9 Ways to Reflect on the Past Year

Thanks to a little magazine I love, Daphne’s Diary, I didn’t have to plan out what I wanted to write for my reflection on 2017. I simply had to look at the page and follow the 9 Ways to Reflect on the Past Year guidance.

Here it goes:
1. I would describe the past year in one sentence as a stressful roller-coaster ride that has left me at the top of a hill and within the first week of 2018, I will know if I am going to continue the ride or finally get off of it and try a new one.
Metaphorically speaking of course. This all pertains to my day job. I have applied for a full-time position and if I get it, I will just have one place of traditional business to go to. As it stands, if I do not get the job, I will still be teaching at 4, yes 4 different colleges to piece together a full-time living without any full-time benefits.
One job means I can spend my non-work hours on myself, on my side hustle, aka writing! When teaching at 4 schools in a part time capacity, one class here, two there, four at another, it becomes a constant juggling act. It has improved my time management in ways I wasn’t even aware was lacking until I willingly boarded this ride. That is part of adjunct life, you can’t say no because you never know what the next semester will bring. Sometimes that means a full course load, sometimes it means a summer off, so all the stress of 4 colleges has to be spaced out in case one semester is empty. I already know that for one of my seated campuses I don’t have anything for the summer. Again, the full-time job eliminates this constant uncertainty. It provides stability in a way I have not known in years.

2. There were multiple events that were not so nice in 2017 to include multiple interviews for jobs that in not so many words I was told I was overqualified for and they didn’t think I would stay if another opportunity came along. This is the worst excuse an employer can give me. If I didn’t think I could spend some time in the job, I wouldn’t have applied for it. I see a relatively known schedule, job security, and a vision plan better than the one I currently have as amazing reasons to take a job that I can (bonus) earn a retirement from. My current retirement plan will have me well into my 90s at this rate. Between paying my student loans and saving for my future (ha!) the student loans tend to take the lions share of that. I’d work full-time at a lot of places right now and not feel like the job is below me. Certainly, a steady income is not a “step down” to my bank account!

3. The characteristic that has helped me the most over the past year and all the ones before it is resiliency. I am going to overcome obstacles. I always have. Sometimes that may mean turning around and finding a new path, others I can go around, climb over, dig under, or in some personal cases, cut loose the boulders truing to drown me, but each decision has to be made carefully and I have taken a lot of hits before I come out swinging, but when I do…It’s a fight to the end.

4. The events that gave me a good feeling over the past year were comments from my students, comments from my readers, comments from my friends and family, and none of those are in any particular order as they came from different sources at different times. I just like to know that I am making a difference sometimes. It helps when people confirm that for me.

5. The compliments I remember the most are the most recent book reviews on Amazon. My writing means a great deal to me and I am branching out into more territory. To get a good review on a book is a grand feeling, and I cherish that.

6. The two biggest challenges of the past year were time management (which I learned how to do in a whole new way thank you stressful life and crazy schedule) and personal health (which I failed at more than I want to admit thanks to not learning how to manage my time a bit better, and faster.)

7. In the last year, the thing I am most proud of is my research. I haven’t shared any of it, but I will be doing so on my Creative Writing Guide Facebook Page. I have been researching for a long time and this year I am finally going to share what I found and hopefully, it will add to what I am proud of in my life: giving something back.

8. The biggest lesson I learned in 2017 is that I cannot put me aside for others. I must make time to do the things I love to do or I will not be able to do anything else well.

9. My best memory of the year is creating the page to inspire others to write and to hopefully give them some free tools. Many writers, of all ages and for all purposes, need free resources. I hope that my page will give them some and inspire them to invest time and money in others as they can.

Thank you to Daphne’s Diary for the writing prompt!

Cara