It’s Almost 2022 – So It’s Time For My Year In Review

The year’s not quite over yet – less than a week to go – but now feels like the perfect time to tackle my annual year in review. This has been an emotional holiday season, closing off an equally emotional year, so I wanted to tackle this post before the new year so I can start 2022 with a (mostly) clean slate. Or at least pretend like I’m giving myself a fresh start. I know I’ll still be carrying a lot of 2021 around with me given all of the big things that happened this year. All I can hope for in these chaotic times is that next year will be just as big, but better.

If you’ve visited the blog in previous years, you’ve no doubt noticed that something is missing from this particular year in review: Yarn Monster. I haven’t killed off my alter ego just yet, but I have forced her into a (temporary?) retirement. The past two years have not been kind to Yarn Monster, mainly because conventions aren’t a regular thing nowadays. And although I would love to get dressed up in my head-to-toe yarn suits again, I don’t see that happening any time soon. Even if I slowly ease myself back into con-going, it’s going to be a while before I feel comfortable enough to wear cosplays that can be taxing on my system.

Plus, I have not been knitting as much since the start of the pandemic, you would think that between losing my job last year, regaining the time I used to spend commuting, and not going out much (or at all), I would have more time to knit. Well, I did have more time to knit, I just couldn’t. The issue was worse last year, but since I’ve been able to devote more time to physio therapy for my neck, back, and shoulders, I’ve had plenty of days where the repetitive motions associated with loom knitting just don’t feel comfortable. And the days when I’ve been totally fine? Well, I found other things to fill my time. I’ll get back into a regular knitting schedule at some point, just not right now.

But another reason for Yarn Monster’s retirement has to do with the fact that I’ve completely changed the focus of all of my social media this year. Yes, it’s because I’m a published author now. It still feels strange to say it. I published my first short story collection (out of a planned three), a play, and two free short stories. And I’ll be starting off 2022 with a bang by publishing short story collection number two! This has been, by far, the best part of 2021. I’m finally working towards my dream job. I eat, sleep, and breathe the world of self-publishing, learning all that I can and obsessing over every little detail. And I am in love. My dream now is that of any other author: I just want to earn enough from my writing so that I can drop everything else and focus on being a full-time author. But I still have a long way to go. After all, I’ve only been published for about 5 months now. Still, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in that time.

And that brings me to the theme of 2021: burnout. I am ashamed to admit that I have not been taking great care of myself this year, especially given the fact that my health was my main focus in 2020. I allowed my inner workaholic to take the wheel, and she drove me right off a cliff. Between throwing myself into the world of self-publishing and pushing myself much too hard on my freelance work to pay the bills, I destroyed some of the progress I made last year. I’ve gotten lectures from my therapist, physio therapist, my friends, and my husband. I need to start giving myself the time and permission to rest. It’s so easy for me to work from the moment I have my first coffee at 7 am, and keep going until it’s time to feed the cats at 9 pm. But it’s not healthy. So 2022 will be all about finding that balance between freelance work, writing and publishing, and time to rest and recover.

As if that wasn’t enough, my personal life is just as chaotic as ever – but that’s nothing new. The only difference is that the past two years have been accented by sadness and loss. This is your official content warning – this is the depressing paragraph of the post. 2020 began with the passing of my beloved Lil’ Nugget, Orla, and ended with me needing to temporarily cut off contact with some of my family. I didn’t think it could get much worse, but 2021 proved me wrong. In the spring, I lost my Grandpa to a heart attack, and then my uncle two months later to COVID. And in the midst of all that, two other important people in my life got COVID as well – thankfully, they are still with us. The virus was scary enough as is, but that fear was magnified the moment it directly affected the people in my life.

The two I miss the most right now: Grandpa and Orla.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Yes, there have been many, many, many tears – as expected – but there have been good moments in my personal life this year. I’ve re-established contact with my family – even the family members I stopped speaking to long before the pandemic. The key to success is a good therapist, a supportive spouse, and healthy boundaries. It also helps when you’re not the only one seeing a therapist. And those important people who got COVID? One now has a clean bill of health and the other is on their way to recovery. I’m so grateful not to have experienced any more loss in the second half of the year.

But the most important personal moments were the ones within my own household. My husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary over a romantic take-out dinner of St. Hubert. Seriously though, St. Hubert has been an important part of our relationship right from the start – but that’s a story for another day. And yes, my relationship with the cats was very important this year as well. The virus that took Orla from us, FIP, can materialize during the first two years of a kitten’s life. So of course, I have had a lot of anxieties surrounding Finn and Bubs’ health over the last two years. But the dynamic duo has officially entered their terrible twos! I may still have anxieties around the chaos they cause and what things they’re going to eat/destroy next, but at least I don’t worry about their health nearly as much as I used to.

Let’s close this year in review with something I don’t normally do: I’m going to make some New Year’s Resolutions.

  1. Write more
  2. Read more
  3. Take every opportunity to be creative
  4. Enjoy the company of those around me
  5. Get extra kitty snuggles whenever possible

And, you guessed it:

6. GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO REST

Happy New Year!

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