My 2016

Last year’s end-of-year post was titled “One Crazy Year.” If I knew then what 2016 was going to bring, I would have saved that for this year. Because this year was a roller coaster, hands down. 2016 was a year for a lot of firsts, and many of those involved me falling right back on my face – but that’s the beauty of life. If you can laugh and pick yourself back up, life will always be wonderful.
My 2016
This time year last year, I had just graduated college after publishing my first novel the month before. I had moved back home to Mom and Dad’s and I was looking for a job. It was right around this time last year that I went to Austin for a doctor’s appointment (long story) and I felt this weird vibe. Being Catholic, I can’t help believe that it was God telling me that I was going to end up in Austin.
For someone who was never thrilled with Austin and less enthralled by the idea of moving here, it’s amazing how a year can change things. Now I have a life, friends, a little house in the middle of the city. I have no job, but I don’t want to leave.
It took four months to find my first job, and the first weekend of May, I moved to Austin. I drove down here on a Sunday night and started my job the next morning. For six months I did social media and online fundraising for politicians, and three of my clients won their races in November. Those six months were hard. I don’t need to say anything beyond the fact this election season was rough for everyone, and looking back, working in it definitely took its toll on me. But I wouldn’t trade the experience, even to get back the thirty pounds I gained while I was there.
That being said, I don’t think I’m ever going back into politics. I learned so much while I was there, and I’m extremely grateful for that, but politics is not for me. You have to have your heart fully in the game to really be successful at that, and my heart is other places.
This year was also covered in health issues. I’ve talked about my autoimmune disease before, and this year was a tough one. I’ve gained 40 pounds this year, and I ended up switching doctors in October to try and get my disease under control. While I think it’s working, I’m still left with the 40 pounds I have to figure out how to get rid of. After losing my job, I joined the gym and I think the regular exercise has been a definite advantage to keeping the depression mostly away while I’ve been unemployed.
Actually, I think one of the reasons I want to stay in Austin is because my depression has been pretty minimal while I’ve been in Austin. I have no idea why it’s this way, but it is. The anxiety has been greatly reduced, too. For the first time in my life (for basically as long as I can remember), I can actually envision a life for myself where maybe I don’t have to worry about my depression looming over my shoulder all the time.
And that is a beautiful feeling.
In my spare time, I launched my second book, Double Played. The experience of writing this book was so different than writing the first one, and now writing Justice & Lies, I’ve found a completely different process again. Originally I had wanted to do two books out this year, and obviously that didn’t happen, but it will in 2017. I won’t go into details, but I’m really excited about it.
Of course, there’s also this blog. The poor blog took a big stumble this year. Not just in content, but page views, and many other areas. I don’t want 2017 to be like that. I want all these goals I had blog-wise for 2016 to be real in 2017. While I wasted a lot of time this year (when I was unemployed), I won’t let myself do that in 2017.
I’m pretty convinced that 2017 has to be my year. I’ve jokingly told friends it has to be because I’ll be turning 24 (which I’ve always considered a lucky number). I’ll also be turning 24 on the 17th of November in 2017. Looks like some good numbers lining up there, right?
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I’m off this week enjoying time with my family (the perks of living three miles away from your grandparents? Everyone comes to see you!), and I can’t wait to hear about your holiday break!

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