I turned 36 this month – yikes! It’s a daunting age for me, being on the other side of 35 and all that.
And 3000 of my closest friends, all on Facebook, remembered my special day – fancy that!
I replied to their well wishes with something along the lines of being glad 2016 was coming to an end because it hadn’t been the greatest year for me.
There was some family trauma that’s too heavy to mention here, and my beautiful cousin Kayla died of leukaemia at just 31.
Professionally, I was feeling a little (a lot) bummed about The Anti-Princess Club not being commissioned beyond Book Five (I had hopes of becoming the next Ann M Martin with a never-ending series), and I froze on stage during one particular big poetry performance.
But it’s easy to dwell on the negative, right?
A friend of mine who was feeling a bit the same way decided to make a list of all of the best things that had happened to her in 2016 in order to gain some perspective… so, I thought I’d give it a try.
- My grandfather celebrated his 80th birthday. I feel very lucky to still have him around.
- My 81-year-old grandmother is forging a super special bond with my kids, who she has started to babysit sometimes during school holidays – win-win!
- My husband, me and the kids had our first proper family holiday in several years (all of our holidays in recent years have been work trips that I’ve taken the family along for). And it was great fun/super indulgent.
- I bought a new house – and I LOVE it – woo! (That technically happened in December 2015, but still).
- I saw Madonna with my BFF and bought us tickets to a super cheesy concert featuring Salt ‘n’ Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Coolio and more next year.
- I started a 1980s dance class and it is SO MUCH FUN!
- I made a (small) effort to keep a few nights and weekends work-free so that I could re-connect with a few buddies, and I must say I’m feeling more relaxed than this time last year.
- The Anti-Princess Club was released in the US and I got some super uplifting emails from kids and parents who had bought it over there.
- I had some fantastic school visits – I got to see some parts of the country I’d never been to (my favourite was Lightning Ridge), I ran my first workshop with kids in the outback in a virtual classroom, and I joined the Byron Writers’ Festival StoryBoard program teaching creative writing to regional students across northern New South Wales.
- I spoke at some wonderful festivals including: Newcastle Writers Festival, Ashgrove Literature Festival, Story Fest and the Online Literature Festival.
- I won the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival poetry slam again, and was a finalist in the New South Wales Poetry Slam for the third time.
- I became the ‘2016 Bard of Sydney’ when I won the State Library of NSW Sonnet Slam on the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
- And I’m beginning to appreciate my day job at Aunty more and more of late.
I thought about writing a HEALTH header… but let’s just say, I’m not sick – touch wood. 2017 might require a few green smoothies and a bit more physical activity on my part.
SO – that list isn’t too awful, right?
Acknowledge the bad, but give thanks for the good. Practising gratitude and all that.
Looking forward to the new year and finishing my SIXTH book (not an Anti-Princess Club book as alluded to above).