1. Moved to a new house- I finally got away from my evil stepfather. It’s so nice to no longer live with someone who treats me like shit. It’s also nice to live within walking distance of my father, the pond I’ve loved since childhood and a bunch of stores and restaurants. It’s done wonders for my self esteem and happiness.
2. Got a cat- I finally have a kitty! I’ve wanted one for years and in September I adopted a black cat named Dr. Zeus. And oh, what a fine feline he is! He’s so cute and has so much personality.
3. Went to Florida- I finally got to visit Key West, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami for the first time and I finally got to go to Disney World again. Other Floridian places I visited included Naples, Bonita Springs and Jensen Beach. I had some fun and exciting experiences including swimming in natural springs, snorkeling and having my nose picked by a lorikeet.
4. Gave blood-I finally gave a potentially life saving gift. I got the idea to donate blood in late 2016 after I had blood drawn for medical testing. I donated three times in 2017. The process didn’t always go smoothly but the end result is gratifying. I even got to learn when and where my blood was donated.
5. Became a Blogmutt writer- I finally have a source of income. It’s not much income but it’s good to know that someone will pay me to do something. I was so excited when my first blog post was purchased and I got my first payment. I don’t think any adult has ever been that happy to make $8.
6. Became an ESL/literacy tutor- I finally have an answer to the question “So, what are you doing these days?” When I went to the training session I realized I had more in common with the literacy students than with my fellow tutors. Even though I’m very literate, like the typical ESL/remedial literacy student I struggle with employment, independence and social interactions. I have feelings of shame, embarrassment, fear, anxiety, nervousness, isolation, shyness and low self worth. This realization made me uncomfortable at first but I’ve also realized that empathy is a good thing when it comes to working with people who are struggling.
7. Made new friends/reconnected with old friends- I finally have friends again. I came out of my shell, reached out to people and was receptive to people who reached out to me. Many of those friendships are online friendships but anyone who thinks online friendships aren’t real has never had a good online friend.
8. Had a birthday dinner with my friends and family- I also have real-life friends and I got to celebrate my birthday with them. I’m finally fulfilling my promise to my friend and party planner extraordinaire, Delilah, to mention that birthday dinner on my blog. One of the presents Delilah gave me was a stuffed pig that has a funny story behind it (that will have to wait for another blog.) It has personal meaning to me and another friend who was present at my birthday dinner. Although I was quite traumatized by that pig when I first encountered it twenty years ago, today I treasure it. I also treasure everyone who was present at my birthday dinner and all the presents they gave me.
9. Got an Instagram account- I finally got with the times. For all the bitching I hear about how social media is destroying our relationships and mental health, it has truly done wonders for me socially and emotionally. At first I didn’t see the point of having Instagram when I already have Facebook but in April I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. It somehow has a different feel from Facebook and since the younger generation is starting to see Facebook as a place for old fogies, it’s allowed me to have an online connection with some of my younger friends and family members who don’t have Facebook. Now not only do I have an Instagram account, my dog and cat do as well.
10. Let go of shame- I finally stopped letting shame rule my life. As I mentioned in #6, I do still struggle with shame but the fact that I did all these things on the list shows that its hold on me has loosened considerably. They may not seem like a big deal but for most of 2016 I was not ready, willing or able to do most of the things on this list.
Here’s to doing at least ten more great things in 2018.