For every ending, there’s a new beginning.
For every dream achieved,
There’s a memory to hold it.
For every challenge conquered,
There is a new one to embrace.
On this first day of the New Year, I had the itch to clean. I blame part of that cleaning itch on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which I picked up a few months ago and finally finished this week. I have plenty of thoughts on that book so I’ll share those another time. But in my cleaning, I came across a card I received when I graduated this year, and it had the quote above on the front, and I think this quote couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to thinking about 2015. It’s been interesting to see how each year on social media some people seem to declare each passing year “the best year ever” and share pictures that are the highlights of their year. I definitely had plenty of highlights, and 2015 was a big year – it was the year of New for me. Along with the New came a lot of learning and some challenges too. I love social media because it allows you, and others, to share what they want, and sometimes that looks like a highlight reel, or strong opinions, or times when important news needs to be shared. Although not everyday is a “big” day, they’re all important just the same. I’d like to think that my ups and downs are pretty typical of a 25-year-old finding her way, so in that spirit, here’s my honest recap of some big events this year.
I turned 25 in the best way possible: singing karaoke with my best friend (and never said no to an opportunity to get out there and karaoke throughout the year). My go-to song is “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” because dancing makes everything better.
I took on 2 part-time jobs in addition to taking 2 classes during the winter quarter because I wanted to try something new. And that paid off in spades because I found a new interest that led me to my current job. Was it hard to balance those 2 jobs as well as my classes? Yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
I followed my heart and my gut and landed my dream job in my favorite city. This job was a bit of a departure from what I’d been doing for the last 2 years, but a chance to try something I’ve been interested in for quite some time. I’ve learned so much during my first 6 months on the job, and I’ve used so many skills from the last 7 years of experiences from college onward on the job – I guess everything old is new again, or something like that.
I also figured out how to stick it out in a city I knew wasn’t right for me when the end was in sight. It’s pretty darn hard to live in an area you’re not wild about, especially when people assume you’ll love it, and especially when many of your friends live 8 miles but a 30-60 minute commute away. It was tough, but it’s okay to admit when you’re not a fan of some part of your situation (be that a living situation, job, I’m speaking broadly here) – and then think about how you can enjoy it. For me, it was finding a community like Pure Barre where I did enjoy myself, figuring out how I could stay in touch with my long-distance friends, and making plans that I knew I would actually follow through on to get into the city to see my friends there. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone more the second year and it helped me build stronger relationships so I wasn’t simply counting down the days until I moved. It was also a time when I was job searching and finishing up school, so I followed what seems to be ubiquitous advice: I was gentle with myself. If I wanted to go into the city for dinner and be back on the couch by 10:30 pm, that was perfectly okay. People change, lifestyles change, and it’s important to allow for those changes.
I traveled to quite a few new places, including cities like New Orleans, Savannah, and St. Louis and ticked Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Georgia off my states list. You can add Iowa if you count the time I walked there from Nebraska! I also made a living out of traveling for about 2 months, and learned how awesome hotel rewards programs are but also how awesome Snapchat is for staying in touch with friends. I will say that walking in to a freshly made bed after work every day is pretty awesome, and meeting new people every day is pretty awesome, but it was challenging to come home each weekend and feel so new to Nashville. Where do I go to get my takeout on a Saturday night when I want to just sit and watch Netflix for the night? I now have my go-to spots, but since I was so new to town, it felt hard to be a tourist in my own town when I was also traveling for work. So I ate a lot of eggs. Side note: eggs are the greatest meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The last 45 days of the year were still very impactful even with the holidays. The Saturday before Thanksgiving I adopted a sweet little dog named Charm who really is my lucky charm. She is my perfect little protector and snuggle buddy, and after I got her she couldn’t seem to kick being sick. Long story short, after an emergency surgery to remove 12” of her intestines, she turned out to be a medical marvel and has a rare disease called pythium, also known as “swamp cancer.” How classy! It spreads quickly and is hard to kill but she’s getting the treatment with the best probability out there and so far she’s still feeling feisty and seems to have no idea that she’s sick. I thought I was getting a buddy when I adopted her, but instead I got unconditional love, a Netflix and nap pal, and probably the first reason I have ever willingly walked away from my breakfast. It’s been a wild month and a half with her but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
And if the end of the year wasn’t wild enough, I brought it home by buying my first new car with days to spare at the end of 2015. I’m so thankful for 2015 being the year of New. It was a lot of new, not to mention my new degree, new hobby, and new apartment, but I think I’ve had enough new for now. I’d like to make 2016 the year of Embrace, where I have time to fully process all the challenges I’ve conquered and make the most of all the new that came my way this year.
Happy New Year!