Cass's Obligatory List of 6 Things 2016 Taught Me

Hey, beautiful human! Happy Jan 3, 2017!

...and I'm already running behind. Go figure.

To be fair, I wrote this on NYE...and my computer completely deleted it into thin air because...actually, I don't really know why. So what's a girl to do but give up and leave it for another few days, watch a bunch of Westworld, and lie in bed? I'm definitely starting 2017 off right, huh?


Looking back on 2016, I can't say it was a terrible year for me. It wasn't an easy year by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it was a necessary year. This year was a transition year. I moved in with C, I quit my job, I started freelancing, C got a new job, we went on a trip to TO, my grandmother had a stroke. Things this year seemed to happen slowly and then all at once. As overwhelming as that can be, I learned a lot about myself, my boundaries, what makes me happy, and who I am. 

So, what exactly did I learn in 2016? Oh, let me list the ways!

Cass's Obligatory List of 6 things I learned in 2016

1. Life is really fucking short!

Like I said above, my grandmother, one of my favorite people in the entire world, had a stroke this summer. It was hard to see her in the hospital - confused, sad, upset, and hurting. For the most part, she's recovered....although, she's still not the same as she was before. Seeing how she's changed has made me come to the realization that life is short. We get one shot at it and we're really fragile creatures; any day could be my last. I want to go out knowing that I tried my best to. It sounds cheesy, but it's important to me. Soon after, I quit my job...and now I'm on a completely different path from the one I was walking 6 months ago. I didn't want to waste any more time and I don't regret it for a second.

2.  I don't need any more STUFF!

Seriously. I moved in early spring and I just dumped and donated so much needless crap. I really have no need for more stupid crap in my life. I've really taken to heart the ideals of minimalism and I've tried to stifle my need to buy, buy, buy. I often ask myself, "Do I need this?" If it's a "....ehh....ummm...well, maybe...?" then I take that as a "HELL NO CASS!" and I walk quickly in the other direction/ Our apartment doesn't have a ton of stuff in it, and I feel like I can finally find the things I -do- use. For someone with ADHD, it's a damn blessing I can always find my keys. I've really tried to cut down on the clutter and it's impacted me in such a positive way. I've always known that -things- don't make me happy....people and experiences make me happy. I've really tried to embrace that this year.

3. One step back, Two steps forward.

I quit my job as teacher and now I work at a pet store. I work longer hours at a much more physically taxing job for less money. And at the beginning, I was depressed because it was "A STEP BACK." It wasn't until I stopped and realized....holy shit, I'm not having anxiety attacks before work. I'm a much happier person at home. I don't complain as much. I'm not being a fucking hypochondriac and googling illnesses once a day. On top of that, quitting my teaching job brought me to freelancing and my future career. Quitting showed me how to get ahead in the long run. By other people's standards, I'm probably failing at life. By my own standards, I'm rocking it. Guess whose standards matter? Yeah, mine.

4. Living together changes relationship dynamics

C and I moved in together at the beginning of this year. Almost immediately after, I got the flu...which I hadn't had in over 10 years. It was rough. We spent our first anniversary in our pre-booked North Van hotel room, watching the Food Network and some terrible Sandra Bullock's romance movie. We didn't have sex because I sounded like a dying, wheezing moose and nobody wants to have sex with a dying, wheezing moose (well, no one normal, anyways). After a few days, I ended up with a lung infection. Yeah, it wasn't exactly the passionate start to living together I thought it would be. Needless to say, there was a learning curve in the early days of living together. Things weren't perfect, there were little fights and misunderstandings. Sometimes there still are. But our love has grown deeper and more stable the longer we've lived together. I still look forward to seeing him walk through the door. I'm still terribly attracted to him in every way possible. We still laugh and joke around a lot. Perhaps some of the mystery is gone and the passion has changed, but it's changed for the better. I couldn't have predicted how our relationship would unfold, but I'm happy with how it did. It was worth it.

5. Taking chances pays off

I've tried to put myself out there more this year. I've tried to do things that scare me and make my blood pressure go up. A secret - I'm a fairly insecure person and my own worst critic. This has held me back for as long as I can remember. In highschool, I tried out for the Grade 11 girls' basketball team and I made the team....and then promptly quit, because in my mind, I wasn't good enough to play. This is to low self-esteem has always been one of my biggest flaws. But this year, I've had to become more pro-active about how I approach situations. There's a saying, "If you never ask, the answer is always going to be no." So I've asked for more this year....more work, more responsibility, more opportunities. It's helped me get more clients, connect with more friends and acquaintances, and move in the direction I want to go in. 

6. Happiness comes from the struggle

I remember when I first quit my job and C was providing for the both of us. Of course, finances were tight and we were both stressed out as all hell. C was watching our favorite Youtube Channel (H3H3, papa bless!) and they said something along the lines of, "We look back on the times we were struggling together as the good times." That night C passed that advice on to me...and at the time, I kind of scoffed it off as BS. Now, at the end of 2016, I couldn't agree more. I'm happier than I've been in years and it's because I'm struggling to create something I care about with someone I love by my side. I've got a purpose. It doesn't get any more human than that, does it? Struggling is what humans do best and that struggle gives us purpose. I was suffering when I was living the status quo because I didn't have any goals or purpose. Now that I do, I'm more fulfilled, happier, and stronger in every way possible. 

So where does that leave me for 2017? 

Well, as long as Trump doesn't create a nuclear winter....I have good feelings about 2017 and I just see the future getting better and better. I decided to go with the idea "Go big or go home," this year for my resolutions. I'll give you my big 4 and then next year, I'll come back and review them to see how many I accomplished. Fingers crossed for all of them!

Okay, here it goes!

1. Get a dog!

2. FT Freelance

3. 10,000 viewers to this site (!!!!)

4. Lose 10 lbs. (Yes, yes. I'm THAT girl!)

5. Spend Christmas on a beach somewhere.

So, with that said, friend, what are your resolutions for this year? How was 2016? What did you learn? Please, please, please share your advice below! I'd love to hear where you are and where you're going. :)

And yes, sending good 2017 vibes your way.