December 31, 2017: I look forward to writing this post every single year since I’ve started the annual one and I’ve honestly so excited to share with you my thoughts on this very last day of 2017. I’ve been ruminating about the things I’ve wanted to reflect on since November and drafting it in my head about things I want to share — ways to say it, what to write, etc. For ease of my own mind and to not go scatter-brained, I will categorize it for you (and for me).
Let’s start with travels.
Travel stories this year was plentiful and varied and for that, I am always grateful and happy to be able to afford the luxury of travelling abroad and outside of my home.
This year saw adventures in:
- Blue Mountain, Ontario in February 3-5;
- New York, U.S.A. in April 27 – May 2;
- Peterborough, Ontario in July 2-3;
- Montreal, Quebec in August 4-7;
- Tobermory, Ontario in August 25-28;
- Hong Kong and Zhangjaijie, China in September 8-28;
- Oshawa, Ontario in October 8-9;
- Chicago, U.S.A. in December 27-30; and
- Niagara Falls, Ontario in multiple times of the year.
With the exception of my trip to Asia, everything else was travels with my bae.
My goal last year for 2017 was to work more and make more money. I did achieve that goal and made more income this year in my steno career than I ever have before. Yay! My work load especially ramped up in November and December this year when I was working almost every day either at home or on-site. I also spent perhaps half of my weekends at my computer as well. While I was thrilled to be finally making more income, one part of me wondered what the point of the staying-in, the late-nights, and the constant working were. Sure, money is important and essential, but at what cost?
(I also achieved my ACT certificate this year.)
For 2018, I still hope to be consistently busy with transcript orders and on-site jobs the same. I’d like to be so busy and accumulate the income up to a certain point. I have a number in mind for 2018.
I’d like to write faster and cleaner, cut down on my editing time, and improve as a stenographer.
I maintained my Zumba workouts (except for when I was neck-deep in transcripts) and discovered Pilates! I love it. I did two fun runs. In 2018, I hope to complete more runs and races and participate in more active exercise and activities. In 2018, I hope to use my FitBit to take more walks and be less sedentary.
We reached our one-year anniversary this year! ^_^ What’s next?
In 2017, my goal was to eat out less and eat more healthy. Although I didn’t write this down in last year’s post, it was my intention and goal to eat more veggies and less meat. I did so this year! I really enjoy eating vegetarian meals and discovering restaurants that offer vegan choices because I find the dishes so creative and satisfying for the soul. I’ve discovered that I can never go full vegetarian or vegan though (I find that my body rejects the lack of meat by gifting me cold sores which signals a lack of vitamin B or something — despite me taking a daily multivitamin too).
I find myself balancing between wanting to eat less meat and more vegetables in my diet but struggling to satisfy my body that needs the protein and nutrients in meat. This summer, I found solace in rice after many years of neglecting it due to social norms dictating to us that carbs can be bad. I’ve learned that rice is a powerhouse of nutrients and very important to my body for well-rounded health and energy.
This year, I saw my invitations to food events decline. I’ve been food blogging “seriously” since 2013 now and as much as I love and desire and fawn over the food events and media tastings, this year — in the middle of the year — my disdain and frustration over observations and realizations in this area peaked. Some of you might even have noticed my raw frustration and annoyance in some of my food blog posts. It came from a realization that the “foodie” industry is very much superficial and commercial and at many times very hypocritical and fake — things I really dislike. I love food and eating good food and enjoying food when it is hot and fresh. I dislike it when the look of the food supersedes how the food tastes. I dislike sacrificing the taste of food — the way the chef intended it to taste — for attempts to achieving a “perfect” photo. For this and many other reasons, I started to stray away from food events because the integrity is just not there. There have arisen so many more food Instagrammers this year.
In 2018, I will attend food events as they come but definitely don’t care for them much longer. I remember the days when I used to want to be invited to media tastings and even wanted a minimum of “one tasting a week” or something to that effect. At media tastings, I don’t like that I’m “hired” there just to advertise for their meals. What if I don’t want to eat that? Why am I advertising food that I can’t even taste? Why is it all just for show? What if I want to share my honest opinions about the food or service or how we were treated? Unfortunately, you cannot do that at tastings and if you do, you may be shunned from them. In that case, in the shunned territory I shall stay. I’d rather share my true experiences than a glossed-over superficial one. I don’t feel good about it afterwards. I guess I realize now that I enjoyed food tastings in the past not so much for the food sometimes but more so for the unique experiences. Thus, when the experiences turn sour, even good food will not make me want to be a part of it.
In the last two months of 2017, I saw myself appreciating homemade meals more, staying in, and saving my money more. I saw myself bring packed lunches to work instead of eating out and choosing to return to restaurants to dine at instead of always searching for the newest and trendiest (food trends are the crutches of our modern life). In 2018, I hope to be able to eat out at restaurants less, saving my money more often, and enjoying the simple things. I still am so passionate about fine dining and menu tastings at restaurants but lately I think about the practical nature of such spendings too. I’m sitting on the fence and it’s been a struggle — I want to enjoy the finer things in life but also want to spend less on those finer things. I know it should be a balance and perhaps this internal struggle will fade when I find myself saving more before deciding to splurge.
I’m still learning about myself and in 2018, I have to listen to my inner voice about the things I want to do and those that I’m hesitant about.
A biggie this year was that I stopped journalling. I’ve been keeping a diary and writing in it since I was 8 years old. I have stacks of old notebooks full of my scribbles of daily thoughts and feelings in boxes in my basement. I stopped writing in my diary sometime between March and November of this year. I’m not sure what brought on that change but I found that it definitely gradually affected me spiritually and emotionally. For one, because I didn’t have a writing outlet in which to share my thoughts, a lot of those internal thoughts usually reserved for my diary were shared in my blog posts. That wasn’t something I was used to and did lead to some consequences affecting my food blogs.
In 2018, I hope to keep journalling daily — I started again in mid-December. I like having my own history written down so that any time in the future, I can always flip back to a specific date and know what I did. It saddened me a little to know that I will never know what I did during those months of MIA-diary-posts this year. This also makes me think that if everyone in the world kept a diary or some way to release their thoughts daily, the world might be a happier and peaceful place.
In 2017, I didn’t spend as much time with friends as I used to partially because of work commitments and priority over other things. In 2018, I hope for more harmony and deeper connections between friends.
I definitely didn’t do enough volunteering this year. 2018, I’m looking at you.
Meaning of life:
In 2018, I hope to find more meaning in this world where we have been seeing so much destruction of our natural environments, political turmoil leading us to think that there’s nothing we can do, more value in our existence as human beings, and hope for the future. (I want to take care of the earth by doing clean-ups of my local park but if I know that the garbage potentially doesn’t even end up in landfills and just goes into the ocean because there’s nowhere to put it, is there really a reason for me to do clean-ups at all? I want to put less garbage into the earth by vowing to use soap bars instead of shower gels from now on; the less plastic we can use, the better.)
In 2018, I hope to splurge myself more by having more me time, more spa and facial time, massage time, continued restful sleeps (I realized that by getting a full 7 hours of sleep — my optimal sleeping hours — I am so much more rested; I wake up with the sun.) I hope to place less emphasis on social media although I also struggle with either posting photos too often as a reason for sharing or as a reason to “show off”. Why am I/are we compelled to use social media so much?
I think that is it for my 2017. I like even-numbered years so much more than odd years, so I’m looking forward to see what 2018 will bring. Nothing particularly bad happened in 2017 and I’m so grateful for that. I hope for more good health in 2018 with more active activities, more home-cooked meals, more efficient transcripts and generous work hours, more understanding and clear communications between individuals, more self-reflections and love.
Happy new year to you and thank you for continuing to read my blog posts (whoever you are).