December 28, 2012

12 things I did in 2012 to make my life better

Some years seem to fade into the next, with little division between them. They're part of the fabric of our lives, but they're by no means the flashiest or most exciting of times, and so it can be difficult to recall with much detail years later. Others are fraught with problems, pain, worry, and perhaps even heartache, as it seems like a break can't be had, no matter how hard you try. At the risk of jinxing myself a mere four days before the ball drops and 2013 launches, this year did not fall into either of those two camps. In fact it was, over all, rather wonderful.

And busy! Wonderful and busy, yes, that sums up 2012 rather accurately, if you ask me! As I sit here at the end of December, twelve months to flip through in the pages of mind, a flood of thoughts come pouring over me and I'm reminded of some of the elements that helped to make it such a great year. There were many, and I feel exceedingly blessed that such was the case. Goodness knows I've had my fair share of years I'd love to erase from my memory forever, if such a thing were possible, but 2012 was certainly not one of them.

As there are twelve months in that year, I thought I would take the opportunity today to share, correspondingly, twelve things that I (or in many cases, we, as in Tony and I together) consciously, intentionally did to help improve and enrich my –and our- life.

It isn't every day, or should I say, every year, that I have a list like, and I don't want to forget the key highlights of 2012 that helped to make it so superb as the years roll on, so without further ado, my I present (in no particular order) a roundup of some of the reasons why this year rocked.

1.) Moved to British Columbia: The year kicked off on an exceedingly busy note, as we made the life changing (and rather sudden) discussion to leave Toronto, after six years of life on the East Coast and move for the first time together to my home province of British Columbia. There were many motivating factors behind our decision, and it was not a choice that was reached lightly by any stretch of the imagination. Fortunately this decision has proved to be one the best we've ever made, and I don't think a single week has passed without one of us saying how truly glad we were to be here, near family, with a better health care team, a nicer climate, and a home we love to pieces.


2.) Got a new house: And speaking of that house we adore so much, it ranks amongst the most important (and wonderful!) improvements in our life this year. After more than seven years (the duration of our marriage up until the point we moved provinces) of living in homes that ranged from shudder inducing to okay but chocked full of problems, we were fortunate enough to find a beautiful little condo on the most serenely lovely street anyone could ever ask for. The house, while not huge, is modern, safe, nicely laid out, and an absolute joy to live.


3.) Spent time with family: Before moving to B.C. we had always lived thousands of miles away from both of our families. Though that statement still rings true for Tony, whose relatives all reside in Italy, we now live in the same province as the bulk of my small family, some of whom even live right here in Penticton with us.

Having the ability to interact with relatives again, be it for a quick "pop in" visit or to celebrate the holidays, as well as to have extra help when I'm going through an especially rough patch health wise or need transportation and assistence to get to a medical appointment when Tony is working, has been an indescribably wonderful gift for both of us (Tony and my family hit it off famously, which sure makes life a lot easier for everyone involved).


4.) Created a craft room of my own in the basement: Though I did technically have a very small room in our last apartment that was designated as my craft space, its teeny size meant my supplies and finished projects were woefully overcrowded and it was hard to clear my mind and focus at times in such a cluttered space. It took a while to set up throughout the spring and early summer, but I'm thrilled to report that since then I've had an awesome, much (!) more spacious craft room of my own to work, play, and just kick back and relax in (this having been a dream of mine for all as long as I can recall).


5.) Got our first car: Though some people are a bit sceptical when we tell them this, it wasn't until early on last spring, just a couple of weeks after we moved to B.C., that Tony and I finally got our fist vehicle (neither of us had ever had a car before in our lives, and though my parents always did, Tony's had not, so this was really and truly his first set of wheels!).

As you can imagine, this has helped improve and enrich our lives in many ways, and is also significantly easier on me from a health standpoint than taking public transit or having to walk long distances to get anywhere. Now, several months on, it's almost mind boggling to think that we'd gotten by in large cities for all those years without a car.


6.) Finally found a feedreader that I love: This might sound like a small matter, but to me it really wasn't. For years I'd bounced around from one feedreader to another, failing to find one that I felt really worked for me and as a result over falling behind on staying abreast of my favourite sites. Last spring I tried Bloglovin and fell head-over-heels in love with after the first day. It's the only feedreader I use now and has been such an instrumental tool in my ability to better follow (and in turn comment on) some of my favourite blogs.



7.) Hammered out a blog schedule that works for me: Speaking of blogging, this year was the first in my life when I really felt like I hit a good, manageable (under the circumstances this year dished out) blogging schedule and pace that worked for me. I'm not going to delve into detail too much on this topic now though, as it's a subject I'm planning on devoting a whole post to early on in 2013. So stay tuned to hear more on this particular improvement (and how what works for me, may help you, too).



8.) Starting taking regular wardrobe snaps: While we're on the subject of things that involve the good ol' interwebz, this year marked the first one for me in which I regularly began documenting my vintage outfits through photographs (nearly all of which are taken by my highly talented hobbyist photographer husband, Tony). While that is certainly awesome unto itself, for me, an even more important element of this act (taking snaps) has been the fact that it's helped me tackle, and better handle, some of my self-esteem and body image issues, as well as to no longer be quite as painfully shy in front of the lens.


9.) Organized my wardrobe better and more efficiently: Much as with my craft supplies at our old home, there was precious little closet space or anywhere to store my wardrobe at our last place. This house however has more of both and and as a result I've (finally!) been able to better sort, organize, and display my wardrobe. A point which makes me so very, very happy - and which makes getting dressed now a snap compared to at our old apartment.


10.) Worked on making (more) peace with my body: Whether justified or not, I've struggled greatly with my body image throughout my whole life, in part because of the way I was (cruelly and completely unjustly) treated regarding my appearance by certain family members when I was growing up, as well as the fact that I was teased mercilessly as a child by my schoolmates, sometimes due to certain elements of my appearance. Battling a multitude of chronic illnesses everyday certainly doesn't help how I feel about my body either, but the older I get, the more I love my body - flaws, imperfections, shortcomings and all (a topic I discussed here last spring), and hope dearly that this positive trend will continue as the years roll on.


11.) Discovered I could wear most brooches: As you may recall from this post last May, I discovered that, if I placed at least a couple of layers of fabric between the metal and my skin, I'm often able to wear brooches. This might sound like a strange thing to mention, but for those who didn't catch my post about this point, I'm extremely allergic to nickel, a metal which is found in a large amount of jewelry (thus preventing me from wearing said jewelry), however this discovery has opened up the whole wide world of brooches to me and I've been wasting no time in building up a delightful collection of them ever since.


12.) Got outside more: Though there were numerous long stretches (the lengthiest being almost almost all of August and part of September), as there are every year, when my health wasn't doing well enough for me to leave the house, thanks to the fact that we now live in a much better situated neighbourhood in a town we love (and delight in exploring) and have a car, I've been able to get out of the house more frequently, whether for everyday tasks like running errands or setting off with Tony to neighbouring communities and towns.

Throughout 2012 we had fun doing everything from doing a photo shoot at an orchard in East Kelowna to going fishing in the dark, visiting Polson Park in Vernon to spending as many Saturdays as we could out garage saling around town. I can hardly wait to see all the awesome places we'll hopefully be able to go, and the wonderful memories we'll make while out and about, in 2013!





{My deepest thanks go out to 2012 for being such a splendid, meaningful, and highly memorable (in a good way!) year. I have my fingers firmly crossed that the coming year will be one of great happiness, success, and fun, too - not only for me and my family, but also for each and every one of you and your loved ones, too. Vintage New Year's card via Miehana on Flickr.}


♥ ♥ ♥



Peppered amongst this list there were other things, big and small, that also helped rank this year so highly for my both me and my husband, but these are the ones that jump out as me on this fine winter's morn first and foremost.

I'm not saying that 2012 was without its hiccups, worries, and rough patches, but for a very, very pleasant change of pace, I don't feel like they were the predominant factor this year. Perhaps that was part luck, maybe life gets a bit easier to tackle as you get older, or, who knows, the universe might just have wanted to smile on us throughout the course of the past dozen months.

Whatever the case, I can't begin to stress how grateful I am to have enjoyed such a terrific, productive, happy year. Only time, that great and mysterious unknown, will tell what the future has in store for us, but I can't help thinking - knock wood - that it's bound to better than many years past thanks to these twelve things and the improvements they brought into our world in 2012.

39 comments:

  1. This is such a nice reminder for all of us to look at the big and small things that enhance our lives. Its so nice to read the words of people like you, who are appreciative of their blessings, who make purposeful choices to improve their lives.

    I enjoy your posts, Jessica, and I'm glad that blogging and taking more outfit posts has been one if the things that has enhanced your life experience. I'm glad to be your blog friend!

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  2. Wow! My list is very similar to yours, especially numbers 4, 7, and 8. And I wondered how you stayed updated on the thousands of blogs you read! LOL! Every time I find a "new" blog I scroll down to comment and see you have already been there! LOL! Makes me laugh every time. Maybe it is time to organize all of my blog feeds into one.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

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    1. That's so fantastic! I love that we shared many of the same highlights this past year, and just have to say again how much I've truly enjoyed seeing your absolutely inspiring wardrobe snaps.

      LOL about the commenting. :) Bloglovin has truly revolutionized my ability to stay up-to-date with many of my favourite sites, and I couldn't imagine navigating the blogosphere without it now. So cool that we both enjoy visiting many of the same sites.

      ♥ Jessica

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  3. I'm glad you had such a wonderful year and I hope 2013 is even better! Happy New Year! ~Debi

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  4. Thanks for this post. Like you, I am allergic to nickel so I have to be very careful about jewellery, but I have started to collect vintage brooches. I've also got chronic illnesses to cope with and one of my goals for 2013 is to come to terms with them and to respect my body for what it CAN do. Happy New Year and I hope 2013 is good to you.

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  5. Wow, what a lovely and positive post to read! I'm so glad that 2012 was a great year for you (it was for me too!) and here's hoping that 2013 will be an even better one! xxx

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  6. 2012 was certainly a big year for you! I find all of those events/discoveries wonderful and very important to making a better life.

    xoxo
    -Janey

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  7. another beautifully written post. It is crazy when you sit down and think of all the things that happen in a year. I myself can't think of anything close to 12 it has been a slow and uneventful year for me but that is okay! glad to hear the move and complete change of lifestyle has worked out so well for you. look forward to seeing what you have planned for 2013.

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  8. Such a wonderful read! Very inspiring and positive...also you are super pretty! I plan on blogging a similar list soon!

    Love,

    Stephanie

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    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you very much (*blush!*) for your wonderfully nice words. I'd love to read you're list when it up, so by all means feel free to come back here and share the link to it if you'd like.

      Sweet thanks again,
      ♥ Jessica

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  9. I think it's truly wonderful that You feel so thankful and positive when reflecting up on year 2012!
    I'am quite certain that a optimistic wiev on life and the ability to notice and appreciate all the nice things happening in life makes a person more genuinly happy but it also makes that person more "immune" when something negative occurs!

    Happy New Year dear!

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  10. You really are a dear girl. Thank you for your thought generating, insightful posts. Here is to many more!

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  11. So glad you had a good year. Hopefully 2013 will be just as productive.

    Miss Stacy Blaise

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  12. All good changes. Glad to see your life heading in a happy, healthy direction. I'm grateful to have met you this year and look forward to reading your blog, post by post.

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  13. I love this list, and I think I'm going to have to make one of my own. I certainly identify with the body image issues - I largely started dressing vintage and blogging based on advice from my therapist to try and find some joy in my appearance (and get a hobby besides always fixating on work). Trying to stop judging your appearance (and yourself based on your appearance) is a hard road but one I'm glad I'm on. And I'm so glad your year has been great. I think you'll be seeing a post from me soon along these lines. :)

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  14. So many wonderful things happened for you this year, the most important being closeness with your family:) I hope 2013 brings in some wonderful goals and experiences for you! I really enjoy reading your blog and you are such a thoughtful and kind person that I can't imagine the vintage world without you in it:) I hope to see you on many new adventures in the new year:)) I can see that through this year you over came a lot of adversities so I can't wait to see what the new year has planned for you:))

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  15. This is wonderful, and i'm so happy for you Jessica! It was a great year indeed for you and your husband. :) Changes in our lives, though they can be difficult and busy, are often positive and give us lots of new strength to face even more challenges. You are on a roll! And i wish you a Happy New Year full of good health and much joy!

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  16. Great idea for a gratitude list! I just turned 40 last month so I'm thinking of doing a "40 things I hope to accomplish this year" list for 2013. I'll have to keep some of the items small though, so I don't set myself up for failure, lol.

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  17. Oh Jess 2012 was just amazing for and to you! My how many changes you endured in your life this past year but all for the better. It was inspirational and comforting to read. To know that things do get better if you keep pushing along. I pray and hope for 2013 that the blessings do continue for you and your husband as well. Just a few more days...ahhhh now what to wear?? hehe Much hugs! Bunny

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  18. Sounds like you've had a successful happy year and I wish you more of it in 2013!

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  19. Totally inspiring! What delightful accomplishments this year. I am so proud of your growth. I hope you have a wonderful 2013. I love your blog, and see many more wonderful posts in the years to come.

    Best Wishes,
    Amanda

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    1. Thank you deeply, Amanda, that truly means a lot me.

      From the bottom of my heart, I hope that 2013 is a year of happiness, positive health, fun, and oodles of smiles for you, dear lady.


      ♥ Jessica

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  20. Dear Jessica, I'm so glad that this very busy and monumental year of change has been so positive for you both. I just wanted to drop you a line to say that I have really enjoyed your blog, your support of mine and our bloggy friendship this year. I wish you all the best for a 2013 filled fun, health and happiness- you deserve them all and more. Hugs and kisses xx Shauna

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  21. Great post, you really organized and dwelt upon your blessings!

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  22. I am so glad that you had a great year!!! :D You are such a beautiful person (inside and out) and I am so glad that I came across your blog during 2012. Thank you for being such a sweet and kind person, and I hope that 2013 is even better for you! :D

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  23. I'm really happy you had a great year. Number 10 is especially important and I'm really pleased for you!
    Love Jess
    xxx
    check out my xmas giveaway, ends 31st Dec
    http://sittingprettyvintage.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/christmasgiveaway.html

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  24. wow this inspired me to make a new years resolution list!! :) I have missed reading your blogs! now that I have a computer I can read them again! :)

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  25. Wowee! Your blog is great! I can see I'm going to have lots of great reading to do. I've just read this post and boy! I couldn't stop reading!

    http://www.jazzeragentlewoman.blogspot.com

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  26. I might add that I am very happy to have met you through your blog, I really enjoy reading so inspiring ... we have some things in common ...

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  27. You know, I'm so proud of all your accomplishments this year but even happier that all the changes have resulted in such a better life for your and Antonio. I'm thrilled that you share so much more of yourself (and Tony's photography!) with everyone. You're a bright spirit with so much to share and I am truly delighted to have you as a friend.

    Wishing you and Tony and your family the best year ever. Happy New Year, dear Jessica!

    xoxo

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    1. Thank you deeply, Georgianna, that truly means a lot to me. It has been a true joy to celebrate the positivity that's been present throughout much of this year with you (it's certainly a stark - and most welcome - contrast to some of the rougher years in recent times!), my dear friend.

      Thank you as well, so very much, for all the many ways that you and your incredibly photography helped to contribute to that happiness. I cannot wait to launch into 2013 and share another exciting year together with you!

      ♥ Jessica

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  28. I'm a bit late with replying, I went on a small holiday. But I still wanted to comment on this blog. I think your list is quite impressive! I admire how you are cooping with your illness. You're a huge inspiration!

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    1. Thank you very much, Anthea, that means the world to me.

      From the bottom of my heart, I wish you positive health, endless happiness, and tons of time for crafting in 2013!

      ♥ Jessica

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  29. I love this post! It got me thinking about what I have done this year, and so I've decided to write my own 12 of 2012 post straight away.
    Cheers,
    L A

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  30. 2012 has been a busy year for you. I'm so happy you have had a wonderful year. I hope you'll have blessings heaped upon you in 2013!

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  31. A lot of this is stuff I would one day wish to achieve (buying a car being a long way down the road of course). Speaking of blog lovin', it sort of confuses me. Plus I didn't realise that I was on it for a while and even had some followers, and it was just weird going on and finding this out. Happy new year :D

    http://meggymoo0.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm sure you will reach many of those milestone points in the coming years, too. As you can see, a car did not happen quickly for us (I was 27 at the time, Tony was 31), but somehow that just made getting it all the more incredible, as we'd worked so hard for years to make it happen.

      Bloglovin' is great, it's just a basic feedreader, and is by far (IMO) the most user friendly I've ever encountered. I think you'd like it a lot if you're in the market for an online feedreader.

      ♥ Jessica

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  32. First, congratulations on your house and car.
    I also love Bloglovin', it's the best. And I've also figured out a blogging schedule that works for me, since I don't have much time and energy.
    I have also tried taking outfit photos, but I hate myself in photos, so that's not for me and my blog. I will just enjoy yours.
    I'm a huge brooch fan too and always wear one - you can place a piece of ordinary tape on the backside to cover the needle.

    Right now I'm ill with stress, my doctor says I'll have to stay home and find peace for at least a months. So I hope I will find inner peace in 2013 and be well again.

    Happy New Year to you. :)

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Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, questions, and opinions with me. I read and sincerely appreciate each comment I receive - they brighten my day like rays of sparkling sunshine.

♥ Jessica