Wrapping Up 2019

I didn’t plan to write one of these 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, this 2019 trip included, so I always consider it a Big Deal when I get the opportunity to go back.
  • Passing my G Driving Exam: This August, after failing once, I have finally passed the last stage of my driving, 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 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 have 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 the list, but it’s also important for me to acknowledge that I have a lot of blessings in my life. 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 try to be grateful for the simplest things. I live in a decent home, I have three meals a day, I have a good and steady job, 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 pixie named Ivy who gets caught up in the centuries-long conflict between fairies, pixies, and spriggans. I was so lucky to be able to read the final book of this series as a beta-reader, since I know many other fans have waited for 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 its sequel 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 book 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, or any life, 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!

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