Looking Back at 2016…

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Another year has passed.

Can you believe it? Another year has passed.

I know I echo a lot of “year-end reviews” when I say this has been a tough year for a lot of people. In my own life, I dealt with a lot of disappointments that I had to learn to accept, but with that and the election and some personal goals that didn’t get met, the last several months of the year felt like a dark hole of suck.

And within that dark hole of suck, creativity has a hard time taking root.

I also stretched myself too thin in too many different areas and as a result, lost a lot of focus.

And focus is kind of a big deal when you wear as many hats as I do.

But all in all, I like to think that I learned a lot about myself in 2016.

Looking back, my word for 2016 is: boundaries.

I spent much of the last year discovering, setting, and testing out boundaries, then readjusting those boundaries and testing them again.

It was a year of leaning in to discomfort and discovering things about myself I wouldn’t have admitted were there a year ago.

It’s also been a year of putting my writing out there in a way I never have before and I’m proud of myself for that.

So in honor of focusing on the good, here are things I’m most proud of in 2016:

  • I became a Pitch Wars Mentor to two awesome ladies
  • Both of those ladies got literary agents within the first week of querying/agent showcase
  • Started a fun Texas State Park bucket list with my family we are checking off
  • Had some incredible wins at my day job and got a nice raise
  • Enjoyed several “me only” writers retreats in Tyler and Austin
  • Went to an invite-only social media summit that took place at DISNEY WORLD! (so much fun!)
  • Left a house that was falling apart around us and moved to the city I’ve been wanting to live in since we moved back to Texas from Europe 3 years ago
  • Finished the first draft of a new book
  • Outlined the ideas for two new books
  • Revised ALLIANCE again in September/October and love it more than ever
  • My kid trilogy is THRIVING! They are seriously the most hilarious, talented, fantastic kids on the planet
  • Celebrated 11 years of marriage with my Belgian waffle and we went on a grown-up vacation with our best friends to Cancun!
  • Bought a new couch (I know that seems weird to add here, but I’ve been wanting this couch for probably 10 years!)
  • Was asked to help coordinate the teen volunteers for the North Texas Teen Book Festival
  • Realized I’m living my best life.

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Yup, you heard me on that last one. I’m living my best life. Some time this summer, I was hit with this realization that I am—right now—living my best life. I’m not aiming toward living my best life… it’s happening right now and just realizing and then accepting that has really changed my perspective.

There is nothing important in my life that I am not passionately pursuing.

I am passionately pursuing being a published author.

I am passionately pursing being the best in my niche field within digital marketing/social media.

I am passionately pursuing being the best wife/mom/sister/daughter/aunt/friend I can be.

I am passionately pursuing knowledge and understanding how to use my privilege for good.

I am passionately pursuing generosity and giving of my money and time to worthy causes.

I am passionately pursuing my spiritual walk and finding peace within my boundaries.

Living your best life doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished all your goals or everything is going right. Living your best life means that you are in a passionate pursuit of life and choose to grasp hold of each day, each accomplishment, each failure and say, “I don’t care what I feel right now, I’m choosing to acknowledge that I am living my best life.”

It’s in that acknowledgment that true happiness digs its roots deep into your soul.

So here’s to 2017 and living our best life.

 

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Looking Back at 2015…

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Remembering back to where I was on the first day of 2015, it’s funny how much life has changed (again).

I think I’ll dub 2015 the year of opportunity.

I started the year with such hope for good change and I got it! and I got it quickly! By February I was given several opportunities to do things I’ve been wanting to do for years and I grabbed hold of the ones I thought fit best and let go of ones that just weren’t working… And I went for it.

I was going to do it all!

Then I crashed.

I thudded into the summer completely burnt out. I took on too much, too quickly, and thought that I could juggle it all. New job, new work schedule, new agent, book revisions, kids, family, friends…

I didn’t realize the toll all of this change would have on me and my family and I stumbled halfway through the year and had to slow waaaay down to get back in control.

But then it happened. 

I found my rhythm.

Work stopped being so overwhelming.

Writing stopped being a chore.

Even the kids stopped being so annoying (which I know was a direct result in how my attitude changed).

It’s easy to get frustrated at what I didn’t accomplish in 2015. I didn’t manage to get my book revised to the point where it can go on submission. (This was due to the fact that the first round took me over five months to complete.) Which means I didn’t sell a book in 2015—a huge goal that didn’t happen. Then I wanted to finish drafting my WIP in 2015… that didn’t happen…

In so many areas of my life, I feel like I was given an opportunity and I couldn’t muster up the final push over the edge to success. But here’s the most important thing for me to remember: I didn’t go backwards.

  • I got a literary agent who is championing my book
  • I wrote tens of thousands of new words
  • I got a fantastic new job that I truly love that gives me a ton of flexibility
  • I read amazing books
  • I took my family on a dream of a Disney World vacation for 8 days
  • I deepened friendships with new friends whom I adore
  • My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage and we’re still in love
  • I kept a freelance client that’s been awesome for extra cash
  • My kids are thriving
  • I became an aunt for the 8th time
  • We went through a financial course to help us with our budget
  • We paid off 3 credit cards and paid for our Disney vacay in cash
  • My husband got a great promotion at work
  • I’m happy.

That last one is a big deal because over the last few years, happiness has been a struggle. I remember as I was setting my 2015 goals that this was going to be a focus for me. That finding my happy place had to be imperative even if it meant drawing boundary lines with people I love or saying no to awesome opportunities. I had to get to the place where I didn’t feel like I “survived” the week.

I’m happy to say, I feel like I’ve gotten there. To that proverbial happy place…

But don’t take that as a place of contentment. I have big dreams, people, and I aim to see them accomplished.

Maybe 2016 will be the year? Maybe it won’t.

But I’m headed into January with a smile.