New Year Top 5s

Champagne Toast

To say that this blog is overdue is a bit of an understatement. But since I begin EVERY blog with an apology about not writing, I am going to try something different this time. It’s getting old anyway, and well, it’s my blog so I can do what I want, right?

Sometimes my lack of writing has more to do with deciding on a topic than anything else.  Without a bit of direction I think the idea of simply “writing” is overwhelming.  So, that being said, the theme of this blog is New Year (i’m only a couple weeks late…). Possible titles included “Feeling Fine in 2009” ; “Up for Debate: 2008” ; “Unwind in 2009” and “2008…It wasn’t THAT bad!”  I realize that last one doesn’t rhyme, but it was the actually words I used for toast on Dec. 30th with two of my friends.

But, instead I am going with an old favorite– “Tops 5s!!!”  These are my “Top 5s” for this coming New Year, and the year which is now behind us.

Top 5 things to be grateful for in 2008

I know it sounds, well, anticlimactic, to raise a glass to toast 2008 and declare with confidence that “it wasn’t THAT bad!”  BUT, the truth is, it has been a bit too long since I could say anything of the sort about an entire year. However, it is true that 2007 significantly lowered the bar–beginning with a stressful family feud, the death of a friend, the death of my grandmother, a “break-up” of sorts culminating in a terribly broken heart, a broken bank account, and a great deal of what I will affectionately call “friendship drama.”    I had never been so happy to see a year end.   So it is with great gratitude that I look back on 2008. Here is my list:

1. A supportive family: every family has it’s ups and downs and mine is no different.  Both together and apart we have all had our share of hard times, but the thing I love THE MOST about my family is our commitment to one another. That even though we do not necessarily agree with one another on every issue, or personal decision, we can argue and move on.  We are family because we are family (we have no choice), but I now realize that we are also friends and genuinely enjoy one another’s company. This past year  I had so many moments where I felt truly supported and loved by my immediate family. I also had many moments where I saw each person’s greatest assets and talents. I had so many laughs, so many deep conversations, and just in general, a lot of fun.  We actually ended the year by spending a few days together in New England just enjoying each other company, and getting to know the soon-to-be new member of the family–my sister’s fiance!

2.  Parties: This is a given, I know. But looking back on the year I realize that I participated in a lot of great parties and the truth is,  I love going to parties (i hate hosting them).  Highlights include my birthday part,y themed “Mardi Gras” with guest appearances by Shannon & Brian (sister and fiance), Peter and Steph, and other long-distance friends; Christmas in July (with someone even dressing up as the baby Jesus);  St. Patty’s Day (need I say more?); Half-way to St. Patty’s Day (really, this should be a twice-a-year celebration);  and of course New Years Eve (both years).This isn’t even mentioning spontaneous parties, bonfires, and wine nights.

3.  A New Job–as much as I complain about this, I am thankful to be considered a good candidate for a demanding position…and a pay raise!

4.  Really, really good friends–I say this, like, every single blog. But it’s because it’s true! This year I felt so supported from friends I see everyday and those I don’t.  This is particularly something to be thankful for because since I started new job AND a master’s degree, I have become a much more terrible friend.  I hope to find balance this year and remedy that.

5.  School–It’s funny how, after you have been out of school for a while, you become so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to study. Or at least that’s what happened to me. I love everything about it, and even though it might take me forever to complete my master’s degree, I don’t mind. I have the two best advisors any graduate student could ask for, who have taught me more than just history and literature. I am learning how to teach, how to mark, how to study, how to think, and how to love learning.

Well that’s my gratitude list. Now, quickly, here are my Top 5s for 2009.

Top 5 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2009!

1. Ireland!! Nothing is set-in-stone just yet, but I am hoping to FINALLY take this dream trip. Right now I am applying for some grants in hopes of finding funding. The trip will be primary research for my thesis (intertwined with Guiness-tasting sessions) and will hopefully include the Scottish Highlands as well.   If anyone has any fund-raising ideas please let me know!

2. Balance: I did NOT do this very well last year. I had many many moments of pure anxiety and panic about my work load, nearing a burn-out sort of state, especially in the fall. I do not plan on repeating this, but instead I am striving to find some balance in my life.

3. No Speeding Tickets–I got another one in Massacheusettes in November.

4. My Sister’s Wedding–I realize that for her, right now, this more a point of anxiety than excitement, but I know it will all come together fine. She deserves a beautiful wedding and I love being a part of the process!

5. The Great Unknown–I love not knowing what the year holds. Likely some hard times, but surprises too.  Not just for me but my friends and family as well.  I’ll try to keep you posted on the really significant stuff!

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4 Responses to “New Year Top 5s”


  1. 1 brianmpei January 12, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Nice. And welcome back to the blogosphere!

    When are you coming to PEI again? That’s something else you can look forward to!

  2. 2 Chris January 13, 2009 at 2:33 am

    I love your top 5’s!

  3. 3 becks January 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Dearest Shelley. I heartily wish I could have been more a part of your 2008, and I am devastated I can not be closer to be a part of your 2009. Alas, we are divided by a great distance (Quebec), and thus I rarely see your blessed form (with your silky red tresses). How sweet it is to read your blog (as though you were speaking directly to me), and how generous of you to share your thoughts of the past and desires for the future (Ireland!). You are fabulous indeed.

    ‘love you Shell!

  4. 4 Barrett January 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    If you wanted to go to Ireland to promote Canadian cows, I could find you some grant money. Otherwise, you’re on your own 🙂 I do hope you get to Ireland…I desperately want to go too, but this likely won’t be the year…


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