The Ups and Downs of 2016 – The Year in Review

2016 was…a year. It was harder than some others were. It was a year of growth for me. It’s early in 2017 and I am feeling optimistic so far. It’s early days, and I though it would be fitting to review what happened to me in 2016. The year had its fair share of ups and downs. There were many things learned and a lot of positive change.

Let’s start with the “ups”:

  • I truly enjoyed celebrating my birthday this year with the impromptu plans that came about. It was great to be surrounded by awesome people.
  • I didn’t increase my debt-load.
  • I reconnected with some old friends.
  • I started a new job and it is the first job I’ve had where I truly feel respected and appreciated.
  • I made an amazing new friend as a result of starting the new job. I can’t imagine not having her as a friend.
  • I learned to love living alone. I’m not so sure I could live with someone again unless they’re REALLY special!
  • I became a lot more comfortable with who I am as my own person.
  • Tobi is a happy kitty and is well on her way to being a healthy weight.
  • I saved up for and built my new computer. (Built with the help of said amazing friend and her husband!)

And now for the “downs”:

  • My best friend moved across the country – This is kind of bittersweet because it was an amazing move for her personal happiness, but I miss the shit out of her.
  • I didn’t pay down any significant amount of my debt.
  • I didn’t manage to save any money that stayed saved. (see “ups” above)
  • Some pretty influential celebrities in my life died. Carrie Fisher was the hardest for me because she is such a strong advocate for mental health. She was a bit of a hero, and not just because of Star Wars.
  • Tobi had a health scare. We caught it in time, but it is looking more and more like the issue will crop up again. It’s almost time for another visit to the vet to avoid the scare again in the future…

I created a few goals for myself at the beginning of 2016 and they included getting healthier and being kinder to myself. I think I am definitely better at being kind to myself than I was. Getting healthier is still a work in progress, but I feel like I will make some serious headway with that one in 2017.

A lot of changes were affected in 2016, including these:

  • I went on antidepressant medication. I was in a really terrible place when I finally went to my doctor to ask about this. He was more than happy to talk about it with me and suggest some options. I stand by this as quite possibly the smartest decision I made in 2016. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t done it.
  • I am finally started doing a better job of looking after myself and working on finding the work-life balance that works for me. I also starting improving at practicing regular self-care.
  • I came to terms with a lot of things and I feel like I finally started to heal. This is especially true in the last half of 2016.

Because of these changes that took place in 2016, I also noticed small things about my habits:

  • I started listening to music again.
  • I started wanting to read again.
  • I was more present in my life than I ever was in the past.
  • My weight started to finally go in the right direction (DOWN instead of UP!)
  • I was able to manage my spending well enough to make the new computer happen and get back into playing PC games again.
  • I finished my big blanket project that I started in the summer of 2015. (I finally finished it in the summer of 2016.)

I started a few projects, however, that were not so successful. I won’t beat myself up over these because being kind to myself is so much more important. The kind of things that I am listing below used to cause me a lot stress and upset, but no longer.

  • Life Reboot and Life Reboot 2.0 were almost complete failures in terms of accomplishing the goals I set out for myself. HOWEVER, the items I listed in these projects have slowly become incorporated into my daily life and continue to become easier as time goes on.  This is why I refuse to call my “life reboot” a complete failure.
  • I got rid of my gym membership that I was so excited to have at the beginning of 2016. Frustrations and bad experience with the gym over and over again prompted me to bite the bullet and cancel my membership early. I have found that home workouts and yoga are a much better fit for me. This isn’t so much a failure or not a success because it was something that I learned about myself.

In 2017, I will continue to be kinder to myself, and focus on getting healthier. In addition to this, financially I am determined to pay down a chunk of my debt and start saving for a house. I also have a reading goal of 25 books and want to pick up my camera again. I miss taking photos. The only times I picked it up in 2016 were for Mason’s and Sloane’s birthday parties. I want to get the creative juices flowing this year. Because I am in a much better place mentally, I think these will be easy to manage. 2017 is shaping up to be a good year around here.

img_5145
I had more fun in 2016 than I’d had in years!

 

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Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Oh boy what a year 2015 was. Many changes took place, and I think things got better in many ways through the year.

The first of those things being how I spent my holiday season. I was able to spend it where I wanted, with my family. I attended the traditional Christmas Eve gathering at my Grandma’s house for the first time in probably five years. I stayed overnight at her house and helped her cook Christmas Dinner.img_2006 We played some pretty rad board games with some “healthy” competition to boot. On Boxing Day, my sister and I had Christmas dinner with my dad. I also watched my sister get a bit emotional over her gift from Dad. Also, Boxing Day included a morning of colouring with my sisterimg_2019and an evening of Magic: The Gathering and wine. After the Christmas rush, I had a gift exchange with another good friend. I made her a scarf, and she gave me a collection of Classic Doctor Who novelsimg_2030! Super geeky and awesome! The 28th brought a day of yarn shopping, kombucha brewing and home improvements, and the evening a img_2046Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie date with my step-sister Nikki. It was a really good Christmas this year and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Now for all of those changes and lessons that happened in 2015… There were a lot of them! Let’s look at a few of the changes, and the things I’ve learned. Here’s a little summary:

  • I became single.
  • I started living along – for the first time ever.
  • I’m much more happy than I was, though I still have a ways to go.
  • My cat is happier, less stressed and less anxious.
  • less stressed and less anxious.
  • I started learning how to manage my money on my own – it’s tricky sometimes!
  • I started reconnecting with friends, forging new connections – being more social in general.
  • I started to put myself and my happiness first, rather than that of others
  • I fully embraced my geek.
  • I started learning (however slowly) how to be me and how to not allow others to define me and who I am as a person.
  • I learned that only I am responsible for my happiness and the direction my life goes.
  • I learned that only I know what’s best for me.
  • I  made huge strides in coping with my anxiety and depression, thanks to my therapist’s help (even though I do still have some really bad days).
  • I started learning how to stand up for myself.

This is not an exhaustive list of what I learned and what changed, but it is a pretty comprehensive one. I experienced a lot of personal growth, not without the help of friends and family. I even spent my New Year’s Eve with friends and some pretty cute kids. Today, on New Year’s Day, I am looking forward to what 2016 will bring for me.

I was a little bit cliché this year and I came up with a small list of goals I want to accomplish in 2016. As always, I refuse to call them resolutions, it just seems so lame when I do . Anyways, this is THAT list:

  • Be kind to myself, stop holding myself up to the ridiculous double standard I have up to this point.
  • Get properly healthy. E.g. eat better, make use of my gym membership, generally be more active
  • Break some bad habits.

Since I moved into my new place and settled in, I’ve developed a few bad habit and kept up with some old ones. They include leaving the dishes for days, sitting and not getting things done that need doing, and riding the bus to avoid walking. These all easily remedied if I set my mind to it, and I finally have. Motivation is key and this year I hope I have found it in a way that I never have before. Here’s to 2016 and being successful in my goals, and you in yours!

Happy New Year!

Change Coming… It Isn’t the End.

You may have noticed that over the last several months I have been posting very infrequently. Over those several months a lot has been happening, and I have been re-evaluating a lot of things – the way I approach things in general, priorities, myself, and even this blog.

This blog as it has been for the past two and a half years has become much to restrictive for me. I have not felt inspired to blog at all for quite some time, and as a result I even considered doing away with the blog completely. Though I seriously considered this, I ultimately came to the decision that I didn’t want to do that because it felt like I would be throwing away two and half years of hard work and a lot of my time. It just didn’t feel worth it to get rid of it and start over. Instead, I have decided to make some major changes. A few of these changes include a drastic theme change, and maybe even an eventual name change if I find one I think suits the blog better in its new form. I’ve decided to refresh just about everything.

I have only just begun making all of these changes. It will take some time to get things the way I think they should be from now on. I’m looking forward to what may come though. My hope is that I will want to blog again and that it will be fun. Maybe down the road, it will truly become something I think is amazing again. I am already starting to get a little bit excited again.

Progress and Some Changes on the Balcony

It is now the middle of June and the garden seems to be coming along nicely (finally!). I think I have finally gotten everything sorted out in regards to the parsley versus sage dilemma I mentioned in my previous garden update. I have now shifted labels and replanted the sage. Though oddly enough, I don’t think the parsley looks very much like parsley now! Time will tell. I have been lucky enough the past few weeks to not have had much trouble from the squirrels. After they dug up the romaine the first time (and I salvaged it), they haven’t really made much of an appearance since, much to my relief. It always seems though that one issue is overcome and another crops up! The new issue I am now dealing with is my fat cat Tobi eating all of my lettuce shoots! It started with the romaine which she managed to steal one or two of, and has continued on to the buttercrunch. At this point we are trying to train her not to eat it. I sure hope we are successful!

Moving on to progress being seen in the garden… First of all, everything is growing and looking great for the most part. The chives look a little bit straggly but they are still growing well. I am very happy with this year’s results to date, and have photos to show this as you all may have come to expect.

Basil
Lemon basil – along with what may possibly be some more parsley.
Parsley
Parsley – or what I think may be parsley?
Chives
Straggly-looking chives
Oregano
Teeny tiny oregano
Onions
Green onions
Romaine
Romaine lettuce
Buttercrunch
Buttercrunch lettuce

(Note: since the photo of the buttercrunch lettuce was taken, Tobi has eaten 2 of the 3 sprouts pictured)

My tea mug pansy is doing just phenomenally. I think it my have been one of my best garden ideas to date! It is growing like a weed (almost) and will look awesome when it blooms later this season!

Tea Mug Pansies
Tea Mug Pansies

There have been a few changes to the garden since the last update. Nothing huge, but enough to take note of! First, I transplanted the buttercrunch lettuce. It is the same pot, but it is now full of dirt. The half-filled pot was driving me crazy! It will be a little easier on me now, and unfortunately also easier for Tobi to get to. But I guess we all have to make a sacrifice here and there. Next – we have our tomato plant now! It is of the beefsteak variety this year. I have had it for a couple of weeks and again – growing phenomenally! Jay will be very happy when it starts producing fruit!

Tomato Plant
Beefsteak Tomato

Third, I have set the romaine lettuce up on a small stand. Mainly in hopes that it will deter the squirrels somewhat. So far it is working, and I kind of like the looks of it too!

Garden Overview 2
New lettuce set up

The last couple of changes I made are in regards to planting. I added some more seeds to the pot of chives in hopes of them filling out some more. And last but not least, I have planted some more flowers! There are now several more pots of pansies (for the eating!) and a pot or two of a nifty-looking flower called black eye penny. Hopefully all goes well and I will have lots of blooms later on in the season. I also am hoping I am not getting too ambitious here with my humble balcony garden…

That’s about all there is for the update but I did want to share a photo of this year’s main setup. It is getting a little rickety now, but it is still working just fine for this year!

Garden Overview
The 2013 set up

Until next time, Cheers!