2018: A Year in Review

January 1st is one of my favorite days. Not only because it’s the symbol of a “fresh start” to a healthier life both physically and mentally but because I like to take the time to review how the year in our rearview mirrors really went.

Last year on this very day, I was hurting. My heart ached an ache that I still, to this day, cannot put into words appropriately. During the holiday season, I had ended a relationship that spanned my entire adult life, nearly 10 years. I walked away from everything I had ever known including the daydreams I had had since I was a little girl. I set aside the title of future Mrs. and painfully pressed pause on the idea of hearing a child call me “mommy.” Out of fear and probably a little pride, I didn’t tell my family for weeks and the rest of the world for months. I didn’t want to prove people right. I didn’t want anyone to know that I had failed. I didn’t want all the friendships I sacrificed for a man to be for nothing.

I now know I didn’t fail. I didn’t give up. Friendships lost throughout the years are capable of being mended. I’m worthy of love and happiness and all the things.

While it’s easy to think of how hard a year was and wish it farewell in the most “fuck you” way possible, I think we all loose sight of how incredibly blessed we are. My 2018 was full of both love and tribulation. From my weakest of moments to my strongest of days; so many laughs and nights I’ll never forget. I traveled to my number one bucket list destination, I spent as much time with my family as possible, I watched my niece grow into a chatty little nugget of joy. I explored and camped and attended a ballet. I figured out how to be alone in a bustling world full of people.

In 2018, I took time to reach out to the people in my life from days past and plan to continue doing that. I’ve walked away from friendships that were painful to be a part of. I’ve (slowly) began giving myself a damn chance and figuring out who I am, what makes me tick and who I want to be.

I can’t please everyone. No one can. If there’s anything I can share with anyone still hanging on to this ridiculously long post, figure your shit out in 2019. You’re so worth it. Don’t bother with people who aren’t capable of cheering you on. Life is hard the way it is and we’re all way too old not to at least try to enjoy the time we have left. Make the memories people have of you the best possible ones.

If you were in my 2018, thank you. You’ve likely helped me in more ways than you could ever imagine. ❤️

Farewell to you, 2017.

The New Year has always been one of my favorite times. Not because years past have been crap but because the symbol of a New Year brings so much hope to the possibility of good things yet to come. I took some time today to look back at all the photos I’ve taken and shared over the last year and can’t believe how every single moment captured holds a place in my heart that I’ll always cherish.

2017 was an amazing year, so many beautiful moments. 2017 was also rocked with heartbreak and loss of which I’ve never felt more blessed than I do in this moment to have the family and friends in my life that I do. I’m taking some time away from sharing what I’ve written. Over the years, if you’d stayed with me, I’ve gone through ups and downs and have learned to be careful with what I share. This has restricted me creatively and personally.

Right now, I’m hurting for reasons I hope to elaborate on in the future to both share my story and to find healing through it.

And with that, I’ll leave you with this:

“When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents, and those moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same. You have grown and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living, you are wrapped in endless, boundless grace. And things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday.” -Morgan Harper Nichols

Thank you to every single person that was in my 2017; I hope you’re in my 2018 too.

New Year Improvements

New Year, New You. New Years Resolutions. New Year, I’m going to stay the same asshole I’ve always been. Whatever you want to call it, that’s what this post is about.

We’re on day 3 of 2016 and it kind of feels the same as day 3 after your birthday. You feel the same but you’re a year older. Or in this case, we’ve entered a new year. Everyone is always like [after your birthday], do you feel “whatever age you are?” No, not really. Pretty soon, you still feel like you’re 20 years old but wake up and realize you’re 26. Where did the time go?

Where did 2015 go? And 2014? 2013? The New Year flies by just as quickly as our birthdays, anniversaries, memories. Days are the jet airplanes of life.

Every year I write some kind of New Years post and every year I look back at my year prior and reflect on ‘how I did.’ Surprise! New Years resolutions fall to the weigh side about as quickly as Valentine’s Day candy hits the shelves. This year, I decided to do something a little different. I’ve been seeing all these articles the last few weeks about what to leave in 20-15 and must-haves for the new year. I took some tips from them, along with my own running list of improvements for the next 363 days..this is what I came up with.

Stop holding grudges: Yep, I’m that girl. For some reason, it’s so hard for me to “get over it” as some would say.

Commit to less negative talk and self-criticisms: This is probably the hardest improvement I haven’t yet accepted. Channing and my mom are my sounding boards. I complain and over-analyze about things that I really don’t need to waste my energy on. In order for this to work, I will need to distance myself from people that drain me more then energize me.

Make time for hobbies instead of TV: There are so many things that I love to do but day after day they get pushed aside because I’m too lazy to get off my ass. This is the year for me to explore photography, writing, graphic design, and so many other things.

Travel More: This one needs no explanation. I’m going to get my butt out of Minn-Dak and see more of the country then I’ve ever seen. Watch me.

Practice generosity: I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a horrible tipper and rarely donate to anything. My expectations are often too high when it comes to people and the human race in general. This year, I want to pay it forward and try to understand situations that are out of my control.

Get healthy, not lose weight: I’ve never been thin or fit for that matter. I really can’t give myself an unrealistic number to strive towards. I want to be able to do things that I literally cannot do because of my size and I finally have a support system in my life that will help push me in the direction of my health and fitness goals.

Stop worrying about the future: A few posts ago, I talked about letting go of the past. This goes for the future too. I’m always going to be a planner but I need to focus more on the present instead of the future children, house, family, life that I wish for. I need to find myself in the present before my future is even a possibility.

Well, that’s about it. Basically, I’m going to continue being me. I haven’t set any unrealistic goals for myself. I’ve made mental note of some things I need to work on as a person and have finally decided to do things that make me happy in life. I’m not going to deal with things or people that bring me down. I’m over pleasing people instead of myself. I’m going to focus on those I love and be the best version of me that I can — sarcasm and all.  What are your goals or improvements for the year to come?

Some ideas and content were re-used from Buzzfeed and Inc.com. Respective articles found here: 23 Things To Do To Improve Your Mental Health In 2016 and 25 Things You Need To Let Go Before The New Year.

2015: A Year in Review

What a year, huh? I know 20-15 isn’t quite over but I’ve been thinking a lot about the past and present. I seem to dwell on it all. There are a couple words that I would use to explain year two thousand and fifteen including “adventure” and “acceptance” and “family” and “money” or “lack thereof.”

The rest of the year should go pretty smoothly though. All the gifts are under the tree, a cookie goodie exchange this weekend, binge watching Christmas shows and the icing on the cake…spending the holiday with my family. I’ve got December down pat.

I wanted to take a minute to review this year a little differently than I have in the past. Let’s start with the best part of course:

What was the best part of 2015?
The trip I took with my mom, hands down. That week traveling the mid-west blue was one of the best weeks of my life. Actually, it was the best week of my life. I can’t believe it was only 6 or so months ago. It seems like an eternity.

My mom and I hope to make this a yearly thing. I’m afraid that’ll be easier said than done due to finances but I don’t think I’ll ever lose the feeling of how wonderful it was to see things I never thought I’d see. I can’t wait for our next big adventure!

If you’d like to read about it, click here.

What was the worst part of 2015?
Frankie’s dance with death. Emotionally, physically, financially. It influenced my life, work, everything. I’m so glad we’re passed that but unfortunately, he still hasn’t been nurtured. The biggest reason I haven’t looked back into it is because I’m afraid that the same thing will happen. I wouldn’t be able to afford it and I wouldn’t be able to say “pull the plug” if it came down to that.

What else happened in 2015?
Well, we started out in a small middle of nowhere town in Minnesota and ended up in the biggest city in North Dakota. We made sacrifices but we really believe they were for the greater good in our future.

We struggled a lot financially and still are. I feel like I keep repeating that. We’re fine, we can pay our bills. We can afford a weekly movie and to go out to dinner. But because of some of the things that went down this year, our savings accounts are quickly disappearing. I have so many plans for 2016 which you’ll read in a future post and I don’t want finances to hold me back.

I hate the cycle of life that we live in. Work to live and live to work. I’m finally at the point in my life where I’m not allowing other people’s problems and excuses be excuses for me and now that I’ve come to terms with that, I’m afraid that I’m going to be the excuse because I don’t have the green. Also, Channing got his license back this year and we found out that my youngest brother and his girlfriend are expecting which is both scary and exciting!

What did you learn?
I learned that honesty isn’t always the best policy. Earlier this year, I had expressed my feelings and opinions to my brother about his girlfriend. It was eating me up inside and I knew that if I told him how I felt, there was a 50/50 chance of breaking the connection we’ve always had. Turns out, I really damaged the cord I’d been hanging on to so tightly and it hurt. Right now, we’re fine I guess. It’s kind of a non-subject like it didn’t happen as far as I can tell. I feel like since then, I save face a lot. I keep my opinions to myself because my relationship with him is more important to me than letting him know how I feel. If he is happy, I have no choice but to be happy for him. That is what matters to me, is that he is happy. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I don’t have to understand everything.

To be honest, I think that we’re also at different stages in our lives which may be some of the reason we’ve drifted apart. I don’t know. I just hope that time doesn’t make us strangers like it does to so many.

Final thoughts?
In 2015, I really found myself. I’m still lost within the world of my own mind but I think I’ve finally allowed myself to leave the past in the past. Live in the present and plan for the future. Not deal with other people’s bullshit and allow myself to be happy instead of just pretending and always trying to fix people.

Other than the most amazing trip ever with my mom, 20-15 was kind of uneventful. Channing and I didn’t get to really go anywhere except for Minneapolis once which was kind of a cluster but job changes, moves and finances made small weekend trips more difficult. I’m proud of who I’ve become in the last year and can’t wait for the exciting things that are in store for the next year!

The Yearly Cliché.

A couple years ago, I wrote about not making New Years Resolutions but instead making smaller goals each month to try and stay on track. It worked for awhile just like every other variation of a resolution does. But somewhere along the way, it quietly vanished.

This year, I’m going to revert to the more cliché version of a set of resolutions. Some I’ll succeed at and some I won’t. Most of these are very realistic. Some are a stretch but with the proper guidance, I know I can succeed. To make up for a really crappy couple of years (2011-2012) I want to do a little traveling. Of course, I want to travel the world but in order to succeed at fulfilling my New Years Resolutions, I’m going to be a bit more realistic.

  • Create a realistic 5-Year plan. I’m 25. I’m not married, have no children, nor do I own a house. I want to do all of those things in the next 5 years. I’d like Channing and I to sit down sometime soon and prioritize our needs and wants both as a couple and on the professional front – to create a plan and stick to it. I also plan on making a personal 5-year plan that will lay out my personal interests and hobbies which may or may not include writing a book, Pinteresting my way into home shows, and traveling to England, Paris, and Ireland.
  • Lose 50 pounds. Since June, I’ve lost about 33 pounds. It’s been a little rocky and I’ve gotten off track since moving to Bemidji but I’m determined to continue my progress. 50 pounds is very realistic if I use the tools I’ve been given. Ideally, I want to push myself to double that number in the year 20-15. I know 100 pounds does seem unrealistic but given how much I actually need to lose in order to become healthy, it’s a blip on the radar screen.
  • Travel around the area. This is a long one..Because I first need to lose a substantial amount of weight before I feel comfortable purchasing ONE seat in airfare (rather than 2); I decided that I’m going to travel via car this year. Traveling further than I can drive will be one of my many rewards after losing more weight. I want to travel to all the border states/countries of Minnesota. I’ve listed a few specific places. Some I’ve been to, some I haven’t: Duluth, Gooseberry Falls, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Superior, Brainerd, Red Wing, Wisconsin Dells, and Sioux Falls just to name a few. I’d also like to go somewhere in ND other than Fargo or Grand Forks, stop at a few other places in SD, and venture to Iowa. Where in Iowa? I have no idea. Included in the Minnesotan borders is Canada. I don’t know where specifically but I’ll head that way too! I’d also like to visit as many waterfalls, caves, and state parks as possible. I want to be on the water, sail, and visit lighthouses. I love to explore.
  • Don’t Pass Up Good Events. This is something I’ve done a lot. Sadly, I’ve had a handful of oppertunities over the last few years to go and do something but I either used a bad day, Channing’s mood, or money as an excuse not to do something or go somewhere. A few things on my bucket list this year given that they are within driving distance and things aren’t sold out would include: Seeing Taylor Swift in either Fargo or St. Paul, Bo Burhnham if he ever gets his ass to tour around here, and a Vikings football and Twins baseball game. I don’t really like either of those sports to any kind of extreme but I think a professional sports team would be interesting to see live and because my boyfriend likes sports, we both win. I should also probably make a point of going to the MN State Fair this year too since I’ve never been.
  • Buy A Passport. I believe I need one these days in order to even go to Canada so it’s a must-get for this year. If I’m not mistaken, they are good for 10 years too so that should get me set for my European venture in a couple years.

There you go! I have quite a few more resolutions which primarily fall in the first resolution so I won’t bore you with them quite yet. I’d love to hear about your New Years Resolutions! The realistic ones and the far-fetched ideas. What are you going to do to make this year one to remember? Also, if you have any fun or must-see places that you’ve been to in the region, let me know. Word of mouth experiences are the best places to visit.

Cheers to 20-15!!

Guess What Day It Is!

Get it? Because it’s hump day and January 1st all rolled into one ridiculous reference to a camel focused insurance commercial. Laugh.

If you think about it, the calendar is a funny thing. An important “thing” but a funny one at that. The calendar defines us as human beings. It determines our age, the day of the week, when we should celebrate, and when we should make goals.

There’s a fuss about this thing called “New Years Resolutions” otherwise known as January 1st. So many of us decide that that’s the day that we’re going to make a change for the better. We’re going to lose weight, stop smoking; heck we might even start being nicer people!

As soon as we disappoint ourselves within hours, days, or if your lucky, weeks, we start over. Again. We always start over, give ourselves a re-do. Before we know it it’s already October and we’ve been “re-doing” for 10 months. I always start over on Sundays. See, the calendar somehow always gets pulled back into the ring.

I don’t think any of us really understand the definition of a resolution. So, since we are lucky enough to live in a world full of Wikipedia inspired statistics and Dictionary.com definitions; I’ll define it for you.

res-o-lu-tion – [rez-uh-loo-shuhn] – noun: 1. A formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. 2. A decision or determination; a resolve: to make a firm resolution to do something. 3. The act determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, ect.; the act of resolving. 4. Firmness of purpose; the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute. 5. The act or process of separating into constituent or elementary parts or resolving.

Or, in other words, figuring it out. Before we go any further, I want to reassure you that this isn’t about the pros and cons of New Years Disappointments. It was simply an observation.

I think it’s inspiring to see people make such resolutions and actually follow through for more than a month. I’ve made resolutions myself and I’m doing it again this year just like the last 20 some and just like the next 70 some years. We’ll never stop making resolutions.

This year though, I want to try something different. I’m going to try and live up to goals rather than resolutions. I’m not sure that I can confidently decide or make a firm resolution to do something. But I can make goals. The way my brain works, if I make a goal; I’m able to reach for it. I can make it half way there and at least say that I attempted to make my goal. When you stop resolutioning (new word, deal with it), you have to say that you broke your resolution. People stop listening when you say “Well, I was doing really good for the first 3 weeks, then I…” They gone. All they really heard was “I’m a statistic, I failed.”

Goals seem to have stories. They have steps, mile markers, gold stars, ect. I personally would like to see someone make a goal to lose 50 pounds and through social media watch them achieve each milestone rather than someone saying my resolution is to lose weight. Okay. Why? How much? By when? What are you going to do to achieve that? Who’s your support system? If you can answer even one of those questions, than you should be making goals not resolutions.

One of my first “goals” that I’ve already 50% completed is to start a new blog. The other 50% obviously won’t be officially complete until December, 31st. (Yet, again with the calendar.)

Over the next couple days I’m going to be tweaking and updating this blog. It’ll include my goals for the year twenty fourteen, what I’m going to do to achieve them, and everything in between. I intend on writing every day no matter the circumstance. You’ll see why down the line but I don’t want you to know too much on day one. That takes away all of the mystery. I could spoil it for you because there isn’t really any mystery to be solved.

Although I’ll probably jump from point A to point B more often than not; the true reason for this blog is to find myself. I need to re-discover my passions and make new ones. I need to jump outside of the box because before I became so introverted, I was much happier with my outlook on life and the future. I want to be able to look in the mirror and see my dreams and aspirations come to life not just be figments of my imagination.

Writing is going to be my platform for figuring it out. I’ll never claim to be a grammatical savant or talented writer although I’d love to believe that but I do want to improve and find my niche both through the keyboard and in real life.

And in case I never acknowledge it from this point forward, thanks. Thanks for following me through my posts, thanks for knowing me before 2014 and after. And most of all, thanks for being the one of probably 3 people that’ll actually take the time to stay updated on this blog.

Cheers to 20-14! 

There are two sides to every story.

There are two sides to every story.

New You.

As most people know, New Years Resolutions are always the hardest promises to keep to ourselves.  I started a New You New Year edition of resolutions in January and stuck pretty close to it for a few months.  About the same time a lot of my relationship problems started arising; I found it harder and harder to keep focus on my personal goals.  So yes, they are on hold for the time being.  I need to get myself together, find an apartment in Grand Forks, and just get settled before I add that back into my daily routine.  I wish I could incorporate it right now but there is such a high volume of things going on and needing to be taken care of that it just had to be pushed aside.  Hopefully though, in the future my New You resolutions will be a way of living everyday life and not a struggle to accomplish!  Here’s to pushing through the tough times!