Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blog Title

Considering my three month journey is officially over, it seems appropriate to change my blog title. After all, I've decided to keep this blog up.

Yes, I will admit it -- I haven't found this exercise nearly as bad as I expected.

In truth, it's been kind of fun and I've learned a lot doing it. OK, mostly I've learned that keeping this blog is more for me than anything. It's a way to capture my thoughts, so that one day I can look back and see the whole journey. If other people come along for the ride...well, I don't mind a bit.

So, back to blog titles. I figure in keeping with the theme of being illustrative, I'll dub it The Year of Discovery.

This, of course, means I will likely be changing the name of the blog every year. I figure that's okay.

Change is good after all.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dawning of the Year of Discovery

This is the fifth anniversary of a spur of the moment toast on New Year's Eve that has since evolved into a major undertaking. That initial toast -- and every one thereafter -- has become an agent of change in my life. Who knew a single word could act as such a motivator and catalyst for the year to come?

But it does. Every year, the "Named Year" leads my choices, my dreams, and my ability to forge ahead into the unknown. I go places, I try new things, I focus on certain projects -- all because it is "the Year of..." The word gives me courage when I may falter, or question my own decisions.

There is no time to regret because every year I want to live "The Year" to the fullest.

So far, I believe I have.

In the Year of Change, I found a new job. A job tailor made for me. I love the work, I love my boss, I enjoy solving people's problems. Even four years out, I am not bored at all with what I do. Every day brings new challenges and new projects. I also helped run an election campaign that year. I may have worked for politicians throughout school and for two years afterwards (and attended policy conferences and AGMs) -- but there was nothing like working in an election campaign headquarters. It was insane -- and yet great fun at the same time.

In the Year of Opportunity, I visited both of my host families from previous student exchanges. In May of that year, I went to Japan (where I spent 2000-2001 on an exchange at Konan University) -- while in August, I went to Barraba, Australia (where I spent 1996-1997 on a Rotary High School Student Exchange). In December, I went to the Pirates in Paradise Festival in Key West -- where I saw the Green Flash (something I thought fictitious), and learned how cannon are fired. I got to dress up as a pirate, shoot a blunderbuss, and attack a fort -- I learned a lot which will eventually make it into my writing. I crossed the Pacific Ocean twice that year. I saw four (four!) oceans.

In the Year of Transformation, I changed my lifestyle. After realising that an office job did nothing for motivating healthy living, I decided it was better to change now than to try and change in twenty years. I taught myself to eat healthy, to figure out proper portion sizes, and to either pack a lunch or find healthy places to buy foods (because I hate cooking). For months I counted every calorie that went into my mouth, and every minute of exercise. I lost 30 pounds in three months -- showing people if I could do it, anyone can. I learned that it is possible to have a sustainable lifestyle. More important to me, I inspired people at work to transform their own lives. Compared to travel, this was a low-key year -- but it will also be the year I remember as shifting the course of my future health.

In the Year of Possibility, I received a grant to support my writing efforts -- my first grant ever. I took three months off work to write -- time off my company fully supported. I went to Hawaii twice, once with my Dad on a trip of a lifetime. I took a helicopter ride over an active volcano. I wrote a second (better!) novel. I wrote most of a second screenplay. I wrote a TV show pitch. I attended my first screenwriting convention. I even participated in my first CityChase (which was awesome!).

So what does this coming year have in store? I've known for months that this would not be a simple year. I did so much during the Year of Possibility that I have a hard act to follow. What I do know is that having opened up so many possibilities -- the next year could well be one for discovering where these possibilities will lead. Discovering. Discover. Discovery.

The Year of Discovery.

It resonates, doesn't it? It is filled with positive energy -- with the aura of untapped potential. Moreover, it is an action oriented word with millions of interpretations -- from new priorities to to new projects, to new people. Who knows what else? The possibilities are endless.

So here is to 2010 -- The Year of Discovery.

I can't wait.

The Year Of Possibility - Recap


It's a word that carries a lot of weight. After the Year of Transformation, I truly did not think I would have another year so momentous, so perfectly reflective of the word we toasted to one year ago today.

Instead, I look back on the year with gratitude -- with a realization that more possibilities unfolded than even I could imagine. Many still await final outcomes -- but that's the joy of possibility. It's the opening of a door labelled "potential". I opened up new possibilities for the future that may take years to reach fruition -- but I will always know that they got there start here.

There was obtaining the Canada Council for the Arts Grant in February -- which opened the door to serious progress on the writing front.

There was taking my dad to Hawaii for a trip of a lifetime.

There was going back to Hawaii for 5 weeks of writing -- a possibility I never would have dreamed of.

There was getting up the courage to go to the Austin Screenwriters Convention -- when I knew not a soul in attendance -- not to mention taking part in my first live pitch contest. I learned more there than I would have in five years otherwise.

There was writing a pitch for a TV show -- when I know next to nothing about TV.

There was finishing my second novel (and the first *hopefully* good one).

There was coming close to finishing my second screenplay (which I plan to finish by Jan 15th).

There was switching jobs at work -- from a focus on the government to a focus on climate change and sustainability.

There was WorldCon in Montreal and Ad Astra here in Toronto (which saw the launch of Ages of Wonder -- containing my story "A Swift Changing Course").

..and I am sure there were many small things even I can't recall right now -- but which may show there significance at some point in time.

Heck, I even started this blog. A year ago, I'd have said you couldn't pay me enough to do this. But you know what? I've enjoyed it.

Sure, I didn't come close to meeting my goals for my three months off -- but that's okay. I still made more progress than I would have in three years otherwise. And as my friends tell me, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I never realised just how much I also needed time to rest, sleep (seriously), and just have fun.

I figure I am coming out of these three months (and this past year) more balanced -- more ready to face life with a smile and challenges with a "Sure, why not?" than ever before.

I am ready for a new year.