2018 Review

2018 has been an incredible year.  It seems to have flown by however as I reflect on all the events that have happened throughout the year, it feels like forever ago that we were saying goodbye to 2017. 

I welcomed the year on our back deck, with the best bunch of friends a girl could ask for.  Our little ‘Nerd Family’ are the only people I can think to celebrate the year with.  They’ve been there to celebrate the highs and commiserate the lows and help me plot and plan all of my various schemes throughout the year.  They’ve been part of my life for the last decade, and for that, I’m incredibly thankful.

As a group, we’ve also ventured into the realms of indie game development and distribution.  I’ve helped, in ways that I can, to bring Curious Humans to stores throughout Australia.  After visiting a gaming convention in Melbourne (PAX) I am now aware that it’s so difficult to both develop and publish an Indie Game.  Without understanding how difficult it was supposed to be, we went ahead and did it anyway!  Its been an interesting journey and I’m full of admiration and pride at how far we’ve come in under a year.

In a year where my career has taken so much of my time and my energy, its reassuring to know that my friends are just like the stars.  Even though I cannot see them all of the time, I know they’ll still be there for me.

Work this year has been, in a single word, exhausting.  I’ve flown over 110,000 km, visited 25 cities in 9 different countries.  I’ve travelled for 107 days this year and for this Christmas break, I’m enjoying simply being at home.

Work has taken me back to the US for another IBM conference, and then through to every state in Australia for the release of our latest version of the software.  I was involved with our Roadshow and had to present our new technologies in front of thousands of folks.  It’s a damn good thing I’ve become very comfortable with public speaking. 

Of course, not all of that travel has been for work.  This year, Barry and I also got to go on our Honeymoon! 

All of our friends and family were with us in April to help us celebrate our wedding.  It was an amazing day and we made so many amazing memories that I’ll cherish for my whole life. 

From fixing the dressmakers’ Wifi (and getting a dress discount!), Lego on the tables, to 3D printing all of our floral arrangements, we had a very unique fun ceremony.

As part of our loving and enduring vows made to each other, Barry and I also traded ‘Ninja Vows’.  We wrote these vows for each other, only to be revealed when we were standing in front of our nearest and dearest.  Barry has now vowed to support the Richmond Football Team, and finally become a member of the 501st Legion.  In return, I’ve vowed to always give him back scratches, put away the milk and butter and listen to his stories. 

But that was a single day that seemed to vanish in a split second.  That one day was followed then by five weeks of honeymoon which took us to Dubai, London, Paris and then overland through to Madrid and Barcelona.  It was a trip of a lifetime.  We swam with dolphins in Dubai, went to the top of the Burj Khalifa, ate Nutella crepes in a Parisian park, traced family footsteps on the Somme battlefield, watched eagles flying over the Pyrenees Mountains, drank sangria in San Sebastian, and had a Chilli Mojito on the beaches of Barcelona.   It was everything we’d hoped it would be and so much more.  I realise just how incredibly fortunate we are to have the opportunity to do all of these amazing things. 

While 2018 sounds like it’s been all smiles and rainbows, of course, it has also had its trials.  Our biggest trial was when our beloved Cocker Spaniel suddenly came down with debilitating paralysis caused by a spinal bleed.  We had started mourning his loss, believing his case to be hopeless but the amazing crew at VSS Springwood did everything they could to help him.  While he’ll never fully recover, he’s regained 90% of his mobility and after a lengthy stay in the hospital, is now home with us.  He’s being spoilt rotten, without doubt, but I’m grateful to be writing this review with him peacefully snoozing at my feet.

2019 is going to be a change of direction for us.  In a big change, Barry has been accepted to and will be attending UQ to complete his Medical degree. I’m very proud to help my new husband through this new adventure in both of our lives!

Health-wise, this year has not been without its troubles.  Both my Aunt and Uncle in the UK have had some fairly concerning issues, but luckily they were both hearty enough to come out to visit us in Australia later in the year. 

I’ve had yet another sunspot burnt off my arm – and when our Doctor (usually a fairly easy going guy) decided to go hardcore, he really meant it.  A vast crater appeared in my forearm where the sunspot used to reside.  While I’m thankful I no longer have any precancerous cells, I’m now up to a count of 15.  No sun for me!

The mothership also had a few trying periods this year and at one point due to a brief stay in Hospital, we were finally able to host her dog Zipper in return for the multiple times Jamie has checked into Hotel Grandma.  As a cherished guest, Zippa had a bath AND a hair clip – despite warnings that we must not cut his hair under any circumstances.  The moment that the mothership met with a perfectly groomed boggle was on a knife-edge, but thankfully everybody survived!

Then there was the moment when our Fire Alarm starting blaring at 3 am.  Woken but still in a groggy stupor, we stumbled into the hallway to find it filled with thick smoke.  The Firemen were called, we evacuated, only to discover it was our Fire Alarm that had caught fire.  A more perfect definition of Irony I’m yet to discover.

Richmond had a cracking year, but overthought the Semi-Finals and had a disappointing result.  That’s finals footy though, and this Richmond fan is just happy that the team is competitive with a great chance for 2019.

2018 has been exceptionally slow with charity work and the 501st Legion.  I got to attend Dreamworld but missed all other major conventions in Brisbane – mostly due to excessive travelling, I’ve been unable to attend most of the big events this year.  I’m hoping that next year will slow down long enough for both Barry and I to participate and help our charities raise money and awareness.  As we’re currently building his very first suit of armour, we’re also hoping to get that finished in the next few months!

2018 has been a big year for firsts:

  • Got Married!
  • Swam with Dolphins
  • Undertook a silversmithing course
  • Went to Spain and UAE for the first time
  • Saw Foo Fighters in concert
  • Empire Strikes Back supported by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Barry and I also got to help celebrate weddings with Matt and Cindy, and Aaron and Aly.  After going through the experience ourselves earlier in the year, it was truly wonderful to witness other couples having such a magical day together.  Congrats and birthday welcome to Sam, joining Alex, Michelle and Travis into the Howse clan. 

I’m looking forward to 2019 for a number of different reasons.  We have tickets to go and see Tim Minchin, Book of Mormon and Eddie Izard all booked for the first few months of the year! I’m also heading to the US and Canada for another work trip in February – it will be hectic, busy and tiring, so I’m going to do all I can to stay healthy while I travel.

So, while 2018 seems like it flew by, there’s so much that’s happened since I sat down last year on New Year’s Eve.  In fact, in a fit of nostalgia, I reread all of my NYE Reviews from 2008, and it feels like it was ‘just the other day’ when in fact it was a decade ago.  So much has happened, and my life has changed significantly.  What I have realised though, is that throughout my life I’ve been surrounded by incredible friends and had profound experiences.  So, wherever you are, thank you for being part of this year, and part of my journey.

Wishing you all a very safe and successful 2019.
Jac xx

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