Today I got to thinking about 2015, fitting as there’s only one day left #procrastination. As I started reflecting, I came to the determination that 2015 has been my best year thus far. It’s safe to say I had a healthy mix of the good and the bad; I had some really incredible moments that brought me joy, tested my strength and resulted in growth.
I can whole-heartedly say I am ending 2015 in a better place than where I started.
That being said, I’m sharing 15 of the most impactful moments/revelations of 2015 (in no apparent order – I’ll work on organization next year). And as we approach the new year ahead, I can only say this list is a true inspiration to grow even further into who I’m supposed to be. And in true form, I’ve neverbeenso ready to bid farewell to 2015 and bring on 2016.
#1 Starting this blog.
I had always toyed with the idea of starting a blog. I constantly admired the bloggers I followed on social media and always said something to the effect of “ugh, they have it all” or “I wish I could do that” etc. 2015 was the year I decided to do something about it. And you know what I found out, blogging is tough, plain and simple. I never knew how much actually went into just getting the name right or how to create a domain or where to host – and that’s not even creating content yet – then there’s making the time to write/post/photograph/share/engage – but that’s the thing, I had to MAKE time. It’s A LOT. After the first month, the old me would have probably just given up. But I told myself I’m sticking to this. It really provides a creative outlet for me and it allows me to constantly improve and learn. The blogosphere is inanely intimidating, but also generously helpful. I have met some amazing bloggers who have shared some of their secrets and I can’t wait to continue growing that circle and growing this brand.
#2 Facing a familiar unknown.
At the beginning of this year, we moved into a renovated building at work. Sounds standard, right? Well, this move had a little extra baggage. In 2013, my building, Building 197, on the Washington Navy Yard was invaded by an active shooter, which claimed the lives of 12 victims. While I won’t get into what that day alone entailed, I will say that the rebuilding aftermath was quite an ordeal. From being displaced to several locations all across the DMV, to moving into an old dilapidated building for a short-term to then, finally this year, moving back into that same building where the horror had taken place. I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t been back in the building since that day I had taken shelter for 3 hours and was escorted out by SWAT. But I was ready to resume some sort of normalcy. It felt good. It felt really really good. I spent two years wondering what it would feel like: would I be scared?, emotional?, fine? I wasn’t sure. But in February of this year, we all faced it together, as a family, and moved on.
#3 Calling Charleston, SC Home
I had been in a work program for the past 3 years and finally graduated this year. Our third year of the program, we are to do an external rotation somewhere outside of our home base. I chose Charleston, SC. It was A LOT of work to get it approved, but it finally was. But then in February of this year, it was actually happening. I spent all January worrying, wondering what I had gotten myself into. I could have stayed local and just gone to the 4th floor of my own building, but I decided to go 8 hours away ALONE for two months. I had never been away from home on my own..EVER. I went to college with my best friend and lived together all 5 years and progressively moved forward to the city friends and then my boyfriend, now fiance. I had never done anything alone. I literally looked for ways I could back out. But finally I took a deep breath and jumped. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Sure, I ate a lot of meals alone and experienced things alone, but I learned A LOT about myself and my incredible friends/family came to visit so often that I didn’t have to spend too many weekends alone. I discovered Barre and Yoga and rediscovered my love for reading, all things I used to brush to the side for the sake of no time. I used to get hives at the thought of eating at a restaurant alone or going to a bar by myself, but now I can say it’s not half bad. Sure, I prefer the alternative, but I did it and I had neverbeenso proud of myself. Charleston allowed me to focus on me, and as selfish as that may sound, I never knew how much I needed that.
#4 My best friend asked me to marry him.
When I was younger, I 100% thought I’d be married by 23, two kids by 27 and couldn’t even imagine 30 because it seemed so far away and old. Well here I was, 27, no marriage, no babies, but a man who truly loved me by my side. I guess I couldn’t complain that much. But it did start to get to me, that after 5 years, would it ever happen!? And then it did. April 18, 2015, Will made me an engaged woman. The day was perfect, the ring was perfect, he was perfect, I really couldn’t have asked for anything better. Next year I’ll be a MRS!
#5 We hiked Macchu Picchu
I’d like to say I’m somewhat outdoorsy, I like to hike, but hiking to Macchu Picchu was a whole nother story. Granted we did a smaller 1-2 day hike, but it still tested my ability. There were times I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. Like when it was 90 degrees, humid, 2 hours in and we were told by our guide that we would have overcast all day and not even get one picture…yeah, I had to give it all the strength I had to keep trucking on. But I did, and it was beautiful and the sun came out, the grey skies turned to blue and it was magical. The adrenaline high was off the charts. I gave myself several pats on the back for that one…and Will too, for his patience.
#6 We went to the Amazon Jungle
Although this was part of the same trip above, it absolutely deserves its own moment. The nerves that coursed through my veins when Will suggested we take a trip and tack on the Amazon Jungle were through the roof. We’ve traveled a lot together, so I am completely trusting of Will when it comes to locations and activities, so I went along with the idea. It was incredible. It was incredibly hot, it was incredibly humid, it was incredibly muddy, it was incredibly beautiful, it was incredibly eye-opening, the list goes on.
#7 Bye Bye Beamer
My parents and my grandparents are super generous humans. When I was in college, I knew nothing about the world around me and remember just seeing a white x3 BMW and knew it had to be mine. And what did my parents and grandparents do? They made that happen. (And yes, I am cringing with you at the thought of how annoying I sound). The thing was a money pit. The last few years I put so much money into the car, but the act of buying a new one seemed way too intimidating so I kept pushing it off until I couldn’t anymore. This year – I finally hit my breaking point – 5 flat tires, 4 times stranded on the side of the road and $8,000 later. Researching for a new car is TOUGH. Time consuming. Where does everyone get the time to find the car they’re driving?? With a lot of help and a lot of stress, I finally bought my first car! I graduated the money-pit Beamer club and entered the adult Subaru club. and I couldn’t be happier. #subbuds
#8 Becoming a minimalist..sort of.
My closet is ridiculous. Will turned a spare bedroom into an entire closet for me. I mean, come on. A year ago, hell even 6 months ago, I would say this was a necessity. However, after living in Charleston for two months, I realized I could live off of far little than what I thought I needed. When I got home I looked in my closet and was immediately welcomed home by STUFF. Way too much STUFF. I’m not a hoarder, but the sheer amount of clothing, shoes, accessories, I thought I needed is comical. Don’t get me wrong, I still love fashion and things, but now I can love those things in a much more healthy (and minimal) way.
#9 Discovering Poshmark.
After this revelation of becoming a minimalist, I found myself in a dilemma. I had really great pieces that I wasn’t comfortable donating just yet, but also knew I would never wear. Insert Poshmark. A place for women to buy/sell gently used clothing, shoes, accessories. In April I listed roughly 430 items on Poshmark. I didn’t even know I had 430 items. Like I said, too much STUFF. To date, I’ve made $1,800. That’s $1,800 I wouldn’t have had otherwise and while it has yet to make a dent in the amount of crap I have, it’s a start. I’ve made deals with myself: 1. Once something is listed for a year and hasn’t sold, donate it; 2. You have to sell a piece to buy a piece – I’m still struggling with this one, but I’m only human. And just this week, I was finally asked to co-host a Poshmark party! More shares = more dollars.
#10 I FINALLY started saving.
I’m sure it’s no surprise when I say I had a bit of a credit card problem a few years back. I spent most of the last couple years getting that under control. And while it took a lot of control and restraint, I was finally able to rid myself of that debt last year and start a recurring saving early this year. It’s not much, but again, it’s a start.
#11 Wedding Planning.
Oh what fun it is. I’m only being half sarcastic. The first few months were NOT fun. Apparently people start planning their weddings years in advance because I got turned down by several venues and vendors for a wedding I was trying to plan 16 months out. These are big decisions. What if I make the wrong one? What if someone isn’t happy? Once the big stuff was done and once I learned this is a time when it’s okay to be a little bit selfish, I felt a huge relief. I’m not talkin Bridezilla, I’m talkin there’s no way I can make everyone happy. Also, weddings are expensive. Like really expensive. Like I had no idea how expensive. So, it takes a lot of research and a lot of calculating to determine what’s necessary and what’s outrageous. Here, a peony costs $50….no.
#12 Getting more comfortable with saying ‘no’.
Speaking of…’No’ is never a word I was good at. I’m a perfectionist (thanks, Grandma) and so that always meant I would take whatever is asked of me and not only do it, but push myself to make it perfect. Well if that isn’t a recipe for stress implosion, I don’t know what is. I started to take a stand for myself and say ‘no’ when it just didn’t fit. That’s put me in some uncomfortable positions, but in the end, I am living this life for me and I have to take the reins.
I have a long commute to/from work. I spend nearly 3 hours a day commuting, on a good day. Don’t even get me started when it rains. I’ve tried countless ways to make this commute better. Stress balls, audio books, buying the entire iTunes library. Then I stumbled upon podcasts. They’re short little quirps (between 30-60 minutes) on varying topics that occur on a regular basis FOR FREE. While I won’t say they get me excited to get in my car, I will say the day is a little brighter (and road rage a little lighter) when I have a new episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You or Dear Sugar or Freakonomics.
#14 Friday Nights In.
A few years ago, I was still struggling with the idea that I needed to have plans every second of every weekend or I just wasn’t doing it right. Last year, I could count on two hands the amount of times we stayed in on a weekend. This year, Friday Nights In (FNI) are my jam! Work is hard and long and exhausting. I look forward to a Friday with no plans, ordering food, drinking wine and watching Netflix. A few years ago, I never thought it would happen to me. But the FNIs got me! What am I, old? No! Smart. I’m no longer hungover and wasting 50% of my weekend away and it’s glorious. There are a few one-offs now and then, but if its not someone’s birthday, I aint goin.
#15 Quality vs. Quantity
The idea of becoming a minimalist deciphers between quality vs quantity. One really nice top, that can be paired several ways or 5 cheap tops that fit in all the wrong places? I know which one I’m choosing. But a year ago, I didn’t. And I’m starting to learn this goes for all aspects of life: things, friends, jobs, grudges. I think this is one of the best lessons one can learn, but one of the hardest. It’s hard to admit to ourselves that some things just aren’t providing anything positive to our lives anymore. But making that differentiation has been life changing for me. And I have 2015 to thank for it.
What has made a mark on you in 2015? What are you hoping to gain in 2016?