2016 – the year that was

Even though it feels like it went by in a flash, so much happened in 2016. I’ve seen a thing going around on Facebook that I might steal. It involved getting a big jar at the start of the year, and each week (or even whenever moments come up), writing down a moment that made me happy or proud or grateful. At the end of the year, I’ll be able to empty the jar and read all the awesome stuff that happened. Definitely sounds like a lovely concept… I just need to get a jar/box/vessel for the cool comments. Since I didn’t do that, though, I’m going to blatantly steal this list of 10 questions from Forbes. But why, I hear you ask.

So many people like to talk about the year that was and predict the year that will be. While often this seems self-indulgent somehow, I do think it also helps to reflect on what went right and wrong over the course of the year in the hopes of improving things, or at least making new mistakes, in the new year. So, here goes – the 10 questions that help me assess the year that was and the year that will be.

What’s been the best, and why?

1. What are you most proud in terms of what you achieved, accomplished or brought into being this year – in life and work?

From a life perspective, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve managed with Harley this year. She went from being a fragile, difficult tiny preemie to being a confident, brave and hilarious almost-toddler. It took a lot of work, from helping her to develop to just getting me and Dean through our day to day life, but it was all worth it for how far she’s come.

As for work, I’m really proud of what I’ve managed as far as building relationships and community, both in my day job and here on the blog. It takes time and energy every day to reach out to people, to foster friendships and to relate to people on whatever level they connect with me, but it is so, SO worth it.

2. What did these achievements or actions in turn make possible – for you, your family, your organization, your financial situation, and your health and well-being, for others? Why did they matter so much to you?

It’s now possible to enjoy my baby, which I think is the most important thing. I love her now, I’ve bonded with her now, and it has made my family feel closer than ever. It’s made me realize what matters to me, and how I want to change my life in order to continue to improve things for that inner circle of people who I love (friends and family).

From a work perspective, I’ve also changed in terms of how I want to spend my time. I want to focus on community and connectedness, either in the visible space like on the blog or social media, or behind the scenes in my relationships with people, brands and others that aren’t necessarily as visible. I believe that’s the future for my financial situation as well as my general well-being, and it makes me feel better when I connect with people, which is why it really matters.

3. What makes your heart warm just to think about it today?silly-fun-with-harley

Wow, that’s a hard one. I think it’s the moments when I’ve watched the people I love play with Harley. I love when Dean shows her the world, helps her experience things through play. Or when my mom sings the songs that are so familiar to me, to Harley. Or when Brad and Stacey make her laugh over and over again. Whenever someone goes out of their way to make Harley happy, to make her feel loved, I feel like my heart grows inside me.

I am also so incredibly proud that I have managed to breast feed Harley for this whole time. It was hard, especially in the beginning, but so, SO worth it. She is a chubby, healthy little monkey because of sustenance that I provided for her with my own body. So damn cool.

What’s been the hardest?

4. What event or experience represented the “worst” of the year, and why exactly?

There was a very dark period from July through October. From the death of expectations and perceptions and relationships through to a very real death, my view of the world and of so many people was drastically and forever changed.

5. What action(s) did you take that you want to eradicate from your behavior forever?

I think I let people take advantage of me this year. I did too much for those who didn’t appreciate it, giving up precious time that I wish I could have spent otherwise. I need to find a better balance between being generous with my time and also being stricter with my priorities.

6. What makes you feel ashamed and “less than,” or even toxic to others?

Hmm, another hard one. I don’t necessarily think that I’ve been toxic to others, but I don’t think I made as much time for some people in my life as I would have liked. I try to be a good friend, to show my love in consistent ways even if it’s something as small as sending a message to say hi or to reach out. However, I know some of my energy was misplaced this year and I might not had given the people who needed my attention enough of it.

7. What brings tears of unhappiness and feelings of shame when you think about it?

I really wish I had been more prepared for the early months with Harley. I know there is no way to prepare, but I wish I had taken better care of myself and encouraged Dean to do the same. I wish I had learned more about baby-wearing sooner, had understood that there were other ways to feel more like myself sooner. I wish I had understood Harley’s needs and how to meet them sooner.

What do you want to accentuate and amplify in your life next year?

8. What outcomes or achievements do you want to build on next year?

I want to continue to grow this blog as well as my connections in my day job. I want to connect with more people and continue to meet new and wonderful contacts.

9. What parts of yourself do you wish to expand and strengthen, and let out in the world?

I want to reclaim myself in 2017. I want to take the time when Harley is in nursery school to reconnect with myself in body and mind, and feel more comfortable in my own skin again to reveal more of who I am. From my fitness journey and battles with body image and self-esteem, to simply being more confident to share what I know with the world, I want to put myself out there more in the new year. I also want to do more to make a difference, and I want to embrace the part of myself that is interested in community service, charity and activism.

10. What role models and supportive people do you want to connect with more deeply?

I want to work towards building relationships with people who are considered pillars in the industries I work in. From prominent mommy bloggers to important game developers, I’ve realized that most people will respond if you make the effort. I want to focus on building those connections and learning all I can from people who have done these things far longer and better than I have.

Wow, that was quite a bit more probing that I expected, but still pretty fun and interesting. What are your reflections on the year that was? Are you exciting for what 2017 brings?


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