Getting some perspective on life’s challenges

As I’ve mentioned here and elsewhere, my depression has been rather severe in recent months, but (as I’ve also discussed) I’ve tried to take a step back with the aim of getting some perspective on life’s challenges. This is easier said than done, but it’s mostly involved two approaches (in no particular order). 

Recently, two of my closest friends have been dealing with challenges of their own, which include an unwell parent, an unwell spouse, and an unwell sibling, between the two of them (among the usual run-of-the-mill challenges life throws at us from time to time). While both have, to some extent, perhaps hesitated sharing their troubles with me (because they were very aware of my recent challenges), they have done so and it’s been mutually beneficial. They’ve had the opportunity to talk to someone outside of the context of their current challenges and I got a welcomed reminder that I’m not alone in dealing with some not-quite-run-of-the-mill challenges, however different theirs might be. That’s all I’m going to say about them.

The other thing I did was to put together a short video clip comprising a selected pictures taking in July over the last 19 years (some years didn’t have great July pictures). It was a handy reminder, not only of the (mental health and other) challenges I had previously overcome, but also how quickly and unpredictably life ad changed from one July to the next, or a few years later. 

Perhaps most interestingly, when I looked at a picture from a particular July and remember what life was like at the time (the good the bad, and the ugly) I could not have imagined how life was about to change in a very short space of time.

Here are a few highlights, focusing solely on what was happening in July of the years in question:

  • 2004: I wasn’t aware that picture had been taken until later, but my mom had just been readmitted to hospital for what would be the last time, because she would pass away there a few weeks later.
  • 2006: There are no pictures from that month, but I was living and working in London.
  • 2008: My hopes/plans to move to New Zealand after a year in South America has fallen apart, but I was living and working in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 2009: I was back in Cape Town, without a clue where my life was going. A few weeks later my best friend would suggest I go back to university.
  • 2010: A student on the University of Cape Town main campus.
  • 2013: A master’s student and research intern visiting Johannesburg to present a paper at a conference. I was also back on medication for depression.
  • 2016: Getting stuck into the data analysis for my PhD. 
  • 2018: Living and working in Potchefstroom, I travelled to my former hometown (Cape Town) to present a paper at a conference and visit with my PhD supervisor and his wife.
  • 2019: Graduated with a PhD in sociology 
  • 2021: Living under the ongoing lockdown and unhappy with life in Potchefstroom, but at least I had Luna for company.
  • 2022: After leaving academia and South Africa, as well as finding a new home for Luna, I relocated to Taiwan., thanks to the Taiwan Employment Gold Card.

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One thought on “Getting some perspective on life’s challenges

  1. This was such a great reflection of how far you have come and also hope because at those particular times you had no idea you would be where you are now and so you have no idea where you will be in 5years from now. That is both exciting and scary at the same time. You can either choose to be afraid of what the future holds, or embrace the possibility of a wonderful change.

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