Well, it’s that time again.
Another year has come and gone and the world keeps on spinning. 2018 was a good year, a full and enjoyable year. A lot of the major parts of my life remained the same throughout (I am still married to the man I love, we still live in the same Blacksburg apartment, I still work from home, I still don’t eat red meat…) and there were also a lot of great new things that happened this year. It’s very possible that nobody besides myself will read this list (or care), but I have found that looking back on the past year helps me to appreciate and remember many of the awesome things that happened (and sometimes the not-so-awesome-yet-still-important things). Plus, I think this process also helps me to plan for the upcoming year and to set better goals. Do you do something similar? What were some of your 2018 highlights? Let me know in the comments!
(Also, if you don’t like reading and just want to see my favorite creations of the year, scroll to the end!)
So let’s jump right in…
Some of the things that happened in my life in 2018 included (in no particular order):
- Asheville with two of my college friends (later in the year they also came to visit me in Blacksburg which was a blast!)
- Kickstarter was funded!
- Meggoline, my first children’s book, was published.
- Got my first set of Hushwing watercolors (This may seem like a small thing, but these have been the first watercolors I have truly loved working with and have helped to get me excited about all of the illustrating I have been doing. Before these, I rarely painted anything!)
- Took pottery lessons from a local potter.
- Floyd Artisan Trail, which was the first time I had been to Floyd and where I bought a beautiful ceramic pitcher. Also, I met Abby who was so friendly that she ended up being the reason that I did the next thing on the list:
- Took a group pottery class at the YMCA (Abby taught it!)
- Started making commissioned family portrait and home portrait illustrations.
- Purchased prints of VT campus from Craigs With Cameras (Again, this seems like a small thing, but I truly love these photos and I am pretty sure we will have these hanging on the wall of ever future home we live in. Especially the one that is an aerial shot of where we got engaged!)
- Nanny family came to visit Blacksburg (So short, but so sweet! Plus, I got to meet a lot of the cousins and other relatives who had been talked about so much during my time nannying.)
- Attended my sister-in-law’s graduation from her Nurse Practitioner program.
- Attended my niece’s first birthday party and my nephew’s second birthday party.
- The car I had since getting my driver’s license, affectionately named Bloober (it was blue) by my sister and covered in bumper stickers, finally succumbed to its injuries sustained last summer and had to be sold. RIP my dear friend.
- Launched this website!
- Rennaisance Festival with my parents.
- Wisconsin trip with my family and grandparents. (We stayed in a cute cabin, rented a pontoon boat, watched a less-than-stellar water ski performance, explored a small town called Minocqua, played canasta, and generally enjoyed ourselves!)
- Virginia Tech football game (go Hokies!)
- My sister came to visit for a couple weeks when she was forced to evacuate because of hurricane Florence. We baked some yummy things and went apple picking!
- Then I visited her in Wilmington for a couple days!
- Voted in the mid-term election.
- Went fully off of my depression meds (under doctor supervision) and have successfully been managing my mood since then. (This is actually super exciting for me. I don’t know how many of you know this, but I had been on and off depression meds for about 6 years and have struggled with this mood disorder for much of my life. This year I made lots of strides in my coping mechanisms, my preventative measures, my ability to set boundaries, and my overall mental health. This isn’t to say I am “cured” or won’t struggle anymore… in fact I did have a few bouts of time this year that were pretty difficult. But overall, I’m feeling more hopeful about this aspect of my life than I have for, well, decades. Additionally, the medicine I was on most recently was something called Effexor/Venlafaxine, which is notoriously difficult to stop taking and is known for its awful withdrawl side effects (plus, I wasn’t even convinced it was genuinely helping me). When I was on it, if I missed just one dose, I would shake uncontrollably, feel nauseous, and experience brain shivers. Needless to say, I do not recommend this medication and I am incredibly happy to be rid of it.)
- Began illustrating my new book about families.
- Colorado trip to see my cousin graduate from high school and then do some exploring with my husband and sis in Denver. This also included:
- Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and
- Renting a car for the first time.
- Boston/New Haven/Cape Cod with my hubby. We walked around Harvard and Yale, explored Cambridge, stayed in some cool AirBnb’s, went to the wedding of lovely couple (the main reason for the whole trip to the northeast), drove all the way through the Cape up to Provincetown!
- Holidays with the fam: family cookie decorating competition, Caps hockey game, Miss Saigon at the Kennedy Center, teaching my sister and parents to play Settler’s of Catan – love you all!
- Ended the year at a game night on New Year’s Eve with our friends out in Radford!
Whew! That was a lot! And I’m sure I missed events/people that were and are important… But unfortunately that’s just the nature of the beast. Please don’t be offended if you were a part of my life but not on the list!!
So obviously a year is a long time packed with a lot of things… And that’s why every December/January when I look back at the year that just ended, I also look forward to the coming year to make plans and goals, because I want to spend this time I am alive as intentionally as possible.
Last Year’s Goals
Last year I did accomplish some of my new year’s resolutions (I published my book and got back into pottery) however I also neglected many of them. I didn’t walk all of the streets of Blacksburg, didn’t complete a Lynda CSS course, didn’t attempt to screenprint, didn’t knit something following a pattern, didn’t lose weight (instead gained weight…ugh). I thought I was setting SMART goals, thought they would be attainable, yet I didn’t end up achieving most of them. I am still trying to figure out where I went wrong with that. Did I set my sights too high? Did I not actually want to do those things, just thought they would look good to have on my list? Did I not prioritize meeting those goals? I think that last answer is an obvious yes… but why? Did they seem too irrelevant to my daily life and larger goals? Was publishing a book, running a small business, and ensuring the smooth running of my family already maxing out my motivation and energy?
Regardless, I do know some of my excuses for not reaching these goals…
Walk All of the Streets: Blacksburg was too cold to walk at the beginning of the year, so I didn’t get into the habit right away, and then when I tried to a couple months in, I realized that tracking the streets I walked was actually going to be more complicated and take more time than I anticipated.
Learn to Screenprint: I didn’t screenprint because 1. I am afraid I am going to make a huge mess of my apartment and ruin my carpets or something, 2. I couldn’t find anything that felt original or inspirational enough to put the time and effort into screenprinting, and 3. I don’t feel confident that I know what I am doing and I don’t like failing or wasting product.
Knit Something New: This just seemed like a lot of time and work. And not necessarily helpful for furthering my business, which tended to take priority when I was deciding how to use my time.
Lose Weight: Isn’t everyone asking themselves this question at the start of a new year? Where did I go wrong? How did I lose motivation so quickly? (If only I could lose weight as quickly as I lose focus…) I think this one largely has to do with my lack of sustainable habit creation. I have recently been reading a really great book called, “The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business,” that has led me to think of habits in a new light. I plan to blog more about my takeaways from the book once I finish it, but for now, suffice it to say that I hope to use what I am learning to lose weight (and achieve most of my other goals) in 2019.
Thoughts and Reflections
Now after writing out all of those unaccomplished goals I am forced to wonder, is it silly for me to be making ‘resolutions’ for this new year at all? Am I naive to think that goal-setting is helpful for making things happen in my life and I should just return to the pessimistic view of my younger self that this is all a waste of time? I am pretty sure that the answer is no, it’s not silly or a waste. Even if I don’t do every thing on my list, the act of thinking about it helps me to learn more about myself and what I want out of life. Those goals from last year show me that I wanted to create, to explore, and to be healthier. And while I didn’t accomplish those exact goals, I did create an unprecedented number of illustrations and pottery in 2018. I did explore more of Blacksburg and the world as a whole. And I did work on my health, though it was more mental and emotional than physical. (And honestly, a lot of my weight gain in my life has been due to emotional eating, so maybe that was the order things needed to happen.) So last years goals weren’t a total failure and I have confidence that this year’s won’t be either!
And so here’s to 2019: to a new year, to hopes and goals, and to the same me who is constantly growing and changing into a new me.
Thanks to the family and friends who have stuck with me through the years and supported me on all of my creative endeavors. Here’s to you, your health, and your happiness.
And thanks to language, the tool that allows me to express myself, record my thoughts, process my experiences, document my memories, and share it all with my lovely readers.
Curious where my 2019 resolutions are? Stay tuned for my next post to see what my plans and goals are for this year!
And to end, here’s a slideshow of some of my favorite things I made in 2018:
Thanks for reading!