OK, it's time to gaze into the navel of the year that was and pick out some bits of gleeful lint to reflect upon. It's been a momentous year for me - it started out very ordinary and got worse but then it gradually came good. It's ended up pretty damn fine.
In keeping with my happiness commandment to dwell on the positive (see sidebar right), I'm not going to catalogue the bad stuff that happened this year (the blog isn't called Shiteful afterall). I can't ignore the bad stuff altogether because much of it turned out to have a silver lining. Silver lined belly button fluff. Hmmmm.
So...the good stuff...
* After realising around this time last year that I was wallowing in a pit of negativity, crankiness and rollercoaster emotions, I went to see a counsellor. Ten sessions later, I emerged much calmer, happier and more positive, but that was just the beginning of the journey (Gah! I wanted to avoid that word!). In addition to the counselling, I have done a lot of reading and reflecting and thinking about my values and priorities and I'm not the same person now that I was at the beginning of the year. There's still some stuff I want to work on, but I'm happy with how far I've come.
* New and improved me sees life through new eyes - kinda like little kid's eyes, the sort that notice small stuff, the every day joys I never used to notice but which, it turns out, actually make me happy - hence Gleeful was born. I have never considered myself to be a passionate person but seeing my life through kid eyes has administered a kick in the pants to my dormant passion and woken it up at last. I feel so much more engaged with and interested in life now - with the place I live, with the world around me, with the whole world. I feel more grateful for what I have and more in touch with the things that really matter to me.
* I split up with my boyfriend (again, but for good this time). OK, it sucked at the time, but I'm over it and I'm happier now. Maybe the highs aren't as high as they were when I was with him, but the rare lows I do have now aren't anywhere near as low either. I am consistently pretty damn happy for no real reason. I've swapped the emotional rollercoaster for the merry-go-round of contentment. Far less vomit and tears.
* I realised I would probably be fine if it turns out that I never have kids. Which means I feel no pressure to find a man while my eggs are still fresh. Which means I am far more content with being single and childless as I stand on the brink of my late 30s. Yes, I would like to find a man to spend my life with...but there's no rush. Life is great as it is.
* "You don't have to live your life the way other people expect you to." This quote, from US entrepreneur/blogger/traveller Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Nonconformity made a real difference to my self-acceptance and happiness levels this year. Sounds kind of obvious when I look back on it, but when I read it, it was a liberating, "Hey, yeah!" moment. Can't believe it took me 30-odd years to work that out. It was an important factor in the realisation that actually I am pretty happy even though I have so far failed to acquire a life partner, children and a mortgage (or even a car) like many of my friends. Non-conformity is ace.
* I started this blog on 1 September and it's been a wonderful and rewarding experience in more ways than one. I started it partly to distract myself from my sadness over the end of my relationship and partly to bring to life my happiness commandments to stop and take notice, and to appreciate the small things. It's done those things exceedingly well. In the beginning, it got me out of my head (where I would have just ruminated pointlessly about my ex) and consciously searching for gleeful things to blog about. But now (most of the time!) I just see life though a gleeful lens without even thinking about it. And if all of that wasn't enough, I've made some new friends in the big wide world of blogging, and very much enjoyed the contributions of 'old' friends who followed me outside Myspace. Thanks guys!
Other stuff that was great...
* Finding out that instead of having to move out of my flat, I would be offered a new 12 month lease (albeit with higher rent).
* Falling hopelessly in love with Melbourne after living here since I was 19.
* Seeing two favourite bands, The Waifs and The Grates, perform live again.
* Discovering a new favourite band - Melbourne country outfit Wagons. I saw them live three times and have been listening to their three albums on my iPod for months on end. Yeah, I might be a little bit obsessed.
* Getting my swisho new camera and getting excited about taking photos all over again.
How was your 2008? What are proudest achievements? Your most gleeful moments? Or are you just kinda glad it's over?