I’ve been spending the last few days looking back on 2017 – thinking about what worked, what didn’t, and what I would change in the future. It’s been fun to flip through photos and re-read some of my posts. It was a year filled with unknowns (something I tend to struggle with), but turned out to be one of the best yet. I thought I’d share some of my favourite moments and, to keep it real, some of my not-so-favourite moments.
The Good Stuff
Quality cabin time – we got up to the cabin like it was our job this summer. I don’t even know how many trips we made back and forth, but if we had more than three days in a row off at the same time, that’s where we were. My to-do list of yard work at home went undone and all my plants died, but I really didn’t care. I made up for it by spending days reading, writing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, getting lost in the woods, and chilling on my new yoga/hammock/camping deck that Mark handcrafted with scrap wood and some questionably unsafe chainsaw practices.
Quality alone time – as an introvert, I’ve always enjoyed my alone time but this year I took it to a whole new level by doing a lot of things solo for the first time. I traveled to Mexico, spent 3 days backpacking in the mountains, and stayed at the cabin for a few days by myself. As much as I love spending time with friends and family, these solo moments gave me time to clear my head and gave me a huge boost of confidence knowing I could go it alone if I wanted to. Some of my favourite and most meaningful moments from the year happened on these trips and I’ll cherish that time forever.
Finishing my degree (with a bang) – I finished the classes for my International Studies degree in December, but I didn’t officially convocate until June. It was then that I learned I graduated at the top of my class. Then, in August I had a paper published in the University’s Undergraduate Research Journal; and in November I found out I made the Dean’s list. It took me nearly six years to complete this degree and at times it felt as though it would drag on forever. To finish it felt good enough, but to have that extra recognition for all my hard work was the cherry on top.
A whole new (online) world – when I started this blog I didn’t really know where it was going. I wanted it to be an outlet, a time-filler, and hopefully (eventually)(maybe) a job. I’m planning to write a post that dives a little deeper into what my first year of blogging was like, but for now I’ll just say this – it has opened up so many doors I didn’t even know existed. If I didn’t have my blog I probably wouldn’t have heard about or applied to become a Hike Like A Woman ambassador which has become one of the highlights of my year. I wouldn’t have met so many awesome people online. And I wouldn’t have started Women Who Paddle.
The Not-So-Great Stuff
Those annoying (but still kinda funny) things – these are the moments that were stressful or unpleasant at the time but turned out to be things that I can look back on now and smile. Included in this list would be: Juno breaking her nail and requiring foot soaks like the princess she is; getting attacked by a chipmunk; sitting in my car while I watched rain and hail pummel my tent; and limping back to my car with monster blisters after 3 days in the backcountry. Not that any of these things are horrible – just a good reminder that with the fun adventures and pretty Instagram posts, comes a bit of suffering.
Self doubt – If you have ever wanted to inflict imposter syndrome on yourself, I’ve come to the conclusion that the fastest way to do that is to start a blog, call yourself a writer, and put it out there for the world to see. It’s getting better with time, but that pit-in-your-stomach feeling of self doubt has been a constant companion for me every time I’ve hit publish, submitted an article, or pitched an idea. I’m a firm believer that change and trying new things is the secret to life – but man, does it come with some uncomfortable moments.
Still not knowing what I want to be when I grow up – after graduating, I was feeling a lot of pressure to get a “real job” but the more I searched for a corporate position with a fancy title, the more wrong it felt. Also, the idea of relocating to a big city with more opportunities didn’t sound all that appealing. I decided to take on a couple of unpaid internships I could do from home and returned to hairdressing part time to pay the bills. I also started the blog in hopes that I could somehow figure out a way to work online. At times it was new and exciting, and at times it was scary and uncomfortable. Many days ended with me anxiety-ridden and frantically searching job boards for any kind of position that would be even remotely stable and predictable. I’m nowhere near making a liveable income online yet but I’m still hopeful and more open to seeing where things go rather than trying to manhandle my future. Check back in at the end of 2018 to see how that’s going…
2017 was full of surprises, ups, downs, and everything in between. It was fun to look back on the year as I sit down to start setting goals and making plans for 2018. I’ll be posting more about that soon.
What about you? What were your best and worst moments of 2017?