I can’t lie, 2017 wasn’t the greatest of years. It was quite the roller coaster actually, and I loathe roller coasters. Every time I started to feel like I had my footing, the stupid car went down and looped around and… you know what? I think I’m done with this metaphor. This year just sucked, okay?
Despite all that, I want to remember 2017 not just for the bad stuff, but for the good too. So I present to you, 2017 in Review. (rhyming was not intentional, but I kinda like it.)
1. I joined Twitter.
As a first step towards my blogging career, I decided to create a Twitter account and see how I liked it. I’d never really ‘gotten’ Twitter, but I’d heard it was a good resource so I gave it a shot.
It didn’t take me long to get addicted. (All of you who knew this would happen can stop laughing now.) I found my people. I got followers!
I knew I’d put starting my blog off forever if I didn’t set a deadline. So I made a vow that when I had 200 Twitter followers I would get going. And the closer the number got the more nervous I got. I started cringing when I got new follower alerts. Who were all these people? Didn’t they know they were forcing me to do something I’d been talking about for years?
2. Mr. Muggles died.
I’d hit 200 followers and had set a date for my blog to open when he died. I’d raised him since he was a kitten, for almost ten years. Mr. Muggles got sick and the next day he was gone. I had no time to plan, no time to prepare.
I had to make the choice to put him down, and I’ve never regretted it. Cats hide their illness, so by the time we realized something was wrong it was too late. Maybe we could have had a few more days or a week with him, but I couldn’t let him suffer just because I wanted a little more time. It would have been selfish on my part.
Mr. Muggles was my first real pet. (Hamsters I was afraid of and fish don’t count.) I had no idea how hard it would be to lose him. I had to put the blog’s Grand Opening on hold because I couldn’t bring myself to change my bio. Every time I thought about taking the mention of him out of it I cried.
3. I started this blog.
Eventually, I was able to get myself together and officially opened “An Anxious Author”. This has been a goal I’ve wanted to achieve for years and I am so proud that I finally did it. I haven’t posted as much as I want, but just opening the doors was a huge accomplishment for me.
4. My youngest nephew got married.
Between engagement parties, wedding showers, and the big day I was back and forth to New York every other weekend from Spring to July. And when each social occasion sucks the life out of you that’s a hard schedule to survive. But I did it and I even enjoyed almost all of it.
Sure, it’s weird to know that my BABY nephew, the one I babysat several times a week from the time he was two weeks old, the one who I helped my sister raise, is married. And I’m not. (I had to say it) I’m glad the past couple years I came to grips with my possibly permanent single status (I’m bringing Spinster back!) because it meant that the occasion was happy and not sad for me.
But he’ll always be that sweet little boy to me.
5. The life (and death) of Nutmeg.
If you follow me on social media, you already know that my kitty Nutmeg died very unexpectedly after only being with us for two months and eighteen days. If I thought I hadn’t been prepared for losing Mr. Muggles I was even less prepared to say goodbye to my new love, who was only eleven months old when she passed.
It has been a very long time since I cried that hard. I’d left her at an emergency animal hospital because it was the weekend and I never thought I’d get a phone call just a few hours later telling me her heart had stopped beating.
Neither the vets at the hospital nor my own vet knows what happened. Through research, my only guesses are a congenital heart defect (that often goes unnoticed in cats) or a freak allergic reaction to something they gave her at the hospital. It doesn’t really matter. Her life was cut far too short, but I wouldn’t have given up those short weeks with her for anything. She was a truly special little kitty.
6. I gave up on Nanowrimo.
When Nutmeg died I had only written one day’s words for Nanowrimo. I didn’t even try to write after that. I simply accepted my failure and cheered on my friends from the sidelines.
Even though I know it would have been too stressful for me to continue, I still feel sad I didn’t get to participate and write the novel I’d been looking forward to. The only thing I’ve really written since then was several thousand words of memories of Nutmeg. (Her life was so short that it’s really important to me that I don’t forget any of it)
But don’t despair! I will return for Camp Nanowrimo! I’m not giving up.
7. I started a new medication.
I started feeling more and more down as the second part of 2017 went on, but it was very hard to tell if that was because of what was going on in my life or if it was my mental illness. I finally realized it was less depression and more anxiety, My psychiatrist prescribed a new med for me which will eventually replace one of my others. I started taking it the day Nutmeg died.
Because of all the upheaval in my life, it was hard to tell if the new med was making a difference or not. However, the past few weeks I’ve been feeling SO MUCH better. I don’t want to hide all the time and I’ve started reading again, which is always a huge indication of how well my mental health is. (I’m thinking about writing up some mini-reviews of the books I’ve been reading. If you’re interested in that, please let me know in the comments!)
8. Queen Penelope was crowned.
I knew two things after Nutmeg died. One, I was not going to be able to heal fully until there was another cat in my life. Two, it was highly unlikely I would bond with another cat instantly the same way I had with her.
I started looking not long after she died. I didn’t want to wait as long as I had after Muggles died (that had been dictated by all the wedding upheaval anyway). After one day at the shelter where there was three cats I liked, any of whom I would have been happy with but I had been completely unable to make a decision, I made up my mind that I was going to bring home the next kitty I met and liked.
A week later, I met Queen Penelope. A volunteer was trying to get a picture of her for the website but she was wiggling all over the place and she couldn’t get a good shot. We watched the purring, lovey kitty and immediately went to ask about her.
Hilariously, the volunteer at the front desk told us she was what they called a “spirit” cat. That she wasn’t going to be super friendly and she’d never be a lap cat. Apparently “Buttons” had been hiding in her cage since she’d arrived and only came out to be friendly the day we arrived.
We brought her home two days later. I have to confess, I had a breakdown of sorts that first night. I would have happily brought her back if I could. Surely I had made a big mistake. It was too soon. I wouldn’t be able to love her.
Thankfully, that passed after about 24 hours. Specifically when she walked over to me and curled up in the crook of my arm and fell asleep.
We named her Queen Penelope or Queen P for short. These days I just call her Noodle. The formerly stray kitty the shelter thought would never truly warm up is the cat who climbs onto my chest, flops over, and insists on being petted by any visible hands. Spirit cat my butt.
It’s been a big year. A lot of sadness but also a lot of joy. I’m looking forward to starting fresh with 2018 and hopefully making it a year to remember.
I’d hoped to have this post out before the new year, but someone infected me and I was down with a cold for the last two weeks of the month. This was important though, and I wanted to get all of it written, more for me than for my readers. With any luck, my next planned entry about my goals and hopes for 2018 won’t take more than a few days. A week tops.
Did anything noteworthy happen to you in 2017? Are you already enjoying having a fresh start in 2018? Please let me know in the comments. I love hearing from each and every one of my readers*.
*All three of you. Hi Mom!