It’s pretty hard to believe that this year is almost coming to a close. Last year at this time I was in a complete whirlwind. I was trying to launch this website, create a logo, make sure that my book that I’d spent 6+ years working on was finally ready to go out into the world all while Christmas shopping, tree decorating, present wrapping, pasta and cookie making and ya know, working a full time job. Talk about overwhelming! Still, I managed to get “The One That Got Away” out and into people’s hands in January 2019 and I have to say, I am still completely blown away by the positive responses I’ve received about it. I never would’ve expected that over 117 people would’ve purchased my book and I’m so thankful for all my family and friends and they’re amazing support. If it wasn’t for them to help get the word out, I don’t know where I’d be.
One of the things I’ve encountered throughout this year is that when people who know me read the book they’ll often say, “I had no idea you could write this well.” OR “I can’t believe how good it is.” I usually have to pause for a second because my first instinct is to be offended. Do I give off some kind of vibe that says “she’d write poorly if she’d ever wrote a book” OR “No way she could come up with something that would keep me engaged the entire time”? After that pause, I realize they are paying me a compliment….even if it doesn’t sound like it. It really has been nice and very uplifting hearing how many people enjoyed it. That makes me feel like all the time and energy and agonizing I spent was well worth it.
This year has taught me A LOT. Focusing on myself and doing things that make me happy does not make me selfish. It means that I am making myself a priority because if I don’t take care of myself or do things that make me happy, no one else is going to do it for me. Publishing my book was a lifelong dream and as much as it scared the ever loving hell out of me, I knew that if I went the rest of my life and didn’t even try, that I’d regret it. I even started taking yoga this spring! I allowed myself that one hour on a Saturday to take those deep breaths in and out and try to quiet my mind instead of rushing to the gym, getting a lift in and running back out the door. It has been really great for me and even though I’m nowhere near the level of doing headstands or funky poses, I feel good about where I am with it.
I traveled more this year. I went to new places, experienced new things and met new people. First off, I got to experience Yankees Spring Training in Tampa which is something I’ve been wanting to do since I was a teenager and to finally get down there and watch baseball in March when it’s freezing in NJ was pretty amazing. I went to Texas for my first ever author conference which changed my life in so many ways. I met the most incredible people…all of whom come from very different walks of life than I do, but couldn’t have been more encouraging and supportive and just all around amazing people. I felt like I found a part of myself there that had been missing for a long time. It was after that conference that I got my butt in gear and got on a real writing schedule and managed to complete my second book in 5 months time. I FINALLY made it to Charleston!! Charleston has been on my bucket list of places to visit for over 5 years and I’m so glad I went because it was everything and more! The food, the people, the city were everything you could want. There are so many places that are just waiting to be seen so I promised myself this year that I was done waiting…it was time to start seeing.
I experienced a lot of sadness this year, too. I lost my grandma in April and my uncle, her oldest son just passed in November. I’m grateful for all the time I had with them, for everything I learned from them. Without darkness, you can’t appreciate the light. As hard as it has been, I still feel like I have so much to be thankful for and I think that’s the important thing to remember…life throws hard things at you sometimes and it’s okay to feel sad and torn a part by it, but you also need to look around and remember all the good things you still have.
I think sometimes it can be hard to see all that you’ve accomplished when everything feels like it’s spinning out of control. Over the course of this year, I feel like I have made an effort to challenge myself and grow. I have no idea how I managed to finish writing my second book in 5 months time, but I did and now that one is getting ready for release next month! I’ve started writing the third book and hope to get on a good pace once the holiday craze slows down.
I hope that despite the kind of chaos this time of year typically brings that you can find some quiet moments to sit back and enjoy. Yesterday I got to spend a few hours with my bestie and her family and it was pure joy. My niece is 3 and I LOVE hearing what she has to say and my nephew is almost 6 months old and just an adorable little ball of cuteness. My heart was so full when I left there. I also really enjoy coming home and turning the tree lights on. I like seeing the tree all lit up and even though I’ve seen most of the ornaments many times for many years, there are always some new ones and I like to see them all up there together. Ornaments tell a story and seeing them up on the tree has always been one of my favorite things.
However you celebrate your holidays, I hope that they are filled with lots of love, laughter and happiness with people that mean the most to you. I also hope that with the coming of a new year, you can find some thing or some things that make you truly shine and feel like your best self. That’s something we all deserve.
Until next time!