That being said, 2016 had it's good days too, and I'd like to take a minute to reflect on the days that made me smile, the happy times and good memories, the accomplished goals and big moments of the year.
- Paint Days and Paint Nites galore! One of my goals for 2016 was to embrace my creative side, and so I took every opportunity I could to participate in Paint Days & Nites, both with my talented neighbour Shannon, and in the city. Not only is it a great time with friends, I also find it stress-relieving and cathartic to paint. I am growing quite a collection of art now, and it really is something I enjoy very much and I'm proud of.
- By extension, I'd like to commemorate 2016 as the year I made my first real art purchase! As I mentioned, my neighbour across the street, Shannon Purcell, is a very talented, self-taught, local artist, and I LOVE her work. I've enjoyed spending time with Shannon as she's taught me so much about painting and helped me rediscover my creative side, but I also had a goal of one day owning a "Shannon Original". This past summer, I finally decided which piece of art hanging in her home studio that I wanted to be mine, and Shannon let me make payments on it throughout the summer. The day I finally got to bring it home was an exciting day for me.
- FALLONTINE'S DAY!! This might have finally been the year I learned to enjoy V-day, previously one of my most hated days of the year. And it's all thanks to Jimmy Fallon, of course. I made "Fallontines" - bags of homemade cookies and candy - and handed them out to family, friends, and kids at church. Also, Jimmy had a Valentine's Day Special, a two-hour show highlighting the best moments of The Tonight Show over this first two years as host. For the first time since, like, elementary school, I think I enjoyed the day. Truly enjoyed it.
- Getting the Internet! Getting Netflix!! I emerged from the Dark Ages in early March, finally getting Wifi in my home and setting up a Netflix account. BEST. THING. EVER. I have SO enjoyed my time with Netflix, and just having Internet in my home. Fabulous. And it also has opened up many new crushes in my life: Danny from The Mindy Project. Harvey from Suits. Jim from The Office. Fitz from Scandal. Prince Philip from The Crown. *sigh* drool.
- Relay for Life! After missing the 2015 edition, it was great to return to the Slipper Sisters this year, as we raised funds for the Canadian Cancer Society, and walked all night in memory of loved ones who have fought, or in honour of those who are still fighting, this terrible disease. It was a night of ups and downs, as usual, but we all emerged #stillfriends, and I was glad to be back this year.
- FINALLY paying off my line of credit. This one was a long time coming... in my early twenties, I got into credit card trouble, and ended up having to take out a line of credit (with a lower interest rate) to pay it off. Since then, I've been slowly working at paying off the line of credit. It wasn't easy, but I made a concerted effort in early 2016 to chip away at it in bigger chunks, and it was a huge relief to officially pay it off in full early last summer. I celebrated with dinner out, a pedicure, and Lindsay teaching me to be "frugal" by taking me shopping at Value Village. LOL!
- Celebrating Canada Day was a highlight of the year for me, for sure. It was a different celebration for me, as it was the first year in my adult life that I was not part of the Canada Day Committee in town, which meant that I got to take part in the family celebration that happens at my home! A bunch of my aunts, uncles, and cousins gather in my yard for a BBQ and to watch the parade, and it was SO much fun. It was a little bittersweet watching the Committee walk by carrying the flag and not being with them, but other than that, I loved the day. Then the next day, we celebrated again at my aunt & uncle's in Sand Point. While it was a cool, rainy day, and I was a little hungover, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole Canada Day experience.
- Ice cream. OK, this might be silly, but having an ice cream place right in town for the first time in years was SO nice!! Not good for my waistline, mind you, but I loved summer trips to the store for ice cream.
- Summer vacation at the Camp was, as usual, a wonderful week of unwinding, relaxing, and enjoying being "disconnected" from the world. It has become our home away from home, and I so look forward to our time there.
- My Birthday! Okay, so, post-30 birthdays kind of suck, but I choose to celebrate anyways, and I like to drag the celebration out as long as I can. This year included a party courtesy of Aunt Marion & Co. at the Camp, a movie date and lunch with my niece and nephew, a surprise cake at the golf course with friends, and a BBQ with family. Wonderful memories.
- THE TRAGICALLY HIP!!! It was a sad year for Hip fans, as we learned in the spring that iconic lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The Hip decided to go on one last cross-country farewell tour in the summer, and by some miracle, I was able to score tickets to their August show in Ottawa. I also had a little "Hip Party" at my place the following Saturday, the day they broadcast their final show in Kingston, live and uninterrupted on the CBC. I will always treasure those days of "Hip fever". It was a special time as our country came together to celebrate and honour Gord and the boys.
- Shawville Fair is another time I'll look back on fondly when I think of 2016. I had the most fun at the Fair this year than I've had in a few years. Great food, great music, beer tent shenanigans, fun with friends. I loved the 2016 Fair.
- Photo Safaris and just taking pictures in general. My Project 365 ended in early August, and I have so missed taking my camera out every day since then that I decided to start a new Project 365 for 2017.
- The weekend trip to Kingston. I didn't get too far from home this past year, but I really enjoyed my long weekend in Kingston with friends. It was nice to just get away for a few days, eat good food, shop, act like tourists. It was fun!
- Early decorating for Christmas. I was troubled and sad and scared after my American pals elected Trump as their next President (still am, honestly), so to cheer myself up, I busted out the Christmas decs way early this year. Like, literally right after Remembrance Day. And I don't regret it one bit. I think it will be my new practice, to decorate in mid-November.
- Attending a Sens game for the first time in a long time... and being there for Chris Neil's 1000th game celebration!! Then, a few weeks later, watching the game on TV when they retired Alfie's #11. With Wade Redden there to give a speech, it was definitely a big night for me. ;)
- Taking up Curling. It was a decision I struggled with, and I'm still not sure if I'm cut out to be a curler, but at least I'm trying something new and getting some exercise while I'm at it. And I do enjoy the social aspect!
- Saying farewell to Rev. Nancy. After 8 years with our church, Nancy moved on to a new congregation closer to home, and so we celebrated her time with us with a farewell service in December. We will miss her, but it's a move that made sense for her, and we all wish her well with her new congregation!
- So many good times with family and friends...dinners out, pool party, book clubs, girls nights...too many to mention!!
There's more... now that I'm thinking about "the good days" and the "special moments", it's amazing how quickly they are coming to me! I guess 2016 wasn't that bad after all!
I hope to make 2017 an even better year - a year that I focus on my own happiness, and doing things that make me a better person; a more calm and peaceful and creative and loving person. Here are a few of my goals to keep me on target:
- Read 15 books
- Keep exercising, and return to healthier eating habits. Focus on being "healthy" rather than "skinny".
- Start jogging again in the spring
- Project 365: A Year in Shades of Grey - my latest photography endeavour.
- Continue my 52-Week Money Challenge. (this will be my FOURTH year doing this, and it is so nice to have that pot of money at the end of the year, to use towards bigger purchases, or to pay off Christmas bills. I'm starting the year virtually debt-free thanks to my money pot from 2016!)
- Play guitar. Toughen up the fingers. Write a song.
- Paint more. Be artistic whenever possible. Buy my own supplies and paint at home.
- Write more! START YOUR NOVEL, JILLIAN.
- Take better care of my skin, especially taking time for a bedtime routine with moisturizers for face and feet.
- Look up to see if there's a Daily Devotion website or app I can use, to center myself each morning and focus even more on my faith.
- Make Danica's Scrapbook (long overdue...)
- Watch Gilmore Girls
- Go to the movies whenever possible.
- Have fun! Say YES to things I want to do and NO to things that stress me out! Do the things I LOVE to do MORE!!!
Let's do this, 2017!!!