To everyone reading this: We made it!! 2016 is now behind us and 2017 awaits, fresh and sparkling and full of possibility. As usual, I like to take the first few days of the new year to reflect on the year past and set intentions for the months to come. It's interesting to see that, at this same time last year, I'd just come off a difficult but rewarding 2015 and was anticipating what's next; I feel very much the same right now.
Looking back at 2016
2016 was a tough year for many, and while global events touched me to some degree, on a personal level I had more highs than lows. The boy and I both received promotions at work which came with more responsibility, and for him, more travel. Our adorable baby nephew was born. We made strides with our commitment to fitness—he by taking more kickboxing classes and joining a dance performance team, me by continuing to take Bar Method classes. "A simpler life with more room for what I love" was my motto for 2016, and in a lot of ways I've made progress with this intention.
Of course, the biggest high of this year was our wedding. After almost 7 years together and a 2-year engagement, in some ways tying the knot was a mere formality; in so many others, it was an overwhelmingly joyous celebration with all our loved ones that I'll never forget.
However, this personal high was counterbalanced by a personal, health-related low. About 3 weeks before the wedding, I was admitted to the ER with abdominal pain and bladder and digestive tract discomfort, where I found out after two days of tests that I had a large cyst on my left ovary. The cyst is not cancerous (thank goodness!) and isn't causing me pain anymore, but it is large enough to warrant surgery and make my doctors suspect I have endometriosis.
If nothing else, this experience has taught me that my health is my wealth and not to dismiss or downplay my own pain. For the past couple of years now, I've struggled with extreme fatigue on and off. I thought this was "normal" as a result of my menstrual cycle or stress or trying to do too much, despite my husband nagging me to see the doctor about my low energy levels. And so the cyst got bigger and bigger. Consider my experience a PSA: If you've been putting off those check-ups, book them now. You will feel so much better getting that clean bill of health for the new year.
Looking forward to 2017
"You can do anything, but not everything." I used to hate this phrase because I thought it stood for scaling back ambition, but this year I see it as an inspiring way to concentrate on what's important. If 2016 was about creating a simpler life and making room for what I love, 2017 will be about refining my focus. To that end:
I'm going to be gentle on myself. The past couple of months have been frustrating as I've bumped up against the limits of what my body can and can't do. There's been more than one occasion when I've said yes to something, only to say no later because of my health condition. I need to be better about acknowledging my body's need for rest, even if it means saying no to commitments, scaling back on the blog, or skipping a workout every once in a while.
I'm transitioning towards clean(er) beauty. My approach to beauty has always been about performance and efficacy, and even though I feature a lot of natural beauty products on the blog, I always evaluate them by the same standards as their conventional counterparts. That stance hasn't changed, but with my health situation I've been switching out conventional skincare for natural versions wherever possible. Why make my body work harder than it has to filtering and processing chemicals?
I'm going to keep exercising. After two years of Bar Method, I've seen significant improvements in my strength, stress levels, and mood, and since exercise has energy-boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits when it comes to managing endometriosis symptoms, I'm not about to stop anytime soon.
I hope to travel more. Depending on when my surgery will be, I'm hoping to fit in trips to Las Vegas for a wedding, Italy for our honeymoon, and Portland for a work conference—with a few weekends away here and there.
Career > blog. As of this year, I'll have been blogging a decade(!), and while in the past I've been timid about accepting more responsibility at work because I wanted to keep time and energy in reserve for this space/passion project, I want to honour my promotion by devoting more of myself to my job this year.
What's coming to the blog
Just because I'll be focusing on work more in 2017 doesn't mean I'll stop blogging cold turkey! While the posts may not be as frequent, I've got a lot of fun content planned for this year starting with January. This month is all about lining up your goals for the rest of the year, whether it's saving money, green-ing up your skincare and makeup routines, working out more, or getting organized. And for all the brides-to-be who got engaged this holiday season (congrats!), I've got some fun Bridal Style content in the works as well as a look back at our own wedding and the list of vendors we used. Stay tuned!