I hope you’ve had a wonderful solstice, Noche Buena, Christmas, or whatever you celebrate. If you don’t celebrate any holidays, I hope you’re having a relaxing break from work. It’s hard to believe that 2017 is almost over. Here’s my 2017 year in review.
Theo and I got engaged in late 2016. In January, we began the wedding planning. It all kicked off with our engagement party in February. It was a casual event in our home and it was perfect. Throughout the year, I went to a few bridal expos and planned our wedding with the help of a wonderful wedding planner, Blush & White Event and Design House. There were moments when it was getting stressful and we considered cancelling (the wedding, not the marriage), but my friends jumped in to lend a helping hand. Everything is almost in place now. We’re very excited.
February also marked five years of living in Australia. In April, I became a permanent resident. In just a few months, I’ll be eligible for citizenship.
In 2016, I decided to write a novel. I’ve been writing for many years and I’ve published some work, but it’s always been research papers, news articles, and blogs. The idea of writing fiction scares me. I didn’t get that far into it, but I can confidently say it’s happening, albeit slowly. This year, I took a few courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre, a workshop by Kill Your Darlings, and attended a helpful Q&A day with Writers Victoria. I received really encouraging feedback from author Nicole Hayes. Among the advice she gave me was to stop taking courses and write. Next year, I’m giving up my extra projects so I can use that time for my own work.
Writing is also about reading. My reading goal this year was originally 12 books, but I increased it to 26 books at some point. I read 26 books in 2016, but I didn’t make it this year. It looks like the final number will be 21. That will be my goal for 2018. I’m happy with the great fiction I read this year.
Every day, I write down at least one thing I’m grateful for. As I review my bullet journal, I see that so many of the things I was grateful for involved people – catching up with family and friends in the US and here and spending time with my wonderful partner. Also, getting a great night’s sleep, my cute dog, rewatching a movie I love, finishing a great book. These are the things that bring me joy. There were a lot of small pleasures too, like getting a massage, discovering great podcasts, and buying a Google Home.
Other highlights included:
- Spending time in Barwon Heads, one of my favourite places
- Appearing on two podcasts to discuss community management
- Speaking to students at Monash University about online communities and emerging digital technologies
- Blessing the 20th-anniversary re-nuptials of my friends
- Participating in two wonderful spiritual workshops by my friends Gede Parma and Yeshe Matthews
On account of our wedding, my donation budget this year was smaller than it’s been in previous years. I was happy to support some friends in their fundraising treks and I also gave to Cherry Hill Seminary, The Wild Hunt, and, since I couldn’t participate in the same-sex marriage postal vote, to the Equality Campaign.
In May, I consolidated my blogs and created this one, and I’ve redesigned it twice (I think, at least). I was tired of compartmentalising. I know that best practice says you should have a niche, but I’m a multipotentialite; I have many interests and creative pursuits. I want to keep them all in one place. I published 50 posts including this one. My top five posts were:
- Using tampons in Australia – Yes, this wacky post from 2012 continues to be my most read entry.
- Australian home styles
- The secret to resilience
- 40 things I know are true
- Three things that suck about being an expat
Although not as popular as the above five, my other favourite posts this year were:
- What does Facebook know about you?
- The tree of knowledge
- Writing and cultural appropriation
- Forgotten Australians
I’ll spend the next few days reflecting on what I want to achieve in 2018 and preparing my new bullet journal. I’ll be sure to share that with you next time.