ice hiking in jasper

The obligatory “my life is awesome” end of year reflection post

I recently published an article of Matador Network titled Why I’m Not Skipping Christmas. I’ve been bit of a Grinch this holiday, but Kimble made me understand all this end-of-year fuss: “The holidays are here, like it or not, and though they are inconvenient in the most heart-wrenching of ways, they are also what forces us together, a reason to sit down and drink to our health and happiness—and to holidays passed.”

And that’s exactly what we do: pause, reflect, prepare for 2012.

I get completely irked by wrap-up posts bragging about a person’s accomplishments (which, hypocritically, I’ve done more than once). But when I trace back through 2011 I keep thinking, “Holy nutbars, a lot happened in one year.” My blog is a kind of timeline, and I love going back through old posts to see how far I’ve come.

While I was home for Christmas, several people kept approaching me to say they loved my blog, and admired what I was doing. I was pretty gobsmacked. Me?

-I launched Social Media Atlantic Canada (SMAC), a tiny social media operation aimed at small businesses on a budget in Atlantic Canada.

-I weaned myself off of unemployment benefits and became fully self-employed.

-I became the leading editor of Matador Life.

-I became the Newfoundland blogger for AOL Canada.

-I was filmed in a clip titled “How to Talk Like a Newfoundlander” with the insanely funny and talented Mark Critch, which apparently has won me fame in the province and is being shown in schools. Not kidding.

-I was published in the Marine Atlantic’s ahoy! magazine.

Cailin O’Neil and I drove across Canada, surprisingly without mishap, mayhem or misfortune. Then I toured with Moose Network through the Rockies.

-I went to Mexico to chill out in Cancun with some awesome peeps.

-I took my first trip to South America with Contiki, which ended up being the best travel experience of my life.

Sup, Sacred Valley?

-I finally got the attention of Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, made some amazing new friends, and spent the most surreal, magical, and inspirational five days in Gros Morne National Park on the west coast. My heart is still there.

When I think back on the past 12 months, I’m baffled by how intense the year has been. I’ve been happy, despite dealing with a number of family tragedies that I have yet to write about. I’ve mentioned my Uncle Glen’s passing due to cancer. I spent a week with him in July, and then my wonderful, loving, happy uncle lost his battle. He is always on my mind.

Then in November, I lost my grandmother. I didn’t even write about this, I’m not sure why. She had Alzheimer’s for years and was placed in a home, but I grew up next door to her for most of my life. I said “good-bye” to her on her deathbed. I struggled through writing her funeral service pamphlet, unsure of which font could adequately suit such a great matriarch for a family of 12.

I have a few schemes up my sleeves for 2012, including the potential launch of a new business here within the province. I want my writing career to progress beyond news blips for link fodder.

The other major life moment is buying a house here in St. John’s.

Newfoundland is my home, and I suspect it always will be. This land is as heartbreaking, seductive and inspirational as any lover, and I always want my home base to be here. I know I’ve complained quite a bit about being broke—and I’m still struggling financially—but I’ve been saving portions of pay cheques for years for an investment such as this one. With my own home—which I’m sharing with a friend–I’ll have rooms to rent out and a place to always return. St. John’s (and Newfoundland) is growing with surprising speed, and there are things going on beneath the surface here that I desperately want to be a part of. This way, I can leave for extended amounts of time, not have to pay rent, and always have a home.

Buying a house to travel the world…who knew? But I tend to have a habit of doing things ass-backwards.

As for travel plans…I have none, other than a true vacation at a resort in the Dominican Republic to get reacquainted with old friends for a wedding. But 2011 started off in exactly the same fashion, and ended up being my busiest year for travel.

Plus I have a free plane ticket to South America. Bazinga.

This was supposed to be a humorous post but I’m sneezing and sniffling and fighting off a cold, and it kinda hurts to look at stuff. But here’s to 2012, and more handwritten posts!

  • December 30 2011

    Wow you bought a house? That’s amazing! Still jealous of your South America trip. :D

    Cheers to 2012. Huzzah!

    • December 30 2011

      Still in the process of buying! Woot. Happy New Year!

  • December 30 2011

    Candice, I think your idea of buying a house to both live in and rent out so you can have a home while traveling the world is simply brilliant. I know you can make this work. I’m happy to hear your 2011 was so full of growth and moving forward. I think you’re a really clever person, and you seem to know when you’ve got it good while not being afraid to reach higher for more. More power to you!

    • January 04 2012

      Thanks so much, Sabina! :) I owe you an email, I’ll get that to you soon.

  • December 30 2011

    2011 was a ridiculous year, when you sit down and think about it. Last night I was talking to someone and tried to think of big deals that happened in 2011, then realized I wasn’t going any further back than 6 months ago :P
    It’s been such a jammer packed year, it boggles the mind to think that all that happened just in this past year. I’m super proud of all you’ve accomplished :) And I’m pumped to see what happens in 2012!
    2010 was very overshadowed by endings. I think 2011 was all about exciting new beginnings :)

    Don’t forget the magic 8 ball! ireland needs to happen! ;)

    I intend to do my relfection post to pass the time in the airplane today… I tend to get very reflective on my relaxation vacation. Not often I get to just sit around for days doing not much of anything ;D

    • January 04 2012

      I am SO much better at reflecting when I’m home, haha. I’m always so much more thoughtful there.

      I always marvel at how quickly a year passes, but SO MUCH happens in a year. Unbelievable.

  • December 30 2011

    You are amazing! You have had quite the year of accomplishments and the house buying thing sounds like a great plan. My condolences about your losses as well. Here is to 2012!!

    • January 04 2012

      Thanks, Cam!! You make me blush

  • December 30 2011

    First I just have to say the fact schools are showing the How To Talk Like A Newfoundlander clip is all sorts of fantastic.

    2011 seems to have been a pretty life changing year for you. I hope 2012 brings you a year filled with less sorrow, more joy and more amazing experiences.

    • January 04 2012

      Thanks, Alouise, same to you! The whole school thing kinda FREAKS me out, haha.

  • December 30 2011

    Candice – I was thinking of you today because someone in the Ottawa airport had the exact same bag as the one you traveled with to Vancouver – and I was so hping it was you. Alas, it was not.

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments. It sounds to me like it’s been a year of ups and downs – great high, great lows. I am sorry about your grandmother. I am elated about your house.

    I will always be one of your biggest fans and hope I’m one day reviewing a book you wrote.
    Happy New Year. May it be a great one for you – and a HUGE thank you from me and my blog for being a regular commenter- if that’s a word.

  • December 31 2011

    What a year! Congratulations on all your successes–and on buying a house! This is the first year I’ve started to seriously consider how/when/where I would buy a house in Northern California…probably won’t happen for a couple of years, but, like you, California is home and I’ve got an urge to set up shop there. Cheers to an awesome 2011, and even more brilliant 2012!

    • January 04 2012

      Thanks so much, Christine! The whole house thing literally didn’t play huge on my mind until recently when I realized how much money I’m pouring into rent. Just doesn’t make sense when I can rent out rooms from my own place to cover a mortgage. And damn, what a process it’s been so far.

  • December 31 2011

    Sounds like one hell of a year! It reminds me I should go and write one of those smug-wrap-up type posts!
    Buying a house is a great idea – while I was living in Thailand, the happiest people were those that owner a bit of property back home. I knew a guy who lived in a fantastic house in the jungle, spent his time chilling out or volunteering with us at the animal clinic, he pretty much lived like a king. I asked him how come, once, and he told me he had a flat in London which he rented out. That’s all! Rental income can keep you in pretty good style in many parts of the world!
    Best of luck for 2012!

    • January 04 2012

      Honestly, when I started telling people about my real estate plan, I was cringing and just waiting for the, “This is a bad idea” spiel. But nope, nearly everyone I talked to was interested in my ideas and urged me to go for it. It’s the kinda thing that can only get better, right? Fingers crossed! Thanks for your comment, Tony.

  • December 31 2011

    Wow, I can’t believe you’re buying a house!

    If you ever need a house sitter, let me know!

    • January 04 2012

      Even if I don’t, you’re welcome to come crash anytime!

  • January 01 2012

    Humbug to the world! I love reading posts like this and rather wish people would relax a little and be happy to congratulate others. So, congratulations! I had no idea you had accomplished so much this year – but I’m very happy to realise it now. Well done. Wishing you all the best for 2012 :)

    • January 04 2012

      Aww, thank you Abi! If the holidays are good for anything, it’s reflection. Hope your year was just as fab.

  • January 01 2012

    You do more in a week than I do a year! Thanks so much for letting home-bodies like me live vicariously though you!
    I hope you feel much better very soon (and the happiest of New Years to you, too, Candice – I can’t wait to read about what you have in store for 2012)!

    • January 04 2012

      Thank you very much! I feel like there’s lots more I could be doing, but looking back on it all, I’m quite happy!

  • January 03 2012

    Congrats on following through with your plan of “Making 2011 Your Bitch”
    Sorry for your losses.
    Best wishes on a fantastic 2012

    • January 04 2012

      I forgot that was my plan :) Thanks for the reminder. Here, here!

  • January 05 2012

    Left a long comment before that went God knows where.
    Back again because you do deserve a congratulations on all that you have accomplished this year. Wow! I’m impressed.

    And Candice I want to be one of the people to review the book I know you’re going to someday write.
    Best wished for a magnificent 2012.

    • January 09 2012

      Agh, I’m SO sorry about that! Your words mean a lot to me, Leigh. Thanks for commenting, I really appreciate it.

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