2017 Year in Review and My 3 Words for 2018

Today is the last day of 2017. Overall, I can say this was a great year. I made many new friends and reconnected with few old ones. Work was interesting as ever, I got to work with Olympians, learned a lot in Canadian court system, got involved in projects with great educators and started editing an interesting Japanese Light Novel. I won’t say it was without a hitch though. This year also had a few bizarre business mishaps as well, but in the end, I survived.

As I look back in 2017, here are the things I learned.

1) Explore your creativity

One of the biggest things I did this year was that I started watercolour painting. I don’t have any previous experience in painting. I just started playing with paints, and my curiosity to do and learn more grew. I found out on Instagram someone was starting #The100dayproject, so I dove in.

Now, I have been terrible at continuing something all my life, let alone 100 days! I have failed many “30 day XX challenge” or “Blogging every day” sort of things. It was never my forte. But I did it. I still can’t believe I painted every day for 100 days.

After that, I was afraid my “painting fever” might be gone, like puff!, but luckily I am still interested. This winter I painted all my holiday cards I sent out to friends and family. Next year, I want to invest in some learning material – might sign up for a class (online or in my city) to brush up on some techniques. I am grateful for all your encouragement and the “tribe” on Instagram where we can ask questions about materials and motivate each other. I am also grateful I found this fun and creative thing I can do. Having a creative outlet and keep making stuff is essential to my well-being.

2) Life is short

I know this is almost too common a lesson, but I keep reminded that getting old means you encounter more losses ever since I learned it when I was in my 20s. We lost several friends and family this year, and I also saw many friends losing their loved ones, especially this winter. I also have many people who are sick, and I could be next, any day.

I know I don’t need to remind you but this is why we don’t have time for unkind or negative people in your life. Instead, I am actively working on spending time with people I actually care. No more phony “We should get together soon”. When I say that phrase, I mean it.

3) Do the things only I can do

In mid-2017, I was a little overwhelmed and had too much on my plates. I was basically doing everything I was asked to do. I was talking to a dear friend and mentioned this, and she casually said, “Well, but those are work anyone can do.” and it resonated with me so much. After that, I used the question “Is this something anyone can do, or is this something only I can do?” as a guideline when I was feeling the pressure to take on something. It helped a lot.

Every year, I pick 3 words for the year. Words for 2017 was FAITH, CREATE and JOY. I am pleased to say that I did quite well this year. I had a faith in everything I did, and I stopped panicking on every little bad thing that happened this year. I knew it would work work out in the end, and it did. I am still here. I have a roof over my head, I have food on the table, I have amazing and healthy family, I have great friends, I have interesting work. And I am enough. I created a lot of things. I put joy on higher priority in my life. I know this sounds so cliche, but I am blessed.

Happiness Jar 2017

Today, I opened my Happiness Jar as well. I’ve been doing this for few years, but it all started from Elizabeth Gilbert’s post.
I have this big flower vase, and every day I will write down something happy or positive thing about the day and put it in the jar.Sometimes I forget to do it, but that’s OK. I also put cards and letters I receive, movie tickets, and other keepsakes as well.Then I open them all at the end of the year. It is so fun to re-read the happy and funny things. This has become my annual ritual, and I highly recommend it.
After I open all the notes, I staple them onto the corresponding date in my daytimer. (I have been using HOBONICHI Techo for close to 10 years). Left one is 2017’s it’s think as I put all the Happy notes and tickers etc, right one is 2018 book, still brand new.

Now, my 3 words for 2018 will be:

MOVE, STORY, COMMUNICATE

MOVE – I was very fortunate to be able to go to Ottawa this fall. I also got outside Victoria few times. Every time I go out, you expend. I want to do more of that in 2018. And my first trip of 2018 will be to Japan in January for a film shoot.

STORY – One other thing I got really keen on this year was radio/podcast. I also started volunteering at a local community radio station. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m drawn to this medium and I think the hint is the STORY. I love storytellings too. This is just a spark, and I don’t have a clear answer, but I hope to find something by following this keyword in 2018.

COMMUNICATE – I always find 3rd word is the hardest to decide. This one is a bit of combined keyword, as initially I wanted to say WRITE, or LISTEN or OUTPUT. I want to do more writing and expressing myself in 2018, but I also want to really pay attention to listening.

I anticipate a big change in 2018 and I have no idea how my life will be affected by it. But I feel ready.

I want to thank you for reading this, and please share your post if you have a similar “3 words” or “year in review” post.

Thank you and Happy 2018!

On Joy

At the end of last year, I had picked 3 words for 2017. They are Faith, Create and Connect.

Now I’ve decided to change the last one to JOY.

I have been doing this “3 Words” thing for few years, (like my friend Chris), but this is the first time I’ve decided to change one of the words after I’ve picked them.

I’ve written about the Tea Leaf Reading I went last week.

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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.

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2015 Annual Review and My Three Words for 2016

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2015 is coming to an end and it’s that time again to reflect on the year.

2015 was a much better year than 2014, or 2013 for me. Still challenging , no doubt about that, but much better. I can see things improving year after year and it’s a great feeling to know the worst is behind us. (For now.)

I turned 40. My son graduated from high school and started studying theatre at University. Did some really interesting projects. Had some good, heart-to-heart conversations with friends. Really got into cooking with New York Times recipes. Really interesting year, to say the least.

Four things I learned this year:
1) Art is essential in your life.  I joined the board at Intrepid theatre this year, and got to see many, many shows. Loved most of them, and cried at almost every show. I met some brilliantly talented people and learned the importance of believing yourself and putting yourself out there, on a daily basis.

2) Things are not always what they appear.
This summer I found out someone I looked up to was a complete liar. I wasn’t the one directly affected by this person, but more than anything I was heartbroken for this person, and the family and friends this person was hurting, because it wasn’t something *I* could go in and fix. It was a disappointing experience but a  good lesson in life.

3) Importance of community
I turned 40 in May, and that month I joined a gym. I have worked out at least once a week ever since. My average is two days a week. I’ve learned two days a week workout will not make me lose weight, but I know I gained strength and I’m grateful for that. I made a lot of new friends at Fierce and the community they offer has been a great inspiration for me. I know it’s such a cliche, but because I made friends there, that motivates me to go every week.

4) Where there is a will, there is a way.
It’s such an old saying, and until recently I almost laughed at this idea. But I did accomplish few things this year that seemed impossible to me at first. I love that saying, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Well, I’ve done a few “impossible” this year and now feel confident I can take on seemingly impossible challenges.

I met some wonderful people all through the year and made some great new friends. To me, that is the most fulfilling thing in my life – to connect with people in a meaningful way. So, thank you, for being in my life.

My word of the year 2015 was CREATE. I also had sub-words -COOKING and COMPASSION. I think I did pretty well. I launched a video podcast in Japanese (still working on launching the English version soon). I wrote, knit, and drew. I re-confirmed that I was a writer more than anything, and I’m planning on continuing creating.

I LOVED Rising Strong by Brené Brown and again vowed to make this my life’s work to practice Wholehearted Living and share this idea with people. I’ve started a Facebook group for Japanese people who wish to discuss this, as she is not yet known well in Japan.

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Photo credit: CintheaFox

My words for 2016 are CURIOSITY, COURAGE, and BELIEVE.

Curiosity-I saw this video by Elizabeth Gilbert couple months ago, and it struck a chord with me. I’m a Hummingbird. I tend to have many interests. I also read her latest book, Big Magic, which reaffirmed my belief that creativity is essential. I couldn’t think of a better word for me for 2016.

Courage – I find this a bit overused word these days, but it’s actually something that is hard to practice. Brené Brown says “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” This right here is my reason enough to practice courage next year.

Believe-This also comes from something I learned this year. I have plenty of wishes but maybe until recently, I didn’t really believe I could achieve them. Next year I will fiercely believe that I can, and I will.

Well, that is it for me this year. Do you have your word(s) picked for next year? Share in the comment below.

Thank you for reading, and wishing you a peaceful and prosperous new year.