It’s that time of year where we pause for a moment and take a look back at the year that will soon be over, taking stock of what obstacles we’ve overcome, what joys we’ve experienced, what lessons we’ve learned, and take note of what strengths we have within us that has handled it all, and be grateful for every bit of it because this is life.
The highlights of my year would have to be these two things:
- precious time spent with my mother in our family home (my childhood home)
- a beautiful 3 week holiday in New Zealand’s south island with the tennis player
You’ll notice that those two items above feature quite heavily in posts throughout the year. Let’s take a look back at the year on the blog that was 2023!
Basically – ENOUGH with all the negative thinking about myself. ENOUGH with giving a toss about what others think of me, and time to embrace the fact that I AM ENOUGH (and . . .more holidays and more fun)! ~ Min
I still want that and I still think that word was appropriate for me because I am ridiculously too hard on myself BUT the word of the year thing just doesn’t seem to work for me. I completely forgot about it. I never checked in with it. While I do appreciate it works for others (and at one time it did for me too) I think that my life lately is just too full on to focus properly on these things. I won’t bother to select a word of the year again for myself. I believe that I can have intentions without declaring them.
In January I also interviewed Natalie Lynch from Studio Yellow as part of my Art Chat series. I did art mentoring classes with her and I continue to be a member of her ‘Club Yellow’ which is similar to a social club. She’s such an inspiration. If you haven’t read my interview with her then I highly recommend you do. Congratulations to Natalie too for her recent win of Best Beauty, Health, Wellbeing and Fitness Business with Bayside Community Awards.
In March I wrote about The Vagus Nerve as part of my Gem’s of Zen series. I continued sharing my Draw Your Day contributions via Art Chat. I wrote about Empaths and Creativity, a post for Empath Corner which I haven’t contributed to now for quite some time now as I decided to shift focus on the blog elsewhere. And of course I did my first quarterly Taking Stock post for 2023!
In April we had a few days away at Moffat Beach, Caloundra which was lovely! I shared some more Draw Your Day contributions via Art Chat. I had a worrying incident with Mum and was feeling a bit stressed and stretched and hence the post Juggling all the balls.
May is a big month of birthdays in my family – my daughter, Mum, a sister-in-law, a niece, the tennis player and myself!
Once we returned from our holiday road tripping around the south island of New Zealand, I began to share my experiences. First – South Island of New Zealand – 20 observations from a first time visitor. Then NZ Trip: Christchurch, New Zealand which covered days 1-3 of our trip. Then I shared my first sketches in my travel sketchbook – in the renamed Draw Your World (rather than draw your day) as part of Art Chat.
I wrote the next NZ Trip post covering Day 3 where we caught the TransAlpine train from Christchurch across to Greymouth and after collecting our rental car and visiting Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes we stayed the night at Hokitika. It was then time for my second quarterly Taking Stock post. Next I shared more ‘Draw Your World‘ sketches from my travel sketchbook as part of Art Chat.
My sister had done extra shifts over at Mum’s to cover for me while I was away in New Zealand and so I did the same for her when she and her husband had an overseas holiday. When she returned I was feeling the need for a break from domesticity and took the opportunity for a quick getaway the Bunya Mountains.
The last post this month was the next NZ Trip post – Wanaka to Queenstown.
This month kicked off with Draw Your World – Days 6 and 7 of the New Zealand trip – Wanaka and Queenstown, captured in my sketchbook and shared as part of Art Chat. Next, Days 8 and 9 – Queenstown & Arrowtown – of the New Zealand trip was shared. Then Arrowtown & Queenstown sketches were shared via Art Chat and we wrapped up the month with the third quarterly Taking Stock post.
October kicked off with a Draw Your World – Art Chat post (in and around Queenstown NZ) which contains one of my favourite sketches done from the New Zealand trip of a collage artwork by a Thai artist, Virut Penchabuse.
I proudly share a post about the upcoming Wynnum Fringe Festival held in my local area and founded by local Tom Oliver and following the closure of Denyse Whelan’s blog and linkup, I introduce the new weekly blog link up Wednesday Words & Whimsy #WWWhimsy
November was a big month on the blog! I kicked it off by sending my Dad many heavenly happy returns of the day. Twin 1 and Twin 2 had a birthday this month too but I didn’t blog about that. Next I added to the Corona Chronicles series for the first time in over a year with Corona Chronicles #11 and with good reason – during October I had contracted Covid for the very first time and had been quite sick for a while.
The last post for the month was a Draw Your World – Art Chat post with sketches from Day 10 in Glenorchy of our New Zealand trip.
I completed my final quarterly Taking Stock post for 2023 and here I am in this post looking back at 2023, quietly patting myself on the back for all that I have accomplished and survived during the year. No year is perfect. They are generally full of ups and downs, but each year is time full of moments that must be soaked up, remembered and enjoyed for all that they are, for I have learned that these moments will one day be little gems of joy that our future selves will draw on and appreciate to help us through challenging times and just to have as special and wonderful memories.
As you can see, this year there was a very strong focus on sketchbook art, our trip to New Zealand, and in all my Taking Stock posts & weaved into other posts you’ll most likely see a strong focus on caring for Mum. At the beginning of the year though I’d have never have thought that we’d end the year with Mum in Residential Aged Care and be facing the prospect of having to sell our family home in the new year – my childhood home that has been available to me my entire life with all it’s memories and comforts that come with them. I wouldn’t change who I am, but sometimes it can be tough being an INFJ, an empath and very sentimental person! However, I just have to take one day at a time and know that I am stronger than I think which I’ve proven to myself a lot over the last six years!
Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome ~ author unknown
It’s interesting to notice how my areas of interest are always shifting and changing too. For example, it was only in September 2022 that I decided to create Empath Corner. I had realised I was an empath and this was an area of great interest to me. However, I realised it probably wasn’t as interesting to everyone else, so I backed off on the idea a bit and besides my art chat posts and the posts related to the trip to New Zealand were filling up my one post per week quota anyway (one post a week is all I’ve been able to manage this year). I might do a post as part of Empath Corner again one day!
There will be one more post for this month (and this year) and then I’ll be taking a 4 week break before posting again on 17 January 2024 (see the note below my signature).
By the way, on the day this post publishes, myself and a sister will be at a Christmas lunch and concert at Mum’s new Residential Aged Care facility, so there will be a delay before I reply to comments and read and comment on posts but you know me, I always do these things eventually, and sooner rather than later!
Ciao for now,
NOTE FROM MIN: Heads up that the last #WWWhimsy Linkup for 2023 will be on Wednesday 20 December (so next week!) and the first #WWWhimsy Linkup for 2024 will be on Wednesday 17 January. That gives us all a 4 week break. I believe in Self Care and I think that some digital detox time over the Christmas/New Year period is a good idea. Of course you’re most welcome to keep on blogging away between those dates but the linkup will be closed for that 4 week period. Christmas is getting close! Eeek!