Looking Forward, Looking Back – the Two Faces of Janus

By Susan Roberts

Like many people, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one. My long ago classical education makes me think of the ancient Roman god Janus, keeper of doors and gates. He has two faces, one looking forward and one looking back.

To be honest, I’m glad that 2015 is over. I didn’t enjoy the first half of it much because I was sorting, packing and leaving the country of my birth. Saying goodbye to friends is never easy. The second half of the year was a complete change for me, suddenly surrounded by family I had been missing for several years.

Yet it still took me half a year to adapt. Why did I spend so long finding my feet?

Gradually it sank in that the big move I had just done was no ordinary occurrence, but a life changer. Most people in the world don’t do this type of thing, and those who do, rarely do it more than once in their lifetimes. I certainly hope I never have to make such a change again. The enormity of it almost overwhelmed me, but the excitement of actually embarking on such a journey won out in the end.


I’m not sorry for the change itself, but I am sorry that it took me so long to relax into the adventure of adapting to my new way of life. I’m sorry that I stupidly didn’t think it would take so long, so I didn’t prepare myself mentally for that. Consequently, I wasted a lot of time in my first few months in Australia, but instead of feeling guilty about it, I have decided to see it as a necessary break for recharging the batteries that ran down. A time of recovery for the sleep and body weight I had lost. A deep breath to acknowledge the gratitude I feel for this chance to start afresh.

2015 is over now and we’re into a brand new year.

Some bloggers use one word to describe what their experience of 2015 was like, and another word to describe what they hope their 2016 will bring. I’m not sure I can squash the whole of 2015 into one word, so in keeping with Janus and his two faces, I’ve got two words: one for each face.

Looking back on the first half of 2015: Upheaval.

Looking forward in the second half of 2015: Recovery.

What are my two words for 2016? I’ve done enough looking back, but the past forms who we are, so one face of Janus is now looking inside to focus on what I have brought with me. I have the chance to take what I have learned and gained from all that has gone before, and use it.

Since I intend to throw everything I have into focusing on my new life in general and my writing in particular, my inner word for 2016 is: Focus.

And in the spirit of looking forward to the brighter future I am hoping for, my second word is: Hope.


How about you? What was the biggest thing you did in 2015? What would you do over if you had the chance? What are you most looking forward to in the New Year?

Here’s wishing you all a joyful year in 2016!


12 thoughts on “Looking Forward, Looking Back – the Two Faces of Janus

  1. jac dowling says:

    This is such an honest and open assessment Susan and I’m not surprised that you found 2015 difficult. I’ve moved countries several times, which held promises, most of which were fulfilled. Perhaps the hardest was moving from KZN to the Western Cape with a 14 year old daughter who’d been at a private and very English school, to a local Afrikaans medium. She emerged strong and positive, thank goodness. 2016? well let’s see, at our age there are always surprises around the corner – for myself, I hope that the desire and ability to write return and that our young families continue to thrive! My biggest blessing of 2015 was a successful cataract removal and lens replacement in the only working eye! Good luck in your new year, lots of it.

    • Susan says:

      Thanks, Jac. Best of luck to you too. Very glad that your eye op was so successful. I’m sure the desire to write will re-surface – probably when you least expect it, as such things do.

  2. David says:

    Rumour – that sullen bitch – has it that moving to Australia is like being born again.

    • Susan says:

      I think it’s a bit more like going 10 rounds with a mutant washing machine on steroids. You come out of it dizzy, drained, dazed, wrung out and totally exhausted, but relieved to have survived and looking forward to a great new future.

  3. Penny M says:

    Thanks for this, Sue. Was beginning to get myself into a tizz about my contemplations for 2016 and wondering if I was doing the right thing. Feel a bit like Eliza Doolittle – All I want is a room somewhere …

  4. Sue says:

    You’re a brave woman Susan, I couldn’t bring myself to look back for quite a while. But now I can see the good of what was left and the good of where I am and, of course, I can imagine the good of what is to come … most days! Lovely blog, thanks!

    • Susan says:

      Thanks, Sue. I followed your example in more ways than you probably realised. And every time I saw that you were doing okay, I knew I’d get to that point too, even if it took a little while longer.

  5. Very best wishes as you begin to make up for lost time. ღ

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