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2019 Year in Review

by Maria A. Karamitsos   ·  4 years ago   ·  

In just a few days, the ball will drop on a brand new year. It’s time to take a look back at the past 12 months. Read on for my 2019 year in review.

In just a few days, the ball will drop on a brand new year. It’s time to take a look back at the past 12 months. Read on for my 2019 year in review.

Looking back: 2019 Year in Review

Soon, we’ll say goodbye to 2019. A new year and a new decade are about to begin. If you’re like me, for decades, years would end and I’d feel frustrated — aggravated that I didn’t achieve all of my goals or accomplish everything I wanted.

Rewind to December 2017. After a roller coaster of a year that included losing my mom, I felt off course, to say the least. I started feeling sorry for myself, but then I saw a post on Facebook from a writer friend. She posted her personal year in review, recapping what she’d done in the past 12 months. I decided to give it a try. I’d forgotten some things. I was focusing too much on what hadn’t happened, and did realize how much did happen. Long story short, I achieved more that I imagined, and it propelled me into the new year.

In 2018, I did the same. Read my 2018 list here.

Now it’s time for my 2019 list. Here we go.

My 2019 Year in Review

This list also reflects accomplishments at WindyCity Greek, the digital magazine I founded and publish.

– # Articles written: 43
– # Articles edited: 36
– # Newsletters written: 15
– # Special issues published: 4
– # Blog posts: 3

– Redesigned magazine website
– Transitioned magazine to a quarterly format
– Grew the mag’s readership by 20%
– Produced 11 more episodes of the video series Chicago Greek Report
– Filmed 11 video promos
– Performed 2 rounds of basic edits on my novel (resolving duplicate scenes, tightening up dialog, making character names consistent, and checking time frame issues)
– Rewrote the first 3 chapters (at least a dozen times)
– Joined a writer’s workshop
– Grew and managed 3 Twitter accounts (I’m condensing to 2!), 2 Facebook business pages, 1 Instagram page
– Developed logo merchandise for sale
– Attended the The White House Greek Independence Day Celebration in D.C.
– Marched in the Hellenic Heritage parade in Chicago
– Traveled to Greece and shared more great stories about our homeland and people
– Celebrated our 4th year of publication

– Interviewed by
– Interviewed on A Literary World with Kathryn Gauci
– Interviewed on Mondays with Meleti radio program on Grecian Echoes
– Featured in the book A DROP OF LADI AND MY GREEK SOUL by Krystina Kalapothakos
– Spoke along with three other women on the Hellenic Professional Society of Illinois Women in Leadership Panel  
– Gave a Career Day presentation at a local elementary school
– Hosted a poetry contest with 4 elementary schools. Presented awards and appeared as a guest speaker
– Honored to have a character in DEMONS, WELL-SEASONED by Patricia V. Davis named after me

– Traveled to Barcelona for the first time
– Visited London
– Took a few road trips
– Traveled to Napa Valley to explore and reveal stories of area Greek-American owned wineries
– Enjoyed a long weekend away with my husband (1st trip without kids since our honeymoon!)
– Continued art class for year 2
– Displayed a drawing in a local coffee shop
– Discovered and embraced nuances in my long-dormant singing voice (I’m thisclose to being confident enough to perform again– hello 2020!)
– Met, interviewed, and wrote about many extraordinary people
– Increased workouts to 3 days a week
– Read more books than I can count (LOVE!)
– Learned a lot about myself and my abilities (you think you know yourself after all these years, but we all evolve — and often surprise ourselves)
– Took more time for myself

End of an era

In 2019, I made a life-altering (can you say HUGE?) decision. Earlier this year a beloved cousin passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. It reminded me how very short life is. I began to reassess my own life.

Publishing a magazine takes a tremendous time commitment. Even a small digital publication requires much time and focus. I was beginning to resent it, feeling like all I did was work. I felt like I spent all of my time on operational tasks — tech, sales, admin, accounting, etc. etc. etc. There’s only so much time in the day, and I had to keep saying no to things I truly wanted to do. I felt like I had no time to work on polishing my novel or completing other projects stalled in process. I realized I just wanted to write. I didn’t want to do all those other things anymore, yet I felt trapped by them. I worried I’d let down my community. I struggled with this decision for months, but the answers came in buoyant waters on the breathtaking coast of southern Crete.

2019 Year in Review_Leap of Faith
In 2020, I’m taking a major leap.
IMAGE: TheDigitalArtist via

In September, I announced the shutter of the publication. December 31 is our final day. The website goes away. All the operational obligations go away, too. I’ll regain my time — time to write, to complete my projects, and focus on myself and my family. I’ll begin a new year and a new decade on a new course. There are new roads to follow, new adventures to embark on, and new possibilities to explore. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared — change is hard. I’m plunging into a bit of an unknown but it’s also exciting. A clean slate, a fresh start. Thrilling!

I’ve been working in Greek media since 2002, and this work launched my transition from marketing executive who always wished she was a writer to full-time writer and author. I have many, many stories yet to tell. There are many more Greeks out there doing amazing things, and their stories must be told. So, though I’m shutting down the magazine I’m still very passionate about telling these stories. As we speak, I’m finalizing details with some other Greek media outlets, where I may continue to share these wonderful and important stories. I’m not going away. I’m evolving, continuing to learn and grow. For when we stop doing those things, life is truly over.

How did you do?

I’m always amazed when I complete the list. I did accomplish many things — many more than I thought. And likely, I’ve forgotten a few things. Now I’m ready to bolt into the new year and decade.

Now it’s your turn. Go month-by-month. Compile your year in review. I will bet you did far more than you realize. Get to it! Share it, so we all can cheer you on.

Let’s use this momentum to propel us into an AWESOME 2020!

Happy New Year!

Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos is a journalist, author, and poet. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine and former associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Maria currently pens a literary column for NEO magazine and also contributes to Greek City Times and TripFiction. Her work has been published in The Magic of Us-A Moms Who Write Poetry Anthology, The Pen Poetry Magazine, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Highland Park Poetry, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. Maria has contributed to two books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes and The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook. She's currently working on her 1st novel.

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