Things I Loved in 2016 - The Wholesome Handbook

2016, by all accounts, was a bit of a dumpster fire. We lost Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, and Carrie Fisher. The United States voted in a terrifying fascist cheeto. The economy in my city is floundering, and everywhere, social and political tensions are high. But I need to be honest with you, dear reader – 2016 has been one of the best years of my life. It was the year I took control of my destiny, the year I learned to trust myself, the year of risks and rewards and rebirth. This year, I stopped engaging in things I didn’t believe in, and started to work towards telling my own truth. The year I decided to not allow anything but the best for, and from, myself.

I feel like a completely different person than that lost, world-weary girl from last December. She is almost unrecognizable. I’m still a bit of a mess, don’t get me wrong – but for the first time in my life, I feel a little like a grown-up mess. Like someone who knows what she wants, and has the stones to go out and get it. And it feels good.

So here are a few things that defined this transformative year – the things that inspired me, the things I was drawn to, the most important moments, my highlight reel – the things I loved.

  • Quitting my desk job to write full-time. Deeply and truly life-changing.
  • Spending a week in the mountains by myself, and without setting out to, drafting my first novel
  • Science fiction, especially the X-Files and Star Trek: TNG
  • Running from an earth-shattering dawn thunderstorm at Dinosaur Provincial Park
  • The lush, opulent paintings of Brad Kunkle
  • Roses, fountain pens, beeswax candles, unsweetened lattes, handmade paper, bundles of sage
  • Eating plums straight off the tree at an old friend’s beautiful wedding in California
  • Fresh bread with new friends at Tartine in San Francisco
  • Warbling and eating breakfast with my little folk trio every week, just for the love of making music
  • Mary Oliver’s ‘Wild Geese’
  • Astrid S – Hurts So Good (by far my favourite pop single this year)
  • Velvet, copper, suede, & old wood
  • Finding my voice in a ten-week course with Whitespace Writers
  • Indulging in a portrait session, just to mark the passing of the years, with the very talented Silckerodt
  • Seeing my work in print for the first time, and my name on the cover of a magazine
  • These images, taken by my five-year-old niece around her home in the prairies