I would like to thank all my readers, wherever you are (though most appear to be in the United States :)), for your continuing support and encouragement. I love getting feedback (preferably good!) so keep the comments coming! And if you have suggestions for future topics, drop me a comment or send me a tweet (@valshopaholic) and I will do my best to meet your needs 🙂
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.
2011 has been a bittersweet year for me. As I struggled to look for work, I was suddenly faced with something I had never had this much of before: time! Time to do many things I had been putting off doing but was always too busy to do before. Although the opportunities of the “paid” variety were lacking, I was also given opportunities to do other things that just may one day lead to a more fulfilling life.
And so, as another year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on some of the things and events that have impacted me in whatever capacity. Many have been happy but some, not so much. So here we go…
Retiring Swans Co-captain Craig Bolton takes a lap of honour around the SCG
The year in AFL has been a mixed one. My team, the Sydney Swans, spent most of their home games in Sydney playing in wet conditions, which means I spent a lot of time trying to stay dry in the stands. With the well-respected Paul Roos now retired after a very successful 8 years in the senior coach’s position, the reigns were handed down to his former assistant, John “Horse” Longmire. It had been six years since the Swans won a Premiership and with many of its Premiership players retired or retiring, many critics did not give the youngsters on the 2011 playlist much chance to make the finals series. As usual, the Swans showed their “Bloods” spirit and proved the naysayers wrong and we made it as far as the second week of the finals, finishing sixth on the ladder. Not a bad effort at all. Go Swans!
At the start of 2011, I decided to take up the WordPress challenge to post to my blog every week. For the most part, I have managed to do this although some weeks, I would find myself publishing two or three posts followed by a week of absence. I usually feel bad when I miss my self-imposed deadline (I decided to post by Saturday every week since I realised readership is highest on weekends) but it is never for lack of trying. For example, I have four incomplete and one completed posts sitting in “Draft” status right now. It’s just that, well, some weeks, I am just too lazy to update. I won’t lie – laziness is to blame. I wish I could just be Bruno Mars…
Twelve months ago this week, I dared to annoy and bore my friends and family by starting a blog and then making them read it. It all began because I had always wanted to write and, quite frankly, I was not about to be outdone by my then-seven-year-old nephew who had started his own blog, Kids’ Movie Guide. This is now my 44th post on this site, not counting the two travelogues I wrote for my photo blog Thursday Has A View which I created in March 2011.
It has been a long time since I read my earlier posts but when I look back at the titles of the earliest writings, there is no doubt they were all about how I could put a funny and positive spin on my work life which was pretty much making me miserable. A friend of mine said she liked that my posts were always so positive. The reality was that by writing, I was forcing myself to focus on the positives rather than the negative things that were motivating me to vent in public.
I am sure at some point in your life, someone has said to you “It’s all in your head!” It doesn’t matter what “it” may be, chances are that person is right. What am I talking about? Attitude. Perspective. The Power of Positive Thinking. Whatever it is that separates successful people from the rest of the pack. I am not a psychologist but I’ve watched enough Oprah to know there is some truth to this.
When I started this blog, it felt like it was a long time coming. I had loved reading and writing when I was in high school and always wished I could be a writer. I was never that good – as my mother loved to remind me, many of my stories ended with the main character waking up from a dream because I had no idea how to wrap it up (but if you have ever seen the Keanu Reeves/Al Pacino movie Devil’s Advocate or the TV series Dallas, you will realise there are Hollywood writers who suffer the same ailment so I no longer beat myself up about it). The final kick in the butt for me to start blogging came from my then 7-yr-old nephew who started his own blog (Kids’ Movie Guide). And even more recently, friends of mine encouraged me to try my hand at fanfiction, and oh boy, once I started typing, I could not stop. For a week, I spent every night writing for hours working on my story till I finally got it out…over 8500 words!