Bye Bye 2016, Hello 2017!

Gah! It’s already 2017! It feels like just yesterday that a bright and shiny 2016 arrived at my door with promises of awesome things to come, but now it’s gone into that cold, dark night where time disappears to when one is not looking.

So seeing as it’s a new year I think I should quickly type out a few thoughts on the year that’s been as well as the year to come. So let’s get to it then shall we!

The Year That Was

2016 saw me finally reach the end of my 5 years on the JET Programme. Luckily for me though I managed to remain at the same schools and just transition into a direct hire position which saw minimal changes to my work situation. I’m still enjoying teaching and love interacting with the teachers and students. I do have to start thinking seriously about my next career move though, ALT work is good, but it’s not a long-term career.

Personally, 2016 has been a pretty rough year for me on the family front and 2017 looks like the year when I will have to reevaluate what I want to do with my life and where I want to go from here on out. It sounds much rougher than it is, but it is about high time I try to remove myself from the comfort zone I’ve occupied since coming to Japan back in 2011.

In 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to travel back to SA not just once, but twice! Both times were amazing and I reveled in the chance to see old friends and familiar places as well as give my parents some good family time. Both times saw me eat far too much good food which means I’m going to have to somehow up my exercise routine to balance out the weight gain in 2017.

The Year That Is

2017 is looking to be the biggest shakeup for me in quite a long time. After several years of being content to cruise through my job and life in Japan without too much thought for what comes next, I’ve found that the once my birthday rolled around and I turned 36 I took a good long look at where I am and what I want to be in the future. Staying in Japan long-term means that I will definitely have to leave the world of English teaching simply because the pay and working conditions are very low when compared to other fields of work. It’s definitely also a waste for me to lose all my business knowledge and skills that I studied and worked for over many years. The challenge is just getting my Japanese up to a good level so that I can apply for jobs outside the teaching field.

I’ll probably not be traveling much this year seeing that I want to save up as much money as I can, but I’ll still try to make the odd few trips here and there if I can get good prices. Two places that I hope to get to this year if the price is right are Okinawa and Kagoshima. Seeing that my life in Japan started off in Kagoshima I feel like it would do me the world of good to go back there to center myself and think about just how far I’ve come since then.

As for my current job, I’ve signed on for one more contract which will see my employed as an ALT in Nagano until the start of August 2018, but I feel like this is definitely the last time I will re-contract even though I could still stay on for another year or two after that.

Resolutions

I’ve found that resolutions for the new year are not usually something I can stick to and seeing as life has a way of changing when you least expect it I think it’s best if I jot down a few simple resolutions rather than anything too amazing.

  1. Read more often. I need to read at least 10 minutes before I go to bed so that I can get back into the routine of reading more and reading more frequently.
  2. Study more. Not necessarily just Japanese, but anything that catches my fancy. I want to expand my brain a bit in 2017 rather than just letting it atrophy after mindless hours of TV and games.
  3. Exercise. Any amount of exercise will count! I just need to motivation to do something each day, even if that something is a couple of stretches. Winter is going to be the toughest but making it a habit will be something that makes me feel healthier and more positive.

Other than those few simple things I want to just take each day as it comes and do my best at work.

Here’s hoping that 2017 will be a wonderful and fulfilling year for everyone reading this!


Also published on Medium.