mainstream media was piping into the tv news.
In Hotel Quarantine, I did a fast for the first week there, eating nothing and drinking only water. This was my personal protest at the deprivation of my liberty which I felt was unreasonable and unnecessary. The doctor assigned to call the people in quarantine each day told me on about day 3 of my fast that if I didn’t begin eating soon, I would be moved to a ‘high security’ quarantine hotel for ‘at risk’ people (AKA, people whose mental health it was deemed needed monitoring.)
The doctor said that he personally had no problem with my fast, but that the government needed to cover its back by moving me to this other hotel prison. So I ended my fast and started eating on day seven. Then I used one of the paper bags in which my food was delivered as a prop in this video. That was fun!
Time with Family at Meringo
One of my favourite things about being in Australia is spending time with my parents at our family’s beach house in Southern NSW. We have had this house since I was about 17 (that’s about 30 years! Wow) so there is a long and happy history of many family holidays spent here. This particular slice of coast is very unspoiled and natural, without too much construction to spoil it. I spent about 3 weeks here with my Mum and Dad and a few other visitors including my old friend from Mallorcan days, Baz. During this time, I made two music videos for my songs, ‘Breathe in My Sunshine’ and ‘Unravelling’ from my You-Ni-Verse album.
‘Make an album’ had been on my to-do list for about five years, before I finally decided that 2020 would be the year that this would happen for me. Finally on the 29th of January 2021, my album was released. So grateful to myself for completing this lifelong goal. Who knows if another album is on the horizon?!
It was super fun to make this music video with the help of my mum Sue, who filmed it for me, under my directorial instructions. You will also see cameos both of my mum (rowing with me in the boat on the lagoon, and my Dad, John, walking out of the surf to meet their adorable border collie dog (border collie number 3), Maggie.
Life in an Authoritarian State // AKA Dystopian Nightmare
Lockdown number 6, in autumn, lasted from August the 5th to October 21st – that’s nearly 3 months! It was during this period that I definitively stopped all mask wearing, which was my only compliance with the whole Coronageddon debacle. I had never checked in anywhere with a QR code, as I believe this is wrong, given I am free citizen. I do not want my every move to be tracked by my government, COVID or no COVID, that’s not something I am OK with.
I started to feel quite depressed during this lockdown number six, but underneath my depression was anger at what I saw as sweeping authoritarianism under the guise of ‘protecting public health’.
I was witnessing the slow death of the vibrant culture of the Melbourne I knew and loved. With the introduction of the COVID Vaccines, I saw the state government rolling out a lie that those who choose not to take the Vaccine were a ‘threat’ to others. I saw the effects of this lie within my own apartment block, as my neighbour told me she’d have to decline my invitation to a music event, because I was a ‘health risk’, given she’d deduced that I had not taken the said vaccine. Suddenly, my medical history was public property, and I was being judged based on voluntary medications I had injested (or not). This prompted me to join in the freedom movement in Victoria, and I started attending some of the protests in Melbourne, where police were dressed up as robocops, armed with shields and rubber bullets, against a group of peaceful Melbournians, who were exercising their democratic right to express their opinion.
I was at the protest in Richmond in September when these robocops followed a large group of protesters from Bridge Road down to Kew, and in a section of road cut deep into rock which heads to the north eastern suburbs, police were filmed pepper spraying in the face of a woman while she was lying on the ground, before heading on to attack more innocent citizens. I had never before seen such police brutality in Australia, used against innocent citizens for merely expressing their opinion. This is a very dark period in Australian history and I believe every single Australian who values their freedom and their democracy should be alarmed.
Then suddenly, thanks to new Health Orders (a very Orwellian term if there ever was one), protesting was an offence, with protesters being fined for breaching these orders. I myself was fined $1800 under these orders, for speaking to other citizens in front of my local council. Of course, I paid no heed to this anti-democratic fine, and wrote on it ‘return to sender’ and popped it back in the mailbox as soon as it arrived.
At the protests I attended from June until December in 2021, I met many ordinary but very inspiring Australians, who were all united in their anger and upset at a state government who saw fit to deprive them of their basic liberties as human beings and citizens (freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom to manage their own health, freedom to work, freedom to leave their own country), under the guise of this ‘terrible and threatening virus’. I was so inspired by the spirit, dedication and determination of these people, in the face of a majority of the population who seemed to be OK with keeping their heads down and doing what they were told.
To bring a bit of light relief to myself and others, I made this video, the Dystopian Nightmare Cake!
I am happy that I am getting better at Badass Boundaries this year, as someone who has suffered from people pleasing syndrome (AKA ‘I am a NICE person’ so I will always be NICE to you even when you disrespect me / cross my boundaries’). In my old age I am getting better at saying No, with no excuses, and at asking for what I want. When we own our badass boundaries, it also gets easier to ask for what you want and need, without worrying about possible rejection.
Another You-Ni-Verse Calendar
This year I made another You-Ni-Verse Calendar, based on a series of paintings of the Archetypes of Carl Jung. I enjoyed the painting process and coming up with all the designs for each Archetype. Painting is always a very relaxing and enriching process for me, and I can feel the alchemy happening within my soul as I create each painting. With each painting, I am changed and renewed at a soul level. This is why I include creative practices on my retreats. They are very powerful Soul Refresh Therapy!
Below are pics of my friends Nicholas and River, with their You-Ni-Verse Calendars for 2022!
Thanks to all of you, my dear subscribers, clients and friends who attended my 2 hour Zoom Workshops during 2021 on different themes such as Inner Child Healing, Tarot, Meditation and also Poetry as a tool for healing.
I had lots of fun connecting with you all during these events, and I am planning more of them in 2022. I want to develop these workshops in 2022 as more of a series, so that each one flows into the next in a sequence, and learnings and knowledge can grow over time. Anyone who is a member of my You-Ni-Verse Community will benefit from a discount on the price of these workshops.
Finances always feature in my Annual Review, and this year I am happy to say that I am largely debt free. The only remaining debt I have is my HECS debt (Government fees from my University Degree). Everything else is now paid off. This feels good and like a stable and solid foundation for the continuation of my entrepreneurial journey as an artist and a Self Love / Yoga / Meditation teacher.
I don’t have a huge bank balance, but I do get to do the work that I love, and for that I am very grateful. If I get to live the life I want to live, do the things I want to do, and serve the people I wish to serve with my gifts, for me this is true wealth and abundance. I set intentions for an even more abundant year in 2022!
People and Relationships
I was very happy to meet a lot of amazing people this year in Melbourne, in St Kilda and surrounds I met many musicians at the regular lockdown drumming sessions, and I also met a lot of people at the protests and freedom rallies I attended. As well I met new students and clients on for my work, and via Facebook, who also become friends.
Friendships are so important to my health and wellbeing, and connecting with old and new friends is one of my greatest joys. So thank you, if you have been in my life in some way this year! I am grateful for your presence! I don’t have pics of all the lovely people I met this year, or the old friends I re-connected with, but you know who you are! Below on left is with my Open Mic friends José and others at Iddy Biddy Bar, and on right with my Hoduran / Chilean friend Monica at our pop up market stall at Como House.
My Popup Tarot Shop!
Looking for new avenues to connect people with my work, in September of 2021 I offered to do Tarot Sessions in one of the local cafes in my area of Melbourne. Every Friday I set myself up at my table, with my sign, and did some impromptu readings for the people in my neighbourhood. This was a fun way to feel like more a part of the community, after feeling quite isolated during the ‘lockup’ period. And a good way to spread the word of my work and offerings.
- Want to do your own Annual Review? Download your Free PDF Template for that here.
- Listen to or buy the You-Ni-Verse album? You can do that here.
- Get a You-Ni-Verse Calendar? You still can, here!
- Book a Tarot Reading via Zoom, book one in here.
What were some of your highlights and challenges in 2021? I would love to hear from you in the comments!
Please leave a comment and share your thoughts. Do you do your own Annual Reviews?