A Look Back at 2016: Balancing Gains and Losses

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

It's the end of the year and time for reflection. And it's easiest to measure my life by gains and losses---whether in my personal or professional life.

There are a few ways to measure professional success. It can be about staying on budget or cutting losses and increasing gains. Like watching traffic to my website increase by nearly 40% this year. But sometimes it's hard to tell which side of the ledger something belongs. Some negatives (eventually) end up in the plus column. And positives aren't always what they appear to be.

For example, a sharp increase in social media followers may not do much for building my readership. But a single random image share can result in a spike in site visits and book sales. Profits from ads, affiliate partners, and booksellers trickle in at different times. And writing a book is a leap of faith.

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I live in a small apartment and need few possessions. So I spent energy getting rid of things I no longer need; which meant forcing stuff on my kids and trying to empty out an over-filled storage unit. But it's not easy moving big pieces of furniture from two states away. Whenever one thing came out, another went back in. But the less I own, the more I win.

Anyone in need of dining room furniture??

The losses of life are harder to measure. Bloggers in the Metastatic Breast Cancer community are active and vibrant one day and then gone the next. Friends and family mourn them on social media. Because it's easy to feel helpless in the face of a cancer diagnosis, there's more for me to do to raise awareness of MBC in 2017.

Way too many artists and other celebrities died this year---like Prince, David Bowie, and Carrie Fisher. I didn't know these people personally. But their creativity informed my life. My energy is now spent reading obituaries or watching clips of old performances. It's hard to let go of lifelong icons and inspirations.

And I notice how many of those passing were born in or close to my birth year. I wonder how much time I have left. Procrastination doesn't look like a smart option anymore. Not taking a risk is riskier.

Yes, my Presidential candidate lost in 2016. (That's not the first time that's happened, either.) But this election resulted in a divisiveness I've never seen in all my voting years. It led to the end of a few friendships, too. On the flip side, I'm exploring ways to reduce negativity and nurture more positive experiences. Limiting the number of hours spent in front of a tiny screen is a start.

On the plus side is new life. My first grandson made an appearance in 2016. His innocence and joy inspire me. He reminds me how important it is to focus on the present. This little guy will be crawling soon, then walking, and then running off to school. Time flies by and every moment counts.


Adorable new grand baby!!

There's still plenty to be thankful for in this crazy, unpredictable world. Working with amazing people, the opportunity to explore my creative potential every day, and living in Los Angeles fall in the asset column. Life isn't perfect. But I'm extra blessed when I share it with good friends and family.

Looking back on this year, I'm grateful for things that I can't measure in clicks, likes, or even dollars. That's my bottom line.

What about you? How did you measure success in 2016?


Featured image: iStock Photo

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