Every year, as the end of December closes in, I feel as though I am reaching the finish line staggering, and out of breath. The last handful of years, I see the start of a new calendar year as a refresh, sort of like clearing your browser history and cache. I have felt alone in my struggles through each year as I look around at others’ recaps. I miss the days when I used to read (and enjoy) blogs. I miss the days when friends I made through blogging used to blog. I would read their summaries of the year that ended and feel as though I was alone in having a difficult, struggling year. I gave up hope that the next (new) year would bring about more happiness, because things always just tended to pile up on top of what was already a suffocating weight on my shoulders.
However with the end of 2016 I can finally say I am not alone. I don’t know what the heck was going on, but I don’t believe anyone had a good 2016. I’m not talking about the astonishing amount of celebrity deaths (of those there were way too many), but my own friends and their personal struggles, the rest of the world and all of the horrid, awful, evil things that have been going on. Loss of innocence, and hope, and a general loss of positive anything when you look online.
I left facebook for a while. I left twitter for a while. I went back on both, but I have very limited access because I removed apps from my phone. I mostly update facebook through instagram – the one social media platform that brought me joy. Until it didn’t – when they removed chronological order for posts. I don’t get that AT all. I don’t browse it as much anymore. I just post my own photos. I like their filters at least.
And I was struggling myself. Between all the negative in the world, and bad things happening to good people, and not being able to fix problems of others with a magic wand (I wish), I was drowning in an ocean of grey, and apathy. I was fading as a person. I was questioning everything – who I was, why I should live, why hope for anything.
And I couldn’t stomach that feeling, or those questions anymore. I knew I needed to do something. Anything. I needed to finish this story and start a new one.
And so I did.
I held my breath. I took a leap. I took a chance. And I was suddenly less lost than I was earlier in the year. And you know, using the leap/jump metaphor isn’t an easy one for me. But I needed to associate leaping off the edge of something with thoughts that were less horrific than a man jumping off a building and almost hitting me. I needed to associate taking that leap with something positive, and courageous. I quit my job because I couldn’t find ME anymore within the walls of that office, or cubicle. I have been working at the bookstore for a month now and I can’t recall when I was last happy like this.
Leaping is now about courage, and passion, and realizing dreams, and less about death and trauma and fear.
I don’t want to go into 2017 holding on to the fear that has been surrounding me the past three years. I want to start 2017 with the joy of sharing my joy with others. And this is what I found with the scary, difficult decisions I made in the fall.
I was so lost, but I refused to stay lost. In taking chances, and making life a little less comfortable financially, I found myself again and I feel as though I can finish putting the still broken parts of myself back together.
I have zero idea what 2017 will bring. I am not convinced that it will be a better year than 2016. It does have the added bonus of not being an even-numbered year. (You all know how much I do not like even numbers!) There is still so much lost out there, and I think that perhaps the world needs a little more courage to take the leaps it needs to take to be found again. Cheesy, I know. But I think more people need to focus on what can make themselves, and others, heal and find their paths, rather than settle for what is taken for granted as “well, that’s just how it is.” Life isn’t like that anymore. Life isn’t something you settle for. You need to take your leaps and find your answers. Spread happiness. Spread kindness. Spread joy. It might mean you won’t feel as lost as you thought you were.
In 2016 –
I didn’t read nearly as much as I thought I would. 45/50 books in my challenge. Many of those in December were picture books, or early readers.
I quit my job.
I got a tattoo.
I decorated my Happy Planner every week since the end of June. I took an hour or two every Sunday to update the week ahead and used colours that I was feeling at the time. It was a healthy dose of crafty therapy that I desperately needed.
I went back to therapy.
I sang in a band, in front of people. It was amazing.
I blogged more than I had in the past, but still not very much. Turns out I didn’t blog at all in May.
I lost two friends too soon, who made the world spark. I could only go to one memorial.
We moved Jinx’s Garden and grew our first ever watermelons. It was nice.
I got a bird feeder and watched birds in my backyard.
I turned 40.
I realized I needed to change my life or I would drown.
I changed my life. I started a new story. I ended the year happier than I have been in a long time.
Happy new year, internet. I hope it’s a better one than the one before.
Find your happy place.
Everywhere you look right now, you’re flooded with 2014 posts: best of; worst of; this list; that list; red fish; blue fish.
This isn’t really a post like that. Sort of.
Last year, I was oddly optimistic and hopeful at the start of January. It’s a rare thing for me to feel that way, but I had such a strong gut instinct that things were going to be good in 2014. I was suspicious of my feeling because it was an even-numbered year, and those of you who know me know I don’t have good even-numbered years. But I really did think that 2014 was going to be a positive one.
I was ready to choose my own adventures as they came along. I was going to take chances, and risks. I completed a Spartan Race (hoooboy!), I was enjoying being more creative. I was ready to adventure.
The adventures took a dark turn halfway through the year with the unexpected, and sudden loss of Jinx. My husband’s job search took a lot longer than we thought it would and we had such difficult times. It was so very, very hard to find any positive in the universe. On top of our own heartbreak and grief, was the heartbreak and grief just oozing from the news, all over the world. You just couldn’t escape the dark.
And I am so very, very tired of the dark. I need more light in my life. More sunshine.
Our year ended with an epic road trip – 2110km away – to adopt our newest furry family member. The trip was a much needed distraction from everything going on right now, and we are starting off the new year with an extremely snuggly, and loveable boy who turns three today. He’s a new year’s baby. The road trip wasn’t the most fun ever, mostly because we find traveling rather exhausting, but it was an adventure we will always look back on as our lives move forward. One we will talk about for days to come. We brought new love and light into our life before Christmas. The house feels full again, and there’s a break in the gloom that’s been hovering over us.
I have no goals for 2015 other than to try and find something positive in each day. I’d like to say I will write these positives down daily, but I know that will mean I’ll get tired of doing it, or annoyed with myself if I forget. So I’ll work on keeping track of this mentally.
With the help of Shawn, my family, and my amazing group of friends, I think this might be one goal that will help make 2015 a decent year.
In 20 minutes this year will be over. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d still be awake by now but we watched two episodes of Buffy in a row and then it was suddenly after eleven. I took a shower and now I’m just waiting.
Not sure why.
I think it’s because I’m just eager for this year to finally be over.
And I am pretty sure I’ll be kicking myself a year from now, but I just don’t have it in me to do my yearly wrap up on the blog. This isn’t particularly a year I want to remember. It’s been one of the lousiest years I can remember and some pretty Big Stuff happened that wasn’t altogether pleasant.
So, I’m ready for a “new year”. For the first time in ages I even bought a calendar year agenda. I’m so used to following an academic calendar – even at work. To me, my year begins in August/September.
But this year, August and September weren’t fantastic and were still too closely associated with the earlier part of the year. I’m just completely over 2013 and I think that might be why I was so drawn to this agenda.
I don’t know.
I don’t even know what to expect or hope for in the new calendar year. I’d like a lot less major traumatic events in my life. If that’s possible? Please. But honestly, I normally have lousy even-numbered years and generally I do not get along well with the number for and 2014 has all of that and more.
Then again, I normally do well in odd-numbered years and the number 13 and I tend to play well with each other. And that just didn’t work out the way I’d hoped.
Honestly, I’m tired. I’m tired of sadness and darkness and negativity and disappointment. No matter how fiercely I fought to stay positive I only succeeded in finding myself exhausted. I want to hope that 2014 is brighter and lighter. Not just for myself but for everyone because I’m not the only one who’s had a rough year. I know too many people who were kicked in the pants by the last year and I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one happy to see that calendar change at midnight.
…until the numbers change and you have to start thinking about the date as you’re writing it down. Betcha a lot of rent cheques will bounce tomorrow as people forget to change the year when they date them.
For all my pain and darkness I did manage to accomplish things in 2013. I’ve been very active (for myself) and have kept it up. I have managed to be healthier physically – even if I need to focus on the mental health now. I have learned a lot about myself in the last year and I am slowly learning that I am not alone. No matter what happens I am not alone. I am surrounded by a strong, supportive and loving group of family and friends who will not let me suffer in silence and will help me get through anything.
I’ve even managed to keep a 4.0 GPA in my program at school. It’s slow and I could have done better this past semester had I not been suffering from PTSD (without realizing it) but I am still hanging in there and I have more faith in myself and my ability to not fail than I did a year ago.
I didn’t read much but I did many other creative things and realized that I need to keep up the artistic stuff to keep my brain and soul happy. And I enjoy it.
This year was exhausting and not the best of years but I know I have come out stronger and with a better sense of who and what is around me. I know I am lucky. Extremely lucky.
One thing I’d like to do in 2014 is be less connected. Whether that means I delete twitter and facebook from my phone or ONLY even use those platforms on my phone and not on my computer, I don’t know. I know that they make me unhappy. I miss only having blogs to visit and getting to see people through random posts as opposed to constant streams of chatter. I’m a culprit, too. I talk all the time, often too much. I need to be less all over that and more in my pen and paper journals and here, on the blog. Social media makes me tired. Very tired. And angry. And sad. And annoyed. And I need to cut back.
I need to colour, paint, draw, sticker, GLITTER and write more. Maybe take my guitar out of the closet and tune it and practice playing it again.
I need to BE more and DO more and be less nosy about other’s lives.
And now I’m done with my blog post. My final of 2013.
Don’t trip on the way out, 2013. You’ve worn out your welcome and I am happy to see you go. I’m ready for something shiny and new.
Until next year and tomorrow, internet. Happy new year.
Like the Year of Doing Things I had in 2010, this year turned out to be my Year of Going Places (Quebec City, Kingston, Toronto, Ottawa, New York City). What I didn’t expect was how much I didn’t actually BLOG about GOING PLACES. I was sure I had. Sometimes updating facebook and twitter makes it feel like I updated my blog. I think for 2013 I am going to make a better effort to blog more and update FB less. I miss blogging, and I don’t actually like FB. I need to kick that habit.
So… here’s my 2012 in review, point form.
January (6 posts)
- as in 2011, I didn’t blog much that month
- turned 36 and had some friends over
- tried to cook more often, that went up and down
- was still trying to get over the stress of the strike & stuff in the office
February (4 posts)
March (6 posts)
- my macbook pro died and I lost a bunch of photos. *sniff*
- I had a horrible plague, that the doctor said wasn’t a lung infection
- my husband had a birthday and I love him very much
- my sister & I threw our parents a surprise going away-slash-40th anniversary party at a Cabane a Sucre at the end of the month. They were moving & celebrating their anniversary in May, so we wanted to get this in before they left.
April (6 posts)
- I grieved over the loss of a Bull Dog I had never actually met in real life, and was thankful for the friendship I had formed with the dog’s human. The internet can be an amazing place sometimes.
- Shawn & I went on our first ever trip to Quebec City over Easter weekend and although we relaxed, we didn’t really think it was a Big Deal while there. And of course I never did blog about this trip. Ugh.
- Sophie turned 2, and ate all the corners off our coffee table, and some shoes.
May (2 posts)
- apparently this was not a blogging month =/
- my parents moved to Kingston, ON
- had a central air unit installed & OMG bliss!
- planted what would soon become Jinx’s Garden
- I went to Kingston by myself & by train, over the long weekend in May to see their new place.
June (4 posts)
- went to New York City to see Kristi and attend BEA 2012 and visit my cousin
- let Jinx take over the garden
- spent a lot of time outdoors, which is unusual for me in the summer
July (11 posts)
August (18 posts)
- attempted to do Blogust – blog every day in August, with my internet bestie Yoj. Failed, but did a lot of soul searching at the same time.
- might have failed at Blogust, but I rocked the August Photo A Day. =P
- played in the garden some more with Jinx
- had a blast at the All Star Reunion Dance at my old church
- I didn’t have a very eventful August 😉
September (3 posts)
- didn’t blog much, but a ton of Big Life Events happened
- Shawn & I visited Kingston over the long weekend (didn’t blog about it. Ugh.) we fell in love with that place & are sad there are no real jobs so we can’t move there.
- went back to school for the first time since 1995. Scared out of my mind, only one course to start, but still. Did it.
- got that pesky tree cut down in the front yard & FINALLY had the HOLE IN MY DRIVEWAY filled in.
- joined weight watchers, though I don’t talk about it with people and yes, that’s what those protected posts are about
- went to Montreal Comic-Con for the first time ever. It was ok.
October (13 posts)
- didn’t do much because I was pretty swamped with that one course I was taking – had to hand in a research paper that nearly made me give up out of extreme panic and anxiety. I didn’t though and I got an A!
- started to reorganize my kitchen so it was better suited to my cooking more often. Kept the slow cooker out on the counter, instead of in a cupboard so we actually USE it often now. Whee!
November (8 posts)
- did school stuff
- doubted myself
- went to Toronto to visit friends & an amazing sticker store (didn’t blog about it!)
- decided to hand-make all my Christmas cards
- lost weight, gained weight, lost weight
December (16 posts – including this one)
- went to Ottawa to visit Monkey (didn’t blog about it!)
- had a super fun 24 Days of Tea advent calendar from DAVIDsTEA – loved it!
- Jill came over, as usual, during the Christmas break and her boyfriend Jinx was very happy & we played a rude card game that made us laugh and laugh and laugh. Jinx WON!
- 45cm of snow on Dec 27 (the day Jill came over) – so happy we didn’t have to drive anywhere!
- had an amazing Christmas with the man I love. Didn’t blog about it, like I normally do. To tired to blog.
And there you have it… my simple and quiet year in review. I’ve been making some changes to my life, to help me see things in a happier light. I’m eager to see where 2013 leads me. Not only do I tend to do better in odd-numbered years, 13 is one of my favourite numbers.
I don’t really do the New Year’s thing and I never make resolutions, but I am looking forward to improving the changes I have made so far and just becoming a better person all around. Part of that is to try and be less negative and try and stop getting so angry at everything. Just accepting and changing when and where I can. I feel like a better person that way. My soul is happier.
And spending time with loved ones, both family and friends. I want to do lots of that next year (and forever). Reminding myself what the important things are once more.
Happy New Year, my friends. Thanks for sticking around.
PS – Our driveway STILL isn’t finished… just in case you were wondering. Although the hole did get cement poured in it. Cement. NOT asphalt. And they never came to take the asphalt and crap off our lawn either. Not that happy about this. Ugh.
I have to admit, I’m not feeling the end of year recap right now. I have been skimming over posts in my reader but I haven’t really been reading many of them. My apologies, I’m just in an odd head space.
This year was very challenging for me as far as personal life goes and sadly, it did sort of show through in my blogging on both blogs and in my reading experiences. The last two months were abysmal on the reading front and even when I did finish a book I had no desire to blog about it. I forced myself, of course, because it bothered me almost more that I wasn’t blogging about the books. I was at war with myself and it was exhausting. I can be quite the nag. Sheesh.
I’m not big on setting goals and issuing challenges, but I did do a little of that in the reading part of my life. Not only that, I did so successfully. Big surprise to me.
Because Goodreads had a nifty widget this year, I joined their Reading Challenge (since I like widgets that keep track of things.) In 2010 I read 120 books, so I figured that should be doable again and even increased that amount by 5 just to make it more exciting.
I managed to read 140 books in total, therefore surpassing my goal.
I reached my goal in mid-October. With the way I was reading, I should have reached at least 155 by now, but November and December kicked me in the shins and I’ve hardly read a thing. That being said, 140 isn’t a number to sniff at either. I think that’s the most I have ever read in a year since I have been keeping count of the books. Maybe when I was working in retail books I’d read something close to that, but I don’t know because I wasn’t counting then.
I read way more YA than I normally do this year but mostly a lot more MG than I normally read. Why? Because I am tired of books seeming to be exactly the same story. I am tired of love-triangles, unnecessary graphic sex scenes and insta-love. I find that Middle Grade books are becoming more exciting because they have these great, imaginative plots and fantastic character development and still have a shred of originality that a lot of YA and Adult fantasy/paranormal/mysteries just don’t have anymore.
The only challenge I joined in 2011 was The 2011 Debut Author Challenge. I managed to read 26 books on that list, which I think is also a record for me. Normally many of the debut books are difficult to find in stores here.
I also didn’t BUY as many books this year. I tried very hard to read many of the books I already own that have been sitting there on a shelf, table, floor, unread for so long. Financially this year was difficult so I cut out book buying immensely. I think I received more books for review this year than I ever have and I’m always picky about what I accept.
Blogging about books still remains fun for me, and I shall continue as long as it does. I just like to blog in general and the few dear friends I have made through this blog will always be cherished. I like that I hold true to my own vision of this blog and I seem to stay out of the drama loop almost 100% of the time. I like that.
I appreciate every comment I ever get and I try very hard to reply to them all. It was tough while I was down in the dumps because I wasn’t interacting with anyone anywhere, but I do try. So thank you all for reading this past year, I know my reader base grew a ton and I want you all to know that I truly appreciate your visits.
Not sure what 2012 will bring, but as I mentioned on my personal blog, I will work at taking it one day at a time and trying to just cherish each day as it happens – no matter what happens.
I wish you a very happy and healthy New Year, Internet and I look forward to seeing you on the flip-side!