Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year’s Day: Looking Back and Looking Forward

     Ever since high school whenever I would write the word “look” I’d draw eyes in the Os. I’d get really elaborate about it too—using different colored pens for the irises, making long lashes, doing different expressions, etc. Seeing the word “looking” up there twice really makes me wish I could make eyeballs out of the Os, but I don’t know how to do that on the computer.

     Don’t worry, I’m not planning on an entire blog post about drawing eyes in the letter O, I just felt compelled to mention that. All right, moving onto the actual point of this. Because it’s pretty much tradition, I figured I’d go ahead and take stock of 2015 and think about what I’d like to see happen in 2016. I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kind of person. I don’t think it really works that way—at least not for me. There are plenty of times to make changes in one’s life, it doesn’t necessarily need to be when the numbers on the calendar change, however it is a good time to stop and take stock of things, so here goes.

     2015 has been a mixed bag—as is usually the case. I’ll talk about the bad first, because it’s always nice to get that crap out of the way so we can feel all warm and fuzzy when we get to the good stuff.

     I started out the year recovering from surgery on torn tendons and ligaments in my ankle. I was on my way to getting my strength back, which meant a fresh start at a new job (I was excited and scared), a return to dance classes and frequent long walks, and lots of other things.

     As is pretty much the story of anyone’s life ever, things didn’t work out as planned. Instead of getting better, one of my tendons developed a bad reaction to the sutures used in the first surgery and was torn again. So in June I got to have yet another surgery which meant yet another month of crutches (loads of fun), pain, nausea, and general crappiness. It also meant a return to physical therapy, which I often joke is a profession entered into by sadists. If you’ve ever been to physical therapy you know what I’m talking about.

     While I mostly regained my balance and range of motion, the pain in my ankle, foot, and calf never went away. In fact it got worse and continues to hang around 24/7 nagging at me and yelling at me and making me tired and grumpy and depressed and getting in the way of me taking walks, doing simple chores, sitting in a chair (it throbs painfully when not elevated), hanging out with friends, babysitting my niece and nephew, dancing, going grocery shopping, standing up in the shower, having a job, focusing on writing, sleeping (it’s not easy to sleep when there’s pain), having energy, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention the wonderful fun of finding doctors who know and understand chronic pain and nerve pain and knowing what’s wrong with me. All of this constant pain and lack of energy and inability to work and stress with trying to make doctors understand that I’m in pain causes lots of awesome depression and anxiety. Fun stuff.

     In case you haven’t notice, I’m a big fan of sarcasm. It’s one of my favorite coping mechanisms.  

     So that’s the main bad thing that’s been going on in 2015. As a direct result of this issue, money has been tight and a major (emphasis on the major) stressor. My teeth have been fairly uncooperative this year as well. I’ve had at least 3 root canals, maybe even 4 and I had to have 2 teeth pulled.

     All right, enough of that crap—let’s talk about the good stuff. I’ve learned never to take anything for granted. Despite my financial situation not being ideal, I have enough money to continue having a roof over my head in a beautiful city and nice neighborhood. I’ve also had money to have 3 meals a day, keep my cat happy and healthy, and even occasionally go out with my boyfriend and friends. Bright sides.
     The boyfriend is also a bright side. He’s been wonderfully supportive through all this crap and I’d be a lot more depressed if it weren’t for him. He’s had some health issues himself earlier in the year, which have recently gotten better so that’s something I’m really happy about. I’ve realized that I have many wonderful friends who actually like me and are there for me when I need them. (I was kind of nerdy growing up, and didn’t really have a lot of friends. So I’m still like, “Wow, I have friends!”)  I have a lot of great family support between my mom and stepdad, my dad and stepmom, my sister and her family, my grandparents, and my boyfriend’s family.

     I’ve made some incredible writing accomplishments in the past 12 months. Yay! I was brave enough to query my first novel to several agents and a few small publishers. Despite being refused, this process has allowed me to learn about the industry, how to proceed from here, and to develop ways to cope with bad news. I’ve grown immensely as a writer. Yay! I finished a polished first draft of a YA novel and then during NaNo finished a rough (really, really rough) draft of a mystery novel. I’ve also had some wonderful epiphanies about how to improve my vampire novel which gives me the hope of one day reading some “we love your book!” letters rather than more “thank you, but…” letters.

      As for 2016 well, I figure it’s also going to be a mixed bag. All of the stuff with my ankle and is still going on, which means I’ve got a lot to deal with. But I’m also going have all those wonderful things and people I mentioned above to help me deal. I’m going to try hard to stay positive and still have fun despite whatever stressful situation may be going on. I also (of course) plan to continue writing, writing, writing and learning and growing and working towards putting books on the shelves (of stores, not my apartment). Yay!

     All in all, I think I’m ready for the New Year. I better be, because the numbers on the calendar change whether you’re ready or not. So, goodbye 2015 and hello 2016.

     Happy New Year!

     (And here’s hoping there’s no vampire apocalypse.)