2018 in Review

Photo on 12-28-18 at 4.20 PM #3 #2.jpg

Here we are, on the threshold of another lap around the sun. It’s long been my tradition to try to say something about the year that was and try to take stock of things going into the next one, and I see no reason to stop now.

CN: mental health discussion; dieting and exercise mentions

To say 2018 was a rollercoaster is to oversell the ups and downs of rollercoasters. Depending on which part of the year you’re talking about, I could easily have been either despondent about my chances of ever building the life Sonya and I want, or excited about the ways we’ve found to forge our way toward that goal, or baffled to the point of screaming at the achievement of a lifelong dream.

The bad stuff is relatively easy to enumerate, but that downplays how overwhelming it could seem at times. In Obvious News, the state of the country is difficult for those of us who care about other people; I can’t pretend to do this justice in a blog post except to say that I wish I could do more. Our cat’s aging process started to get extremely rocky in all the ways it tends to get rocky, and it’s the most difficult for him but also sad for us. I had the awful realization that a couple of my close relationships were toxic to the point of abusive, one of which almost intruded on my professional life. Two relatives passed away. We realized the Bay Area was not the place we loved living anymore, that in fact it might be exacerbating our mental health issues. And then there was the day-in day-out grind of little things that everyone deals with, but which sometimes managed to be one too many forks in our skins. The way I’ve felt on this vacation from my copyediting job has told me that I was dangerously close to full-on burnout, and I think all of the above has contributed.

At the same time, though, 2018 has had some amazing highs and accomplishments. I attended therapy regularly (with a natural, human number of interruptions) throughout the entire year. I found a psychiatrist and started a medication regimen better tailored to my needs, to the point where my anxiety is down to a dull roar and on some days is entirely absent. With the help of my therapist, I excised those toxic people from my life, along with setting a whole bunch of other boundaries. I learned not to be ashamed of doing the things I love doing that don’t hurt anyone. Sonya went back to school and has been kicking butt at it. We found places we love that might be a place to build a life in that won’t also bankrupt us. I watched so many good shows (Brooklyn Nine-Nine ! Critical Role! She-Ra! The Haunting of Hill House!), read so many good books (Wayfarers! Phantom Pains! Beneath the Sugar Sky! The Murderbot Diaries!), saw so many good movies (A Quiet Place! Into the Spider-Verse! Black Panther!).

And of course, I sold my debut novel; total strangers loved my heart-book enough to want to pay me for it and put it out in the world. I get to be a novelist. I get to have a launch party. I get to have fans. I. Sold. A. Book.

I sold a book.

Oh, also…I sold a book.

I have a few things I want to focus on for next year; these aren’t my official resolutions or anything, but I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve.

In writing, I want to try to get another book out on sub next year, to make sure my worth as a writer is not too heavily tied up in The Imaginary Corpse. I also want to be sure I keep to my schedule of reading at least 12 new SFF releases next year, to keep myself abreast of my genre, and to read at least one book that is not SFF or horror and at least one nonfiction book if I can find ones that intrigue or educate me.

In physical health, I want to go get my teeth and eyes checked, and do whatever is necessary to keep them healthy. I also want to get a little more serious about my exercise routine and my diabetic management diet after a few months of being very low-energy (I suspect stress) and letting some stuff slide; it hasn’t affected my health in major ways yet, but I don’t want to need another red flag to get back into good habits. Likewise, I want to take my RSIs more seriously this year — the ergonomic keyboard and mouse in the writing office are a huge help, but I should talk to my boss at the copyediting job about getting a similar rig for the office, and look into some kind of massage therapy and/or further home remedies.

In mental health, I want to keep going to therapy, keep making my appointments with my psychiatrist, and keep to my schedule of two writing days off every week. I’m also going to make sure I take as much time off around my novel’s launch as I possibly can, because I know that will shred my attention span and my anxiety even though it will also be pure joy.

There are a few other sundry things, too: I want to not hold myself to “preserving” streaks in things like Duolingo or Pokemon Go. I want to keep learning to cook. I want to make sure I hold to my weekly Date Night with Sonya. And I want to enjoy every bit of the novel debut that I can, because I am only going to get to do this for the first time once. I think I should probably also play some Dungeons & Dragons this year, and some Sentinels of the Multiverse; I mean, I need to stay on-brand with my fun, right?

I’ll leave off here; the next blog post will come in 2019. Thank you all so much for coming on this lengthy, sometimes difficult journey with me. I hope you all stay well, have as much fun as you’re looking for on New Year’s Eve, and that your 2019 is in every way the best year of your life to date. Take care of yourselves; you deserve it.