2016 Year in Review and My 3 Words for 2017

We didn't get Christmas tree this year. This is what I ended up doing.
We didn’t get Christmas tree this year. This is what I ended up doing.

Wow, 2016, what a year. I bet many people just cannot wait for this year to be over. This being the last week of 2016, I thought it’s time I wrote my annual year in review.

Just like for many people, my 2016 was a challenging year. I don’t mean this to be complaining. There were plenty of great things that happened this year as well, but this year was definitely the “work” part of Hero’s Journey. I know there is a reward at the end of these challenges, and I am willing to work for it, but man, it sucks to go through the actual “work” part. That’s ok. I am old enough and know better to quit.

Work

Professionally, I did a lot of interesting work again this year. I spent a lot of time at the courthouse and with lawyers and I learned A LOT. I would love to continue helping clients who need help with legal system.

I didn’t write much here on my English blog, but I did quite a bit of writing assignments in Japanese this year. Up until the summer I visited various tourists attractions in Victoria and created contents for a travel site in Japan. This was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I appreciate the generosity of people in the industry who welcomed me. Interesting thing is, other content creators who also worked on Victoria didn’t put enough effort in their contents. They just went to the place (hotel, restaurant, shops etc) and took photos and wrote about it. I made appointments with each hotel/attraction/store and talked to them and took photos inside. I don’t think I was fool to put that much time and effort in the project.

I also did some borderline black hat writing projects and I learned never to do that again. (Those things are always great reminders, hey?)

Life

My son and I did this together

In personal development, I joined Brené Brown’s Living Brave Semester in January(There is new one starting in spring 2017!), and it was quite life changing. It was a self-paced online course with some live Q&A sessions, and I really felt I was “living” the wholehearted life. (Well, at least practicing to live it) The biggest lesson and something I still need to remind myself often is that everyone is doing the best they can. Also not to run away from discomfort. (Read Rising Strong if you want to know more about it or talk to me anytime) I love how everything is a practice, and we need to keep reminding ourselves to be kind and brave.

That time my question to Brené got picked
That time my question to Brené got picked

I also took few other courses with Brené, including The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting- which was fantastic as I got to talk to my 8 year-old about being brave. We also did a lot of art for this project, and I remembered how much I love painting!

I also got to ask couple questions to Brené on the Q&A, so that was great. I hope to continue writing about this in Japanese and spread her teachings in Japan, where there are still a lot of “Worrying about what others might think” and “Living the life to please others”..this is going to be my life work, I know it.

Part of the exercise

Later part of the year was extra challenging, as we had to move out of the lovely home we were in for the last 6 years. In case you are not in Victoria, BC, the rental market here is extremely challenging. We couldn’t find any place to live before the time we had to move out, and currently we are in a temporary apartment. This place is subject to development soon, and we are still looking for a place to call home. We wanted to buy a home, but that is also tough right now. It is hard not to be discouraged, but I have hope.

With Fringe team Japan

In Arts, I continued serving at the boards at Intrepid Theatre as well as Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society. Both are pretty active boards and sometimes I get overwhelmed with amount of work they require, but they are both very rewarding. We had 30 year anniversary of Fringe festival, and again I saw many amazing shows.

Best show of 2016

Speaking of shows, we went to Vancouver to see Tetsuo Shigematsu’s Empire of the Son for the second time, and I bawled my eyes out again. When you see something you know you’d be moved, you have this strange anxiety whether you can be moved again. Does this make sense? Like, “Am I able to cry again with this?” It was a silly worry, and I was just as moved the second time. I honestly don’t know what it is, but this show touches my heartstrings in such a tender way, I can’t help but all well up every time I think about it. What is going on with me? Is it because I never got to say goodbye to my own father? (Empire is a story of Tetsuro and his father. ) I dunno. And I think this is why I love arts so much. It’s inexplicable. It just touches you, and you have no idea why. And if you are lucky enough to be touched by arts – be it music, theatre, painting, etc. – just let the awe run through you. This happened one other time when I listened to Quinn Bates sing Hallelujah. I just could NOT stop my tears. I feel extremely lucky to have been touched by these great artists.

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Another favourite moment of 2016. Goldstream Trestle

My 3 Words for 2017

Every year, I pick three words to focus on. 2016 was Curiosity, Courage and Believe. I think I did pretty well with these this year. Especially on Courage, I was always conscious when I felt scared or had the urge to duck away, I made sure to extend my hand with courage.

And here are my 3 words for 2017:

Faith  – I almost wanted to go with “Hope”, but Faith is stronger than Hope. Believe in people and yourself. Have a faith.

Create – This is a repeat word from 2015, but I cannot stress enough that we are all here to create our own unique things.

Connect – 2016 has taught us all life is too short. You never know when your last day is. Connect with people who are meaningful to you. Connect with arts. Don’t just think about connecting, just do it.

Here are some of my favourite moments from 2016 in no particular order:

And with this, I bid farewell to the year 2016. Do you have 3 words? Share in the comment.