Close the Year – Review 2009

Today being the last day of 2009 it’s finally time for me to write my close of the year post, a new tradition I started only last time when I did my resolutions. It’s been a very long and demanding year, lots of change mostly for the better. This holiday I’m having right now is only my second one of the year and the last one was back in June. I’m really feeling it, which is probably why I’ve left this to the last minute (much like everything else this Christmas heh.) But still I feel the journey has been worth it and once I get through 2010 the major hurdles of emigration will be behind me.

So to demonstrate (at least to my self) exactly what I did this year there is a break down in different categories  with two themes of reflection: accomplishments/memorable experiences and things to let go of/don’t want in my life.

So here is my offering, my Review for 2009:


In a way I had a bit of an unexpected breakthrough with my writing this year. I took the year off my books but towards the end, the last few months, I rekindled my love for the story and found a better way to collect my thoughts and work. I swapped from using Word to OneNote, an experience I hope to write about soon in a separate work and this had made such a difference in being able to compile so much of my work. I have boxes and folders full of notes that I never get round to reading, this way I keep it electronic and I can write on any book, any time line when I please now, it makes it a much more web like compilation than a linear process, something that seems to have revived my interest in the sci-fi series.

Not only this though but I started writing short stories, I only completed one, though I have several in various states of completion, but I did send the story off to publishers and got my very first rejection slips. This was huge for me. I had spent so long thinking I would never do that, open myself up for rejection. I was determined to just write my books. Having taken this new approach with the shorts I finally allowed myself to find the space to be OK with being rejected and going through the submission process. Having come to this point now, in a way, it has allowed me to regain my idea of just writing my books for me so it’s fun again and doing the shorter pieces for commercial consideration. This way I get the best of both worlds and I’m in no rush as I have my entire lifetime to write.

I’m also starting at a writers group in the city with a writer friend of my mine. I’m going to be sharing with them the beginning of my first sc-fi book in the series, as after nearly ten years of working at it I finally think I’ve got a workable enough beginning that I’m willing to share it with others. I can’t count how many versions I’ve written over the years so somehow for me that is the biggest achievement of all.

I’ve also had a couple of articles at Helium go No.1 (including my Battle Star Galactica review out of 33 competitive articles)


For the past year I took a break also from the photography. I haven’t been out in the field but I have take some occasional photographs from my house in the country. It is very beautiful here. I have found though due to high levels of fatigue this year that the process of not being able to get out and snap as much as I like has been disappointing. Whenever I see something beautiful or unusual I would feel the urge to get it down but I could never keep up with this. So this year has been in a lot of ways a practise in learning to bear the overwhelming need to record everything.


This has been my first full year in Denmark (and with my current employer). I feel much more settled now, the only big issue being the language barrier. I managed to complete module 1.1 with a pass rate of 88% but I’ve struggled to fit in my Danish lessons around work, travel, fatigue and my demanding sleep schedule so it’s been very difficult to keep up. I absolutely want to understand and be fluent in this language but this process has, more than any other sign, shown me that I have too much on my plate. I know it will get better when I have paid holiday again from May 2010 onwards but I also know I’ve pushed myself harder this year physically than any since my last year in University when I was doing 20 hour days sometimes. So one of my achievements this year was not losing it completely, making it to the holiday in Christmas when I thought I couldn’t. (I have to be in the Danish system for one financial year before I get paid holiday again) In a way this year has allowed me to see just how strong my will power can be over my body when I’m correctly motivated (by for example a great employer/job), but also reminded me of the danger of shutting out the body.


Which brings me to my health.  I know I’ve pushed myself this year and that I may still pay for that in the year or so to come but one thing that has been better for sure has been my depression. I won’t say that it is gone because it’s not but I’ve not dwelt in it like I used to. It’s led me to see just how the work environment has impacted my mental health over the years. For the first time I’ve been in a company that I have considered staying with for the rest of my working days. The job I do has removed the over demanding elements that my old jobs had and moved me into the test/debug part of the life cycle instead of hardcore development. So it’s far less stressful.

The only really stressful part of my job is the physical act of getting back and forth to the office and working within a sleep/energy cycle that doesn’t suit me (as I’m a owl, on my own devices I don’t get up until after midday and stay up all night). A lot of my hobbies suffered this year because between work, the house, Danish classes and travel I barely had any energy or motivation to work on my books or any other project I have going.

I have though in this year managed to get a few health issues sorted. I’ve got an appointment in January to have some insoles made to support my feet as I have collapsed arches and this likely contributes to the ankle pain and mobility issues I have, so I’m hoping this will make a big difference in my ability to get around next year. Also I have a free membership to a chain of gyms in Denmark from work and one of them has a pool that I’ve started using once a week. I know given some time this will help my muscle endurance in my legs so I can stand for longer without pain and fatigue.

I’ve also been doing a lot of inner work with my emotions and noticing what has been cropping up and I’ve discovered (among other things) that I still have a latent motivation to harm myself, to wish myself ill. I’ve noticed how I cling to my ill health as a way of feeling ‘off duty’ because when I was a child and looking after my father and sister from age 9 up the only time I wasn’t ‘on call’ was when I was sick. This revelation has been a huge drop of the penny and I’ve started doing metta (loving kindness) practise towards myself to counteract this urge to want to be ill and in pain as a means of self punishment over feelings of low self worth, as well as an associated desire to feel free from the obligations that tire me.


One of the most important times I had at work was very recently and at the first work JuleFrokost (Christmas Dinner) I attended. I actually found I was able to open up a lot of people and get them talking about things they had obviously been sitting on for some time. It’s hard to describe it but it felt like a very powerful merging of ideas and comfort to one another. It was very moving and I did actually cry at one point. It felt like with some I had managed to get through a big barrier that had been unconsciously between us ever since we met (since we didn’t know each other). It reminded me this is something I am good at and something I can give to others for the benefit of all.

As I have said before, my work and my attitude to the IT industry really did evolve this year (and it was one of my resolutions last year to come to peace with the industry, mainly due to a desire to pursue the writing field more). I know now that IT is my best way to earn and keep the roof over our heads (and this has taken the pressure off the writing and made it fun again) but having found a better niche within the development life cycle for my temperament, and a supportive employer, it is much more bearable now as my main line of work.

In terms of my achievements at work I know I performed well, made them over a million kroner and have had a lot of praise from the powers above. I know the only thing for them has also been the lack of Danish language which is where I’ve felt some pressure to get the routine right so I can do it. I know part of the over doing it has been a drive to make sure I have job security in this economic downturn, as I do need this job, but I feel having been through my contract review that I’m on the right track and that I have places I can potentially grow into in the future. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt that with an employer.


I’ve finally got things set up a bit better for my guitars as the keyboard is now set up in the studio so I can do tunings much easier so it’s not a barrier for playing when I feel like it.

I’ve also got back in touch with some members of my family that I hadn’t spoken to in years and it’s slowly moving forward. I actually sent 4 Christmas cards this year, which may not sound like a lot, but for anyone who knows me I struggle to keep in contact with people long distance so that was a big step for me this year.

And lastly, I’ve revamped my Niamh Brown Central site including the reopening of my CafePress store: Becoming Miss Brown relaunching the ‘Insane World’ product line (holiday sale now on!)

So that’s about it for the close of the year review. I’m sure there were other things that I’ve overlooked but this is what has stood out for me as I think back over the year as I write it. I’ll be back tomorrow with my resolutions for 2010 and a look ahead of what’s in store.

Have a great night tonight world and let the New Year bring us the change we need to all move forward together. Godt Nyt Aar!

I offer these words for reflection…


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] You can see my review at my blog For The Hole Inside Everyone called: Close the Year: Review 2009 […]

  2. […] it’s 2010, a new year, a new decade. After doing my Close the Year 2009 yesterday I’ve now done my intention or resolutions for 2010, what I’m aiming for and […]

  3. […] like I’ve said before in my review of 2009 and resolutions of 2010 I have joined a writing group in Copenhagen and we are meeting every 2 […]

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