Wrapping Up 2019
I didn't plan to write a reflection posts, but as I sat in front of my computer this morning and thought about working on the current draft of my novel, my procrastinating brain told me to write a blog post instead. And so, here I am.
Highlights of 2019
- Visiting the Philippines in January: My family and I rarely visit the Philippines. In the 18 years since we've immigrated to Canada, we've only gone back twice, including this year's trip, so I always consider it a Big Deal when I get the opportunity to go back.
- Passing my G Driving Exam: This August, I finally passed the last stage of my driving exam, and I am now fully licensed! I don't have to think about driving classes anymore. I don't have to worry about exams anymore. I can finally put it all behind me.
- More stable environment at work: 2018 was a stressful time at my job, because my team dwindled down to 2 people. There was a lot of restructuring and many senior engineers left. This year, although we have not replaced the members we've lost, I learned to manage the things that caused me stress last year.
- Finishing 2 drafts of my story: This year, I finished drafts 4 and 5 of my WIP, and I received valuable feedback from beta readers, and even an editor. I feel like the story at its current state is so much more polished.
There might only be 4 things on this list, but I do have a lot to be thankful for. When I go to bed each night and pray, no matter how bad my day is, I try to remember that I'm one of the luckiest people on earth. I live in a decent home, I have three meals a day, I have a stable job I enjoy, and I am financially comfortable. Not many people have all of those.
Favourite Reads of 2019
- A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge: Frances Hardinge is one of my favourite authors, and her latest book was a fast-paced, character-driven adventure about a girl who can accommodate other spirits in her body. This book was deliciously spooky and heartfelt.
- Swift, Nomad, (and Torch) by RJ Anderson: This duology (soon-to-be trilogy) follows a piskie named Ivy who gets caught up in the centuries-long conflict between fairies, piskies, and spriggans. I was so lucky to be able to read the final book of this series as a beta-reader! I know many other fans have waited so long to find out how Ivy's adventure ends. All I'm going to say is that it ends perfectly.
- Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway: This book is set in a WWII-inspired world filled with political intrigue and a bit of romance. It is clever, tense, and very character-driven. I can't wait for the sequel coming out in a few months. Athan is my son.
- Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon by Edgar Calabia Samar: I am so late on the Janus Silang train! But I've only gotten the chance to purchase this book recently. After reading it, I totally understand the hype 100%. This Filipino YA horror/fantasy bone-chillingly combines mythology and ancient history in an urban setting. I don't think a YA book has made me this scared of being alone in the dark.
Improvements for 2020
Like any year or any person, all my ups came with some downs. I didn't have a perfect year. And while some of the challenges I faced were out of my control, there were some I could have dealt with better. I don't want to call these "resolutions," because there's so much pressure that comes with that word. But I do want to keep them at the back of my mind so that I can at least try to do better.
- Take better care of my mental/emotional health: There were times this year when I felt very burnt out or very lethargic. Most of the time I would ignore those feelings, and force myself to keep doing activities I had no energy for, because I assumed I just needed to "ride it out." Going forward, I'd like to be more mindful so that I can give myself a break when I really need it.
- Manage my daydreaming better: I've never considered that I have "maladaptive daydreaming" before, because all the daydreaming I do is somewhat productive. I daydream about my story, or about books or shows that I like, and these daydreams would result in creative output: original writing, fanfiction, fanart, thoughtful discussions, etc. However this year, I found myself caught up in a very specific, weird daydream that I couldn't transform into a product. I was stuck in this daydream for 4 months! In hindsight, those 4 months feel like such a waste. For the first time, I wondered if I do actually have maladaptive daydreaming.
- Be more health conscious: I have developed some unhealthy eating habits the last few years. Sometimes I would have two lunches in a day. It's not even that I'm hungry. It's just that I love to eat. When I started feeling really grouchy and "off" two months ago, I replaced the "second lunch" with smaller snacks like yogurt and fruit, and I actually started feeling better. I want to continue managing my eating habits in 2020. And yes, here comes the very unoriginal goal of I want to exercise more. Look, I live a very sedentary lifestyle. It's not that I want to lose weight... it's more like I want to stop sounding like a drowning cat when I climb the 3 flights of stairs to my office desk. I also haven't gone for a physical exam since... 2013? So that's another thing I want to check off in 2020.
- Read more Tagalog books: 2019 was a very special year when it comes to reading. This year, the first and last book I read were in Tagalog. 4 out of the 37 books I read were in Tagalog. I will write a separate post on why I'm reading more in my native language again, but for now, I want to continue this trend into 2020.
And finally, if there is one thing -- just one thing -- I want to accomplish in 2020, it would be to finally finish my novel, The Malicious Wind. I've posted about this goal before, and I hope that I will follow through on my tentative plan.
That's all, guys! I hope you had an eventful 2019, and let's all go into 2020 with hope and optimism!