I see 2022 in colors

Looking forward to a new year because you get to work—that may sound strange?

Malin Links

Photo courtesy of Malin Links
For Malin Links, getting back to work as part of a team is one of the best things about the new year.

Valestrandsfossen, Hordaland, Norway

I never really feel any enthusiasm around the start of a new year. When one is used to rummaging around in one’s own depression and anxiety at home, relatively isolated from the world outside, it’s not easy to see any light at the end of any tunnel. Most things just seem like a gray mass, a dark cloud hanging over—where days, weeks, months, and, in the end, years, just blur together.

So, this summer, something amazing happened in my life. I was put in a trial work position at a steel company, Frekhaug Steel Mill, via NAV, the Norwegian labor and employment agency.

I have seldom felt more like a fish out of water than I did when I got there, because I had no experience at all with any of the things I was supposed to do.

Moreover, social anxiety and a shy and introverted personality are very impractical to have when you find yourself in a new group of people. I honestly didn’t think I would stay there when the trial period was over.

I was scared, I was unsure of myself, I felt stupid, because there were both so many things I didn’t understand and also because the social side of things takes so incredibly much out of me.

But the weeks and months went by, and today I’m sitting here knowing that after the Christmas holidays I have a job to go back to!

Therefore, 2022 is the first year I can say, with my hand on my heart, that I look forward to with a certain glow and enthusiasm. I have a job to go to. A job that I more and more feel that I master. A job that I’m very interested in.

At first, I walked around a lot with my eyes fixed on the ground, very nervous and unsure of myself. Therefore, there’s now almost nothing that feels nicer than walking through the work site and hearing and saying the cozy, very everyday words, “Good morning!” and “Good afternoon!”

It’s so nice to be a part of something.

To look forward to a new year because you have a job may sound strange. But when you’re not used the everyday existence of being part of something, it gets to be something you miss and long for. And it becomes something beautiful, almost poetic, to suddenly burst out of an isolation bubble and become part of a team.

I see 2022 in colors, after having seen only gray tones for many, many years. And I am so incredibly grateful for everyone who has been able to see the potential and value in me, that which I’ve not been able to clearly see in myself.

Maybe 2022 will finally be the year when I will become my own friend, comfortable with myself.

That would be a very nice bonus.

Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 21, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.