Happy New Year's Eve! Another year has come and gone, and as always, seems to go by way too fast. 2015 was not exactly what I had thought it was going to be but I am grateful for this year and for new beginnings. Life's full of twists and turns, bumps and bruises - I live, I learn. I'm a fighter. And I know that with a positive mind with positive vibes, this will always bring for a positive life. No one ever gets to have it all, at least not all at once, so with that in mind, I wanted to look back on 2015 to see where I've been and where I'm headed.
The beginning to last year kicked off with a bang! Several years after working on finishing my first work of fiction, my dreams of getting traditionally published finally came true. It was a very exciting time, and to see the fruits of my labor come to life was one for the books. I've always wanted to write a novel and I'm so proud of my accomplishment. A lesson for the dreamers - you can do whatever you set up your mind to do.
I will be writing a full blog post next month, marking my 1 year anniversary since debuting my novel, The Fisherman's Lily. There I will tell you the full story behind how everything came together, from the first creative steps to publication, and all the sacrifices it took to make this happen, I can't wait to share with you guys! Want to read my book beforehand? It's available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, both in digital and paperback.
The rest of the winter and beginning of spring were very difficult times. I had to learn one of the toughest lessons in life, that no matter how you might feel about only wanting the best for those around you; that even if you put their happiness before your own, never ever expect the same in return. Sadly, people can be extremely jealous and spiteful with a mission in life to make you as miserable as they are. Not your problem. The only person responsible for you is ... YOU! If you're not happy, how can trying to make someone else happy give you happiness? It's the same as if trying to love someone when you don't even love yourself. Not going to happen. You can try, but the end result will always be the same. You won't be happy until you decide this is the most important part of you. It's one thing to be a generous, kind and open-hearted person, but it's quite another to be taken advantage of, knowingly of your most genuine intentions. Bottom line? Do more of what makes you happy, dammit!
So after working as a figure skating coach for nearly ten years, I decided to completely walk away from it. (!) I know it seems pretty brash right? Wait. I loved the sport with everything I had and in return, it did not love me back. I never sought out to become an Olympic coach but only went back to the world of figure skating when I wanted to give something back from my pastimes as a skater. I adore children and at the time, I thought, "What better way than to do something like this and truly enjoy it simultaneously?" Sounded like a dream job, right? Not quite. I've always first and foremost have been an artist, someone in the creative field, and for me that was my writing and photography. But at some point, my focus was only on being a coach. I had little to no time for anything else. I managed to write a novel while coaching, but because of my limited time it took me over four years to complete. Upon finishing the book, my heart began to tug at it's strings, as if trying to tell me something wasn't exactly quite right. Like I had found all the missing pieces to a puzzle, except for the very last one I couldn't never seemingly find. And the lack of support amongst peers and colleagues was palpable, most of them acting disappointed that I'd ever want to do anything else with my life besides skating. It was time to go. It was an extremely tough choice to make but now looking back on my decision, it was one of the best choices I've ever made. My state of well-being literally depended on it! So, now what?
I really stepped out of my comfort zone when I chose to leave the skating world, but it was for the ultimate sacrifice. Now I have more time to do what I truly want to be doing, and for me, that was always in the arts. So, when one my of best friends suggested the idea of doing a boudoir photoshoot, I jumped at the opportunity! Agnes, or, 'Agi' is ridiculously talented and I was so honored to work with someone I hold so dear to my heart. Being photographed buck-naked out in the middle of the wilderness? Talk about being out of your comfort zone! I was really nervous about the whole process even though we're so close. Being a photographer, it is a real uphill battle to be the one in front of the camera. And because of my insecurities and lack of self-esteem, I didn't think she'd be able to bring that saucy lil' minx out of me, but...
I never felt more beautiful and if you look at more of the photos here, you'll really be able to grasp the sensibility in each of them. It clearly demonstrates a deep friendship filled with so much love and care. Thank you Agi, from the bottom of my heart, for such meaningful photos and for an even more meaningful friendship. I love you. x.
With my confidence in tow, I slowly but surely started working on my second novel. Unfortunately, the creative juices haven't been flowing as easily as I had hoped. To be fair, a sequel, or even a second novel is always more challenging than the first one. Without the first one, you'd have little room to grow and strive. I think the first one is to learn, more so than anything else. But as a writer, I believe there's a reason why one might get stuck on a particular project. Either your heart's not really in it or there's some sort of technical drawback that prevents you from continuing on your writing path.
A few years back I tried starting a food blog (sort of) where I would post a new recipe each week. With my coaching job along with trying to complete a book, I could barely keep it consistent after only doing it for a couple of months. But then during this summer, a lightbulb went off in my head. For so long, I wondered why I wasn't able to put together all my strengths and skills in one format, and then bam! MaQ + Suz popped into my mind and screamed, "DUH!" I had always wanted to incorporate my 'tools of the trade' into one concept, and it just felt so right and so good. I launched my lifestyle blog in August and since then it has taken off!
Since it's launch 5 months ago, I've worked with over 20 brands ranging from jewelry to skincare products, to food & drink collaborations to dog-related events. MaQ + Suz is living up to it's statement, sharing our everyday lives with you, and I couldn't be happier doing it! Not only do I consider it to be the newest chapter in my life, but the most challenging workload I've ever taken on. And it feels absolutely fantastic to truly be able to do what I love for a living. It wasn't easy, but anything worth having takes non-stop hard work. That "can't stop, won't stop" mentality runs in the Spiegoski blood.
The highlight of the Autumn season was the season itself. Any chance I can get I'll bring MaQ with me to take in the scenery and of course to gulp down some of that crisp, fresh air. The older I get, the more I appreciate nature and it's special rejuvenating, healing powers. The best part in life is not the destination, but the journey. I don't care how much money is to be made, or how much travelling I'll get crossed off my to-do/bucket list, because all of it wouldn't even matter if I didn't have my health and spirit. And it'd be meaningless without the ones I love and cherish in my life. My husband and MaQ show me on a daily basis the greatest lesson in life, and that is to love and be loved in return. Without love, without hope, without positivity, it'd all be irrelevant.
Life shouldn't always be a plan. You never know what you're going to expect but that's the best part of the journey. Remember to work hard, hope for the best (but don't be a fool and forget to prepare for the worst) and stay true to the ones you love most in life because without them, it'd be awfully lonely and the idea of making memories less and less important.
Cheers to the last blog post of 2015! I'm looking forward to what the new year may bring, and all the more excited to continue in sharing with you in what's to come. Life will bring disappointments and heartache, but it's all a matter of perspective. We are all blessed. Have a great night, be safe out there and take care!
Love & xx's,