2018 Reflections

It is the period between Christmas and New Years. No one knows what day it is. Time doesn’t really exist. Can we start drinking at 10am? Why not. Existence is a confusion.

I’m sure you’ve seen this meme everywhere because as memes go, it is relatable af (in fact I’ve got baileys in my coffee as we speak). It’s during this time that it can be very tempting to just jump into the new year. A fresh start is intoxicating. But this week, I’m taking the time to focus on 2018. I just don’t think you can improve something if you don’t take the time to look back and say what worked and what didn’t work.

So without further ado… here are my 2018 highlights!

I moved

…3 miles down the street. This is the first time I’ve moved within the same area since I moved from Malden to Southie in 2005. All of my moves since then have been big cross-country or at least inter-state moves.

When I moved to Virginia in 2017, I moved into a brand new apartment building that had only been open for maybe 2 months. It was all shiny and new…until other people started moving in. The walls were super thin, my neighbors were loud…and dirty, and management was unresponsive. It got to the point where I was constantly on edge and couldn’t relax, never mind sleep. I needed to get out.

This is what caused me to post this quote on Instagram: Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.

I really want to leave behind the idea that a good deal is good because it’s a deal. If the item itself doesn’t bring me any sort of positive emotion beyond utility of that item then it isn’t in fact a deal at all.

I started photography classes

Almost 10 years after I got my first DLSR camera, I finally learned how to use it. I found this great photography school in the DC area (Capital Photography Center) where I’ve learned how to actually use the camera and also dabbled a bit in some editing software. I’m starting to feel a lot more confident and can’t wait to learn even more.

To see some of my photography check out the Foliage and Iceland posts.

I hurt my hand…I mean neck

One of the low points of 2018 was hurting my hand, which actually ended up being caused by nerves in my neck. I spent a good chunk of the year in pain which is never good.

I adapted pretty well. I learned how to type with one hand and use the mouse with my left hand. I am still pretty proud that I was able to produce PowerPoints at work with just one hand and my non-dominant hand at that. I also managed to drive with just one hand.

But I also spent a lot of time on the couch. There was one point where I was constantly in pain no matter what I did. So I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. No sugar coating it, it sucked.

Fortunately, all of a sudden I got a lot better. I still have some bad days but not as bad as needing to go one-hand left-handed again. I do slightly worry what happens when it comes back, but I feel like the thing to do is just to lean into the situation and not stress about the things I can no longer do.

I went to Iceland

To make up for all the time on the couch, I took a trip to Iceland! I try to do at least one international trip per year, so when I was looking for a place to travel for Thanksgiving I was very excited to see Iceland fit in my budget.

I had an incredible time! I’m not going to recap my trip here but you can certainly check out this post, or this one, or even this one to learn more. This trip certainly set the bar and I cannot wait to plan another great trip in 2019 (or maybe I’ll just go back to Iceland).

I regularly posted content

Another thing I’m really proud of in 2018 is that I got into a rhythm of regularly posting content. Pre-hand injury I was posting 3 blogs a month and post-hand injury I’ve upped that to once a week. I definitely want to bring that energy into 2019.

I also experimented with some templates to help me more regularly post on Instagram. It was great because it forced me to sit down and put thought and effort into my Instagram posts. But I do feel like maybe it was more forced and not as natural as I would like. So in 2018 I definitely want to leave behind posting just to post and make sure in 2019 there is intention behind my posts.

a final thought (or two) on content

There’s a blogger I’ve followed for a few years now on Instagram. While her content doesn’t specifically speak to me, I like how natural it comes across and I admire her very chill cool-girl vibe.

But then she posted something about how we need to remember social media isn’t real and her instagram is just a character she’s created and not the real her.

I was very jarred by this. First, because like I’ve said her content seems very natural and authentic. Second, because her sentiment is the opposite of my goal with this blog and all my content. I don’t want to be a perfectly curated character. I want this to be as real as I can be comfortably vulnerable and effectively communicate.

Looking at the survey responses I recently received I got a lot of feedback from people who only like the positive things I post. Listen, I get it. As someone who closely guards my energy I want to make sure I know what I’m getting myself into as well. But I don’t believe in only sharing the positive things.

I also believe that the more we’re comfortable with others’ uncomfortable-ness the more we’ll be okay with our own. There are many times throughout the year when I’m completely drained, or in pain, or overwhelmed, or simply cranky and all of these feelings are just as valid as being happy. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me or you. I share it not to get pity likes or to drag you down. I share it to de-stigmatize it, to honor it, and to lean into it.

I left the positive-only pressure behind before and I will definitely leave it behind again in 2018.

Thank you for all your support in 2018 and I can’t wait to see where 2019 takes all of us.

Happy 2019!

Cover photo via picjumbo.com