2015 – The Year of Challenges and Opportunities

(Note: this was posted in February but backdated to December).

At the end of my 2014 goal review I wrote:

“Bring on new challenges and opportunities in 2015.”

Challenging would be a word that aptly sums up my 2015. From holding none to multiple jobs, changing churches, and teaching hundreds of students, 2015 presented plenty of challenges and also plenty of opportunities.

At the start of the year I set some goals which I subsequently completely forgot about, but looking back now I achieved four out of five of them. They were:

  • Get a stable job
    • Work life in 2015 was anything but stable, I went for months at a time without work or pay and then at other times I was holding five contracts at a time. Despite these ups and downs I was presented with the opportunity to lecture a whole course of my own. This was a great personal development opportunity coming less than two years after completing my PhD.
  • Continue learning German
    • This goal ebbed and flowed, but in the later part of the year I completed around 90 days of continuous practice on Duolingo.com
  • Learn python
    • I completed multiple Coursera courses on python and had to crash course myself through it to work on a Baxter robot in the middle of the year.
  • Go to Europe
    • I went in February on a whim after finding myself out of work.
  • Read 20 books
    • I read 33! (Below are some of the covers as shown by goodreads.com)

Some of the books read in 2015
Some of the books read in 2015


Each month of the year also had a number of highlights:

January – I went to the Asian Cup and saw North Korea play Uzbekistan. I had fun at both Symphony and Opera in the Domain, and discovered the music of Thelma Plum during her performance at The Rocks on a very wet Australia Day.

2015 Asian Cup
2015 Asian Cup

February – I rocked out at Needtobreathe’s Sydney show and took a holiday to Germany.

needtobreathe Sydney 2015
needtobreathe Sydney 2015

March – I didn’t get up to much at all as I was busy teaching many classes.

April – I spent a day in Melbourne, three days in Singapore and attended the ANZAC Day dawn service marking 100 years since the Gallipoi Landings.

Sydney ANZAC Day Dawn Service 2015
Sydney ANZAC Day Dawn Service 2015

May – I wore a blue wig to the State of Origin and checked out Vivid Sydney.

Attending State of Origin
Attending State of Origin

June – I went to New Zealand for a weekend, unfortunately I got food poisoning and ended up spending the entire weekend in bed.

July – I went on a road trip to the Central Coast and visited New Zealand again (I didn’t get food poisoning the second time around).

August – I attended the Sydney Motorsport Park round of the V8 Supercars.

September – I had a water fight with friends in the Blue Mountains.

October – I went on an adventure to the South Coast with two Germans and to North Head with work colleagues.

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November – I went to Sculpture by the Sea, was best man at a friend’s wedding in Bali and had an early Christmas in NZ.

December – I attended the final round of the V8 Supercars and had a hotlap in one of the Mercedes Benz, watched the Sydney leg of the Extreme Sailing Competition, went to the Big Bash Cricket and walked around Henry Head and Cape Banks.

Overall, the second half of 2015 was far better than the first half. 2016 is starting out in much the same was as 2015 did with uncertainty in many areas of life, however, this time I’m much more upbeat about both the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead.