Brussels, Sunday December 27th 2020, 22h38.
It’s already late when I’m sitting on the couch enjoying one last glass of champagne reminiscing, I believe, the most meaningful Christmas weekend so far. My cat is softly purring on its blanket next to me, the fireplace is lit, just like dozens of candles scattered over our coffee table. I’m tired, but it’s a content kind of exhaustion since I spent the whole day working on this article. How I’ve experienced this year deserves to be put into words decently; therefore I wrote, and rewrote. Swapped the paragraphs. Deleted what seemed like too much. Or too less. While taking a bath, I thought for hours about the message I actually wanted to convey.
I concluded that I definitely didn’t want to bring you some meaningless, forgettable New Year’s resolutions, which I never live up to anyway. If I have one at all, it is the same as every year: staying my sassy & classy self, but in a slightly better version every day. Being able to end every day, no matter how gloomy, with a broad smile and thankful heart.
In this piece, we’re looking back at a turbulent year, to say the least. Mainly one with a lot of misery, but in my opinion also one in which a lot of beautiful things had room to blossom.
February 2020. I’m in rotations and turn nightshifts. In between patients and after working hours, I study for our OSCE (a big clinical skill performance test), which will be in just a week. I just finished a busy day ànd night at the hospital so I’m heading for my car to get home ASAP, I need a good night’s rest. I’m almost home, and for just a split second, my attention drifts away. It takes me a whole minute to realize, I just drove my first car total loss. The smoke leaves the old Volvo I inherited from my grandfather, who died unexpectedly years ago. I remember this event as rather violent, from which I miraculously got out of in one piece. Today I still believe that, in addition to the robustness of the car itself, it was my grandfather in some way ‘protecting’ me. Although I know very well that’s complete nonsense, I like to hold on to that bizarrely comforting thought.
It was around March 2020, that I really found myself and what I actually like to do again by letting go of what kept me hanging in one place without much perspective. I almost literally got more room to breathe, and not much later got my radiant smile back again.
This year, I did not get nor achieve everything I initially wished for. In June 2020, I failed at getting the job of my dreams. Suddenly, I had to leave behind not only a wonderful team and workplace I got familiar with, but also a city and a flat so close to my heart. But looking back now, what I got in return turns out to be much more valuable: Drive. Curiosity. A new workplace (and so my first real job) with at least as much fun colleagues. Their trust. People who believe in me and see potential. A chance to grow and some hope for a breakthrough. Cherry on top was my first paycheck, which I immediately set aside to finance my next journey. All things I never dared of dreaming six months ago.
Since September 2020, after 7 years standing on my own two feet, I temporarily live back at my family home. Something I always swore I would never do again in my life. To be honest, I wasn’t really feeling it at the start. But if you ask me, I’d immediately do it again, grateful for the time I was able to spend with my mother. Precious time that will never be taken away from us again.
Writing my 2020 recap down makes me revive everything so vividly. Even if we can count the good times on one hand, which is rather strange for a 12 month period, I believe also the bad experiences add up to building a strong self. My most important achievement this year is that I finally learned to trust myself and in the capacities I have. I stopped worrying too much about what, in retrospect, are nothing more than trivialities. Therefore, I really feel like the best time for new beginnings, is now.
So, what’s next?
In 2021, I want to stay my cheeky self, continue to grow and learn. I hope that this year I’ll finally get the chance to find my dream job into residency. I wish for another big adventure abroad. Who knows, maybe a new love will come my way. But a lover is not what I wish for. Spending most of this year alone has brought out the best in me. I invested loads of time in nothing but myself, working hard, getting the hang of applications and job interviews. Lots of self care and relaxing, too, and such kind of selfishness is something I desperately needed at this moment in my life.
Being completely honest with you; I doubt that our long awaited 2021 will look so much different from this year. But we must believe in progress in the right direction. We can only pray that we as human individuals with needs, dreams and flaws can show the essential endurance and take up responsibility for our behaviour. But I consider it as a part of my job to believe in us. 🙂
Furthermore, I’m not planning on sitting still the first few weeks of the new year. Not only do I have many projects in mind workwise, but also The Sacred Closet finally gets a metamorphosis! For a long time, I wasn’t open to big transformations when it came to my little baby, but now I know the time for a fresh change has come.
I really wanted to write a final concluding article on The Sacred Closet as you and I know it. The way it has been all these years. We’ve been on this journey together for as long as I can remember, and I hope to continue to do so from next year on. With that being said, I’d love to turn the page with you, and start a new chapter with a little, but brave and fiery heart.
For 2021, I wish you that one thing of which the past year taught us that it’s not so obvious: health. But above all, I wish for you to figure out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous and unafraid version of you. Go after those things as if nothing else matters. In fact, nothing else does.
Love, Nelly ❤
❤ What I was wearing: Maje dress | Maje belt | Palladium sneakers (similar) | Lulu Saint-Tropez bolero | Necklace (own design, manufactured by Ellement) | Delvaux Tempête Pochette | Calzedonia stockings
❤ Pictures by P. Elle Photographie