2015: Year of Adjustments

A few months ago, while Bret and I were shopping at the Outlets, I spotted a pair of heavy-duty waterproof boots. Our Boone friends had lectured me whenever I showed up to their homes in flats. You’ll need a good pair of boots. So I bought them. And I waited patiently for the first snowflake. All October. All November. And then, in mid-December, it snowed just a little. I laced up my new boots. I crunched in the thin layer of snow on our front deck. I took a picture of the boots in the snow to validate the purchase. And I thought: This is my Boone life.

Boots

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2014: Savoring our Tallahassee Life

At the beginning of 2014, I remember feeling trapped. I lived in a wonderful city with the best partner, but I absolutely loathed my job.

I know a lot of people don’t love their jobs, but my job stressed me so much that I couldn’t “leave it at the door” when I got home. I felt worried and overworked and grumpy most of the time. I dreaded every morning. I dreaded a convention that was literally 10 months away. It wasn’t good.

Last January, during the first full moon of the new year, my yoga instructor encouraged my class to light a candle and welcome the unexpected changes this year with an open heart.

I didn’t do that.

At this point, I had given up on pep talks. Instead, I looked down at my 10 fingers and assigned each one a month. My 1st finger was “January” and my 10th finger represented October – my LAST convention before Bret would graduate and we’d get to move to a new city. I resolved to have a better attitude. I can do this, I thought. I just need to get to November 2014.

Even though it was a pretty effective coping mechanism – breaking the year into manageable chunks so I could track my progress – I’m here to tell you that approaching a new year as something that I had merely had to “get through” was a horrible strategy. I had a whole year of possibilities in front of me, but I’d already made up my mind that 2014 was just a big long countdown to get rid of. I wish I could have told myself that I’d be getting some exciting news in March, a new job in June, and that I’d never even have to go to another dreaded convention. I didn’t know.

I couldn’t have known, but I could have tried harder to change my attitude. Looking back, the whole year flew by. When I started to write my recap, I drew a blank. I had to turn to my Instagram account which faithfully tracks my year through pictures.

Now that I’m looking back, 2014, the year I wanted to be over, was actually a pretty neat year.

January

  • Started my Question a Day 5-year journal from Mallory. This is such a special gift. I can’t wait to start year 2/5 today 🙂
  • Had my first (only) Tallahassee Snow Day! It didn’t actually snow, but it was cold enough for the schools/offices to close, and I got to spend the whole day with Velveeta!

Jan_1 Jan_SnowDay

February

  • Discovered the French Pastry shop. This is now one of my favorite Tallahassee places. Mmm macaroons.
  • Bret (and Sadie) started playing the piano again. Isn’t she the cutest?!

Feb_French Pastry Feb_Piano

March

  • We celebrated our One Year Anniversary
  • Went to Indianapolis for a conference with Bret. This was a fun road trip for us to take together, and it was a healthy, much-needed break from work. Bonus: while we were on that trip, I learned my old DC job was going to be open again. That was such an exciting, unexpected feeling.

March_Anniversary March_Indy

April

  • One thing I wanted to do before we left Tallahassee was visit Thomasville, GA during their famous Rose Festival. We went with a friend from Bret’s grad program and it was beautiful! We saw so many flowers there, at the Tallahassee Art Festival, and at Disney’s Flower & Garden Festival, too.
  • Speaking of flowers… in April I saw the first bloom on my Peace Lily from a dear Florida friend.
  • Oh, and I made this awesome homemade Spring Wreath using silk flowers and yarn.

April_thomasville.roseAPril_Disney  March_Peace LilyApril_Wreath

May

  • Mallory & Drew visited us and we want to Universal Studios! It was so much fun. I love them.
  • Our cruise! I think our cruise is my very favorite 2014 memory. It was our 2nd honeymoon and the most fun vacation ever.

photo 4 May_UniversalOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADCIM103SPORT

June

  • My parents visited Florida and we got to spend a weekend with them in Apalachicola. This was a happy, unplanned surprise. I love my parents.
  • I quit my job and heard “We Are Done” by The Madden Brothers” play on the radio while I drove away for the last time. That was gratifying.
  • I started my new DC teleworking job, and got to go to San Francisco 🙂

June_MomDad AAMC Teleworking SanFran

July

  • We watched the 4th of July at Tom Brown Park – it was our last in Tallahassee! I also discovered Diva Pops – the yummiest natural popsicles that come out of a food truck.
  • We saw armadillos on a walk one morning!
  • I renewed my Disney Annual Pass for the last time, sadly. (for a while)

4th of July 3 Armedillos Disney Pass

August

  • Truly, August was a sad month. I had to say goodbye to my wonderful grandma. I miss her and think about her all the time.
  • August was full of good things, too, though. Some of my most wonderful friends from high school drove own to Charlotte and we celebrated Friends Weekend 2014.
  • Bret turned 30. We celebrated with some sweet friends at his favorite (Tallahasssee) Mexican restaurant wearing a shirt that says, “Aged to Perfection”
  • We had the best trip to Disney with Bret’s family…and Olaf!

me and grandmabalcony pic 30th Olaf

September

  • We got to see a lot of wonderful grad school friends at Brandi & Sean’s wedding
  • My “tweet” was “published” or something

Sept_BrandiWedding sept_tweet

October

  • I got to go to D.C. for work!…and then I spent the weekend with my family in Richmond – we went to a pumpkin patch!
  • We made a hilarious gift for Bret’s mom that involved Bret re-creating some adorable baby pictures.
  • Then, I went to Sacramento, California for work and got stranded in a Dallas airport… no pictures needed.

Sept_DC Oct_pumpkin  2014_pumpkin Full-Size-20

November

  • We were invited to a SURPRISE PARTY for our friend, Christine’s, 30th Birthday
  • I went to Chicago for work and ate authentic deep dish pizza!
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving for two 🙂
  • I wrote half a novel. I’m pretty proud of that.

Nov_ChristineBday Nov_DeepDish Nov-Chicago

December

  • Mallory visited us in Tallahassee for the happiest time of the year and the Jingle Bell Run 🙂
  • We celebrated Christmas in VA with my fam
  • We celebrated New Years in PA with Bret’s fam …and I got to go to Wegman’s for the first time! My new favorite grocery store.

Dec_2014_2Dec_2014 Wegmans

I’m not listing off all of these things to brag about my year. I hope it doesn’t seem that way. On a personal level, the year was a good one. I got to go on a cruise and a visit a bunch of cities on work trips that I’d never seen before and I’m so grateful for that. There were some unexpected challenges, too. And there was loss and heartbreak and frustration and so many moments of longing for peace and understanding.

This year was really just a good reminder that I have no idea what’s going to happen half the time. I didn’t think I’d find a way to leave my Florida job before 2015, but I did. I didn’t think I’d get to see my family so much, but I did. When I was grumping around and wishing the year would go by quickly, I could have been focusing on the things I had control over and feeling grateful for all the good things. So, thanks, 2014. Thanks for being good to me even though I had a terrible attitude about you.

Last January, I decided that 2014 was going to be a “get through” year, and I wish I hadn’t done that. I wish I had done something my yoga instructor had encouraged me to do on January 16:

light a candle and welcome the unexpected changes this year with an open heart

New Year New Moon

Good thing I have a whole new year to apply this philosophy. This year promises to have a lot of big changes including new city to call home and a new job for Bret. There are sure to be some challenges, but I’m ready for them.

I don’t have a concrete resolution this year, really, but I’m resolving to spend more time away from my phone and social media. I want to be present and intentional and available to live in the moments I’m given. I want to listen to more music and read more books. I want to finish my novel and submit it for publication, too.

Cheers to 2015! I’m ready to welcome the unexpected changes with an open heart.

2013 Reflections

I like to prepare for a new year by reflecting on the last one. I wrote posts for New Years 2013, 2012, and 2011.

Yesterday morning, I sorted through some 2013 news-making moments: the Boston Marathon bombing, Cleveland women escaping their kidnapper, the Oklahoma tornadoes, the Philippines, an inspiring ground-breaking Pope, and, of course, Jennifer Lawrence being an incredible actress and generally awesome person.

I like to look inward and reflect on my personal year, too. 2013 was huge. It was my first full year in Florida, and I love the sense of home that Bret and I have built here. I’ve been doing so much moving around the past few years, it is nice to feel grounded and situated in this Tallahassee world. I like our routines. I like our freedom. Continue reading