Christmas was amazing! So much food, love, and laughs. I am truly grateful for how wonderful this season has been. We even got a white Christmas just in time for the big day!
This will be my last post of 2016 so I thought it was fitting for me to jump on the blogging bandwagon and write a year in review post. You guys have only been with me for five months, but this blog’s journey has been a little longer than that.
Outside of blogging, 2016 has been a major transition year for me – from poor student living at home with her parents to poor Bachelor Degree holder trying to figure out her life while living at home with her parents. I know, things change so fast! Let’s take a look, shall we?
January – Brainstorming
This is the month I bought what I call my blog book. It’s a notebook I bought at Indigo where I write down my ideas for See Heather Smile. My January notes are a lot of me brainstorming names for the blog and writing sample posts as I try to pin down what I wanted the blog to be about.
I got a taste for publishing blog post length works in January when I signed up for a drinking hiatus challenge put on by a club at my university. Every week I wrote about a hundred or so words about my experience not drinking for a month and it was published online. It was an opportunity to (sort of) try out blogging that I jumped on.
February – Researching
The blog book is filled other bloggers’ names whose websites I wanted to scour for advice, and the information I collected from them. I spent a lot of time researching webhosts, trying to figure out what the heck a webhost was, finding the differences between WordPress and Squarespace, etc. etc. etc. I learned a lot about building websites.
I also figured out the name for the blog in February. See Heather Smile was born February 22nd, 2016. I even have a little doodle in my blog book of how the blog might look with See Heather Smile at the top.
In the non-blogging part of my life, I presented a paper at a colloquium as part of my English degree. Speaking in front of people used to freak me out (singing and dancing in front of them is just so much easier, is anyone with me on that?), so presenting an entire paper was pretty exciting for me. It also took me one step closer to earning that degree.
March – Plugging along
March was not a very eventful month. I continued researching and brainstorming for the blog. I continued finishing my studies.
April – Getting closer
My blog book notes in April show price points for various purchases you need to make to build a website.
Outside of blogging, life was hectic in April. It’s finals and dance competition season, so I was probably just working to stay afloat in the sea of my responsibilities.
May – Taking the plunge
I bought my domain and webhosting and downloaded WordPress in May. I felt exhilarated when what I had done sunk in. It was a commitment to myself and to this dream I had had for a few years. It was a first step. See Heather Smile was suddenly real.
May 31st, 2016 I attended my convocation ceremony and received my B. A. School was finally a thing of the past and there was a world of opportunity ahead of me.
June – Living
June is the other hectic month in my life. I had several shows on the go through work and through volunteer groups. As for the blog, June was spent purchasing a theme (the thing that makes it look the way it does) and designing the website.
July – Puzzling
Why can’t everything just stop in the summer so we can enjoy those few warm days without worry?
I spent July trying to figure myself out. Or maybe that was just the beginning of a long several-month period of trying to figure myself out. I started working my second job in July, but I think I was trying to just enjoy summer as much as I could before I started worrying about moving on to real life.
August – More living
Summer. Lake life. Need I say more?
And my first blog post was published in August! See Heather Smile was still a bit of a secret at this point. But it was very real, and filled with so much potential.
September – Adulting, sort of
Because of the businesses I work in, life revolves around the school calendar, so it wasn’t until September that work really kicked off. September was spent trying to manage my schedule and figure out how to balance work and my commitments outside of work.
See Heather Smile also became a lot more public in September. I shared I’m Not A Student Anymore to Facebook to build my readership. That step made me so nervous. I was so scared to share my thoughts at first. Even though it scared me, I pressed that share button and good things came from it. You guys gave me such positive feedback and I am so thankful for that. It gave me the courage to keep going with this crazy dream.
October – Learning and prioritizing
To my few subscribers, you may have noticed that you have never received an email from See Heather Smile. That would be because I learned that my email subscription service requires that I share a physical address with anyone who subscribes to the blog. As I am poor and cannot afford an office or postal box at this point, the only physical address I have is a home address. That is not something to be shared with the internet. Sadly, the email subscription list had to postponed for another day.
My priority for See Heather Smile became scheduling. I wanted to start posting once a week so you guys could count on visiting the blog every Tuesday and seeing something new.
November – Forward thinking
For my blog and for my work life. For See Heather Smile, I’ve been considering what direction I want to take the blog in, what it would look like in a perfect world. For my work life, well I guess that sort of ties in to the blog since I hope to monetise See Heather Smile in the future. I spent a lot of time in November realising I still don’t make a living wage and I can do better to work towards making my dreams become a reality. I just lack a concrete plan, I guess.
December – Reflecting
I felt overwhelmed for much of December. It made me realise that I should really be making choices about how I spend my time, that I can’t do everything, that I need to learn to say no, not because I don’t want to do something, but because I just can’t.
Reflecting has also shown me how far I’ve come, though. Even within one year, See Heather Smile has become a regular part of my life when, before, it was just a distant dream that belonged far away in Someday. It was hard and it took time and effort, but I was able to do so much more than I thought myself capable of. Guys, you know I’m technically challenged, right? Remember this post? Building my own website is a big deal. I definitely asked for a lot of advice and help from one of my more technically gifted friends, but for the most part, this website is all me trying and failing and trying and finally succeeding.
So all in all, 2016 has been a good year. I’ve overcome some tough stuff, I’ve pursued some dreams, and I’m feeling ready to take on 2017 like a champ! Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way in every part of my life. Some of you have been the most important listeners, some of you have been the butt-kick I need to go out and DO, and some of you have been quietly cheering me on by just liking a post or sharing a smile. You are all part of See Heather Smile’s and my journey and I thank you for that.
Here’s to 2017! See you on the other side, friends!