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Here’s Looking at You, 2009! { A Year in Review }

Waterworks (Mini Diana)

Before I can share with you my 2010 challenges and goals for our 52WoC Task #48, I want to do a round-up of memories/highlights from 2009 first. Not because I think you're gripped by my life's events. Really. It's just my way to beat my own forgetfulness. 😉

Yes, I like using this blog as a way to remember stuff. Whenever I go, "Uh, what happened back in the year...?" I often check my blog's archives. That's why I started writing these year-end wrap-ups. Although, I know this one's running a tad bit late, as we're well on our way towards the middle of January already. Ack.

Anyway, I wanted to model this retrospective using my last couple of years' wrap-ups (7 from '07 and 8 on 8 from '08), but I'm not sure if I can think of 9 things within 9 categories. And, I don't think I'm up for a month-by-month account like I did in my 2006 wrap-up. So, I'll see if I can do some kind of a mash-up deal here instead...

Every time we pave the way for a new year, we start to think of new things, new hopes, new dreams... It's all great, of course. I think it's part of what makes the new year special.

But, one of the things that I've been reminded of recently says that in order to make way for new things to happen, we must learn to let go of things.

You know that bit about "clearing out your closet" right? Well, for this wrap-up, I thought I'd clear out my 2009 closet, so that I can better display the best parts of the year AND open up the rest of my 2010 for greater things to happen.

So, as I say goodbye to the year, I have this list of -

9 Things I'm Letting Go of in 2009:

1. Some unrelated matters and non-essentials. This included the act of giving away some stuff we've been keeping at home... no longer renewing some domains and websites/blogs I've had... stopping to think if a job/work really fits before I take it on... etc etc etc.

2. The company that I co-founded and helped to build for 3+ years.

3. Some people I invested years of time and energy with. Like clothes that no longer fit or 500-piece puzzles with missing pieces, even if you've spent so long enjoying them and/or figuring them out, you know that when something no longer works, you just gotta give it up.   

4. The feeling of being betrayed. Of being let down. Of being disappointed. And, in case you're wondering, no, this one's not really related to item #2. Not exactly #3 either.

5. My psych-related work. At least, for now anyway. No, I'm not completely closing the doors on this, but under the circumstances, I think it's time to move on so that I can pave the way for other opportunities in my life.

6. Too much online time. I'm still online a lot, and I probably will always be. But, I'm glad that in 2009, I managed to reclaim a life outside the WWW.

7. A detachment from faith. I'm not comfortable talking about spirituality and such in my blog at this time, so I'm not going to expand on this too much for now. Maybe someday I will.

8. The fear of making enemies or being disliked. Being nice or having faith doesn't mean I need to be a doormat. So yes, I finally decided that there's just no pleasing the unpleasant. And, if someone doesn't like me... well... that's okay. If they can live with it, I'm pretty sure I can too. The feeling's probably mutual anyway. 😉

9. Too much 'busy'-ness. Too much thinking. Finally, finally decided to find some stillness, some downtime.

Also, these may not be things to let go of, I thought I'd also take the time to remember some 2009 disasters that affected me in some ways: the Victorian bushfire and the Philippine typhoon/floods. This was also the year we commemorated the first year death anniversary of my dad.

With these out of the way, here's my more upbeat list of -

9 Things to Remember and to Celebrate from 2009:

1. Finding new pathways in life. Not just work and such, but a way of living and thinking. It's amazing what you can invite in to your life when you get rid of some of the horrid stuff.

2. Starting my second grad school studies. And, completing my first year - with a GPA that made my head spin (yes, yes, yes... I received mostly High Distinctions, with some Distinctions - who would've known, hey? ;-)). Plus, a wonderful report from my first mentor teacher. Yay indeed.

3. My kids' development and milestones. My boy started school this year - and he also had an amazing, amazing year. Sure, there are areas where he might need an extra nudge or two. But, for the most part, he got high marks in most of his subject areas. The little girl has also moved from the Nursery room to the Toddler room at her childcare - and is a real Miss Popularity and Smartygirl (according to the carers at the centre). As a mum, I can't be more proud of my li'l munchkins. And, they're just developing as people who I actually enjoy spending time with!

4. The Big Trip. Yes, I know, I know... I'm going to have to keep writing about this trip until you're bored and blue in the face. Just because I want to remember as much of it as I can. What can I say? Singapore. England. Wales. Johannesburg. All in 6 weeks. It was awesome.

5. Friends. Face-to-face and virtual ones. New, fresh ones who I met this year. Ones that are maybe-friends for now. And, ones who have been around for years. But, most of all, I say YAY to those friends who stick by me through the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's not always pretty, but it's always good to know who your REAL friends are, especially when times are tough. You, my real friends, rock big time. I wish upon you all the blessings that your heart can hold in this lifetime.   

6. Having Time for Stuff. Well, sort of. When you're studying full time, working part-time, running all sorts of projects and such - with two young kids, a husband, and a mortgage/house - you never really have time for stuff. But, this year, I made sure I still did. So, I met up with friends. Cooked and baked A LOT. I even attended live sport matches like the AFL and Adelaide United, with my family. Through Uni, I even got to do some art/craft, some exercise, etc. I also watched movies. In fact, I watched more movies this year than I've ever had in the previous 5 years combined. I even had time to daydream, to fantasise. Things I haven't done since goodness knows how long. And yes, READ. I probably read almost 20 books this year. Such a radical difference compared to the last couple of years before when I barely managed to read 3 non-work related books in one year.

7. Writing, writing, writing! Yes, this is one of those things that I managed to do more of this year. In fact, not only did I just write... I even finished a novel! A whole book. I did it. Really. I wanted to prove to myself that yes, I can finish a novel-length story again. Something I only managed to do once before, when I was 19. This year, I told myself that I had to do it again. Otherwise, I might as well just throw away That Dream. You know, the writing dream. But hey, I did it. And I LOVE it. I long to do more.

8. Work. I'm grateful for the jobs that I had in 2009 that helped me financially (and everything else)... including a year-long part-time gig at a local organisation, my web projects, some freelance writing/consulting, and also for my friend Christine who got me working in online community again, through her company in New Zealand. Oh, and this year also marked an opportunity for me that opened up the world of print/travel writing again. And yes, even though it was sort of related to my previous work, I do appreciate the accolades/acknowledgements from CNET Asia and Fast Company early in 2009.

9. The 10th Year Wedding Anniversary. Since we were travelling at the time, hubby and I didn't really have any massive, romantic celebrations on the actual anniversary. But, in some ways, the whole trip was partly a homage to our ten years of togetherness. After all, we did get married in Singapore (well, one of the weddings anyway; the other wedding we had was in the Philippines) - and we were in Singapore on that day. We spent our honeymoon in the UK - and we went there too. We met some friends and some family; we introduced our kids and all. We even attended a wedding... of one of our bridesmaids, who in turn asked our girl to be a bridesmaid (and our boy to be a pageboy). So, all in all, it was a cool way to celebrate the first decade of our marriage.

And now, let me just share some of my favourite posts from Studio Notes in 2009 -

Interviews at Inspiration Café: Chynna Laird (July), Ann Whitford Paul (July), and Sue Silverman (Aug).

Other 2009 highlights: Celebrated 9th year of Studio Notes (and changed name + updated theme), Introduced Look of the Week/Style Studio (Apr), going camping with the family - twice! (Feb and Dec), meeting Hsien and Jean - finally! (Dec), the one and only Adelaide bloggers/social web media meet-up I organised for the year (Jan), Seeing Karen Cheng again (Jan), The Boy's First Piano Recital (Nov).

What about you? What are things that you let go of in 2009? What are the things that you'd like to remember and to celebrate?

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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