If you could rewind back to January 1st, 2018, what do you think you would tell yourself? Would you be able to tell yourself how you would feel every day, the people you would meet and the adventures you would take? When you would fall in love, when you would experience pain and the day you’d think you might quit your job? You wouldn’t know a thing, but what if you did? Would you change any of it or would you let everything happen as the universe intended, and the way it would eventually unfold, so you would be able to look back on January 1st, 2019 thankful for it all.
As I’m sitting here in my bed thinking about the past month and what a rollercoaster it’s been for me, I realize I have so many reasons to be grateful for what 2018 brought me. I’m excited, hopeful and blessed for what 2019 will evolve into. I also have a reason to remember how far I’ve come since everything that 2016 and 2017 threw my way.
2016 brought me challenges I never knew I would face. It brought me people that would change my life forever and also leave me with experiencing the final moments with two of the best people in my life. I remember looking back on that year thinking the first week of January I couldn’t get through a workout class and I thought that was the hardest thing and by the last week, I was losing my mom to a rare form of stage four cancer. It’s shocking how certain circumstances you thought difficult at once become easy and vice versa.
2017 showed me that the universe can truly throw anything at you and at times, the only way to go from the bottom is up. It showed me how anxiety is real and sometimes not even the 50 different essential oils, cbd oil and yoga classes can fix it. It told me not to settle and that when my mom told me I’d get that job once I graduated, she’d be right. 2017 was the year I graduated from the school that brought me to Chicago and the year I started as a full-time employee at my favorite company.
It’s safe to say, 2018 had just as many lessons, pits, curveballs and highlights. Towards the end of 2018 I had many times where I thought how did all of this happen in 365 days? And then I had a moment where I realized how much I went through this year almost topped off the last two. I met people who changed my life even harder than I thought was possible. I felt love in the eyes of people who I didn’t know existed January 1st but half a year later, I was so thankful I had found them. People who let me share my stories with them even when I felt like no one wanted to hear it. This year proved to me just how mysterious and magical the universe is and how it works in ways we have no control over. Everything that happened and everyone I met had an impact on me and I really believe they were all meant for 2018.
This was the year I contemplated quitting my job. I lost all of the momentum I had for my job, started seeing a therapist, told her how I wanted to quit and then suddenly a light went off and it felt like everything I was losing, was slowly becoming better and better. I went from feeling like I was losing it all to gaining it all. When my personal life felt like a struggle, work was the one place where I felt happy and home. It’s amazing how that works.
2018 was a year I continued to hold onto things that didn’t deserve my space or energy. When December hit I finally felt it was time to prepare for the new year by focusing on what needed my energy rather than what was depleting it. Towards December I felt this heaviness surrounding me for the first two weeks where I finally had that epiphany moment… the moment I realized it’s time for me to let everything go that no longer served me. I started going to yoga more, focusing on my strength physically and emotionally and decided to take all of the negative energy in my life… out.
I cried more this year than I feel like I ever had before but on the positive side of that, I felt cleansed and renewed. Growth happened. I was exhausted emotionally and physically but learned each time to pick myself up because I knew that it could be done. And it was.
I learned, I moved, I traveled, I worked with some of my favorite brands, I hustled hard, I felt heartache, I felt gratitude, I felt love, I felt lost, I felt dark, I felt light and most of all, I learned to sit with those feelings and FEEL. To let my anxiety sit. To be so over the moon happy I would walk down the street smiling because I couldn’t help it. I learned not every day had to be the most positive but that at least seeing the positives in each day helped make things a bit better.
I started to journal this year. I’d wake up most days and think about at least 3 things that would make my day better even when it felt like “this will be the shittiest Monday of Mondays”. I started telling people, “there’s always one thing good about your day, even when you know your day will suck” and the more I said it, the more I believed it for myself, too.
I went to California, New York, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio and D.C. for work, for fun and for family. For more traveling than usual, I felt grateful. Grateful for the capability to have a job that took me all over the place, including one of the most inspiring trips to Arizona where I meditated for the first time and had one of the most unforgettable moments of my life – meditation and what it felt like to look a stranger in the eyes and connect with someone on a deeper level.
Background to this: I completed a guided meditation that ended with turning to someone next to you, staring into their eyes for 5 minutes straight and after 4 minutes, most partners started to cry because they felt such heavy emotion. On top of that, it started to rain as we were all in the desert. Needless to say it was a moment I honestly won’t forget from this year. Or truly ever.
I listened to over 100,000 hours of music that got me through every situation imaginable. I saw my favorite band twice in the span of 3 months. Rode podium at soulcycle. Laughed so hard that no sound came out of my mouth (now isn’t that the best?). Was promoted at work. Ate a lot of Jeni’s ice cream. Felt my soul literally ignite on fire with pure bliss from the most beautiful people. Thought of my mom every single day. Learned to drink a lot more water. Quit coffee for 3 months. Learned to love my job and my co-workers as a second home and second family. Survived getting my wisdom teeth out. Went to therapy. Bought my first real piece of furniture. Spent Thanksgiving with my best friend. Fell in love. Went home to Cleveland more times this year than in the past 5. Did a ton of little things that added up to a lot of big things for me.
It was quite a year and it was hard at times but for all of those other little moments in between, it was one of the best years of my life. I think every year that passes we can look back on and see it as a lesson to learn and grow from. Rather than having a fixed mindset on what was and what happened, we can have a mindset filled with growth — thinking that there is still so much to be done, seen, experienced and learned from. It’s a little bit scary to not know or expect what will come in the next year and what I’ll be thinking back on come January 1st, 2020 but at the same time, I couldn’t be more excited.
So for 2019… what do I want? What do I expect out of the year? Do I have resolutions? Not exactly. I have a few things I want to happen but nothing out of the ordinary. I want to set goals for myself that I can reach and attain. I want to move into a 1 bedroom apartment. Save more money. Eat out less. Worry less. Love more. Find love in more people. Meet new people who change my life and hopefully change theirs back. Get a passport. Take a trip out of the country. Do yoga teacher training over the summer. Focus more on myself. Go home to Cleveland more. Journal my dreams. Go for more walks. Do more yoga. Revamp my blog. And of course… drink more water (what everyone always says).
Looking back on this past year, I learned to manifest nothing but good things. When I put good energy and thoughts out into the universe and show up for it, it will reciprocate back to me. I want you to believe it just as much as I do. What you show up for will equally show up back for you. Plain and simple.
It’s been a lot. Heavy and hard but also so many highs that I wouldn’t have had it any other way and honestly, to all of the people, places and experiences that let me cross their path… thank you. So. much. I loved every bit of you. And I can’t wait to see where 2019 goes from here.
(Photos by Samantha Parquette)