My Year in Review

It’s been quite a year for me (or, at least, it must have been – I can hardly remember everything that happened!) 

Here are some of the highlights:

I finished a major rebranding and website redevelopment at work.
I didn’t really brag about it enough at the time because of the stress and work involved with it, but last January, we launched a new brand and website at my old job – probably one of my proudest accomplishments in the course of my career so far. I may be a little biased, but I still think it looks fantastic. 

I started a blog.
When I started my blog, I didn’t really know what to expect. I wasn’t used to putting myself out there for all the world to see. But as I’ve blogged, I’ve found so many like-minded people who share my thoughts and feelings. Blogging has made me feel less alone in the world, and I’m so glad I took the leap.

I fostered a dog.
For most of my adult life, I’ve wanted to foster a dog, and this summer was my opportunity to do so. Buffalo was such a great boy, and I still think about him often. Though he couldn’t fit long-term in our house, and though we probably won’t be able to foster again until our spoiled pup is gone (he did NOT adjust well to a big dog in the house), it was such a great experience, and I’m happy knowing that Buffy has a great new family to call his own.

I got a new job.
When my contract came up for renewal at my old job, I had a chance to evaluate what I need not just from my work but, also, from my life. I decided that a two and a half hour daily commute wasn’t sustainable anymore, and that turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made for my health. Now that I’m working from home in a new job that appeals to my interest in agriculture and my skill as a writer, I’m just happier.

I made some fantastic new friends.
It turns out that, when you put yourself out there to make friends, you’ll make friends. I’ve got my great Twitter friends – Bree, Peggy, Andrew, and Nathan – who share my love of all things geeky (and my goal for 2014 is to meet them all.) I’ve got my book club girls – Patty, Dani, Crystal, Mel, Brie, and soon to be Janna – who are an absolute riot whether we’re talking books or not. I’ve got my new partner in crime Lindsay, who I’ve seen most days since September, whether we’re going for walks, hitting our yoga mats, or double-dating with our giants. And I’ve got my oldest and my best friends – Jaclyn and Ger – who I don’t get to see nearly as often as I would like, but when I do, it’s like no time has passed at all. My life is fuller because of all these wonderful people.

I began freelancing.
I’ve always wanted to get into a little more freelance writing, and 2013 was the year I finally did it. I’ve written some really fun articles for Red Deer Living magazine and worked on writing projects for some great design firms in Red Deer. Aside from a bit of extra cash, freelancing has helped me feel better connected to my community, and I’ve gotten to learn about some great companies and see the passion they have for their work. It’s inspiring.

I completed a Whole 30 Challenge.
And given how I’m feeling right now, I’ll be completing another one in January. The Whole 30 taught me a way of eating that makes me feel better, and I wish I had stuck with it. It was a good learning experience, and I think I’ll chalk the past few weeks of eating junk up as another good learning experience. I FEEL SO MISERABLE!

I participated in NaNoWriMo.
This has been a goal of mine for a long time, but for one reason or another, I always made an excuse as to why I couldn’t do it. (It boils down to fear. I feared I couldn’t do it.) I completed the challenge but not my story, so I hope to get back into the writing routine that I developed during NaNo.

I learned a little bit about coding.
I had such fun learning how to build my own website at Ladies Learning Code in the fall. It was such a fantastic environment for hands-on learning, and I’m looking forward to taking another course in the new year.

I attended my first ever Pure Speculation.
For the past several years, I’ve wanted to attend Pure Speculation in Edmonton, but work commitments always prevented me from taking in all the geekery the festival promises. I’m glad that this year I was finally able to take it in and to meet Brent, one of my Twitter friends. The sessions were all so interesting and informative, and I hope to be able to go again in future years.

I completed a yoga challenge at my studio.
I whined a little about the yoga challenge when I completed it, but I didn’t mention how fit and clear-headed 40 days of yoga left me feeling. Yoga truly has been a blessing in my life during my past year of practice. Not only has it left me healthier mentally and physically, it’s given me a spiritual outlet and a way to look at myself deeper.

I submitted a piece of writing for a contest.
Back when I was taking some online courses to finish up my degree, I took a creative non-fiction course with my favorite college instructor, and one of our assignments was to write a piece of long creative non-fiction. I wrote about my experience with fostering my young cousins after their parents’ death, and the piece was well received. (Her comments included, “Keep writing – please!” From an experienced teacher and editor, I took that as high praise.) Even so, it’s been sitting on the shelf for years. So I dusted it off (literally), edited it, and submitted it for a writing contest – something I’ve been meaning to do for years. It will be nice if I win, of course, but just the act of sending it off for someone else to read is a major accomplishment for me.

Tell me, friends: what were your top three accomplishments from this past year?


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