Reflection on 2018

As the end of 2018 marches steadily toward us, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the past year. What’s happened, what I’ve accomplished, and what I’ve learned.

Lessons of 2018:

  • Be more present
  • Colorado is my home
  • Be aware of my attitude
  • Make time for things I enjoy
  • Make memories with people
  • Doing things together are some of the best gifts
  • I can write
  • Believe I can do impossible things
  • Be intentional I really need to read more books!
  • Support networks are important
  • No endeavor is wasted that I learned something from
  • Be flexible

Earned my BA in history

I entered my last semester at Colorado State University in January after realizing the path I thought I was on—one of post-graduate degrees and professorship—was not for me. I’m thankful I only had one class (my capstone), because I was hugely unmotivated. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement of friends and family, I wouldn’t have finished. I don’t know how I feel about it now. I have a diploma on my wall, but it seems pretty useless at this moment. So I’m trying to focus on the good I did get out of my time in higher ed—perseverance, research experience, writing growth (albeit just in academic writing), some interesting knowledge and extra awareness, and the ability to meet deadlines.

Moved to Maine

At the end of May, I moved to Maine to live with a friend I met during my semester abroad in 2014. She had been living in Ohio, earning her bachelor’s and then her master’s, and was moving back home.

Approximately last November, in the midst of questioning my entire life trajectory, we had the idea for me to move to Maine that eventually turned into a plan that, initially, involved living with my friend Alexis’ parents until we could get an apartment and see what life looked like after about a year.

My mom and youngest two sisters road tripped with me out to Maine on a crazy cross-country trek that included an overheating car, a dead alternator, an unplanned overnight stay not terribly far from Chicago, a visit to Niagara Falls (and a terrifyingly big, steep bridge in the middle of the night in Buffalo that we were NOT expecting—it was much less scary in daylight the next day!), and a few days of sightseeing along the Maine coast that was an absolute blast. Then in a moment that felt very strange, I dropped my family off at the airport and watched them go through security. That’s not usually the way airport visits have worked for me!

I got a full-time job (after years of part-time work and full-time school) as an administrative assistant at the administrative office for a traveling geriatric medical practice. That was a pretty great experience! Alexis and I went on all kinds of explorations of Maine—with many, many stops at the South Portland Chili’s. I planned an entire trip to the easternmost lighthouse in the continental United States (Quoddy Head) that started as an excuse to drive two hours to the nearest Chick-Fil-A. We went kayaking and had beavers angrily flap their tails at us. We went with her mom to a lovely church ladies’ retreat in New Hampshire and spent a magical afternoon stand-up paddle-boarding. Oh, and I met Alexis’ fiancé!

Quoddy Head lighthouse

See, back in November or so, when we were making moving plans, I said something along the lines of “what’s going to happen in the next few months? One of us will get in a serious relationship? Ha!” So in February, Alexis met and started dating Eric in Ohio. So when I moved to Maine, it was knowing that the initial one-year plan was very much up in the air. They started talking marriage, and Alexis decided to move back to Ohio. Eric visited in August and proposed. And plans were made for Alexis to move back to Ohio and me to move back to Colorado. While I was, admittedly, a little bummed, I was also excited to be back home. More on that in a minute. But also, I’m so excited for Alexis and Eric, and on Sunday I’m flying out to be in their wedding!

Road trip: Take 2

Jordan Pond, Acadia

My mom flew back out to Maine and I took her to Acadia National Park. We stayed in a cute little cottage just off of Mount Desert Island. Our little adventure included super delicious pizza, a hike I THOUGHT was around three miles and was actually eight, and lots of gorgeous autumn foliage. We did something crazy for our Type A, planner selves and didn’t plan out our stops ahead of time, but just drove home. Which ended up being pretty great overall, because it allowed us to spend more time in Acadia and to stay with my dad’s aunt and uncle one night on our way back. I also had an entire (short) playlist of songs with the word “home” in the title we listened to once we entered Colorado. I’ll tell you, though—the time from the Colorado border to our house was the LONGEST HOURS IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.

Home Again

It’s been interesting and little odd being back home. I missed my family, my mountains, and my dogs a lot. I’m glad I’ll have more time with my sister before she gets married in June (she also got engaged in August!). And I’m very glad I was able to spend a couple more months with my dog, Susie, before we had to put her down a few days before Christmas.

Susie-Q

Me and Susie in 2006 and 2017

We got Susie when she was a tiny, tiny little puppy. Our neighbor brought her over after a coworker who couldn’t keep her gave her to him. His family already had two dogs, and at the time we didn’t have any pets. It was my dad’s birthday, and our neighbor showed up with a scared, shy puppy who we weren’t positive was a girl because she was tiny. Wonder of wonders, my mom—who claimed to dislike dogs—decided we could keep her. We had recently listened to The Chronicles of Narnia on audiobook, and we decided to name her Susie—kind of a combination of Susan and Lucy. However, Susie pretty quickly decided she wasn’t my dad’s dog: she was mine (or maybe I was hers).

Susie early this year

We had Susie for thirteen years. She gave us several scares over the years—developing arthritis, likely mild hip dysplasia, and earlier this year she developed glaucoma and went blind in one eye before we realized what was going on. But she just kept plugging along. She was overweight, had lots of fatty tumors, and was losing energy. But she was a happy girl with lots and lots of love, right up to the end. I’m thankful for all the time I had with her.

Writing

I started seriously writing again this year. I hadn’t finished any idea—or even gotten very far into any—since about 2012. I started on an idea over last winter break, then mostly stopped during my capstone. But I worked on it off and on in Maine (and started on another idea so I could get that one out of my system and focus). In November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. With a day to spare, I hit the 50,000 words-written-in-November goal. I wrote another 15-20,000 or so words over the next week, and finally finished a rough draft! It was an excellent feeling. I also started on the sequel, and have about 20,000 words of that written.

Spiritual life stuff

I’ll be completely honest—my walk with Christ has been…more of a nap interrupted by sprints. The Christian life is easy to understand, and difficult to live consistently (or is that just me??). The church I’m attending in Colorado had a morning all about spending time in the word and tips on how to do that (they recommend ROAD journaling. You should be able to Google it.) I also got a new wide-margin, cross-referenced Bible and Bible pens and highlighters from my mom for Christmas. I’m still not doing a good job, but these tools are helping my focus when I remember to have a quiet time.

But if I’ve gotten one repeated, resounding, obvious message from God this year, it’s that being a Christian is about KNOWING Him. It’s as if every passage I’ve read recently has an emphasis on knowledge of God, knowledge of Christ’s act of redemption, knowledge of salvation, knowledge of God’s love, knowledge of our relationship with God through Christ. So I suppose that’s my spiritual take-away for 2018—be more knowledgeable about the right things.

Other current life stuff

I’m still looking for a job. I’ve spent hours searching the web and applied to a handful of jobs. I heard back from one, and was told they were going to present the candidates and get back to the applicants, but that it might be awhile because of the holidays. I’m going to be out of state (for the wedding! Yay!) December 30th-January 5th, so I’ll be looking more earnestly after that.

Well, this ended up being considerably longer than I had intended! If you made it to the end: congratulations, and thank you!

I hope you had a blessed Christmas, and I hope you have a wonderful New Year.

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