Happy New Year! Two-Thousand-and-Fourteen. That. Is. Crazy! I hope you had a wonderful New Year and got to spend it with some of your nearest and dearest! I feel like my first post of the new year has become a little bit of a tradition (2011 // 2012 // 2013) and it's one of the posts I really look forward to writing each year. Today is Sailboat's Fourth Birthday! I'm so proud of my space here and so happy that you stop by once a week, once a month, or whenever you can, to say hello. You are what makes this extra special for me. I hope I would still be writing here even if you weren't reading, but it certainly wouldn't be the same at all, not even close. So, thank you. Thank you for being here, for being so supportive all the time. I don't think I would be who I am today without your kind words over the years.
This year is going to be the year of getting things done for me, I said this last year but if I'm honest, my heart wasn't truly in it. But now I realise that I've spent far too long coasting along, almost scared of putting my everything into something in case it didn't work out. Well, life is simply too short to carry on doing that, so everything I'd like to do, I'm going to do (or at least start) over the next twelve months and I talked about a few of them in my resolutions post yesterday. One of the main things for me is to post more here. I would like to post daily, even if it's just a picture or a few words, but at the same time, if I don't have anything to say I'm not going to be too hard on myself if I miss a day here and there - If I miss too many days though I'll be sure to give myself a stern talking to!
The thing I'm reminded of each year when I sit down to have a little read through your feedback from my blog survey is that it's impossible to please everyone all of the time. Too many pictures of yourself and you're vain, too few and it's not personal enough. You know, that kind of thing. Blogging is a fine balancing act of content and personality & I always have to stay true to myself first and foremost. I've never done a follow up post to the survey before, but there were a couple of things I wanted to reply to, not because I feel like I have to or I'm getting defensive (please don't take it like that) but because I just want to explain things from my perspective.
"You don't pay attention to people without a blog or few readers."
Last year I made a promise to myself to both comment on more of the posts I read and to leave a comment on everyone's blog who takes time out of their day to leave a comment for me and this is something I'm going to carry on this year. It's something I love to do and it doesn't matter if a blog has 1 or 1 million readers, I'll still leave a comment if I can. Sometimes I get a few days behind, but I try to keep up as much as possible. I can only apologise if I've missed you out, I'm only human and this may sometimes be the case.
If you have the disqus commenting system it doesn't always load on my laptop, I'll always refresh the page a couple of times but sometimes that unfortunately still doesn't work. If there were more hours in the day I would try and find email addresses or twitter handles of those who leave a comment but don't have their own blogs, I'm sorry that I can't. I will hold my hands up to the fact I'm not very good with twitter, I don't have internet on my phone when I'm out and about so I can't reply to tweets then and sometimes when I get home, it completely slips my mind to go back and look through any tweets I may have received. I'm going to try and get better at this!
"You talk about the same products all the time and you don't do hauls anymore."
Eep, I'm sorry, I didn't realise this was such a bad thing! I'm very much a creature of habit and when I find things I like, I can't help but reach for them all the time. Since buying our home it seems to be sucking away all of our pennies and I haven't been buying as many other things. On last year's survey, haul posts were one of the things a lot of people didn't enjoy as much so I did phase them out a little. This year if a product catches my eye I'll definitely be allowing myself to buy it - I'm telling myself it's for the blog but you know, I'm pretty excited about it too! ;)
"I don't like bunnies!"
Oh dear, I'm sorry but I don't think this is going to be a bunny free blog any time soon! The bunny light has been in quite a few of my pictures over the last couple of months purely because I need the extra brightness - my home isn't the best for picture taking during the winter, we get about 5 seconds of sunlight (slight exaggeration) and it's the only thing that's been helping. I don't really want to invest in any lighting because we don't really have the space and I quite just taking quick snapshots. I never want this to feel like a career for me and I know what I'm like, most of the time I think I'd be too lazy to set up a light for a few snaps!
"I don't like adverts."
I can totally empathise with this and I apologise! I'm completely aware that sometimes they're a little overbearing and I hope that one day very soon I'll be able to remove them completely. If you don't like seeing any adverts online I definitely recommend downloading adblock.
"You ask for advertisers and then don't post much."
This is the only comment that really sucked to hear. There were a few months last year I didn't post very much (i.e. less than every other day on average) and during those months I either didn't offer any advertising at all or I left adverts from the previous month up for an extra month or two to make up for it. I do my best to make things right and it really sucks to hear that you think I'm taking advantage.
"I don't like your woe is me attitude over the past year and cryptic posts."
2013 wasn't a very good year BUT I do also think that sometimes my dry, sarcastic sense of humour gets lost in translation. I completely see that sometimes what I'm writing may come across as being super serious, but most of the time I'm just being incredibly sarcastic. I'm not a peppy person, that's just not me, but I do look for the positives in situations and I've written quite a few things about being positive and looking for the best in people & situations over the year. The positive posts are there, just like there are some where I'm not so happy. Sometimes I'm happy and sometimes I have bad days. We all do. Sometimes we need to ignore the not-so-great things and sometimes we need to talk about them, to let them out so we can move on.
Something happened at the start of the year that I didn't and still don't want to talk about in such an exposed environment. There's a very specific post I wrote (perhaps it's the one you were thinking of) that I worded in a very particular way that if you had been through something similar wouldn't have appeared so cryptic. I had hoped that anyone who had been in a similar situation would reach out and we could talk things over in a more private space, which is exactly what did happen. I'm not sure where I'd be now without their advice, support and reassurance. All I can do is apologise for not wanting to share the details but the internet is a very public place and sometimes it's important to keep things back but at the time I really needed some advice & I wasn't sure where to turn.
Slightly more recently my Grandmother died. She meant the absolute world to me and when it happened I shut down and didn't want to talk about it at all. But at the same time I also feel like this is a place where I need to be honest and I can't force happy posts - I tried but they came across terribly! My Grandfather was understandably absolutely devastated and he still is. They had been married for over 60 years, they did everything together and now she's not here anymore. We've been so worried about him and I think that worry is going to be a bit of an ongoing thing. His heart is broken and nothing is ever going to heal it completely.
The day before my Grandmother passed away Mark's Grandmother also passed. In many ways it made the whole thing doubly difficult, but in others it made it a little easier because we were both feeling similar things. Around that same time we think that Ralphie had a very slight stroke. There were a few days when we didn't think he'd make it because he also has a few on-going health problems and we were prepared that his little body may not have been able to cope. You know when multiple things happen at once and they seem to be never ending? Yeah, that happened. Thankfully he's been much better over the last little while & he's been back to his mischievous self. I'm so thankful, I'm not sure what I'd do without that little ball of fluff.
But everyone has a bad year every so often. Last year just happened to be mine and I'm a stronger person because of everything. I feel like I've learned a lot and I'm ready to move on.
♥ ♥ ♥
The start of a new year is something I've been looking forward to and now it's here, I'm feeling very positive - not even the essay that's due in 9 days is getting me down! I'm so incredibly thankful to have my family, little Ralphie, and you in my life. I'm grateful for every opportunity and more determined than ever to make the most of every future opportunity, whatever they may be. I'm just a normal person, I get things wrong, make silly mistakes and sometimes I stray a little too far from the path I'm supposed to be on.
All I ever want to be is relateable! I'm not a beauty expert. I'm not a photography expert. I don't know anything about fashion. I'm not really a writer. I'm just Jennie. I like to take pictures. I like bunnies. I read a lot of books. I reblog too many Harry Potter gifs and pictures of cake on tumblr. I would love to be a writer. Ultimately all I can really be is myself. All I ever want this space to be is a place you can stop by for a few minutes whenever you like, and for you to feel welcome and like you can tell me something about your day, forget about your day if it wasn't the best, for you to leave a few words of advice if it sounds like I need it, or to take some comfort from some of the words that are rattling around in my head.
Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for stopping by. And thank you for being you. I very much hope that you'd like to join me, wherever this year takes me. I'd like to join you on your yearly adventure too.
Here's to 2014 - lets make it unforgettable!