Stories on the edge of familiarity

2012: The Year the World Didn’t End

I’ve seen several people reflecting on their blogs about what went well/not so well the past year, and I rather liked that idea. It seems a more productive thing to take a moment to see where you’ve been and then organically growing from there than it is to just decide where to go next. Context allows us to see more clearly what’s needed, and can give us ideas for how those needs can be met. At the very least, context is great for picking up new vocabulary. :)

 

What went well this year?
1) My writing. I finally proved to myself that I can finish things, not only by finishing the first drafts of several short stories (via Written Arpeggios), but also by self-publishing my anthology. On top of that, I completed the first draft of a novel for the first time ever this summer. How much I enjoyed doing all these things has only confirmed to me that I love writing. :D

2) My confidence went through the roof this year, and not just because of all that writing. I joined the Puttytribe and got involved in doing things with people. It’s amazing how just doing things in a social setting (whether online or not) that end up being at least mostly successful improves confidence. It also helps that the Puttytribe is full of very supportive people who just ooze encouragement.

3) Taking fencing and archery lessons in the summer was a great idea. They got me to use my muscles, taught me about making friends, and reminded me that I like learning about random crap that has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m doing at the time. I anticipate taking one or two classes this year on similarly awesome things.

4) My relationship with God has gotten so much better, in direct relation to how my understanding of him has changed. It’s not that I’ve learned anything radically different or anything. My knowledge just got reorganized and linked together in ways that are so obvious, and yet I was missing them so completely before. Listening to my heart and God’s gentle nudgings have led me to so many wonderful things, including my ever-growing appreciation of who he is and who I am because of him.

5) School went great at the beginning of the year. I learned so many cool things, and I made some great friends. I’m beginning to see that this is generally what happens when I listen to my heart and do what it says to do.

6) I made some absolutely amazing friends this year, from whom I have been learning what friendship really means, and how relationships work. I met them all through what might seem random coincidence, but that’s something I’m beginning to believe is a fairy tale. Pay attention to the opportunities that seem to come from nowhere. They can take you places you never could have predicted, and you might even like being there. :)

7) Deciding to take everyone’s advice and start tutoring as a way to earn money. It’s something I really love to do, but I wasn’t very confident about putting myself out there. People were insistent enough that it would work that I finally went and put up an ad online, and it worked out better than I could have imagined. Yet another moment of “Do what you love, genius!”

 

What didn’t go so well this year?
1) This past semester. Ugh. I took one class because it was mandatory, and another because I thought it would be a smart/strategic idea. Remind me never to do the latter again, and only to do the former if I can’t possibly do something I love without messing up something else I love. Interestingly enough, it was the “smart” choice that I hated the most. Remind me not to choose something just because I think it’s strategically important, but I’m not in the least emotionally invested in it, unless we’re playing a board game. Although I’m still not sure what strategy will help me win at Catan.

2) Any attempts I made at trying to please other people more than myself in my creative endeavours. I don’t want to do that again. It is emotionally draining, and rather poisonous to my mental/spiritual/emotional/physical/everythingal well-being.

3) Any time where I clearly needed help, but I refused to ask for it. This came to a head on a very cold Saturday when I made a wrong turn coming home from tutoring and had to stop in a parking lot somewhere I’d never been before and ask my mom to come pick me up because I was getting dangerously cold, my car wasn’t heating up and all but my back window were so fogged up that I couldn’t see well enough to drive because the fan wasn’t working, it was -15°C, and it was night time (so there wasn’t even the sun to thaw out my windshield). And my gps had no battery power. And I wasn’t dressed appropriately for the weather at all. All because I didn’t want to ask my parents to pay to fix the fan, because I wanted to do as much as possible, financially speaking, on my own. Turns out that the problem was a blown fuse, and the repair cost my parents only about $50. The message came through loud and clear: “Ask for help when you need it, before you almost freeze to death on account of your pride.”

4) In the summer, I broke a promise to someone I greatly respect, and it kept eating at me, messing up my sleep, my ability to focus on important things, my mood, and my self-talk. I didn’t realize this until I finally apologized (forgiving myself while I did), and all those things returned to normal, literally overnight. As much as I know from my psychology classes that your mind can affect your body, I took it for granted that such an effect was only minimal, or highly localized to a certain aspect of your life/body. Yeah. No.

 

This Year’s Resolutions
Generally, resolutions aren’t exactly something I do. They just end up making me feel guilty when I falter even the slightest bit. Therefore, my resolutions are going to be more along the lines of taking the themes from last year and deciding where I want to go with them.

The themes from what went well are as follows:
1) Do things.
2) Find awesome people.
3) Learn things.
4) Be open to new perspectives.
5) Listen to your heart with things you easily trust it with.
6) Delve into relationship.
7) Listen to your heart even with things you don’t easily trust it with.

And from what didn’t go well:
1) Do things you love.
2) Love yourself.
3) Ask for help.
4) Forgive yourself.

Overall, I’d say that last year’s themes can be summed up into one word: Love. Love is where everything starts, and love is the root of all things that are truly wonderful in life. Without it, it wouldn’t matter how amazing your good deeds are; they would all fall flat. Any kind of music you’d be trying to make with your actions would be reduced to obnoxious and meaningless static. I find this theme to be extremely fitting, because last year was a year of new beginnings in so many ways. Having it imbued with that strong foundation is wonderful.

Here, then, is what next year’s theme will be:

Presence.

Moving from becoming who I already am to being who I already am. Anything beyond that seed of an idea I will learn as the year goes on.

2013 is going to be awesome. :D

How was last year for you? What do you want for this year?

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Did you know that my book, Dreaming of Her and Other Stories, is on sale until the end of this week?

Basically, Amazon finally made the Kindle store available in Canada via Amazon.ca, and I got so darn excited that I put my book on sale at nearly 50% off (usually, it’s $4.99)!

You can buy it here on Amazon, and help support my university habit (my parents would really appreciate it).

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