The struggle is real — 2017 in review

Image of "2017" in sparklers. Text "#danikate The struggle is real...2017 in review." Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Woah. How is it already the end of 2017?

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it still needs to be said…2017 was a STRUGGLE. Between the world in turmoil and my personal life going up in flames, it seems like the only way to stop myself from slipping into a deep, dark depression is to focus on the good things that happened this year.

My love life is still non-existent, and I have yet to get the dream job I was hoping to find by uprooting my life from Boston to Chicago. Despite these setbacks, the “free” time (which, I assure you was more stressful than you might think) has led me to the discovery of several new hobbies, interests, and adventures.

Books are my heart and soul

Over the summer, my roommate introduced me to the annual POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. I’ve never had any problems finding books to read or struggled to meet my reading goals. In looking over the prompts, I noticed my habit of reading very similar material by the same authors. Since I didn’t discover the challenge until over halfway through 2017, I only completed half of the prompts. This may not sound like a success, but in looking over my Goodreads Year in Books I can already tell that it has been seriously influential in my choices.

I’m always going to sway more heavily towards urban fantasy series and new releases by my favorite authors. But because of that reading challenge, I’m no longer afraid to pick up a comic book, stand-alone novel, or even a cookbook! I’ve also discovered a love of poetry that I didn’t know I had. Therefore, I’m ready to tackle a brand new reading challenge to diversify my reading even more! If you are thinking about making some reading adjustments, check out POPSUGAR’s 2018 Reading Challenge prompts or make one of your own!

Dani Kate’s Favorite 2017 Reads:

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling, the In Death series by J.D. Robb, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Confessions of a TV fangirl

2017 was a struggle for me in television. So many of my favorite shows either ended this year or announced that 2017-2018 was their final season. The two shows that hit me the hardest were the final seasons of The Vampire Diaries and The Mindy Project. While I was satisfied (for the most part) with how they ended, those shows will leave a huge hole in my heart. I’ve already waxed poetic about how much The Vampire Diaries means to me in a previous post. Therefore, I’ll say a little about The Mindy Project here.

The Mindy Project came to me through the recommendation of a close friend. That night I looked it up and stayed up until the early hours watching every episode that had already aired. There aren’t a lot of shows that hook me with a single episode. In fact, it usually takes SEVERAL episodes, if not an entire season, to make me a loyal viewer. There was just something about how Mindy Kaling and her team assembled this cast of endearing characters through comedy and brilliance that spoke to me. Sure, it could be wild and a little outrageous. But what is life without a little silliness?

You all know I’m a sucker for a good redemption story. Mindy Lahiri may not fit this exactly, as there isn’t really anything she needs to redeem herself for. Regardless, watching her grow throughout six seasons was incredibly inspiring. She learned how to be a better friend, to follow her dreams, to stand up for herself, and to let go of things when they are no longer what you want. This show gave me hope that even if things don’t work out the way you planned, you can still end up with a pretty spectacular happily ever after.  And for that, I thank Mindy Kaling from the bottom of my heart.

Dani Kate’s Favorite New 2017 TV Shows:

New to Me: Black Books, Buzzfeed Unsolved, Crashing, The Fall, Mom, Poldark, Young & Hungry

Debuted in 2017: Atypical, The Brave, Claws, Dark, The Good Doctor, The Handmaid’s Tale, Harlots, The Mayor, Mindhunter, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Sinner, SMILF, Trial & Error, Will

Podcasts for the win

If you aren’t in on the podcast game yet, get those listening ears ready, my friend. I’m better at keeping up with my favorites when I have long commutes, but cleaning the house or running errands are also great times to get in a little podcast time. My tastes tend to go more towards true crime, but there’s a podcast for every interest I’m sure.

My favorite of this year the podcast called And That’s Why We Drink, which combines both true crime AND the paranormal. Both Em and Christine are as funny and as relatable as can be. Additionally, the Facebook group is one of the most positive and supportive places on the Internet. It sounds weird that a group of people who like to listen to ghost and murder stories are so inviting and empathetic, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Go listen!

Dani Kate’s Favorite Podcasts:

Accused, And That’s Why We Drink, Lore, Missing Maura Murray, My Favorite Murder, Serial, Sword and Scale, Talking Crime: A True Crime Podcast, The Official Outlander Podcast, Wine & Crime

Looking back

I had a lot of goals set for 2017 that took a backseat throughout the job hunting process. As down as I was about it though, I see that I actually did make a lot of positive changes. Some of those include completed an online digital marketing course, increased my daily water intake, paid more attention to my diet with two or more meatless days a week, and was able to be physically present at more family events.

Perhaps most satisfying was working on my bullet journal. My goal was to use 2017 as a practice period to figure out if this method would work for me and how. Doing so has made me significantly more productive and served as an outlet for stress and anxiety. I’m now ready to take on 2018 with my bullet journal confidently in hand!

Keep a lookout for my future post about what I’ve learned, my intensified love of office supplies, and what new skills I’m practicing! 

And planning ahead

Setting goals for the new year is always such a hard thing for me to do! At the top of my list is to simply be nicer to myself. That may sound like a strange resolution, but putting myself down has become so natural, and I do it unconsciously. I want to make a solid effort to cut myself a little slack and encourage the people around me to do the same thing about themselves.

Goodnight 2017. Good luck in 2018! 
I want to hear all about your accomplishments and/or things learned and discovered in 2017 in the comments below. What are your hopes and dreams for 2018?

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