2016: My Big Arse Year of Change

2016 has been many things — turbulent, stressful, a big old arse-load of trouble from many perspectives. World events and the death of much-loved celebrities, from David Bowie to Carrie Fisher, have many of us questioning our lives and overall direction. You never know when you’re going to go, after all. I’m not immune from this…far from it.

Happy new year! Fireworks on new year’s eve. (Image from Bigstock)

For me, 2016 has been my big arse year of change, but in a good way. This year I’ve forced myself to pull on my big girl pants and be brave. As a result, I’ve accomplished a couple of things I wasn’t sure I could do. The first one still nearly blows my mind if I think about it too hard. My debut novel was published. That deserves its own paragraph. In bold.

My debut novel was published.

Cue fanfare, heralds of angels singing, etc. This was and is a big deal, but perhaps some of the other things that went along with this milestone are more important. For example, I quit my day job. This also deserves stand-alone paragraph status.

I quit my day job.

The jury is still out as to whether this was a good idea or not! But I found myself extremely stressed, working in a corporate communications environment with lots of deadlines, then book editing deadlines hit on top of those. Add to that the health issues I face as someone with a couple of auto-immune diseases and the hectic nature of life with young children, and I had to make some decisions about the future. I could continue trying to do everything, and some of it was going to slide. Probably my health. Or, I could choose to make some changes.

I decided to focus on what might be possible.

Instead of choosing the safest route and staying in the same job I’d been doing for close to ten years, I looked at the opportunity in front of me. A large publisher accepted my first novel. I’m not counting my chickens, or expecting the big bucks to flow from that book alone. But those manuscripts I’d been hammering away at over the last few years suddenly seem to have potential. I can see the potential. It’s possible *whispers* I might have a writing career in my future…

Next year looks to be as big and change-propelled. My little boy starts school, meaning I’ll have two school boys, no more babies and toddlers. In some ways, this is sob-inducing and an end of an era. But in other ways, it’s exciting. I’ll have more quiet time at my desk at home to focus on work. To write, to plan, to scheme.

My husband is talking about tackling a renovation to our house…one that includes a separate writing room for me. Hopefully I’ll find both inspiration and tenacity to finish more writing projects and continue along this path, even when it kind of meanders into the distance and over some hills.

The view may not be so clear from here, but once I climb to the top of the next hill my direction could be a little easier to navigate. I hope 2017 is filled with opportunities, chance and change that makes the future a little brighter. I wish it for me and my family, and for everyone reading this.

As I ring in the new year, I’ll be toasting to the possibilities next year may bring. Cheers to another big arse year of positive change!

Cassandra O’Leary is a writer, book nerd, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. You’ll find her writing, chasing her mini ninjas and drinking coffee in Melbourne, Australia. Her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was released by HarperCollins UK in 2016. Read more at cassandraolearyauthor.com

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