I agree with the vast majority of people this year: 2016 was a never-ending nightmare.
It was especially bad in comparison to my 2015. Most of that year went by in a blissful blur of new places and new faces. Along the way, I discovered a side of myself that was not as cautious and terrified of instability as I had always thought. And I longed to hold on to that.
With such a legendary year, I expected even better things of 2016. The year took off with a great start, but as I transitioned from a nomadic life to a family setting, the reigns tightened and choked the life out of me.
Instead of crashing on couches a country or ten states away from home, I was sitting on my own couch, bored to death, waiting for anything interesting to happen. I exchanged trekking in foreign territory, to hiking within a 50-mile radius.
I gave up the freedom to roam for the stability of traditional married life – and boy did I hate it.
Ultimately, the biggest lesson I learned in 2016 is that you can’t allow relationships to hold you back from your individual potential. Relationships of any kind only work when people grow together. The only other option is to grow apart.
Once I figured that out and reclaimed my independence, peace was restored in the home. I now come and go as I please, and the world is my playground once again. I’ve never been happier.
As I mentioned in other posts, there were other storms brewing as well, mostly tied to my immigration status and the obstacles I faced while adjusting in America as it battled with its prejudices.
As we know, the prejudices won.
In spite of all this, there were still a few great highlights worth sharing. I progressed in leaps and bounds in my career-life, personal life, and family life. So here’s what made 2016 not quite so bad after all.
Traveled all over Georgia
Since I spent quite a bit of time “imprisoned” in Georgia, I got to know the state intimately. I mostly tested out the trails around the Greater Atlanta area, but also went as far south as Savannah and as far north as Lookout Mountain.
Outside of Georgia, this year I also visited Tennessee, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, South Carolina, and Kentucky.
Conquered my Fear of Snakes
Truth be told, I still have a fear of snakes, but not as badly as I did before. I don’t mind pet snakes now, but the ones in the wild still give me the creeps. I just don’t know enough about snakes to figure out who is friendly, and who will kill me at the drop of a hat.
Better safe than sorry. So if I see one, I’m teleporting home.
Completed a 5K Race – on 3 Hours’ Sleep
After a 17-hour drive from Illinois, Mike and I completed the Color Run 5K Race in Stone Mountain. Needless to say, I was more than a little happy to see the finish line, and even more thrilled to go home and sleep. Even so, it was a great experience.
I did sign up for the Bubble Run this year as well, but then my teammate gave me the ultimatum of either spending the night at his place, or not getting a ride. I chose the latter and missed the race.
Next year, I have my heart set on making it to the Zombie Run.
Met my Fitness Goals
The race along with hiking and other fun activities helped me reach my fitness goals for 2016. I’m in the best shape of my life, and I’m enjoying every second of it; mostly because at this point, it barely even requires maintenance. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want – and then work it off throughout the week.
Just in case you’re wondering how. I cover at least 25 miles per week on foot. I work out at the gym twice per week, and practice yoga on and off. When it was warmer, I used to go running and cycling as well. I also went rock climbing once or twice, if that counts for anything.
Saw my Favourite Bands Live
Music has always been a big part of my life, and as a teen, none more so than rock, and anything with a violin. This year, I saw quite a few acts live, including some I had never even heard of before.
Some of the best performances came from The Used, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Black Violin, and Falling in Reverse.
Became a WordPress Celebrity
Okay, so technically this didn’t happen – but close enough. In early May, I wrote a post entitled Translating Becky with the Good Hair, and it became an instant favourite on my blog.
At first I couldn’t figure out where all the extra traffic was coming from, but after a day or two I realised it had become an Editors’ Pick. This contributed immensely to my blog growing from less than 300 followers to more than 3000 by the end of the year.
I got a second surprise in mid-December when the staff at WordPress tossed it in with other amazing selections, as one of the best pieces they read in 2016. Of all my many achievements as a writer and blogger over the past ten years, this one definitely ranks as my favourite.
Completed my First Short Story Series
Last year, I promised I would finished my novel-series. In September I realised that even if I did, I would have to delay publishing for reasons I won’t get into. That realisation slowed me down somewhat – maybe a lot.
To make up for it, I invested my creative energies in another fictional project called The Moreau Witches. In this short story series I introduced you guys to the three lovely ladies of the Moreau Matriarchy and their struggles for equality in the Victorian era.
I got quite a few requests to publish the series as a book, and may look into this for 2017.
Became an American Resident
I came to America in the summer of 2015 to travel and write for six months; and then figure out my life before going home. Somewhere in the midst of the figuring, I ended up staying, and have not been back since I set foot here on July 28th 2015.
It’s been a long hard road of paperwork and heavy fees. This was followed by a long stretch of being a documented but technically illegal immigrant after my visa expired. I’m so glad that’s all over and would not relive a second of it for anything.
I’m now a permanent resident, and will likely go for citizenship in a few years – if Trump doesn’t change my mind.
Founded a PR Firm
After ten years of freelancing, I finally registered my business as a PR firm and launched on Thanksgiving Day.
For that entire month, I had to handle the business formation paperwork, the fees, re-branding to Alexis Chateau PR, opening new social media pages, making business cards, designing a logo, and building a whole new website.
It’s been expensive and time-consuming, and I’ve had to take a pay-cut to make room for getting everything in order for 2017. But I wouldn’t change a second of it for anything.
Rescued Two Kittens
As many of you know, just before Thanksgiving my kitten went missing, while I was away for the weekend. I would be lying if I said I had recovered from the loss, but I did decide to find Smokey a baby brother.
His name is Shadow and he’s a rescue from the Cobb County Cat Rescue Project. Someone dropped him off at one of the volunteer’s doorstep, and I adopted him on December 13, 2016. We think he may have been abused, as he’s terrified of humans, but slowly coming out of his shell.
Hopefully Smokey comes home to meet him soon…
2016 has definitely not been my year, but even the darkest clouds have a silver lining. Here’s to hoping 2017 lives up to the expectations 2016 failed to fulfill.
Update from The Future (01.04.2018): 2017 did more than live up to everything 2016 failed to, and Shadow is settled and doing well. We tamed him in three weeks.