Life · Uncategorized

Some Happy Parts of 2016

2016 pretty much sucked, both professionally and personally. But, there were a few positives about the year.

In an effort to remind myself that the positives outweighed the negatives – the many, many, many negatives, of the year – I made a short list of them here.

1. Toby kicked cancer’s butt.

Michelle Maskaly dog cancer

Toby’s cancer diagnosis in April was a real shock and his prognosis was not good. All within one day, he was diagnosed, we were at a specialist and he had his first chemo treatment. It was a whirlwind that hit me like a tornado. But, he responded extremely well to the treatments and is in clinical remission. From what I have been told, it’s not a matter of if it will come back, but more a matter of when it will come back. I never thought we would see his birthday on Dec. 4, never mind Christmas, or even Thanksgiving. But. as write this on New Year’s Eve. He is curled up next to me in bed.

2. Maddux passed his CGC and TDI tests

Michelle Maskaly therapy dog

Maddux passing his canine good citizen and his Therapy Dog International tests were a huge deal for me. Going to classes with him and working on obedience and agility has given me so much. It’s helped me with my anxiety, has formed a better human/animal bond between Maddux and I, and will hopefully let me work on an exciting project I have always wanted to do. More details on that in 2017!


4. Visiting Italy

Michelle Maskaly travel writer Italy

Spending 10 days in Italy, even if it was mostly for work, was amazing. It gave me the professional and personal experiences I have been craving. Professionally, I learned so much about Italian and European business, commerce, pharmaceuticals, trade and logistics. Personally, I added a few vacation days to my trip and got to experience the best food I’ve even eaten and see pieces of history and the world, I never thought I have the opportunity to visit. And, I did it solo. I navigated tours, trains, restaurants, airports – completely alone. This may sound silly, but for someone who can have a lack of confidence in themselves this was a big accomplishment. When I feel scared about doing something by myself, I often think about this trip and remind myself, “you traveled around Italy alone, you can do this alone.” 

5. Swimming in the lake on my birthday.

Michelle Maskaly

One of my favorite, and most relaxing, things to do is go to a small beach in Bolton Landing, N.Y. soak up the sun and take occasional swims int he water. With it usually being too cold at the end of September combined with me never actually being in the Lake George area for my birthday, I’ve never been able to do this on my birthday until this year. Not usually a big birthday celebration person, being able to do this made me very happy.

6. Getting back into the outdoors

Michelle Maskaly pet friendly travel consultant

I love being outside, but for a number of reasons, I lost my path with it. Between working so much, especially in cities for so long, and not having anyone to go with me, I really lost my connection with nature. But, I have realized how much I not only miss it, but how much it clears my head. Thankfully, Maddux loves the outdoors as much as I do and will walk and walk and walk. I hope we can go on more outdoor adventures, and who knows, maybe even one day become a 46er.

7. Taking up yoga again.

Another thing I started and then lost interest in. I’ve always been interested in yoga, but a little intimidated by it. Again, my lack of self-confidence combined with anxiety can make working out in front of a bunch of people who you feel are all judging and laughing at you, a bit rough. The last time I did anti-gravity yoga, some guy I was talking to about it, told me “you do yoga. You don’t look like the type.” Read: you’re not a size zero.

A few months ago, I decided to face my fears, and just start doing it again – both taking classes at a studio – completely out of my comfort zone – and using YouTube as a way to get back into practice. Both have actually been great for my mind and tends to help me stay focused.

8. Finding a temp job just in time.

Getting laid off was the absolute worst this year. It was a complete shock, and I took it really hard. People say, “it’s only a job.” But, I have to tell you, my job and career is my life. It’s pretty much all I have and where I have put all my efforts. Finding a new one has not been easy. I’ve applied all over the country and for a variety of different positions. And, while, I am working on starting my own business, I still need to make money to pay a little thing called my mortgage. Luckily, I found a temp position covering for a maternity leave just in time. There are no benefits, but I’m learning new skills that will help me in the future. I am super thankful.
9. Starting a business

Michelle Maskaly pet friendly business coach

I’ve always got a new idea for a business. They usually fizzle out. But, this time, I am excited about it, and so are other people. In fact, the first speaking gig my new company submitted, got accepted to one of the largest tourism conferences in New England. I’m looking forward to working on this more in 2017, and eventually be able to do this full-time.

10. Learning more about veterinary medicine.

Back in March I spend three days at a veterinary clinic in middle-of-nowhere Indiana shadowing veterinarians, asking them questions and learning about their work. In addition, I also spend a week at one of the largest veterinary conferences also learning about the industry, the issues and struggles.  It was for a story, that unfortunately I didn’t get to finish writing.

Considering I have always had an interest in veterinary medicine, and originally wanted to go to school to be a veterinarian, this was a huge opportunity for me and one that I am so thankful to have experienced. I learned so much.

Overall, 2016, you really have sucked. But, I am thankful for these 10 things. Cheers to 2017 being so much better.

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