2022 Year-End Review

Happy New Year!

Another year, another year-end review post (You can read my 2020 post here and my 2021 post here). I didn’t blog, cosplay, or draw much/at all, but I had a busy year and I’d like to think that I’ve accomplished some things.

I paid off my student loans.

I wrote a post about it and how I did it. You can read the post here. I also set a rainy day fund for the first time after I paid off my student loans, and I’ve reached it. I have a new year’s resolution of saving a good portion of my monthly income, so we’ll see how it goes. Inflation is wild, so expenses are higher while the quality of life is more or less the same.

I got a new job.

It’s a full-time job with benefits, and I work three days at the office and two days from home. I hope I can continue to keep this hybrid model, as this was a COVID thing. For those of you who don’t know, I have a BA in Psychology and a Bachelor of Social Work. You can probably guess that I work in social services. It’s stressful indeed, but rewarding at the same time. The job keeps me busy and I like my coworkers.

I got my full driver’s license.

In British Columbia, we have to take the knowledge test, the Class 7 driving test, and the Class 5 driving test. The Class 5, full test is taken at least two years after you pass the Class 7 test. It has been a long and rough journey to get my full driver’s license. I actually got Covid during the time I was supposed to take my Class 5 test, so that had to be canceled and then rescheduled. I was so happy when I got my full driver’s license.

Celebrating my graduation (two years late!)

I graduated with my BSW at the start of the pandemic in 2020. There was no closure. Everything ended so abruptly that I 100% believe it impacted me negatively. I didn’t bother attending my virtual graduation.

The university held an in-person graduation ceremony for my class in late 2022. I didn’t attend that one either. I didn’t celebrate my graduation at all. In December 2022, I thought about it some more and changed my mind. I thought that I should celebrate my graduation, so I bought a charm for myself. I wear it on my bracelet every day. It’s the Celebration Cake Dangle Charm by Pandora, and it has the word “Congrats” on it. There’s a strawberry on the cake, and I just really like how the charm looks. I like the idea of collecting charms that represent the milestones in your life.

I’d like to thank my boyfriend, family, friends, and WordPress family for your love and support. Thanks for reading!

Obsession

I recently had a conversation about obsessions, and how I would even like to have an obsession. Hear me out.

I think life is more fun and enjoyable when you are obsessed with something. I find that you are most creative because you are driven by your sheer determination. You are passionate about something! (Or someone.) I was obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera when I was in high school. I didn’t like Christine, so I read every single Erik x Meg fanfic that existed. I even wrote my own fanfiction, which I never published. That was the only period of my life where I wrote fanfiction.

I have been trying to get into fanfiction writing for a while now lately, but I lack motivation. I don’t have something I’m obsessed with. (Is obsession the right word?)

I recently came across a Tweet that said that the fastest way to improve your art is by being obsessed with something, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. I haven’t drawn in a couple of years, and that’s something I used to do. Cosplay is another hobby that I haven’t done in a long time.

I used to be really into celebrities, but I’m too jaded for that now. I’ve been disappointed by too many scandals to count! πŸ˜‚

Anyway, I think I just need some motivation. Writing this post is a step, so at least there’s that.

Authenticity? Part 2

This post is a continuation of an earlier post of mine from November 2020. I became inspired to write this post after finishing a route in a game and being too shy to write about it publicly.

That made me think a bit. What we post online, when attached to our real name and face, will be filtered most of the time, if not all the time. Would I have written about the game if I was using an anonymous account? This filter that I/we engage in is pretty interesting. I have friends who know me in real life, online friends, and there’s an overall feeling of discomfort around disclosing too much information. So yes, I’m completely aware of the filter that I put up on social media. And this isn’t just for potentially embarrassing or unhinged topics — the effort and time people put into editing their photos and making them look nice also counts. Sure, they might be posting for themselves, but part of it might be that they want their content to look presentable for others to see. But if it is posted just for yourself, would all of that still matter?

You’ve probably heard of the old phrase “Think before you speak” and I totally agree with this statement. But what would people look like if they didn’t have a filter at all? Judged and/or outcasted would be my guess.

I might try an experiment to see whether my content would differ if I used an anonymous account, specifically around photography. But I might be too lazy to go through with it. I guess only time will tell.

A blur

It’s surreal to think that a lot of us spent a year at home. Online work, online school, online meetups, online everything. I’m trying to remember how my life was at the time but it’s all a blur. I don’t think life was that bad for me for because I had a lot of sources of entertainment, but I’m much happier now that I can see people in person and explore the city.

Before in quarantine days:

  • I got into letter writing and stamps
  • I got into various crafts
  • I watched a ton of shows
  • I went hard with online shopping, to escape the everyday
  • Small joys: Anything out of the ordinary brought me joy. During this time I came to appreciate a lot of things.

Now after three vaccine shots and with restrictions lifted:

  • I’ve met up with a lot of my friends and had opportunities to dress up again. One of the first things I did was get a hair cut.
  • I’ve visited numerous cafes and restaurants, something I had missed
  • Fun dates with boyfriend
  • I got to see the cherry blossoms this year. There are none in my neighbourhood, so I explored other parts of the province to see them.
  • New experiences: I got a shellac manicure with my coworker yesterday. After hearing that I had never gotten a manicure before, she encouraged me to try it out.

The importance of taking pictures

Without pictures, I feel that a lot of the things I’ve done would have been lost on me. “Put away the phone; enjoy the moment without the phone” is the opposite of how I think… I think it diminishes photography, ignores that people may have poor memory, and ignores that people may want something to look back on. Personally, I get a lot of satisfaction from capturing a good photograph.

Tulip Festival

I went to the Chilliwack Tulip Festival in early May of this year. I went on the last day and was honestly disappointed by the tulips. Future note to self: Don’t go in the final week.

The daffodils were nice, though. πŸ™‚

Update: June 2022

Hey everyone, 

It’s been a while since I last updated the blog. There are a few reasons for this. The first is because I bought the Switch OLED and have been obsessed with Animal Crossing ever since. I visited Minty’s island! 

When I first started Animal Crossing. Minty’s the one on the left.

The second reason for my lack of posting is that I got Covid. Fortunately, the rest of my family members never got it. I self-isolated in my room the entire time and had my meals delivered to my door. I’m grateful for my family’s support. I am also thankful for all the good wishes from everyone on Twitter. 

Although I recovered and tested negative a while back, I still cough every day. :/  

Flowers from my boyfriend.

The third reason is due to a new work schedule. I’ve more or less adjusted to this schedule so expect posts more regularly! However, I do feel tired more often now, and I’m not sure if it is because I had Covid. Does anyone else have a similar experience? 

Free From My Student Loans!

A little while ago, I tweeted that I paid off my student loans. I don’t know if this post will be useful to anyone, but here’s how I did it.

I have two university degrees (one was 4 years and the second was 2 years) and graduated with a debt of $31,827.00. My parents contributed a portion of it through RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan). Otherwise, my debt probably would have been around 50k.

Another thing worth mentioning is that I commuted four hours each school day (2 hours each way) because I live far from the university. I chose not to live on campus because I didn’t want to increase my debt.

I paid off almost 32k in 15 months.

Right before I entered the repayment period, I paid off $10,000 from my savings. I’ve worked part-time jobs since graduating grade 12. In my final year of university, I had three part-time jobs so I had saved up some money. I paid off 10k right off the bat because it would make interest payments a lot easier.

However, I wish that I had started to pay off my student loans when I was still a student. If I had started budgeting really early on, I probably have would have paid off a significant portion of my loans before my graduation date.

I graduated in 2020, back when COVID was still relatively new. After five months of making repayments, the Government of Canada canceled interest payments because of COVID. However, this is temporary so my goal was to finish paying my loans before interest payments returned. Instead of making the minimum payment of $250-350, I made bigger payments like $1000, 2000, or 3000 a month whenever I could.

The biggest thing that helped with repaying my loan was living with my parents. I still live with them. Rent is really expensive in Vancouver, and I have a good relationship with my family so there was just no big reason to move out.

Another thing that helped was that I was super, super serious about paying my student loan debt as soon as I could. It was probably my main focus and goal at the time. That being said, I made sure not to splurge. Well, it’s not in my personality to spend a lot of money in the first place. That’s just not who I am. However, knowing that I had debt made me feel even more so because I felt really poor. “The money in my bank account does not belong is me” is how I felt the entire time. I think that this attitude helped a lot.

My debt wasn’t too large, though I think the average student loan debt for a Bachelor’s degree is 30k. It was manageable, and I feel lucky that I can live with my family. Although living in a pandemic sucks, I didn’t have to pay interest for almost a year which was really beneficial to me.

Present day

Now that I am debt-free, I am planning to open a TFSA but that’s another story (Probably should have done this earlier, to be honest). What I want to say is that my spending habits haven’t changed at all. I record everything I spend in a notebook and calculate how much I spend every week and month. I prefer writing it out but Excel spreadsheets are probably more efficient, haha.

I don’t have a budget, and I don’t really limit myself from spending. I will buy a bubble tea if I want it. However, I just don’t spend that much money so I don’t really see a need to budget right now. If my spending over a certain period was higher than an amount I’m comfortable with, then yes I would absolutely budget. Keeping track of my spending is more about knowing how much I’m spending and where that money is going.

This was kind of a personal post but I don’t mind sharing. I think I’m pretty open in general so I hope that at least one person finds this helpful.

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Thanks to my boyfriend for the congratulatory gift.

2021 Year-End Review

I started writing year-end review posts last year. Click here to read my post from 2020.

1. I got into crafts, and I credit the pandemic as the main reason. I’ve been into art since I was a kid, but I didn’t do much of it. Since I stayed home all of last year and the beginning of 2021, I had to do something with all my free time. I attended a virtual workshop for clay, and I became interested in learning how to make a bunch of different crafts. I mostly learned how to do everything by myself, and I’ve made a lot more than what you see here. I still do all of these things.

2. I got a boyfriend. In early 2020, I started writing letters to a guy I knew but was not close with. Becoming penpals was random and spontaneous, but it brought joy to my mundane life. Again, I stayed at home for all of 2020. The guy lives in the same province, so he sometimes brought me bubble tea to my door, socially distanced-style. For this reason, he was the person I saw the most in 2020. And I guess one thing led to another.

Moya knows him as the four-leaf clover guy because my boyfriend surprised me with four-leaf clovers before we started dating. He knew that I like four-leaf clovers, and it was his first time finding them.

3. Blogging and cosplaying were hit negatively. I’m not sure if these were because I have other interests now or because of other reasons. I haven’t been to a convention in a long time, but at least I’m still posting every once in a while. Oh, and you will find me most active on my Instagram or Twitter.

I’ve been thinking about the future directions of my blog and social media accounts. Stay tuned for a post about that in the near future.

4. I am still enjoying the little things in life. This was one of the points I made in last year’s post. The people around me have told me that they’ve noticed this about me, and I’m grateful for what I have and who I am today.

Please let me know how 2021 has been for you. Send me a link if you make a post like this!

When Blogging Feels Like A Chore

My blog is over 8 years old. I want to post more frequently, but I’ve seem to lost whatever spark or inspiration I had some time ago.

I envy new bloggers because they seem to be a lot more motivated and excited than I am. They have fresh ideas. I feel the same toward old bloggers that are still at it.

I am not quitting. Don’t get me wrong — this is not a farewell announcement. But it is harder to blog now. No motivation, no original ideas, the list goes on. It would be lying if I said I don’t feel this way with my other hobby, cosplaying.

Is it the passage of time? Laziness? Tiredness? I don’t know.

Not enough engagement, perhaps? I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m fixated on numbers.

Whatever the reason, I don’t know what to do. Blogging is supposed to be a hobby, isn’t it? So why would I push myself to blog if it feels like a chore. Though it does feel sad to leave it alone.

Have you ever felt this way?

[Response] Creativity in Blogging

I liked Annie’s Spill the tea: Creativity inΒ Blogging post. Here’s my response to Annie.

From my personal experience, it is hard to be creative if you don’t have much energy. If you’re tired all the time, you’re not going to be thinking about creative ideas. So, I think that having energy is #1, almost like a requirement to being creative. When I have a lot of energy, I will cosplay, blog, draw, and do a bunch of random crafts.

I mostly get inspiration after having fun with my friends. I think this ties in with what I wrote above about having energy. It naturally comes to you when you feel happy and motivated.

I agree that other bloggers and creators are sources of inspiration. If it wasn’t for Annie’s post, this post wouldn’t even exist.

Thinking about my posts, I got a lot of inspiration from anime, songs, and a lot of other things. I’m driven by my passion and love for my interests and hobbies. One of my main reasons for blogging is to have a space to talk about my interests, often because I don’t have anywhere else to dump my thoughts.

Steam Community :: :: Victorique-Gosick

Hmm, I don’t think that you can force out creativity. I don’t think it would feel very authentic. Breaks are fine, and sometimes we need them. That way, we can blog with a fresh mind and new ideas. I feel that prolonged breaks are scary, though. What if you become too comfortable and never return to blogging? Or, what if you lose your enthusiasm towards blogging? This is similar to what Annie voiced re: those who never come back. Here’s what I think: Your health comes before blogging.