Happy New Year!
Wait, what? It’s been over a year since I blogged? How did that happen? Apparently going off and having adventures doesn’t leave much time for writing. Oh well I am writing today and that is what matters.
It has almost been two years since I moved away from home to look for adventure and boy did I find it. It wasn’t exactly as I had imagined but it was adventure nonetheless. This year was a mixture of joy and pain that created the tools I needed to begin the next chapter of my life.
What is the next chapter? I am not sure, but it is soon upon me. There are major life changes and decisions to be made, but I am taking it day by day. Although I do have plans for 2018, I am not setting specific goals, except to remember to put on eye cream every night and wear red lipstick.
This year I killed a spider without running out of the room. I hydroplaned for the first time and was in my first car wreck. I learned that you can’t live with and you can’t live without insurance companies. I learned to balance two jobs, full-time course load, and a relationship. I learned that forgiveness is a gift you give to those you love with no strings attached.
There are endless stories from the last 365 days so I will not bore my readers with the details; however, I will highlight the top five stories from my life in 2017.
ONE // I Lost the Majority of My Islands
My home island, pet island, and friendship island crumbled this year. My home for the majority of my life was sold and my family moved from my hometown. It is a strange feeling not having a home. I can’t go up the driveway where I first learned to drive or open the door and hear the familiar creek. Or go to my childhood room and see the pencil marks in my closet that documented my growth.
I also lost my fish, Frank Sinatra, and my beloved 14 1/2-year-old golden retriever, Liberty. Grieving for my dog was, and continues to be, one of the hardest things I have been through. Liberty was my best friend, my roommate, and my constant companion. I was there when she was born, chose her when she was two weeks old, brought her home when she was eight weeks old, and held her paw as she took her last breath 14 years later. She never left my side and I never left hers.
One of the casualties of having adventures is your friendships. Although I still have many friendships that have carried on, there are many that slowly faded into the abyss. When you first move away there are frequent phone calls, snaps, and texts; yet, as time goes on they grow farther and farther apart until some stop completely. However, the ones that remain you cherish most ardently.
TWO // Virginia Really is For Lovers
The first day I moved I met a barista who made my latte and welcomed me to Virginia. Nine months later we were dating and two weeks ago we celebrated our one year anniversary. We are both baristas, film addicts, and strong-willed individuals. We saw over 70 movies together and drank countless cups of coffee in 2017. Being in a relationship has stretched me in more ways than I imagined, but each trial brings a greater joy and a deeper commitment.
THREE // Invest in a Good Plunger
As a life-long saver I was raised to use what you had and save for the greater things in life; however, once I started dating Colton he encouraged me that it is okay to spend on things to make your life easier. Buy the dress. Buy the better plunger. If you like a pair of jeans buy two of them because you’ll wear them (and look great in the meantime). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a saver, but the time to enjoy the simple things in life is now. Not wait until graduation, or marriage, or retirement.
I started using the reserve bag of coffee I had been saving. I started wearing my good dresses to work. I started getting up a little earlier and putting on lipstick. I took the time to meet more people for coffee, or lunch, or drinks. One of my greatest investments in 2017 was travel. I got to take several trips that I had only dreamed of in years past and I am so thankful I took the plunge (pun not intended).
FOUR // Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right, Here I am, Stuck in the Middle…
I learned in 2017 that sometimes you are stuck in the middle and there is nothing you can do. You just have to go through it until you reach the other side. In work, in school, or in life. At work, you may not get the promotion you deserve simply for the fact that you are you. You are not always going to be appreciated and that is life. You can spend years in a career or in a difficult program and not get recognition or a pat on the back or a gold star for effort. You just get through and know that you made it to the other side and because of what you went through you will be prepared for the next chapter in your life.
I have found you learn more from the no’s in life than the yes’. You learn more from the challenges than the opportunities. You learn more from the trials than the triumphs. You learn more from the people who don’t like you than those who do. You need to spend time in prison to learn how to lead Egypt during a famine. The middle has helped guide me to who I am and where I want to be in life, or more importantly where I don’t want to be.
FIVE // The Best is Yet to Come
The last two years have shown me that you never know what is around the corner. Life is exciting and so are the people in it. As Anne of Green Gables found, there really are more kindred spirits in this life than I had imagined. No man is an island. It does take a village. There are people who have stood beside of me and encouraged me this year to whom I will be forever grateful. However, there is more love and joy to experience and share. There are more books to read. There is more food to try. More coffee to drink. And more continents to explore. I may not know where I will be this year or what I will be doing, but the best truly is yet to come.