Reflecting on 2016, the best year of my life

As 2016 comes to an end, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the last 12 months β€” 12 months that were seemingly like any other 12 months, yet so very different.

Above, you’ll find my collage of my #2016bestnine moments and memories of this year. Here, I thought I’d share 12 reasons of why 2016 was the best year of my life (so far).

1. I married my best friend

Hands down, that’s my favourite part of this year and the memories of that day will last forever. Wedding planning and the days leading up to the wedding were crazy stressful, but it was all worth it. Emily and I have been together for almost 7 years now, but I’ve never felt more love for her and from her than I did on that day.

The wedding was fairly small. We only invited about 45 people β€” our closest friends and family. If you’re able to, I highly recommend having a smaller wedding. Everyone who came told us they could all feel the love in the room and that it was the best wedding they’d ever been to.

Best memories ever! Even though I ended up in the emergency room the morning after. Turns out it was just heartburn because I drank a little too much (3 glasses of champagne instead of my usual 1). At least it made for a hilarious story!

2. We travelled to Iceland

While wedding planning, it took us a while to narrow down where we wanted to go for our honeymoon. We both always imagined we would go somewhere warm and tropical. We were actually leaning toward Thailand when one of my coworkers mentioned that Iceland is the most beautiful place she’s ever visited. We looked up photos, did our research, and we were sold! We spent a week in Reykjavik and went on excursions with Pink IcelandΒ (I highly recommend looking them up. They’re amazing!!). We ate lunch beside an active volcano, walked behind a waterfall, visited a black sand beach, experienced the windiest and rainiest weather ever, and we never felt happier.

3. I got off my medication

For three years, I had been medicated for my panic disorder. The medication worked wonders for me: I felt sane, I didn’t have panic attacks, I could finally breathe and enjoy life. But the medication also numbed me, which I only realized after I started my titration. I watched a documentary called Food Matters, where nutritionists spoke about the dangers of prescription medications. Sure, they can help, but prescription meds can also cause heart attacks; people drop dead seemingly for no reason. I didn’t want to become a statistic. Emily and I want to have a family and I want to be there for my kids and in order to do that, I knew I had to make a change. I started my titration from my SSRI with the help of an amazing naturopath and this is the first week that I’m off my medication and I’m feeling great!

4. I discovered my dreams

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer and in 2011 I was lucky enough to publish a book of short stories. This year I decided I want to jump back on the writing band wagon and see what comes of it. My dream has always been to be a writer so it’s time I get back to it.

5. I successfully continued my vegan and gluten-free diet

In OctoberΒ 2015, Emily and I decided to do a month-long challenge where we would cut out all sugar, gluten (this part was more for her since I’m gluten intolerant), and junky foods. In addition to this, I decided I would also cut out all meat and dairy products. Because of my love for animals, I’ve always wanted to be vegetarian and over the last few years, I’ve found that a vegan diet is actually the healthiest kind of diet to follow. So I tried it for a month, I loved it and I’ve been vegan ever since.

6. I rediscovered myself

For a while, I had this crazy, unachievable plan for what I wanted my life to be like. It was actually only within this last week that I thought long and hard about what it is that I want and spoke with Emily about it. We both came to the same conclusion, made some adjustments to where we see our lives going, and we feel like we’re right on track. Sorry for being a little cryptic here!

7. I significantly cut down on coffee

This is something I never thought I would be able to do. As you can probably tell from all of my social media handles (@vitamincoffee), I’m pretty smitten with coffee. I would drink anywhere between 3 and 5 cups a day and now there are times when I actually go a few days in a row without having any coffee at all and when I do have coffee, it’s one cup. This was actually all part of my decision to stop my SSRI medication. Turns out that caffeine really affects anxiety levels. Who knew?! πŸ˜›

8. I spent more time with my little niece

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I love kids so much and I love spending time with them. My favourite tiny human is my little niece, who’s not even 2 years old and is already such a genius. She says please and thank you, can tell you her name, and loves story time. I could just squeeze her up!

9. We bought an Xbox KinectΒ 

So this might sound like a random thing to put on this list, but in 2015, Emily and I were debating long and hard over whether we should buy an Xbox or a BluRay player and decided on the BlueRay player because I mean, we’re adults, duh! Needless to say, it was a decision we lived to regret. Now we have both and it’s so fun!

10. I put myself out there and submitted my name for the board of directors at Pride at Work Canada

I didn’t get voted in, but I did get some votes, which is pretty awesome! I attended a few of their events over the year and I’m hoping to do more work with the organization in the new year. Pride at Work Canada does so much amazing work to ensure that all people are accepted and treated with respect in their workplace. I definitely want to become more of an activist in my community and make some positive change!

11. I cooked a few times (and didn’t burn the house down!)

I should preface this point by saying that I’m a terrible cook. I manage to make even the simplest dish extremely complicated, which ends up leading to the kitchen looking like the Tasmanian devil had passed through. Emily took up Krav Maga in September of this year so that meant she was home later some nights of the week, which also meant that if I wanted to eat, I had to cook. I managed it alright, meaning the food was edible. The kitchen still looked terrible once I was done cooking, though.

12. I kicked ass in my job and I’m going to keep kicking ass

I work in elearning as an Instructional Designer, which means I write and help develop the courses you take online. The company I work for creates elearning for various clients and after working there for only a year I took on more an more responsibility an quickly became the sole Instructional Designer on 2 projects.

 

So those are just 12 of the reasons why 2016 was the best year of my life (so far). What did you love about this year?