Although Thanksgiving was a week ago and I planned for this post to go up then, I realized that I don’t need just one specific day to express my gratitude and what I’ve been thankful for this past year. Since last week I’ve been focusing more on reflecting and with only one month of the year left to go, I think now makes for an appropriate time to deliver this post.
Each year, I love looking back on the past 11 months and seeing what I’ve been through, what I’ve experienced, who I’ve met and what/who/things that have changed/shaped my year.
I’ve been thinking and reflecting a lot about this lately because this year has seemed bigger and more outrageous than those past. In a lot more ways than one.
When I look back on the past few months, it’s insane to me how quickly this year has flown by. I still keep thinking January-March was a million years ago.
Every year I’m grateful enough to travel to some pretty amazing places, eat the tastiest food and attend unbelievable events in the city while meeting some extraordinary people along the way. This year all of that happened.
I try to be as real as possible on my blog because it’s both my outlet and what brings me the most joy. Within the past year I took the blog from just strictly food into more of a wellness/lifestyle route. After all, there’s more to a woman in her early 20s than living in a city eating tacos and hummus (although yes, that is 90% of my daily routine). Because there’s more, I love posts like this. They show there’s a part of me that goes beyond the bowl of oatmeal or the latte at an expensive coffee shop in Chicago.
So, what I’m grateful for… back to the bulk of this post.
In January I turned 21. I begun my first internship at a small Chicago-based food company that I’m still working at (hello, Simple Mills). One of my best friends came to town and we celebrated our birthdays together. And then I even met someone who I dedicated more time to than I should have, which made me realize how to care more for myself and not put energy into something or someone that doesn’t deserve you.
In between the months of February and May, I flew to New York City with one of my best friends for a weekend trip during Spring Break for a late birthday gift. I experienced extreme anxiety (which I thought was from over-consumption of coffee) and quit coffee cold-turkey for a solid 6 weeks (if you know my life now, this is comical). It was the perfect time for my body to recover and experience a caffeine-free life.
April came and I ended up taking my first visit to my best friend, Lylah, in Ohio. Something I’m so thankful for. More thankful than all of the hummus I’ve consumed this year, I’m sure. We got much closer this year than we have been since we met 7 years ago, and I’m forever grateful for our friendship. I ended up visiting her again for Halloween and to much surprise, we dressed up as food. You know food bloggers just love peanut butter (and jelly).
The first half of the year was my idea of picture perfect. I was on a blogger high from going to New York and seeing my best friend and then to top it off, in April I applied for a customer service job at Whole Foods and within 48 hours I got it. If you guys know how much time I spend in Whole Foods, you’ll know this was the dream job to have.
I started it the first week of May and ended the job at the end of August due to school conflicts and blogging, so pretty much the bulk and entirety of the summer. During this time, my mom was diagnosed with very serious medical issues that took a toll on the second half of my year. While it was and still is difficult news to accept and battle through, having my roommates and friends by my side made the second half of the year just a bit easier.
My first last semester of college came. And now is almost gone. Through it I’ve worked with some of my favorite brands like sweetgreen, Nike Chicago and True Food Kitchen. Brands that a year ago I only dreamed of working with.
I met new people. Some who let me down with heartbreak and some who gave me so much happiness that I radiate whenever I talk to them (like new blogger friends Christina, Connie, Emilie and Sam). There’s nothing quite like meeting people who are your spirit animals/soul sisters/twins lost at birth.
I started journaling more. Going to yoga more. I found a workout studio I practically call home. I went almost a whole year without seeing my mom and finally got the chance to hug/see her finally.
I smiled a lot, I cried a lot, I felt a lot.
And honestly I am grateful for all of it. No matter how crazy and chaotic the year was, I am thankful I experienced every little thing I went through, witnessed, felt, saw. Every person I came across, thought about, spoke to… I’m thankful for. Every opportunity I’ve been given, email I’ve been sent, comment I’ve seen on my Instagram or blog. I’m thankful for every spin class, yoga flow and barre class my body has been able to do. I’m thankful for the relationships I’ve strengthened and the ones I’ve let go of.
I’m thankful for it all.
And I don’t think I need just one day (Thanksgiving) to say it.
I’m thankful that I get to do what I love every day. I’m thankful I got to quit my part-time job to focus on my passion in life and actually live off of it. While baking countless muffins in my spare time. Perks.
I’m thankful most of all that I got to spend another year in the city of Chicago where I now call home and experience all of this magic here.
And to that, cheers.
So although the year isn’t over (quite) yet… I hope you guys can take the next month to think about your 2016, what made it, what shaped it, what you’re thankful for and what you have to look forward to in 2017.
I know 2017 will be filled with more travels. More goals to set. More inspiration.
More experiences. More people. More love. More hardships. More trouble. More success.
And obviously, more tacos… 😉