What a year it’s been! I feel like there were plenty of things I hated this year (snow, cold weather, wind, snow, public transit, snow) but there were so many things I absolutely loved. So on this last day of 2014, let’s talk about 14 random things I realized I loved this year.
- Tacos. I love tacos. So much. You can hold them in your hand, stuff them full of goodness, they’re warm, they have carbs, protein, and veggies, and they can be as spicy as you want. And everyone has their own fun take on them so you never know what’s going to come out on the plate. And there is a severe lack of delicious tacos in Evanston. So I indulged heavily when I was in Nashville…thank you SATCO for existing within walking distance.
- Grumpy Cat. She is my soul sister. Just look at this face and tell me she isn’t the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen. She makes me smile even on my grumpiest days. Plus, there is no shortage of hilarious memes to go around – I’ve sent them to many friends for many different reasons.
- Avocados. They are so versatile – you can add them to food (see #1, tacos) or eat them alone, with a pinch of salt. My favorite way is to eat them on tortilla chips as an easy snack. I usually eat at least a half an avocado a day. There is no joy greater than a perfectly ripe avocado – and no greater tease than cutting into one that is past ripe. Plus, did you know avocados help reduce stress? More reason to eat them.
- Bean Boots. Thank goodness I got these last winter because a) there is a months-long backorder on them right now and b) I wore them to work every single day for a solid 3 months, possibly longer. Mine are Thinsulate-lined, waterproof, and all-aroung amazing. I would not survive winter in the Midwest without them! I’m so glad they’re having a fashion moment again.
- Hot Chocolate. Some days, you just need a little bit of something warm to help you decompress. And some days, you need it to help you feel your fingers again. I drank at least one mug of hot chocolate a day all winter – and well into April, May, and June – because it is just so comforting, gave me the little bit of sugar I needed to help me get through my homework, and what else can you drink when there are feet of snow on the ground? Also, the best thing to order when you don’t drink caffeine (except in the form of sweet tea).
- Pure Barre. This year I joined my second 100 club in as many states and at this point I know I’m getting close to having taken 250 classes total, if I haven’t passed that mark already. I’m totally addicted to this workout and love going as often as possible – it challenges my mind and my body and helps me stay sane!
- Freshly made beds. Usually, a freshly made bed meant that I had time to clean my apartment a bit and do laundry, which meant that I had some free time. These were rare, simple things in life that I loved and cherished. There is no better feeling than getting into a pristine, newly made bed with clean sheets for the first time. Makes me want to wash my sheets just for that feeling.
- Saturday mornings spent reading in bed. On the same note, I usually ended up cleaning on Friday nights when I was too tired to do schoolwork and too lazy to do anything else. This meant that Saturday mornings were the best feeling in the world: some free time before the rest of the world was up, with a clean apartment, with nothing to do but chill. If I could spend every Saturday morning in a clean bed reading and every Saturday afternoon working out and outside, I would be a happy woman.
- Jelly Bellys. These single-handedly (but sometimes multi-handedly, to be honest) got me through writing my Master’s thesis, since I don’t do caffeine and sometimes I just needed a little extra push to get me through those late nights. I buy them by the 2 pound bag and have been known to go through a bag a week in especially stressful times…I’m so lucky to have friends who help fuel this habit.
- Music. The Grand Ole Opry. Karaoke in Lincoln Park. Bluegrass at the Ryman. Songwriter’s nights in Nashville. The New Student Dance at Millennium Park. All of my favorite moments from the last year have somehow revolved around music. From country to pop, I’m not picky. As long as there are good tunes playing, I know I’m bound to have a great time.
- Catching up with friends. I spent a lot of time on my own this year. Doing homework, being in a new-ish city, being in a brand new city all alone for 2 months, I pretty much have this whole entertaining myself and figuring out how to get things done down pat. So when I have the opportunity to see friends, I cherish those moments. Whether it’s home in Winston or Evanston, on the road for a conference, or anywhere in between, I’ll take any chance I can get to get a few minutes with a familiar face – and I love making new friends while I’m at it.
- Puns. Both of the organizations I worked with this year relied heavily on puns for a variety of communication efforts, so both inside and outside of the office, I can’t get enough of hilarious plays on words. Here is one of my favorites from a coworker:
- Routine. I am definitely a creature of habit. I feel so great when I go to bed the same time every night, get up the same time every morning, eat the same thing for lunch, work out every day, and just generally get in a groove. A lot of factors in my life this year have not favored such grooves, but at least I know what to aim for.
- Challenge. I am never going to be someone who backs down from a challenge. I love it. I love saying yes. It’s just in my bones, it’s who I am. I love figuring puzzles out and making them better. I think that’s part of why I loved horseback riding for so long, and why I can’t do it anymore because I can’t do it to the fullest extent that I want to. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to dive in 100%. I love trying new things, being new places, and taking on new adventures. I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. It’s going to be a year of new challenges, but I’m excited because that’s what I love most. 2014 was hard, don’t get me wrong, but I learned a lot. I would never have learned so much about myself if I hadn’t sought out challenges.
Here’s to new challenges and finding 15 more things to love in 2015.
Happy New Year!