Happy Birthday to Me

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Though I’m a little late, I’m upholding my Annual Birthday Post tradition. While I sit here typing, getting ready to celebrate my birthday with my friends, I’m reticent to reflect on my year. Last year’s birthday was a big one. This birthday nudges me closer to the big 3-0 and I feel woefully unprepared to start thinking of my future. I’m not afraid of the age, I’m more nervous of the changes that will inevitably happen. 30 feels like ADULTHOOD, and I do not feel ready. But I’m borrowing trouble, so I’m going to stop thinking in those terms.

Like I’ve said before, my birthday marks the time I like to analyze my personal growth over the past 12 months and see how I’ve challenged myself. What kinds of major accomplishments and setbacks did I face? What are my feelings about my current state of existence?

Accomplishments

In the grand scheme of personal growth, I shook myself hard out of my comfort zone this year. That in itself is a major accomplishment.

I did the usual writerly things: attended WWC 2016, learning about different aspects of my art than in previous years and worked consistently on Anxiety Ink and E.V. Writes. I finally started a new piece of fiction though my other projects have been largely ignored (again).

Something relatively new involved a life crisis. I faced it and enrolled in a professional writing course at the University of Calgary so that I can take my day career in a different, more fulfilling direction. While this has made my schedule that much more unmanageable some days, the fact that I am excelling, haven’t missed a day at the day job, and still hit all my deadlines means I am far better at balancing then I give myself credit for.

I managed to get some answers about the health issues that were plaguing me last year. While I don’t have a permanent solution at the moment, I have some good temporary ones and my health is better than it has been in quite a long time.

I’m also on track to completely pay-off one of my two student loans in November. I am focused on that like a laser.

Lastly, I spent 6 days lying in the Caribbean sand while the Mexican sun burned me raw –I need to find more and better vacation opportunities in my life.

Setbacks

The struggle at the day job has gotten worse in recent months. Finding a new job is a slow process, but I want to make the right move. Honestly, I find it exhausting to be there. But I show up every day and do my best. I don’t hate my job, I just need more. In my spare moments I’m doing homework, assigned reading, and blogging for the most part. My art has taken an enormous hit, but I have to see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope with better prospects and (ideally) less stress, my art will flourish.

Last year, I said I felt like I’m not growing as a writer. I have to admit I feel the same, but earning this certificate is bolstering my confidence. While it’s not focused on fiction in any way, all the skills I have apply. It’s nice to see I have good skills. Still, my fiction needs more attention than I give it. I have decent breaks between courses so that is when I will have to tackle my projects full force.

Feelings

This is always a tricky topic for me. I’m not particularly satisfied with myself personally or professionally at the moment. I’ve managed to find better equilibrium in my life but it’s come with sacrifices. I’m not sure how I feel about those right now.

I didn’t think I could have rougher times at the day job but this year proved me wrong. This has simply reinforced the realization I need a change.

As always, I am excruciatingly tough on myself. I have to remind myself of all the things I have accomplished more often than I beat myself down. I have really taken the “grow more” challenge to heart this year and I am making myself do things I never would have considered even two years ago. I have some big plans for myself in the next year and I just need to focus on those goals and maintaining forward momentum.

Time is still getting away from me faster than I want it to. My Hogwarts letter has yet to arrive so I guess I won’t have a magical solution any time soon.

My January goals are still being tackled like a champ. I have plans. I’m shaking things up. I’m growing. I’m moving forward. Perhaps my pace is not quite what I would like it to be, but at least I’m not going backwards.

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