Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here we are again. The end of the year is a couple of hours away. Where has 2013 gone? I’ve stopped wondering about the passage of time. I accept it as something that keeps moving forward with or without my participation. This is why I’m learning to live more in the moment than in my past or in what is to come.
            As has been my practice for a few years now, I always take a moment to review my year. Many things have happened for the past three hundred and sixty some odd days. I’d like to take a moment to share some of the most pertinent ones.

            A Year of Being Busy

            The beginning of 2013 found me juggling multiple projects. I wrote four books in three months. A personal best for me. Editing those books and the ones I’d submitted at the end of 2012 followed. I can honestly say all my months were filled to the brim with work. This is a wonderful thing.
            When I used to work fulltime, being busy meant having a toxic schedule. This was especially so when I was a teacher. From checking papers to creating lesson plans to putting tests together, I never ran out of things to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this kind of work. I loved my students, don’t get me wrong, but the work…I shudder just thinking about it.
            Now that I’ve dedicated myself to writing fulltime, I’ve never been happier to be busy. In fact, I get the shakes when I’m left idle for too long. I’m always working on something new. At the final hours of 2013, I’m elbow-deep in writing and editing Relish; I’m collaborating on a novel with my long time critique partner and sister in writing; I’m gearing up to rewrite one of my favorite novels of all time; and I’m in my third pass edits for Til Death. If I didn’t love what I was doing, I would call this a toxic situation. But because I wake up every morning rearing to go, the work is what I look forward to the most. I’ve never been happier than when sitting in front of my laptop transferring the scenes in my head onto paper.

            Learning to Let Go

            I consider myself a sensitive person. I remember many of the things that happened in my life. Some of the not so good ones I tend to hang on to. At the end of 2012, I made a commitment to let go of the baggage I carry around. This included letting go of people in my life I’ve grown apart from. I kept telling myself, what good were they sharing in my life? The ones that brought me down I cut off like unwanted ballast. This process was a painful one. I really had to dig deep, tell myself I can keep going, and actually take the steps that would lead me away.
            I’ve also learned to let go of things I cannot change. The past is no longer an issue for me…most days. I have to be honest; there are days when it’s not easy. Sometimes I remember something that happened years ago that still pisses me off. But I’ve learned to pause, take a deep breath, and let go.
            Another form of letting go is not holding on too tightly. Things will happen in their own time, you just have to be prepared when they do. Just because I want something right now doesn’t mean it is the right time to have it. I’ve learned to take a step back and see the bigger picture. By no means am I a hundred percent proficient in this, but I’m trying.

            A Year of Self-Discovery

            I think this is because I’m getting older. I’m learning more about what I really like. My real guilty pleasure? All-You-Can-Eat Japanese Buffet. When I’m there, I eat to my heart’s content. When it’s over and my stomach is full to bursting, I feel all guilty inside. Yet I’m willing to do it all over again. *laughs*
            What is my one luxury? Traveling to Singapore for three days and two nights. That’s really all I need to clear my head and refresh myself. It’s become a bonding experience with my mother. We save up for an entire year, split the costs, and go shopping. Why Singapore? Well, you only have to sit in a plane for three hours and you’re somewhere else. And it’s a place my mother has come to love. I’d promised myself that I would return when I first went there so many years ago. Now I make it a point to at least visit once a year.
            And I’m a shopaholic no more. I’ve learned which brands I like. I know the silhouettes that suit my body shape. Also, I know my size. I don’t buy shoes like a fanatic anymore. I go for comfort with a flare toward my personal style. I know maxi skirts suit me more than knee or calf-length. A-line dresses are a must. Blazers as well. I’m no longer afraid of the cardigan. Oh, and leather jackets too. As for shoes? It’s boots or wedges. I hardly wear pumps anymore or open toe. Heels are still important, but not the life-threatening kind. Comfort…can’t emphasize this enough.

            Strengthening Relationships

            With time moving the way it does, I’ve learned to value my relationships with those I love. Now more than ever, I don’t take for granted how much time I have with someone. I’ve cancelled RT and a chance to moderate a panel there because I value what remaining time I have left with my father.
            2013 also found me deepening my ties with my mother. We have found an equilibrium we both can handle. We share everything. We still have our moments. Two women with equally explosive tempters? But we laugh more than we fight. We tease each other, make each other smile. And when we need to get away from life, we always have Singapore.
            My relationship with my brother is ever an evolving one. We are growing up at different paces. He slower than most. But I can see now that he gets to where he needs to be eventually. I can’t hurry him in any way. Of course, this annoys me sometimes. Especially when I’m hormonal. But my brother’s capacity for patience rivals that of a saint. He’s forgiven me more times than I can count. I cherish that more now than ever.

            Wishes for 2014

            For my family, I wish continued health and happiness. As long as we have each other, we can weather anything that comes our way.
            For my friends, I wish you joy. Thank you for being in my life and for showing me what true friendship means. You light up my life.
            For my editors and publishers, I wish you all continued success. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your guidance. I’ve learned so much from each of you, and I look forward to learning more. Thank you so much for putting up with me.
            For the bloggers, I wish you happy reading. What you do is invaluable to authors. Your enthusiasm is lifeblood. And the support you continue to give cannot be repaid. Thank you for reviewing books, posting cover reveals, and participating in tours, blitzes, and whatever else we have come up with to promote our work. We would be lost without you.
            For my readers, I wish you all the best and more. Thank you for taking a moment to pick up my books and reading them. Thank you for sharing your joy for my work with others. Thank you for writing reviews and posting them. Thank you for being you for what is a writer without a reader?
            And for myself? I wish for another wonderful busy year. I wish to reach more readers. And I wish to continue to grow as a person and as a writer. I’ve realized there are times when I rub people the wrong way. I may have said the wrong thing or expressed myself the wrong way in an email or a tweet. It’s difficult to convey proper emotions in text, but I’m a writer, I should know better. To those I have wronged this year, I sincerely apologize. Know that I did not do it out of malice. I accept the mistakes I have made because they have taught me to be better, to do better. This is why I’m excited to face 2014.

            Here’s to another year of living, loving, and most of all, writing!

            Happy New Year, my lovelies!

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Kate Evangelista is a young adult writer, creative writing teacher, and a mother to six rambunctious cats. Born in the Philippines, she attended college in De La Salle University – Manila and holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Literature and a Master’s in Creative Writing. She got her start in publishing with small presses like the now-defunct Crescent Moon Press until she moved on to medium presses like Entangled Teen and eventually being selected as part of Swoon Reads’ third season of authors. Her debut novel, TASTE, even became an Amazon bestseller. Her latest novel, THE BOYFRIEND BRACKET (Swoon Reads, 2018), was well-received by NPR and is now in the running for a movie adaptation with the A&E Network. She is represented by Jemiscoe Chambers-Black at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
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