2017 Wrap-up: My personal lessons, highlights, & reflections

Right now your social media feeds are being filled with new year’s resolutions, sum up’s of 2017, hopes and dreams for the future, and words of wisdom for 2018. This is my own personal reflection of 2017. This post may sound cliche AF, but I lived this, and it’s what I found myself jotting in my journal this morning on the last day of 2017.

2017 was a crazy bitch. She pushed me to the brink mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. When I thought I couldn’t take anymore, she happily shoved me over the cliff into the abyss with an evil cackle. It was exhilarating, crippling, soul-crushing, and empowering. 2017 opened my eyes to so many things- the elusive taste of success, my poor self-esteem, how fear and uncertainty can keep you from living life, the generosity of strangers, and how to listen to your heart.

I quit my corporate job in August 2016. I had 3 months savings to give myself time to write. During that time I published 2 books I wrote at the beginning of the year, a project I called the Crime Lord Series. I published book 1 in September and book 2 in November. My little series made a little hit and I was stunned, ecstatic, and terrified it was a fluke and would flatline at any moment. A year later, I’m still here.

I found my tribe, my girls, my “Captive’s.” I didn’t know there were people out there who would see the beauty in darkness and not only revel in it, but crave more like me. For the first time in my life, I’ve found a group of people who understand the dark parts I can’t share with friends and family. My girls selflessly offer support, encouragement, and love and I couldn’t be more humbled. I’m continually surprised every day when I hear a kind word or someone offers to help me. If you could see me, you’d know I continuously adopt Taylor Swift’s disbelieving expression, the one she wears every time she wins an award. I think my girls understand me more than my own family. I’ve always been the weirdo, the loner, the one all in my head. Now, I’ve found my people and I can’t believe I’m that fucking lucky to talk to people who are as invested in my world and characters as I am. They’ve given the characters more depth and color and I couldn’t be more overjoyed to have people share my obsessions.

Professionally, I’ve done better than I ever have at any job. It’s unbelievable. I was able to take an epic train ride from West to East Coast- Washington to New York. I got to visit places I’ve written about and never seen with my own eyes. All I kept thinking was, “Little writer, big world.” 🙂 While on this trip I realized that I wanted to take advantage of my profession and travel more, go to conferences, and meet other writers. A month after I got back from the trip, I decided to move back to the mainland within the next 2 months. The arrangements weren’t easy, but I busted my ass to make it happen. I was terrified of leaving the safety of home, but I pushed onward, certain that staying on an island in the middle of the Pacific wasn’t doing me any favors. I also sensed in my gut that to get to the next level, I had to make a change. 2 weeks before my move to Las Vegas, tragedy struck.

I lost my dog, Maile. She was my everything. I got her when I turned 20 and had her 9 years. She’d been through hell and back with me. I lost her in a tragic accident. Here one day, gone the other. Her death left me and my other dog shell-shocked. I lost my best friend from high school a month before I quit my corporate job in 2016. Her death is what what propelled me to chase my dream. My best friend was the first close loss I ever had. Her death shocked me, but Maile devastated me. I moved to Las Vegas with this heavy weight on my chest. What should have felt like a victory suddenly felt shallow and hollow. I tried to settle into my new life, but I was worried about my other dog who was withdrawn and losing weight. Too many changes at once. I was afraid of losing him too. I decided he needed a partner. I love the traits of the Lhasa apso breed. Just so happened there were 2 available- a boy and a girl puppy. Based on temperament, I got the boy. When I was at the register paying for my new puppy, the woman commented on my debit card, which was from a Hawaii bank. It had a tribal koi fish design on it. “Koi fish are good luck,” she informed me. “A sign of good fortune and prosperity.” It stuck with me so I named my new puppy Koi, my good luck charm. Having a puppy is the best and worst thing I could do when I’m trying to settle in and work. He’s been a constant source of exasperation and hilarity. He reminds me of her so much. It rips me up and soothes me at the same time. His abundant puppy energy, curiosity, and ability to forget things within minutes reminds me to live in the moment. Maile left her mark. I don’t regret a thing and would do it all over again. My boys have adjusted to one another and are now thriving and happy. That’s all that matters.

My move to Las Vegas has been filled with lots of bumps in the road, but I’ve settled and know this is where I’m supposed to be for the moment. Next year? No idea. 2018 is almost here and whispering indecipherable sweet nothings in my ear. I have no idea what 2018 holds, but I know it’s going to be great because I know I’m capable of handling whatever comes.

I listed these truths/lessons for myself this morning (warning: cliche territory, but it’s true in my case):

  • Be bold
  • Be humble
  • Be genuine
  • Be personable
  • Be kind
  • Be strong, confident, and know your worth
  • Don’t let fear and uncertainty hold you back from what you know you’re supposed to do
  • Listen to your heart- it’ll never steer you wrong
  • Surround yourself with people who support and love you
  • Take risks
  • Allow yourself to dream, allow yourself to strive
  • Do whatever it takes
  • Do what’s best for you. You are the only one who knows what you need.
  • Let people in
  • Remember to have fun

This year has been filled with major highs and lows for me, but I think I’ve finally found my feet. I’m ending the year the same way I started it, with Carmen’s book. At the beginning of the year I didn’t know the depth of Carmen’s pain of regret, guilt, and loss. Now I do. Writing this book is painful. Tapping into that loss is draining, but I know it will be cathartic and healing.

I wanted to thank everyone for giving me a chance, for reaching out to me to offer a friendly word, and for cheering me on. It matters. I hope to release around 3 Crime Lord books this coming year. Hopefully, I will find a place that feels like home where I can settle, dream, and write to my heart’s content. Thank you for making 2017 one of the best year’s of my life!

 

 

 

 

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