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2018 Year End Reviews - Part I

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I stumbled upon this challenge of year-end review prompts over the weekend, and I thought that might be fun. I won't update every day, but I thought I'd clump several prompts together so that it makes for a reasonable post. So, here are the last few prompts:

Sunday: 2018 in three words. 1. Journalling - I've taken journalling seriously this year. I have lots and lots of notes in my notebooks, and I go over them occasionally. It's been helpful in clearing up my head and figuring out what I want to do. Many of the thoughts made it to this blog, by the way. 2. Writer - I started the website and this blog as part of a writing challenge. More generally, this year I made an effort to improve my writing and to treat it more seriously than just a hobby. I've joined a writers' group and took some literature courses. It's been fun. But lately, I figured out that I'm more comfortable with the term "writer-in-training", as that's what I am. 3. Headspace - my favourite iPhone app, hands down. I've been meditating every day for 606 days (including today), and this app is a regular part of my life now. I love the habit of meditating every day, and it has given me a lot of much-needed space.

Monday: Favourite memory. This has to be going on a Beaver Safari in a kayak with my partner and kids in Sweden. That trip was incredible, and the first time our family went hiking together. We loved it, and I hope this is the first of many hiking trips to come. We are planning on exploring the world bit by bit during summer vacations.

Tuesday: Biggest accomplishment. I want to count finishing the first draft of my first novel in here, even though technically I wrote most of it in 2017. But I finished it in early 2018, so it goes into this year's count. I'm very proud of the process that I went through to write this book, even though I'm not yet satisfied with the product. I'll get there eventually.

Wednesday: Biggest challenge. I think my biggest challenge this year was keeping my screen time under control. I play on the iPhone or iPad with the most ridiculous apps. You know the ones — those that have absolutely no added value and are highly addictive. I have amazing technology in my back pocket (because I wear jeans every day now), but I found myself picking my phone up when I'm bored, or sad, or when it's hard to focus, and generally to distract myself from whatever is happening. That's not a great solution. As I'm searching for a better solution, I've stumbled on this cool piece (sorry, it's for members, but you get three free pieces each month from Medium, and this is definitely worth it). So, last Monday I deleted all of my distracting apps, including Facebook and Twitter, and all of my games. It's been a tough week, but very peaceful.

Thursday: This year, I... Well, I wasn't quite sure how to finish this sentence. It feels like it should be very big-picture, something that sums up the entire year, including work, family, and friends. That's a big task. Now, the sentence I'll share shortly is true, but I want to make sure that none of my readers (all three of you, yeah?) thinks that this is some new-age-y kind of thing. Because it sounds a lot like channelling the Muse, and we talked about how I feel about that. But quite some time ago (even before the dreadful 2016), I started figuring out where my life is going, and how I want to live it. It came together with finishing up my PhD and, for the first time in years, not knowing where do I go from here. It took me a while, and it's a long, tedious, and unfinished process. So, at the risk of sounding new-age-y: This year, I continued on my journey to live a full and happy life.

Friday: Time well spent.

Time well spent this year goes to my yoga class. I tried several yoga classes when I was younger, and I never liked it very much. Then, I met someone who became a good friend. And then, she became a yoga teacher. So, naturally, I went to her class. I told her that I probably wouldn't last long. That was two years ago, and after a year with her, I started practising yoga every day. When she first told me the class was 90 minutes I rolled my eyes. Who has 90 minutes to spare? Now I guard my yoga time jealously and loving every one of the 90 minutes. My yoga class is often the highlight of my week. It raises my energy levels and, interestingly, calms me down at the same time. I don't know how but it works.


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