Looking back at my 35 year old self – #10

In 2013, I spent a term of studies in Nanjing, supported by a Hamer Scholarship. This was a transformative experience, and a moment to pause and reflect after an intense early period of migration. At the end of that year, I wrote down a series of journal entries, one-per-day, capturing my thoughts. COVID gave me the chance to revisit them: I was somewhat moved at meeting a younger version of myself. Now that I near the end of my PhD and a major book, and begin a new major venture in green energy, I realised patterns and struggles remained oddly similar. So, I thought I might share this journal here over the coming weeks – who knows, it might resonate with someone, trigger a useful insight, or just a passing moment of self-compassion.

24 december

I have always experienced Christmas as an only child, last in a lineage, youngest in the family. I’m not sure I’ve outgrown this sense of being the young one among the adults.

I complained about being with 20 year olds a lot during this scholarship – yet I’ve increasingly found myself surrounded by younger people since I moved to Australia. Is it that migration has made me ‘restart from scratch’, or is it that, as I focused on new challenges, I developed natural affinities with younger generations who saw the world as I did?

I’m halfway through my life, and will probably never have a child. This lineage ends with me. But I have mentored others, younger ones, interns, younger friends. This has been my way of becoming an ancestor.