Reflections on the Year
Circa October 2018 - January 2019
(left to right): All Things Go with my trendy sister at Union Market; Christmas selfies with said sister, ringing in the new year with bestie, snow day sledding at the Capitol Building with TO, friend date night at Trump Hotel
Wayell…Summer’s nearly over t and I don’t even know where to start. This month marks a few milestones for me that make for some fun reflections of where I’ve been, and where I want to go.
I made a robust list of goals to focus on for the year. To steer clear of crafting arbitrary items for the sake of having “resolutions,” I took some time to sit down and really think about what recent memories I’ve made that made me the happiest, and why. The biggest factors involved visiting new places and seeing old friends - two endeavors done easily together.
On top of chasing after things I know I love doing, I wanted to think intentionally on what habits I wanted to develop to keep improving myself. This is a life season (lol to my Christianese) where I can focus most on those things, my own goals, and how I want to learn and grow.
Here are a few I wrote down:
keep up with my French and/or Italian
read a new book every month
use my prayer life as a means of reaching out to friends
get comfortable exercising my favor in the Lord
establish a workout routine
find ways to have fun with it
curate a wardrobe I love to wear (Come on, these boots!!)
find a siq Airbnb (check)
visit 3 friends for the first time
Some I made, some I didn’t, and that’s okay. Establishing a vision for what I want out of my year helped me make it as great as it’s been - instead of just surviving, a mindset I’ve had since graduating college, I’m starting to build a life I’m proud of when I look back on it.
Because I wrote out my vision for 2019, I visited new countries and returned to a few favorites, got to use my French in two of them, visited my dear old home of Winston-Salem for the first time since moving away, had a lot of fun building this blog, talked to God and trusted him more than I ever have before, been brave enough to ask bold things of Him and watch Him come through, blown through more books than I have since I was in high school, and the list goes on. I’m super content. And I’m blessed.
But the past year here has marked tremendous growth and learning. Having I moved here under very stressful circumstances, last summer brought a tremendous amount of change that overwhelmed me. I needed a minute.
But coming here and building a new life here has been a far greater delight than I ever hoped for. In a few short months, I found a place to live for a fantastic price, a church I love to call home, new mentors, friends who pour into my life, more financial security than I’ve ever had, the city girl life I’ve always wanted (after spending weeks getting lost on the metro), and newfound kindnesses the Lord’s shown me. Gaw. Again, gimme a minute.
Each time I think “I never thought I’d…” God hears that and responds with a “Guess what little miss, how you like them apples” and throws down exactly that thing I never thought I’d have or do…
I never thought I’d live in DC. Until last summer, it never appealed to me or seemed “exotic enough” to move to the city only 90 minutes down the highway from my hometown. I saw myself living in France or England, even, but not here! I’ve lived here a year now and I love my life here.
I won’t find Christians in a big city. How silly! That was one of my biggest fears of leaving the South. But I found my first friend groups at church and they’ve been the absolute best support and wisdom sources.
I’ll never live on Capitol Hill. HA! That’s exactly what I’d think every morning I’d bus into the city when I commuted from my parents house. The neighborhoods looked so grand and pristine that I thought there was no way I’d make enough money to afford housing here. I thought I’d have to either settle somewhere unsafe or super far away - until one day I got an email from a friend of a friend saying, “I know a woman who’s renting out a 4BR row house on the Hill to Christian girls. Are you interested?” *cue me dropping my laptop/beer/phone*
I’ll settle for whoever I can find to live with. I’ve had some frightening roommate situations, but now my next door bedroom roommate has become one of my best friends. We’ve recently acquired a Texas girl who is the bomb diggity, and one more girl will join the house family next month.
I could keep going but I think you get it.
But after a year, cool changes have happened all across the board:
I start a new job in September;
I’ve saved up more money in my savings than ever before;
‘twas blessed with theeee best rent deal EVER;
God's started giving me dreams and visions for the first time (which has been frickin’ sweet);
I live with two roommates I adore;
My best friend and I literally drove to Canada and it was as awesome as it sounds (still can’t believe we did that…for more snaps from the trip, click here);
I went to Europe this winter on my own (call it a Valentine’s Day present to myself) and had the best time of my life (pictured below in Laduree on the Champs Elysees in Paris.)
So, naturally, looking back helps me look forward with purpose.
(below, left to right): our July Fourth party, en route to cover DC Swim Week for Exhibit A, hot air balloon festival in Cordova, Maryland, CityCenterDC’s summer display, my favorite coffee shop on the Hill (Little Pearl), wake boarding on the Shore, and a friend’s crawfish grill
What do I want out of the rest of my year?
Be brave. Show up with my whole heart. Learn to accept, expect, and appreciate failure, knowing I’m being refined all the while. Take a few pages out of Brene Brown’s book.
Give myself permission to do the things I enjoy. When I step away from the “should’s” and “musts” for a minute, and make time for the things that make me happy, I win. I live. I flourish. I build a life that I want to live. Do the things I do best, simply for the sake of doing them - not to produce a result.
Cultivate my gifts. God told me I’ve let certain gifts and passions lie dormant long enough. It’s time to wake that bear up.
Continue culling the home (see below). Roomie and I have already built great memories of having people over - watching our house fill with laughing friends over glasses of wine is the greatest gift. So fight that DC-driven urge to always go-go-go, and instead create a space at home that you actually want to occupy.
Soft and strong. Learn to be both. Women are made to embody the two together, and the world needs that from us - soft, and strong.
What goals do you need to revisit?