2016: A Year in Reflection

Posted January 1st, 2017 by in Discussions / 5 comments

I feel like I should preface this with a warning: As much as the first paragraph seems like a ranty petulant tangent, I promise this isn’t meant to be a depressing and horrible post. 🙂 Hang in there.

I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a less than stellar year in many aspects. It certainly wasn’t great for me either. 2016 is the year I seriously (and I do mean seriously; not just tossing the idea around) debated closing up shop and moving on with my life. In so many aspects I was just over blogging and at points the book blogging community at large. In the past months I’ve pulled away drastically from social media and people that I don’t know in real life. And I don’t think that’s been a bad thing. I’ve made some good friends but I feel like I was being overexposed.

For most of my blogging “career” I’ve taken it very seriously. I’ve tried to make deadlines, I’ve stuck to a schedule as much as possible, I made calendars devoted to blogging activities, I labored over reviews. One day the words just dried up. I couldn’t do it and I didn’t know why. It was more than a rut this time. There were several contributing factors. I’m not going to go into detail about them because they were my mountains to climb. I struggled with the book blogging community, a blogger’s place in this community, room for differences (or lack thereof).

I struggled with my personal life. My husband’s job took him from dropping him off and picking him up to and from my own job to commuting an hour each way. More and more our home duties fell to me (and I know why and completely understand). This wasn’t a martial split in our day to day lives but rather an adjustment and to be completely honest I didn’t adjust well. Then there is work. We are going through a lot of changes right now. I LOVE my job and what I do. When I knew for sure what changes were coming our way I did my best to curtail all of the bad heading our way. I felt like my supervisor dismissed me as being hysterical and my advice was soundly ignored for two months. Now we’re staring down the throat of the implementation of these changes and we aren’t ready. (I am dreading work on Tuesday.) We’ll make it but it is going to be awful for a good few months.

I’m in my early 30s and I felt like my life should be Mary Poppins organized and running smoothly. When it wasn’t I let a lot go and I ended up finding a fantastic balance. 2016 may have not been a banner year (to say the least!) BUT it taught me a valuable lesson. You can’t devote yourself 100% to every project that you take on when you overstretch yourself. I’ve learned that I can’t stick to big picture goals. I can envision them but I can’t carry them out well. I work better when I can do a little bit of several goals each day. Setting the big picture goal and then soundly ignoring it while carrying out small steps to that goal works best for me. I’ve been doing this for the last month or so and the results have been awesome!

I realize that this all sounds like a pretty self-explanatory concept but when no one has ever showed you how to do that or how to implement the concept and apply it to your life it isn’t. I’m not declaring that all the things are going to work for me and I will soon be up and running Mary Poppins smooth. No such thing. I do; however, know beyond a doubt that I won’t be walking away from things just because I’m overwhelmed.

In the gaps of this summer and fall I’ve found a joy in cooking. I’ve become an avid cross stitcher. I have watched SO much TV and caught a bunch of movies. I haven’t read nearly as much but I don’t force myself to do anything either. Literally just the other night I crashed in bed at 8:30 PM clutching my Kindle and phone to my chest. I had every intention of finishing my current read. I don’t beat myself up anymore about what isn’t getting done. I celebrate what I was able to accomplish because at the end of the day that makes or breaks me.

What does that mean for 2017? For the first time ever I am not setting resolutions. I’m not setting reading goals. I’m not making plans on a yearly/monthly basis. I’m not even really making plans on a weekly basis. I have an idea of what I want to accomplish but again I don’t stress about it anymore. I feel like I’m finally living my life and not just getting through it.

What that means for Once Upon a Chapter is that I’m here but I can’t guarantee that there will be a review every Monday and Wednesday, I can’t say that I’m going to participate in the same memes every single week. What I can guarantee is that when I’m here it’ll be because I want to really talk to you about something I love and not just because I felt like I had to show up. That was how I used to think. Now I just want to do what makes me happy so I’ll be here for as long as you’ll let me.

I hope your 2017 is filled with happiness and good books!



5 Responses to “2016: A Year in Reflection”

  1. Sabrina @ About Happy Books

    Less social media also helped me to focus and be less stressed in 2016, so of course I plan to continue with it in 2017. Many developments in the book blogging community are ones I don’t care about, so I stay away from them and just continue to talk about books. That’s all I ever wanted.

    Hope that 2017 will be a wonderful year full of amazing books.

    Sabrina @ About Happy Books recently posted: Books of a feather - Kate Carlisle
    • Stephanie

      During my unplanned and rather long hiatus I didn’t even visit blogs. I do hope to change that. I want to get back into visiting blogs. But I can also see myself not using Twitter very much at all. I’ve been happier not using it than using it.

      I hope it is too. I’m hoping I can read more than I have these last six months. I only read two books in December! o.O

  2. Amanda Shofner

    All the hugs, Stephanie! You and I must be on similar journeys. I struggled with a lot of the same things you did, blogging-wise. I’m glad you decided to stick around, even if it means not being on a schedule. 🙂

    Amanda Shofner recently posted: My word for 2017: upcycle
    • Stephanie

      I think we must be. While I’ll miss your book blog, I’m still following your other blog. I haven’t been reading any blogs lately though and hope to get back to it! I don’t know that blogging will ever be the same again but I just couldn’t let it go. I met my best friend through blogging so it’s clearly had it’s moments. Lol.

      I hope 2017 is kind to you!

  3. Jessie Marie Reads

    I’ve been so far removed from blogging these last PILE of months that it’s taken a major adjustment, trying to get back into it. But letting it go altogether, like you said, just doesn’t seem like an option. The good news is this: our blogs are our blogs, and so if we take a step back, it’s not like they just disappear. They’re here, waiting. Just like the endless TBRs and shelves of books and new releases waiting to be read. I hope that Tuesday wasn’t near as bad as you were expecting and that 2017 is better to you than 2016 by leaps and bounds.

    Hugs, Jessie

    Jessie Marie Reads recently posted: Bout of Books 18.0 Goals & Updates

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