2020: One foot in front of the other

The turning of a new year is always a funny time. The sun rises and sets just as profoundly on every other day, and yet, something about this particular day causes us to stop and naval gaze a little more deeply than usual.

My 2019 has been a bit of a mixed bag. My health took a dive early last year with a niggling injury that forced me to become sedentary, with a cascade of negative impacts on my mood and overall wellbeing. The path to recovery has been slow and expensive, but it’s also led me down a glorious rabbit hole of examining my health from the feet up and finding solutions in all the beautiful nature that surrounds me.

This year I’ve also rooted myself more strongly into Canadian life; passing two sets of exams and finally jumping through all the hoops required for full licencing. That, along with being granted permanent residency means that I can stay and work indefinitely.

I’ve started to find my people, and I’ve had the startling realisation that heading back down under might just be harder now than staying here in my new-found Canadian comfort zone. It’s starting to feel a bit like home.

And yet, there’s a little niggle in the back of my mind that I’m not completely myself here, and that I’ll always feel like an outsider. Can I ever truly relate to people who’ve never heard a Kookaburra laugh, or a cricket ball crack over the boundary for 6? People who think that a pie should be filled with pumpkin and that 25 degrees is a heat wave?

As my mind turns towards home I watch in despair as news of the devastating fires rips through my social media. I grieve for friends whose houses, businesses and blissful way-of-life has been destroyed so suddenly. I want to rush home and stand in solidarity, and yet I’m also frightened of the idea of returning to such a dangerously hot country that’s only getting more so with each passing year.

As 2020 dawns with more questions than answers, I manage the turmoil by falling back on my values and examine what’s really important: health, sanity, community, nature and the environment. I’m not really one for new years resolutions but this year it feels appropriate to have an ambition that helps me inhabit those values more fully.

The goal: to walk 2020km in 2020.

This was partly inspired by listening to this podcast episode and delving into the lessons of Katy Bowman. After already increasing my walking significantly over a couple of months, it’s an ambitious but achievable target for me. I’ll have to be careful not to exacerbate my injury, but even just having the intention is a step in the right direction (ha!). If nothing else, the putting of one foot in front of the other will be good training for whatever the future holds.

Maybe you have a goal. Maybe it’s to drink less or recycle more or eat better or read books. Or maybe you want to walk with me? Company (in person or in spirit) is very much welcomed.

5 thoughts on “2020: One foot in front of the other

  1. Delighted to walk with you in 2020. Also an outsider. From the UK , now a citizen, went back one, here forever but will always feel different. Definitely miss the cricket though. Will be with you in spirit although I am only on Vancouver Island. I’m sure your goal will bring you joy and clarity

  2. Heya, first time commenter here 🙂 I read your blog for the first time years ago when I was a medical student and now I’ve been a doctor in the UK for nearly 5 years. Soon will be a fully-qualified GP so thatnks for the inspiration! As a Barbadian, I think I know what you feel like when you say maybe you’ll always feel like an outsider. I think the best thing to do is just embrace that your personality likes to explore and the feeling like an outsider part is just the downside to that (at least for now) but maybe that will change as the decades roll by.

    Wishing you all the best with your health and the 2020 km walking goal. Seems a bit too lofty for me but perhaps I’ll aim for a 1000 km goal instead haha.

      • GP is better in some ways than what I imagined and worse in others. I don’t like the 10 minutes per patient system here. I enjoy spending more time with patients. However, there are lots of aspects (especially the continuity) which I cherish compared to other specialties I’ve tried out in the past. Overall, I’m very happy with my decision 🙂

        Thanks for the inspiration with the walking goal. After reading your post, I started out by aiming for 1000 miles (about 1600 km) but I’m above target with 322 km so far this year. I definitely feel as though I can push myself more so maybe I’ll end up aiming for 2020 km instead haha.

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