Reflections & 2019 Resolutions

As we close out 2018, I’m forced to reflect on what a year this past one has been.

Most recently, I hosted my family and Mark for Christmas and felt all the good feelings. Having my loved ones gather in my little, cozy home was wonderful. We had a great Christmas together (I think?!) and got to experience the holidays in Raleigh, which made me fall in even more love with my city.

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In the past four months, I’ve had each of my immediate family members visit me individually, and I was able to make a trip to visit them in New York in September. This never happened in Los Angeles, it just wasn’t feasible. Having this kind of access to each other again is something I will never, ever take for granted.

My best friend is a mere 45 minute drive from me now, and once again we find ourselves in a season of life where we can FaceTime each other at 6:30 pm with bribes of pizza and movies if one makes the trek to the other, and by 8 we’ll be together. I saw her 3 times the whole time I lived in L.A.

Oh, I moved! I took matters into my own hands and left Los Angeles in May. I drove cross country with my mama, took a huge leap of faith, and moved to somewhere I had never been before. With the help of friends and family, I moved into two apartments this summer (the first one for only a week, the second was the winner…what an adventure). But then, I proceeded to set up my home alone. I carried packages, set up furniture, arranged online bill pay (yaaas), hung shelves and curtains and pictures alone, and pretty much learned how to function solo. I learned a lot about independence this year. Thankfully, I still never needed to unclog a toilet (it’s my biggest fear). 

By learning how to be more independent, I also learned to be a better partner to Mark. I became more self-reliant, which in turn made me more appreciative. I also became more open to compromise and alternative ways of doing things. Weirdly, the forced long distance over the past few months has made us more aware of how much we want to be together. We’re in a better place than ever before.

Mark and I both dealt with loss. It sucked. It really freakin’ sucked. That’s been the ultimate low of this year.

I also had a really shitty couple of months with major dental issues. Ugh.

I left a great job in L.A and quickly found a great gig as a veterinary technician in Raleigh. I even got hired as a food stylist a couple of times, which was a dream come true. I successfully got top grades in the Animal Nutrition course I took alongside everything else.

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I quickly fell in love with my new city, and that has calmed my soul in ways I can’t even explain. I feel so much less turbulent than I did this time last year. I sometimes miss L.A for very specific things, but I’ve developed a healthier mindset about that, too.

I religiously stuck to budgeting, which allowed me to save over $6,000 this year! Y’all, my retirement is poppin’.

I reconnected with old friends. I made really valuable and meaningful new friendships.

Finally, this little blog had the highest engagement ratings in its history! I think I made big strides in providing good content, better photos, relatable stories, etc.

I’ve had some creative ruts, some health ruts, some personal ruts. But guess what! I’m still here and I’m still working every day to be better. It was a long year, at times an exhausting and disheartening year. But overall, 2018 was pretty kind to me and for that I am grateful.

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As for last year’s resolutions? I think I did pretty good. I saved a lot of money! I started listening to NPR, so I like to think I’m more informed. I took the ceramics class and loooved it. I called my mom more, even though she might argue this fact! I eliminated  more toxins (buh-bye deodorant), and I did go somewhere new on the cross country road trip. Success!

Now, on to this year’s resolutions.

  1. Complete another whole30 and gain back some control over my health habits.
  2. Explore my career aspirations in a tangible way. Make more progress towards whatever goals you develop.
  3. Save even more money! I’m going to do a blog post soon on how I’m succeeding with this.
  4. Finally travel to NOLA (in February, with my sister!)
  5. Start regularly taking vitamins for sleep, stress, and energy support.
  6. Take yoga more consistently. I’m never happier/healthier than when I take a regular vinyasa class.
  7. Read more books. So, so easy with my library card!
  8. Establish a more consistent skin care routine.
  9. Establish a more consistent bedtime routine. Meaning turning off the devices, not falling asleep to the TV being on, and consistently getting 8 hours of sleep. Also, hopefully making strides in improving my overall sleep quality.
  10. Have Mark move in!
  11. Take a food photography course. I’m excited about this one!
  12. Continue to improve viewership and engagement on this blog, which has remained my favorite creative outlet.
  13. Be a better friend in general. I could always be better about reaching out to my long distance buddies.
  14. Floss every night. And never ever skip a 6 month dental cleaning.
  15. Use time more wisely. I go back and forth on being good at this. Instead of binge watching Gilmore Girl episodes, maybe listen to an informative podcast and get some to-do list tasks done. Instead of surfing Instagram, study for the GRE. Ya know?

Okay, that’s it! I probably won’t even make it to the ball drop tonight (grandma status, always). My plans include working on meal prep for tomorrow, wearing a charcoal face mask, and sipping some hot lemon water while I listen to Auld Lang Syne. Happy New Year, friends!