Annual Review 2015: Looking Backward

Annual Review 2015: Looking Backward

My very first thought on 2015? It was one HELL of a year. What a ride!

Truly, overall it was a very good year and I didn’t have many negative things that happened or too much to complain about.

What Went Well in 2015

 

I cleaned up my finances.

After a very slow start to my writing business and being unemployed for about 50% of 2014, I exited the year in debt for the first time in my life. Granted, it wasn’t a large amount, about $4000, but for someone who had never been in debt it was enough to be scary.

I had the luck to fall into a position at the beginning of 2015 that paid me very well (albeit with a high trade off), which allowed me to not only eliminate that debt from my life rather quickly, but also to set aside twice that amount in savings while still living well (even somewhat frivolously by my standards).

My writing brand got a reboot.

I started The Rogue Road in 2014, first as a blog and quickly thereafter as a business. Unfortunately, what it became as a business was not what I’d dreamt of, in regard to the business or myself as a writer.

When the beginning of 2015 got busy, it was a welcome distraction from my perceived failure as a writer, and I let go of those dreams for a while. But when the time came again to change my game plan in terms of income and vocational identity, I took some time to decide what it was I really wanted to be as a writer and finally banished the writing-for-peanuts methodology I’d started out with (and never previously graduated from).

When it comes to writing, 2016 will only see me working on larger articles for publication and an idea for a novel, which has been bouncing around my brain for the last couple of years. No longer a “business,” so to speak, I will simply be a writer by my name with an online portfolio.

I started a second business.

Not only did I reboot my writing, I launched a second business to as a client-based virtual assistant. Having so many friends & associates who are either entrepreneurs or running small businesses, I saw many of them struggling to keep up with the daily burdens of running a business and felt I wanted to help. That's when the idea for Coffee Break was born, and it's already proving to be not only a smashing success but an incredible tool for those who are choosing to utilize it.

I accrued a number of new travel perks and skills.

Although the job I was working the first half of 2015 was extraordinarily rough on me in a number of ways, one positive was that I learned a lot about traveling short & long distances for various lengths of time. I learned how to handle myself in different stressful situations, how to make the most out of time spent in airports & hotels, and most importantly learned that I am NOT a backpack traveler! Three cheers for rolling luggage!

I found and joined up with the love of my life.

One day a guy walked into a hotel in Australia. He had A LOT of tattoos. And that was all I noticed before I went back to whatever I’d been doing on my phone.

A few weeks later we knew our lives had been changed forever, and since that time we’ve both been happier than we ever could have imagined.

In retrospect, I had no idea what the ideal mate would look like for me. Sure, I had some vague notions of what he might be, but what I discovered in this man was everything I never knew I always wanted. Now, looking backwards, I see it couldn’t have happened any other way...I never believed in soulmates, but this man gives me a reason to.

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I spent some time internally clarifying what my values are.

One of the best parts of having a topsy-turvy year that bounces you from one thing to the next is that in the process of experiencing so many different things & lifestyles, you figure out along the way which pieces work for you and which don’t.

I feel like this year built even more upon last year’s realizations and revelations, further crystalizing for me those things that are the most important in my life and those which I can live without. All of that self-education is allowing me to exit 2015 with unsurpassed happiness for today and excitement for tomorrow.

What Didn’t Go Well in 2015

 

I finally had to terminate one of my longest-standing friendships.

After almost 18 years, I found it was time to let go of the woman I had always called my closest friend. We had been growing apart for many years, a fact which I’d always recognized but worked hard to overcome.

Yet as I told another friend of mine just the other day, relationships shouldn’t be consistent struggle. If they are, that’s usually a sign it’s not right

Unfortunately her behavior became such that I could no longer excuse it. Despite years of trying to rediscover the person she once was and pull her back from the increasingly dark path she treads, I finally realized she had crossed into a place from which she was unrecoverable (not to mention she had no interest in being recovered).

Although it was sad for me to lose such an old friend, I realized I had truly lost her years ago and it was time for me to move on.

I temporarily burned out on travel.

Everyone thought my position in event production was so glamorous because I got paid to travel to all sorts of international, exotic destinations. And although we call it traveling because there is no other term for it, it was not traveling as I like to experience it.

I previously outlined in more detail why it was an unpleasant lifestyle, but basically it was more like commuting really long distances to work my butt off. There was little if any time to explore my surroundings, and even if you found some time it was an “on call” scenario.

As a result, I started to dislike travel, wanting to come off the road and stop moving for a while. Luckily I found a way to grant my own wish, although that of course opened up a new can of worms, and it wasn’t long before my itch to be out seeing the world started to return.

I derailed from my ultimate goal of being a writer & entrepreneur.

Not everyone is lucky enough to find a calling in life or to figure out what they need in order to be content in their profession. For the first time last year, with many wrong paths & failed attempts behind me, I finally achieved a great deal of clarity in both of those departments.

Unfortunately, being new to both entrepreneurism and finding my passion, I made plenty of mistakes in 2014 and didn’t necessarily take the proper steps to grow and succeed in my pursuit.

Then in 2015 I all but abandoned those pursuits, and when another opportunity arose to try something different, I allowed distraction to take the reigns instead of being tenacious in the pursuit of my dreams.

Who knows, maybe it was something I needed. I certainly needed it to help restore my finances. But maybe I also needed to step back, take a breath, and develop a clearer idea of exactly what my goals were.

Still, when I came off the road in July, instead of re-examining my original ideals and beginning to pursue them again, I took an easy way out with a desk job that fell into my lap, completely forgetting that this particular path had never worked for me before. I needed to be reminded by experience (and my significant other) before the light bulb went on again.

Part 2 

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