On the whole 2018 has been, relatively speaking, good to us and – after the stress of 2015, 2016 and the first half of 2017 – that was a huge relief. I continued to work my day job and we think hubby has probably retired and is now doing some volunteer work. Our 20-year-old daughter finished her 2nd year at uni – she’s doing Occupational Therapy – and is working for the same charity that hubby volunteers for.
Okay, let’s wrap up the year…
What did you do that you’ve never done before
Ummm it was as always an action-packed year but not one where I pushed any decent boundaries or made myself uncomfortable in any way. While I firmly believe that discomfort is needed for personal growth, we’d had a few years in a row where things were supremely uncomfortable so 2018 felt a tad cruisey…no complaints.
Having said all that, I did a road trip through France and went glamping – both things I’ve never done before.
What was your word for the year? How did you go with that?
My word for 2018 was Heart, and other than continuing to put my heart into everything I pretty much ignored the intent behind the word – which was to be heart healthy. Let’s just say that’s still on my agenda.
What countries did you visit?
France, Belgium and the Netherlands
Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?
Are you kidding? You’d think that I’d know better by now.
- My pack pain is heaps – and I mean heaps – better.
- I hit the fattest point I’ve ever been in 2018, so enough said about that one.
- I spent the last couple of months of the year with ankle tendon issues – due at least in part to the point immediately above.
Actually, I did pretty well on this.
- I revamped this site and launched my kitchen diaries blog
- I kept a fairly consistent blogging schedule, although let the content slip on the astro site for most of the year
- Visitor numbers were down on the astro site – largely as a result of no new content – but still totalled over 400,000 for the year, bringing me in at no. 2 in the Australian astrology blog list and no. 38 on the international list.
- I’m still struggling with visitor numbers on my personal blogs although there were some improvements this year. It’s still well below where I’d like to see it.
- I published Happy Ever After and drafted Careful What You Wish For. I Want You Back is still sitting there waiting on the completion of Careful What You Wish For and It’s In The Stars– which is about 60% there.
Our year started in Fraser Island and pretty much went from there:
- 3 weeks in France road-tripping, including almost a week in Paris. We had an amazing time.
- A long weekend “glamping” in the Scenic Rim in Southern Queensland
- A 3000 km road trip through country NSW to go “camping” with my brother and his family.
- Four trips to Sydney for work and to visit family.
- A couple of trips to Melbourne for play
- An unscheduled trip to Canberra for a funeral
- A weekend in Brisbane to celebrate the release of Happy Ever After and do some Christmas shopping and exploring
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Did anyone close to you get married?
Did anyone close to you pass away?
Sadly yes. We said a final goodbye to a close friend in November.
How did you spend New Year’s Eve 2017?
In Fraser Island with friends. We had dinner and then danced and drank champagne. I managed to last until 11pm – which I was proud of.
How did you spend your birthday in 2018 and how old were you?
It was a Monday so I was at work. Oh, I was 51. We went for dinner at the Surf Club and I broke my no dessert practice for the members birthday special – a Vienetta. Yum! (For US readers it’s a vanilla ice-cream cake with cracky chocolate in the layers…)
What would you like to have more of next year that you lacked in this one?
Willpower and book sales.
Did you tick anything off your bucket list this year?
- Road-tripping through France
- Speaking French in France (I’m fluent in menu)
- A cooking class in France
What dates from this year will remain etched in your memory and why?
My father’s 80th birthday at the end of October was pretty special.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Publishing Happy Ever After. I’m so flipping proud of this book.
What did you learn this year?
- That I’m ridiculously busy, but not nearly as productive as I could be.
- That we have enough.
- That we are enough.
- Self-care is an entirely different concept from self–nurturing. I’m good at the latter, not so much with the tough love aspect of the former.
- Losing an entire salary has proved to us the importance of retirement planning.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
A head cold in August and a dodgy left ankle – tendon issues.
What was the best movie you saw all year?
The only movie I actually went to see was The Greatest Showman. I did, however, enjoy Mamma Mia 2 and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
What song was on high rotation this year?
As I was writing Happy Ever After it was Elton John’s “Something About The Way You Look Tonight” and Katie Melua’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”. As I drafted Careful What You Wish For I played Mika’s “Any Other World,” Dido’s “Don’t Believe In Love” and “See You Soon.” Other than that I downloaded music by Amy Shark, Dean Lewis, She & Him, Missy Higgins, Jasmine Thompson, Agnes Obel and Vance Joy.
Where did your money go this year?
Ummmm books, music and travel.
Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder?
About the same – “contented” would probably be the word I’d use. It might sound trite but every night before I go to bed I’m grateful for our house and every morning I’m grateful for where we live. We might be earning substantially less money than when we were in Sydney but I love our life so much more.
Thinner or fatter?
Fatter – by a kilo. I finished 2017 the fattest that I’d ever been and I can now safely say the same about 2018. It’s not something I’m proud of.
Richer or poorer?
Poorer – we’re down an entire income on this time last year and there was lots of fabulous travel – but richer in terms of contentment and experience.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing, exercising, marketing and selling more books.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Beating myself up for eating too much, drinking too much, not exercising enough, not being productive enough and not marketing enough to sell more books.
How did you spend Christmas 2018?
For the first time ever it was just the three of us. We started the day with a swim and some bubbles at the beach and, once home, ate lunch in spaced out courses – with swims in between. The food was great, it was put together easily, but we did miss the noise and bustle of the big family Christmas that we’re used to.
What was the best book you read?
According to Goodreads I ended up reading a total of 100 books by the end of the year and was obviously feeling very generous this year as I handed out 5 stars to 17 reads. I’m not a great critic – if I’ve really enjoyed something it will get the marks from me. As for my favourites out of this list? That’s a tad tougher, but in no specific order here is my top 5:
- The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover
- Paris Is Always A Good Idea, Nicholas Barreau
- The Man I Think I Knew, Mike Gayle
- The Chilbury Ladies Choir, Jennifer Ryan
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
For a rundown of my reading in 2018 check out this post.
What TV shows did you watch?
The Split, 800 Words, Rake, Bodyguard, Unforgotten, The Crown, Harrow, Maigret, Pacific – In The Footsteps Of Captain Cook…and more…
Who did I miss this year?
Friends and family left back in Sydney…but not enough to even consider looking backwards. I also missed dumplings and diversity…does that count?
What kept you sane this year?
Kali, Adventure Spaniel snoring under my desk. Also, my walks along the beach with hubby followed by coffee most weekday mornings are the highlight of my working day.
What has 2019 got in store for you…so far?
- I have a girl’s weekend in Melbourne planned with my daughter at the beginning of February.
- In March we have a mini road-trip in NZ North Island to attend a friend’s 60th birthday/30th wedding anniversary in Wellington
- In May we’ll celebrate 30 years together and 25 years married by revisiting Penang and Singapore
- We’re planning to have Christmas 2019 in the UK
- Depending on how quickly I can write – and my fabulous editor’s availability – there’ll be more novels, possibly even the Christmas one that’s crowding my head at present.
That was my year? How was yours? Any highlights? Lessons learnt?
It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…
It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, Debbish, Write of the Middle, and, of course, me.