It’s that time of year again! Time to reflect on the past and set your resolutions for the coming year. Maybe I’m just a New Year’s scrooge, but I actually don’t believe in resolutions. Resolutions stress many people (myself included!) out far too much. I prefer constant efforts at bettering myself whenever I see fit. Setting such a strict timeline seems counterintuitive to me. If you’re not prepared to take on a daunting goal, forcing yourself to just because the calendar changes is only going to overwhelm and discourage you. Instead I have a long list of goals that I am working at in intervals and constantly striving for. But if I don’t finish it by the next calendar year? No worries.
As for reflections? I absolutely love them! Seeing how I’ve changed over the year and what caused those changes is so interesting to me! Reflecting really helps me gain a better understanding of myself, which I love! If you’re interested in taking a peek into my 2014 I’m willing to share – I only hope I don’t bore you too much! So I proudly present to you, my year in review!
“The month of the blog”
I started 2014 in my basement with my best friends drinking sparkling grape juice and talking about our college lives – this was the first big reunion after we went our separate ways for college! I got my New Years Kiss from this guy as I did the year before that and will again this year, too.
Middle of the Month
Chris and I went snowmobiling with my dad who had a very minor crash (he was fine and wearing a helmet!) but he ended up really messing up his wrist. (This story becomes relevant soon!)
Going back to school after break made me feel very lonely. Yeah, I had friends there, but after coming home to people who I’ve known for years, who I have fantastic memories with, and some whose minds I feel like I can practically read – my college friends just didn’t quite seem to compare. That loneliness sparked me to making this blog, which is funny because such a terrible, empty feeling brought me one of the pieces of my life that makes me the happiest.
Reflecting on January two things come to mind:
1. I have the best friends in the world. After all that time apart we were able to pick up where we left off without missing a beat.
2. In starting the blog I changed my life for forever. This blog I made on a whim at one in the morning one night has brought me more pride, confidence, and joy than almost anything else. The growth I’ve seen and the opportunities that it has brought me are absolutely amazing and I couldn’t be happier.
“The month of heartache”
My family came down to University of Illinois to watch a basketball game with me. We lost but it was a great time! We went and got dinner beforehand and caught up and I really enjoyed myself quite a bit!
My current roommate and I decided to join the congressional debate team at our school and it turned out to be an incredible decision. We had both done debate in high school and missed it terribly. Through that we have met some really great people!
Chris and I celebrated our one and a half years together from 381 miles apart which might sound bad but it really wasn’t. We had one of our many Jimmy Johns dates over Skype and excitedly made plans for the weekend, as we were both coming home, too!
Early in the day my momma and I went shopping and I can’t tell you where we went or what I bought, I just remember how good it felt to back home with my family and doing things with my lovely momma!
Chris and I were home to celebrate our year and a half and Valentines day! We went to a Comedy Sportz show where we ended up sat next to my fourth grade teacher and her husband, my high school gym teacher. While he didn’t say much, I got to hug my fourth grade teacher who has always been one of my favorites!
My dad’s wrist was still bothering him so he scheduled a basic, outpatient procedure to get it fixed.
February 20-something (The worst day of my life.)
The day of my dad’s procedure my mom was supposed to text me when it was over, at lunch she still hadn’t texted me so I asked her for an update.
“Can I call you?”
Her reply instantly made me feel sick so I threw away my food and went to my room. She called me and told me that there had been a problem and they ended up taking him to the hospital where he’d have to stay overnight. I didn’t get all the details because she didn’t want to scare me, but I knew there was more to it. Man, I’m crying just writing this. I am bad at remembering bad times.
The next day.
I talked to both of my parents and found out that during his very basic outpatient procedure my dad had flat-lined and been rushed to the hospital by ambulance. His heart was in bad shape and he’d need a quadruple bypass surgery to fix it. Hearing that ruined me. I skipped my classes (don’t tell my dad!) and just stayed locked in my room, curtains drawn on my bed.
On the three hour ride home from school with my current roommate and her mom I tried my best to hide the fact that I was crying in the back seat, I was afraid to see my dad look sick. When we got home my mom took me straight to the hospital to see my dad and it felt good that he was joking and laughing. I still didn’t sleep much that night or any night after.
The following weeks.
My dad wasn’t able to have the surgery yet because of medicines they pumped him full of before they knew about his heart, so he had to spend several weeks in the hospital. Remember, it was my freshman year at University of Illinois and this is happening during midterms. I tried my best to study in his hospital room and I drove back to school that Sunday and came back home again on Thursday where I stayed until after his surgery. I did very poorly on my midterms (again, don’t tell my dad!) but I was able to be with my dad when it was most important so I didn’t care much. My dad’s surgery went well, though the many hours that he was in the OR were some of the hardest of my life. Seeing him in pain afterward wasn’t easy either. But now thanks to an amazing doctor and a miracle or two my dad is here and he is healthy and I couldn’t be happier.
Reflecting on February I think:
I will always remember February 2014 as being the worst month of my life because I thought I was going to lose one of the best people in my life, but I should really try to change my views and see it as the best, because I didn’t lose him when I very well could have. The doctor said his heart was a ticking time bomb and it was a miracle that he ‘died’ while surrounded by doctors. My dad is a miracle and I am overjoyed about that. I need to change my perspective, and I’m working at it.
“The month of anxiety”
This was my boyfriend’s birthday! If I’m being honest, he didn’t get the celebration he deserved because of me being a bit shaken up and wanting to be with my dad, but I did make him one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever made!
The rest of the month.
March was a month of anxiety and nightmares.I don’t remember much except for that. I was still shaken and went back and forth between worrying and getting my grades back up, as I desperately needed to in order to switch majors to speech pathology. (Spoiler: I got them up!) Unfortunately I kept to myself a lot during March and let my worries consume me. March was a bad month. Luckily Spring Break started on the 22nd which meant I got to go home and spend time with my dad.
Reflecting on March I realize:
I truly need the people in my life. Shutting everyone out like I did only lead to my problems growing and the monsters in my head getting stronger. As soon as I realized that some things are simply out of my control I opened myself back up to other people and instantly things started looking brighter.
“The month of healing”
My best friend, Jennifer’s birthday was today! Unfortunately she goes to school in Texas so it was the first time since seventh grade that I hadn’t seen her on her birthday. That was disappointing but she’s off having adventures thousands of miles from home and I’m beyond proud of her, so I wasn’t going to whine about it too much.
I went to a social event for the first time since my dad got sick. It was tie-dying shirts with girls on my floor and I didn’t socialize much, but hey – I was there! And I did talk a lot to a girl who I knew but didn’t know and now we are getting an apartment together next year. So I was able to form the groundwork of a friendship, the first time I’d even tried in months!
I caught the travel bug in the worst way. I started a Google Doc with all of my dream countries, and the cities I want to go to within those countries, and the sites I want to see within those cities. I haven’t ever traveled outside of the United States, but I am really dying to soon! Day dreaming over my wanderlust
End of April.
By the end of April the anxiety had all but gone, the nightmares have remained but I’ve always had nightmares so I don’t worry about them much. April, again was fairly uneventful.
April allowed me to…
Spend some time with my self reflecting and healing. I didn’t care that I was shutting people out because it’s what I really needed to do at the time.
“The month of reuniting.”
I got on a bus to Springfield that dropped me off in a super sketchy used car parking lot where I was promptly asked for money by a bearded man while I scanned the cars to see if my cousin was there to pick me up. Thankfully, she was.
The same lovely cousin as above and I drove 3 hours to my house to surprise my pretty momma for her birthday! We hugged and laughed and went to lunch, and I got to stay the whole weekend! I have a picture, but can’t seem to find it….
Today was my beautiful momma’s birthday and the beginning of finals. I had my sign language final today, and all the professor left me with was “Practice more.” I got a B+, but that wasn’t the warm goodbye that I had expected after a year with my favorite professor. But hey, it happens.
The rest of finals.
Finals were uneventful. Stressful, but ueventful. I just wanted to come home!
I’m home free for the year! I loved my freshman year, but gosh was I ready for a break!
One great memory in may was reuniting with one of my best friends, Jared (who goes to school in stupid Ohio), and climbing a huge rock at the state park where we live. It was random and silly, but so us.
The rest of May.
May was relatively uneventful. I spent a lot of time relaxing and unwinding, and a lot of time with my friends and family. I also started working at my dad’s office, where my first task was collecting bad debts over phone. Anyone who knows me knows how laughable that is because I am so unconfrontational.
What I realized in May:
I am more stressed during school than I think at the time. I don’t realize how bad the stress is until I am given the opportunity to step away from it. My stress is something I must focus on working on.
“The month of nineteen.”
Today I turned nineteen! In a similar fashion to the year before I went with my friends to Chris’s grandma’s nursing home and dropped off flowers! After that I went to dinner with my family and boyfriend. It was an amazing birthday!
I made my first ever dollar blogging! That event opened my eyes to the potential this blog has! I also went to a really cool concert downtown with my friends!
Thanks to June…
I got really pumped and excited about blogging. What was once a fun hobby started to consume my life in the best way possible.
“The month of misery.”
Happy Independence Day!! Today I had all of my friends over to play with sparklers, have a fire, and eat stereotypical American cuisine. My bestest friend was home from Texas, too! We drove to Iowa (only about 15 minutes away) to watch a huge firework show at a park there. On the way back to my house we picked my friend Tiffany up, which was super exciting because she goes to school in Canada which is just too far away. today was a good day.
Today I started fasting for the next day’s surgery. I was getting my tonsils removed after 8 agonizing years full of tonsillitis and tonsil stones.
Today was the day. Uh-oh! I got up early and showered, per the surgeon’s request. I restlessly sat in the waiting room with my parents and Christopher until they called me in. I had to wear a hospital gown and hospital issued undies that looked a lot like a diaper, which was amusing. The first nurse was unable to get a needle in me, which was absolute torture, but my dad held my hand and the next nurse got it on her first try. I don’t remember much, past that except waking up to a nurse who I thought was the most beautiful woman in the world, and I wasn’t quiet about my affection for her face, either. She also brought me orange popsicles, which at the time I thought was probably the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me.
The following 12 days
Misery, absolute misery. If you have never gotten your tonsils out I would advise against it. I woke up crying every night and didn’t eat for a week. Christopher was sweet enough to stay with me and take care of me, and my parents were champs, too! But I had some pretty intense drugs that gave me lucid dreams every night, and that was so cool! (I swear I’m not a druggie.)
July 24th – July 27th
To Chicago, we go! My family and I road tripped up to Chicago for a long weekend full of yummy food, shopping, exploring, and a super cool cruise on Lake Michigan!
July Reinforced the fact that…
I would be nothing without the people who love me. My parents and Christopher did such a fantastic job taking care of me. Without them I would have been sad and miserable, instead I was just a little sad and a little miserable but that was to be expected.
“The month of going viral.”
Beginning of August
The beginning of August meant saying goodbye to friends all over again. Just because we had done it once didn’t make it any easier.
August 4th – August 14th
I had my first viral post starting on August 4th. I got about 5,000 pageviews as opposed to my usual 400. On the fifth I got over 20,000 pageviews. From there it went down little by little, but staying above 10,000 until August 14th when I got 8,000 views. Those ten days were absolutely amazing and exciting and got me re-excited about blogging.
Chris and I celebrated 2 fantastic years together! Today was an amazing day and I couldn’t be any prouder or more happy with Christopher than I am now.
I got to move into the dorms easier because I signed up to be an I-Guide where I helped the freshman move in. So I was able to move in and unpack without fighting people for the elevator. I did have to say by to my parents, which of course isn’t easy.
Freshman move in day was awful. It was 90 something degrees and humid. The I-guides worked from 8-4 with a half hour lunch break. We had to pull the carts around the building to the back and up the ramp over and over again. I ended the day exhausted, sweaty, delirious from dehydration, and bruised. I was happy to help, but gosh I don’t think I ever want to relive that experience.
Classes started today! I was actually excited because I was taking classes in my new major, Speech Pathology!
August inspired me by…
Allowing me to realize that people actually do care what I have to say on this here blog. I got really excited all over again and started to be really proud of the blog.
“The month that is giving me a brain fart.”
The End of September.
The one one thing I remember from September is being told I was going to model in College Fashion Week and being super excited! Other than that I don’t really know.
September made me realize…
I am getting old and need to start writing things
“The month of the #BigGirlAdventure”
I published my first Clever Girls sponsored post, the first of many! Clever Girls is my absolute favorite blogging networks so this is pretty monumental for me!
October 17th-October 19th
I embarked on my #BigGirlAdventure! I took the train up to Chicago where I met a lovely old woman named Rosemary who gave me a mini tour of the city once we got off the train! When we parted ways I explored and made new friends before taking an Uber to my cousin’s house. I was there for College Fashion Week, which you can read all about here!
October sparked an interest in…
Solo travelling. The freedom I felt being alone in such a huge city is a feeling I’d love to feel again. I plan on doing much more solo travel in the future!
“The month of NaBloPoMo”
I began my NaBloPoMo adventure and it quickly consumed my life. I loved it but I could not post everyday for forever. One month was plenty! It was stressful but I am very proud of my accomplishment!
I came home for Thanksgiving break and it was fantastic. I never had really been homesick ever until the week and a half leading up to Thanksgiving. I just really wanted to be home and today I finally got to go home!
Today was Thanksgiving! I got to eat good food with my family and it was perfect! I love seeing my beautiful family more than anything!!
November taught me…
Think things through before taking on huge obligations. I loved NaBloPoMo but I was ill prepared for it. Next year I am going to work a lot harder the weeks leading up to November to get ready!
“The month of break.”
Today I headed back to school to start preparing for finals. I slept on the way back, thankfully. Upon arrival I found out we had a rough ride that would have just given me anxiety.
I had my sign language final today. Two questions kept me from getting on Dean’s list, so I’m pretty bitter about the whole thing. I ended up with a B instead of an A all because to silly questions. Sigh.
Finals are over and I got to come home!! I love home so much. Even though I love it at school, I just really enjoy seeing my family, sleeping in my own bed, and baking!
December 25th-December 28th
Christmas! Christmas is at my house every year and it was perfect. I have an incredible family and I really wish I got to spend more time with them! I had a few Christmases to go to this year, and each one was fantastic!
Here I am, writing this! It was a fantastic year and thanks to all of you for being a huge part of it. You guys reading my blog bring me so much happiness and joy that there aren’t even words to describe how special each one of you is to me!
December allowed me to…
Relax. I needed to as I often times stress myself out with my commitments and obligations I get myself into. I was getting burnt out so break came at a perfect time.