My end of the year reflections have never really existed. This year, I’m trying to change that. Instead of passively letting myself move from one year into the next, I decided to sit myself down for a soul search. I’ve always had mental goals for the next year, but they weren’t always absolute. This year, on the last day of 2017, I’ve decided to make absolute notes and absolute goals.
During the month of January, I decided to take a required theology course and get more hours at my internship figured out. My junior year internship was at Emma Norton Residence in Saint Paul. This residence served women of the community that were transitioning from homelessness to secure housing and often helped people with chemical dependency and mental health difficulties. I loved it there and learned so much. But what I really learned during January was more about my faith and who I wanted to be as a social service professional and the integration between the two. I focused on how people want to be loved and feel loved and decided to commit my practice to operating out of love.
Try Something New Everyday
I took a trip to Palm Springs, CA with my nanny family and loved every second of it. I saw palm trees and non-succulent cacti for the first time in my life. We visited The Living Desert, a fabulous zoo in Palm Springs, and Joshua Tree National Park.
Last February, I took a flight by myself for the first time ever. It was something way outside of my comfort zone, but I decided to make the commitment to try to do something that scares me (something different or something new) at least every day. Through this, I grew so much. I found myself trying to stick to habitual preferences and deciding to do something out of the ordinary, which helped me be more comfortable with change regardless of how uncomfortable it was. I don’t regret a thing and I definitely plan to continue this commitment into the new year.
Travel More, See More, Do More
My Jeep’s engine blew up right before our trip, probably because I was really bad at remembering to change/check the oil levels. I then bought a little Honda Accord as a safe purchase and I haven’t slacked on car maintenance since. I got pulled over for the first time and also got my first ever speeding ticket – the Kansas cop didn’t even hesitate to give it to me. Looks like I’ll be not speeding anymore, it just about broke the bank. I saw Texas for the first time. This beautiful state might be where Jake and I end up someday, but who knows. I saw the ocean for the first time since I was little and it was gorgeous. I also got most of my body sunburned for the first time ever as well, this little moment wasn’t as joyous as the rest.
If you ever want to see how well your relationship might hold up given considerable stress, try driving from Minneapolis (MN) to South Padre Island (TX) with only your significant other on this joyous 20 hour (one way) road trip. We listened to Despacito and Drake’s More Life album more times that I could count on the road, and didn’t listen to them much after the trip in all honesty. Driving more than 40 hours in the car with only Jake definitely confirmed how well we work together and know each other as well as we know ourselves. I learned that he really cares about me and I learned that we really enjoy our little road trips, no matter how long they might be.
Random and spontaneous is a positive thing.
(Related: 10 Things I’ve Learned From Dating Mr. Right)
Self-Improvement Brings Positive Change
I tried modeling for the first time during the month of June. What was so interesting to me was that I was asked to model when I wasn’t focusing on getting attention, but focusing on being healthy for myself. I realized that when you focus on yourself and making healthy choices for your body and your mind, your aura changes and it seems like the confidence from these positive choices just causes you to radiate. In my own anecdotal experience, the best things happen to me when I’m working on myself.
I turned 20 which brought about some odd feelings. Even though I’ve been accountable for my own mistakes and fully responsible for my life since I moved out of my parents’ house in 2015, I felt that the end of teenage-hood meant the end of using youth as an excuse for messing up. Soon after my 20th birthday, my brother moved out of our family home as well and I tried to help him out the best I could which reminded me of how important family is.
Life Comes in Seasons
I started the hardest semester of school yet: I took five courses and juggled my commitment to my senior year internship and nannying for my nanny family. These commitments literally took up all of my time, which left me little time to focus on anything else. It was really hard to keep my priorities straight, but luckily a few of my closest pals were there to help me stay on track through the difficulty of everything. I focused on learning about mindfulness and how it could actually be useful. I worked on my faith during my second semester of a theology course and learned so much about myself and belief and God. Jake was baptized in November amidst the business, which was a celebration of a lifetime. I cut off about 6 inches of split ends come wintertime and spent a solid three months debating whether to darken my hair back to its natural color while embracing natural makeup for the first time since 2015. I’ve become busy, but I’ve become comfortable in my own skin: I think that this shows so much growth (in the least self-conceited way). But for this new year, I want to continue all of the growth and change from 2017 and expand upon it even more.
In short, 2018 will be about growth (and lots of it, too).
Until next year,