3rd January 2017: I know that I'm later than most posting an entry about 2016, but I've been working a lot lately, so I haven't had time before now. But even so, there was just... so much that happened to me in 2016 that it would be a shame not to talk about it.
In general, no one needs me to tell them that 2016 was a sucky year. Between Brexit, Trump and a lot of awesome people sadly passing away, there's certainly a lot happened last year that I'm either upset about or that makes me nervous for the future.
But at the same time, a lot of change happened for me in 2016 that turned out to be good and I want to talk about that as well. Some of it might be things I've posted about in bits and pieces before, but I wanted to make a post covering everything as I can remember it. So here we go.
Either during December 2015 or January 2016 (my memory is fuzzy) I received news that the place I'd worked at for almost four years would be closing down. The decision came from higher than my manager and even he was in the same boat as the rest of us in regards to job loss. It wasn't a great surprise to any of us, we'd been expecting it for a while, but the news was sad and the way the company handled the situation was so poor that it left a bitter taste in all of our mouths.
Now, I'm someone who doesn't handle change very well and I'll be the first to say that. But after receiving that news I knew no good would come of me sitting around and moping about it. Even though I didn't feel very confident, I started to apply for other work in my local area. I was pleasantly surprised when a fair few places got back to me and in the end I got a job working in a similar location and job to what I had been before. It was nerve-wracking to start in a new place, but I'm pleased to say that it went well when I started.
This also brought about one of the biggest periods of realisation in my life. Between mid-January to the end of February 2016 I was working both at my old job and my new job for a while. This took up so much of my time that I had to go on hiatus from being online while it was happening. But honestly, this ended up being the best thing that I'd done for myself in years. It helped me to see where my Internet obsession had become harmful to me in places and also where I'd been ignoring aspects of my life away from the Internet that I shouldn't have been ignoring.
So after this time was over I'd come to the realisation that there was more than just my job that needed to change. I needed to make changes for the sake of my well-being, both physical and mental. I deserved to be happy.
I made several choices after this that helped me a lot, though honestly I'm still struggling to devote my free time between creating, being online and being there for my family. I think I'm doing better than I was before though. Quitting twitter was the best thing I could have done for myself, which came as a surprise, because I'd always thought that it was deviantART or tumblr that was causing me the problems. But no, it was twitter. Heck, anyone's relationship with a website is what they make of it and I'm not at all saying that twitter is bad, but my use of it was not helpful to me and I'm better off without. Other than that, I've been able to be there for my family more this year and even reconnect with family members who I'd grown distant with over the years. It felt good.
As for my health, there'd been so many elements of that I'd been ignoring for so long, but I made great strides in that all through last year as well. Please forgive me that I don't feel comfortable talking about my mental health publicly (though I can say that things are going well there now!), but I can talk about my physical health. During the summer I got my eyes tested for the first time and was able to get the glasses that I needed. Around the same time I went to a doctor and learned that one of the problems I had with my ears was down to an allergy to certain ingredients in shampoo, of all things, and have since been able to switch to a shampoo that doesn't set off my allergies. In December 2016 two big things happened. The first was that I was able to get further follow up about the problems with my ears (TMI warning if you find ear details gross) – it turns out that because my ears are much smaller than a normal person's, my ear canals are also much smaller, so for years my ears have been creating wax to an extent that it felt was fine and would be fine for a normal person, but was creating a problem for me. It means that I'll have to regularly get wax removed for probably the rest of my life, but I still feel better now that I know what the problem is. And the other thing that happened in December was that I went to hospital to have some oral surgery, to get a wisdom tooth removed that had grown in sideways and was causing all kinds of problems to the teeth next to it. I was very nervous, as I'd never been put to sleep before, and the pain afterwards lasted longer than usual due to the severity of the tooth's location, but in the end it turned out fine and I'm glad the problem tooth is now gone.
Back-tracking a little, in October 2016 some other amazing things happened. Now this is something I know I wrote about, but I want to mention it again. I met up with several great friends for a holiday we'd planned for a long time. First of all I travelled around Ireland with Gemma, Claire and Claire-Rose, then we all came to Northumberland, where we met up with Holly and travelled to different places there. It was one of the best times of my life and I'll remember it fondly for years to come.
Also around that time, just before I left for my holiday leave, I was taken aside by my manager and offered a promotion, which I accepted. This was huge for me! I'd never been working somewhere where being promoted was even something that could happen before, so to get promoted after only working there for 8-9 months felt amazing. I'm glad that I was able to give them faith that I could do this and since my promotion I've been doing what I can to learn everything I need to know about my new role. There's been some bumps in the road, some of which was outside of my control anyway, but I hope that I can do things okay in future.
I think that covers most of the main things that I wanted to talk about. What I mostly wanted to say was that after years of being miserable and letting myself be miserable, in 2016 I finally stood up and started doing what I needed to in order to make myself happy. It wasn't at all easy and I know that some choices I've made might have upset some people, but in the end I finally had to do what was best for me. And I'm still doing that. Getting into a better place isn't like flicking a switch and then it's done, I have to constantly maintain it – the work, my health, the time I make for my family, the time I make for creating stories, etc. But I hope that I can go into 2017 and improve even more on everything I've worked on in 2016.
If you're in the same situation than I was, then my advice to you would be don't give up! It's not easy to accept that something is wrong with you and it's even harder to do something about it when you do realise this, but let me tell you, the relief you'll feel afterwards is worth it. I'd highly recommend taking a long enough break from the Internet that you're able to then look at it objectively and realise what parts of your online time are causing you to feel bad. You're not forced to check a website, nor do you owe yourself to another person to keep doing so. Friendships are important, but you're important, too. The old saying that helped me was “Don't cut off bits of yourself to keep someone else whole, I'm seeing less and less of you.” If something has become toxic to you, even if no one intended it to, you absolutely have the right to back away from it in order to maintain your own well-being. And I wish you luck in that if you need to.
I should probably wrap this up by saying my immediate fanwork plans for 2017, since I owe it to you if you've read this far through my ramblings! Once my family have all gone back to their work and education obligations I'll have a bit more free time again, so there's a few things that I want to work on. In the near future I want to update all of my current multi-chapter fanfics with at least one new chapter. So that will be my Professor Layton fanfic, Grasping Liquid, and my two Free! fanfics, the Makoto's Dead AU, Moves Across the Land, and the SouMako Zombie AU, Trail Mix. Both of my Free! fanfics have set endings and aren't going to be too long, I don't think, so I hope to get them both finished in the not too distant future. As well as this, I have another Free! one-shot planned, set in the same AU as my fanfic Wish Upon a Dried Frog's Leg, which will be a prequel to that fic. For Grasping Liquid, I hope to get to the end of Act Five soon, then write the next side-story, which has the working title of A Butler's Lack of Influence. After that I'll finally be into Act Six, which I'm excited about, because there's so much in Act Six that I've been planning since the very start of the story and it's so strange to think I'm not far off from it after all this time.
Other than that, fanwork will come when it happens. I'm hoping to do more of the top tens I've been posting on my main tumblr, as they're a lot of fun and people seem to like them. And it'd be nice to make more fanwork for other series as well, though I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.
Anyway, thanks for sticking with me so far, however long or short you've been following me for, and I hope that your 2017 is filled with all the good things that you deserve!