Quote of the Week:
“I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.”
~ George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life
. . .
. . .
*pokes head out from under the blankets*
. . . Is it over?
Is 2017 finally over?
I’m not the first to make this joke nor will I be the last, but for real, this last year was . . . not great. I mean, personally, it was fine: my family is happy and healthy, and I learned some stuff about myself, took on new challenges, and my work life progressed, but like, everything else has been terrible. XD
But let’s not dwell on the past! Let’s raise our glasses (full of sparkling apple cider) to the future! To 2018!
And on with
this month’s December’s journal challenge! As always, please feel free to join the conversation in the comments! I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts and whatever awesome things you all are up to!
Favorite things about December
Favorite thing about cold weather
Well, here in California, the best thing about cold weather is that it’s cold. I mean, sure, today it’s a balmy 67 degrees, but last week, it was down to the 40s!
(I know some of you snow folk are laughing hysterically right now . . . )
Truth be told, I’m a true Cali girl, and I love the sun, but no one likes being sweaty. So, my favorite thing about this time of year is when it’s cold but not too cold, and the sun is out and there are fluffy clouds and a bit of a breeze, and you can wear leggings and boots and maybe gloves if you want, but you don’t need to, and it’s good snuggling weather, and good weather to be in bed with a book and some candy. ❤
List of favorite holiday songs
Hoo boy, this is a toughie. My tastes in holiday music have varied widely over the years, but I think I can get it down to a solid top
five eight (links are to my favorite versions):
- “Sleigh Ride”
- “We Need a Little Christmas”
- “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”
- “The First Noel”
- “Winter Wonderland”
- “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
- “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”
Ways you’ve changed this year
I’ve touched on this in past journal entries (ah, so that’s why it’s a good idea to keep a diary! XD), and I would say the biggest change is really coming to terms with who I am, like what my actual wants and desires are, rather what I think (or others think) they should be.
This year, I started therapy. I also started running (I’m on Day 41!) I cooked and baked a lot. I read . . . not as many books as I wanted, but ones that were outside my typical genre and even outside my comfort zone. I basically explored what makes me tick, what makes me happy, what makes me motivated. I feel that I’m in a better state of all-encompassing health than last year. That is not to say, of course, that I have LIFE all figured out, or that I don’t still suffer from anxiety or have doubts about the future. But I am accepting those parts of me, because they’re part of who I am as a whole.
Overall, I think these changes are for the better. =)
Books that remind you of winter
My first thought was obviously Game of Thrones, but I also thought of The Cry of the Icemark. Lots of snow in there . . .
And y’know, what does it say about our culture that winter makes everyone — even Californians! — think of ice and snow?!
Authors you want to read more of
I hesitate to sweep with a broad brush, but truthfully, I want to read more authors of diverse backgrounds. My 2017 reading challenges really made me expand my reading horizons — and not that I wasn’t interested or hadn’t read such books before, but many of the popular books that I previously focused on had authors of similar backgrounds, and it was so wonderful to peek beyond the popularity curtain and see who’s making real strides in literature. And honestly, once you go diverse, it’s hard to go back! When you find characters that you can relate to on completely different levels or simply be amazed at their perspective, more and more of the world opens up to you, and you don’t really want to return to the same ol’, same ol’.
Books are great, you guys.
Your first childhood presents
TOYS. I mean, I’m sure most people’s were. I liked Barbies and Beanie Babies, and books, of course. One present in particular, though, is when I got a swingset from my grandparents. We had a home video tape of me swinging on it and singing, “Happy Holidays,” over and over. I was ADORABLE. And that swingset lasted a long time!
Favorite holiday movies
I HAVE TOO MANY
For real, though, we have a list, and it is long. But this year, my family and I were all super busy and didn’t have much time to watch stuff together. These are what made it to the ABSOLUTE MUST-WATCH OR BE FOREVER SAD list (and we didn’t actually get to all of them, so we will indeed be forever sad):
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
- Mickey’s Christmas Carol
- The Muppet Family Christmas
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too
- The Polar Express
- Arthur Christmas
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Home Alone
- It’s a Wonderful Life (this is my personal must-watch, the kids find it boring XD)
Write a lesson to others on forgiveness
Well, I’m not gonna be preachy about it, but I do have this to say about forgiveness. Yes, it’s a good thing to do. Yes, it’ll probably make you feel better — holding a grudge is exhausting. However . . . it is true that some people don’t truly deserve your forgiveness. Some people may have hurt you very badly, and you don’t have to forgive them if you don’t want to. Or perhaps, you can forgive them just so you can move on with your life . . . but you don’t have to forget. You can remember why. Forgiveness is good if the act of unforgiveness (actually a word!) is hurting you. But if the other person is hurting you more, then it’s important that you save yourself. Your health and well-being is more important than forgiving someone. Again, in most situations, it’s definitely better to just let it go and forgive. But sometimes it’s not. And only you can be the best judge of that.
A time you made a snow angel
As I believe I’ve made it clear, it doesn’t snow much here in California. Of course, California is a big state, and some parts of it do ineed get snow. Some of those parts are not just regulated to NorCal either, but also here in sunny SoCal, up in the mountains. And sometimes, those snowy parts stretch beyond those mountains and into traditionally warmer areas. Once, when I was little, it snowed at my grandparents’ house in Yucaipa, an extremely rare thing. So, naturally, we all got bundled up and went to visit! It wasn’t a ton of snow, but we made a snowman and a snowdog, and yes, we made snow angels. (My sister was just a toddler, so she mostly wriggled around in the snow.)
Do you believe in Santa Claus?
If there are any kids reading this, then YES, OF COURSE, I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS.
If not, then no, I don’t. Though I do love the legend of Santa and all the various TV specials and movies made about him. What Santa represents is a lovely thing.
(If there are any kids still reading, STOP NOW)
I found out Santa wasn’t real when I was seven. For some people, that seems old; for others, that seems young. I think it’s somewhere in the middle, because that was the first year at school I realized some kids didn’t believe anymore, and that was when my SANTA FAITH WAS CHALLENGED. So, my suspicions were high that year, but I think I would’ve found out anyway. See, my dad normally signed the presents for Santa, using big loopy, fancy writing to say, “From Santa.” That year, my mom did the presents instead, and she just used her normal writing — which I was very familiar with. I knew at once that my mom had signed the tags, and the gig was up. I confronted my mom later about it, and she confirmed the farce, and I cried and I think she cried, so you know. I think it’s a sort of rite of passage for many kids, though I know there’s debate on how healthy it is in the long run. You may have seen this post going around about a different way to “break the news” to your kids, and it’s quite lovely and very much in the giving spirit of Christmas!
Detailing family traditions is harder than it sounds, because you don’t always know what’s a thing that’s unique to your family or just like, what most people do, XD. In regards to Christmas, we do open one present on Christmas Eve, and it’s always pajamas (Harry Potter ones this year, yussss). On Christmas Day, we open our stockings first and then the Santa present (we’re all older now, but we still keep this fun aspect~), and then all the other presents. My personal tradition is watching It’s a Wonderful Life while wrapping presents . . . and eating cookies.
What do you like to do on a snow day?
What you’d do differently next year
Hm, this is a good question. Due to how horrible 2017 was in many aspects, what I’ve seen from a few people is removing toxicity from your life, whether it’s coming from your environment, your entertainment choices, or other people. That’s not to say to seclude yourself from the world, but if something/someone is causing you mental/physical distress, it’s best for your own health to move away from whatever it is and/or take steps to make your situation better. I don’t necessarily have anything in particular as an example, but I did stop checking Facebook so often, and honestly, my life has become a little bit brighter as a result. You can really get stuck on there, dragged down by nasty comments. I still check Twitter (because for better or worse, it’s best source for news), but I don’t find it as difficult to pull away from there. Overall, I’d like to focus on the positive aspects of social media, how it can be fun to connect with people all over the world and make meme jokes and post reaction gifs. Social discourse can and should happen, but I want to engage in more constructive, active conversations.
How have you grown as a writer?
Ha, I haven’t, really. My writing sort of fell off when I got new clients in the latter half of the year. I still have stories dancing around my brain, and I’d like to show them off to the world!
Your personal goals for the new year
My problem is that there are so many things I want to do, but I get overwhelmed and then end up hardly doing any. So, I’ve tentatively decided on a system of finishing one thing (a book, a video game, a project, etc.) before starting another, or even adding it to my to-do list. This way, I take the excitement of beginning something new and use it to complete something old first. Plus, I can be genuinely sure that I’m actually ready to start the new thing. (I can be a little impulsive!)
I was discussing this with my sister the other day:
Top five Pixar movies?
Now, you can read this as personal favorites or what you sincerely think are their best movies. Mine is a little of both, and so is, of course, absolutely correct:
- Toy Story
- Monsters, Inc.
- The Incredibles
- Inside Out
AM I WRONG
(for the record, Finding Nemo, Up, and Coco all fought for that fifth spot, so)
- I was expecting to publish this on 31 December 2017, so I had more of a summing-up thing planned, but . . . Well, hey, it’s published now!
- Went to Disneyland a couple times before my pass were blocked — one trip was a sneaky trip by myself to buy Christmas presents! It was actually super weird to be in Disneyland alone and I did not like it, XD.
- My brother came down with the seasonal flu right on Christmas Day. Poor boy was so sick, he couldn’t come with me and my sister to our grandparents’ for more celebrations. But he did manage a small smile when he opened the LEGO Death Star set that he got for Christmas. 😉 He’s better now, and that thing took him two whole days to build!
- One of my Christmas presents was an InstaPot. I’m very much looking forward to that easy one-pot cooking life!
- I still have future ideas for this blog and how I’d like for it to grow. My work life has stabilized, and I can plan things with more certainty. It’s just, you know, actually sticking to those plans, =P.
- To fully conclude on a theme I guess I sorta have going here, I’d like to continue promoting positive things. Last year sucked; there’s no need to beat that horse any longer. There’s still work to be done, however, and I think we need to move forward with optimism — cautious optimism, to be sure, but optimism nonetheless. We are stronger than we think, and we’re stronger when we’re working together. And sometimes that starts small, like with our entertainment; two of my favorite YouTube channels are all about finding the positive in movies: CinemaWins and FilmJoy. As the former neatly puts it, “Liking things is more fun than not liking things.” And if those things we like also uplift and help other people, so much the better!
- I hope you all had, if not a great year, then a safe and healthy one!
- Here’s to 2018! 8D
How was your December? How was your 2017?