2017 Has Been....
If you Google, "2017 has been...," you'll get a lot of options to fill in the blank.
For me, I had very high hopes for this year. 17 is my favorite number and I was ready to make it my favorite year. But really, looking back, the year I planned to kick some ass, ended up kicking mine.
I spent too much time focusing on what I thought was going to be my career and left the rest of my life slip away.
I stopped creating and living. I started counting pennies, saving them and staying at home hidden away from friends and life. I think I've watched every single thing on Netflix and didn't make it through more than two whole books. I stopped scrapbooking and crafting. I had my heart broken more than once and it has left me hesitant to start over.
I hit the pause button in 2017. I didn't choose to fight or flight, I chose to freeze. I put on my blinders and ignored the chaos piling up around me.
So now, on the last day of the year that was supposed to be my year I look back and I wonder if I really did accomplish anything and it surprised me.
Surprisingly, I had more victories than I realized.
I scored a $450 round-trip ticket to Italy....
to spend time with some of my favorite people on the planet. I got to travel to Napoli and eat pizza at the birthplace of that delightful dish.
On that trip with that delicious pizza, I got to see one of my best friends, Astrid. She flew in from Spain and I took her around my beloved city of Bergamo. That made it our best streak of seeing each other since she lived in the USA. 2015, 2016, 2017 and she just told me she will be here for sure in 2018! How AMAZINGLY lucky am I?
I watched as one of my childhood best friends got married...
It's weird to attend the wedding of someone you watched shove straws up their nose at an IHOP at your 8th-grade dance get married. But, I must admit, Eric set the bar high. I had never met Cassie before but I knew just by the way Eric looked at her, it was an intense kind of love. After the wedding we all ventured down to the strip, Cassie still wearing her gorgeous dress, the whole bridal party dressed up. I have never seen anyone, let alone a bride, so happy to devour a Big Mac, and I'd never seen a husband so happy to watch his bride do so.
That wedding in Vegas also meant that my best friend, or sister as I call her, and I got to road trip it all the way down. Though we frequently would love to kill each other, as sisters often do, she's still one of the most important people in my life, even if we don't talk as much anymore. Love you Kaitie.
I was honored to be a bridesmaid in 2 weddings to 2 very special people....
Nichole was one of my first friends when I moved to Montana from Las Vegas. We cheered together. We laughed and cried together. She was my best friend who made me feel like I was important to her. Getting to be in her wedding was one of the most meaningful things I could have done this year. Watching as she transformed into this beautiful bride was amazing. Collie, I still think 100% you should be a wedding dress model. Just sayin', cuz you GORGEOUS.
Lauren, or Ren as I know her, made my time in Delta Gamma worth it. I felt like a misfit in that sorority and after I found Ren, I knew I found my little. I have admired her from day one and have so much love in my heart for her. We have had our ups and downs, that's for sure, but she is someone that I wouldn't be complete without. She gave me the most amazing Grandlittle in Riley.
Attending her wedding was also a huge eye-opener for me. I met some of the most amazing people in Texas from around the country that traveled to be at her wedding. I honestly cannot wait to visit them all again in Jersey. East coast trip is definitely on the bucketlist for 2018.
I got an interview with Geoff Woods, VP at the ONE Thing...
Though nothing came of it, just getting the interview in the first place was insane. I had followed along to his podcasts, read the book, gifted the book to people and was brave and reached out to let him know what I thought they were missing. He liked my ideas so much that he video messaged me back and we got to meet in person in Austin, TX at Keller Williams Realty Headquarters. That taught me so much. You really don't know unless you try, and 2018 I am going to be more fearless.
I got a puppy named Rory...
Holy crap was that about the most stressful but wonderful thing I did. I can't tell you how many times I thought, "WHAT HAVE I DONE?" Every time I had to walk down the two flights of stairs to take her to the bathroom, playing outside in negative degrees (this of itself is how you know I love her because I HATE COLD) or simply just having to leave her and go to work was a challenge. I couldn't have done it without Kim Kahle, my wondeful co-worker who I got Rory from. Watching Rory play with her doggy mom and dad melts my heart and makes me feel so lucky to have them close by. I also owe it to Kristina for talking me into the adorable little ball of fluff.
Though she may just be a dog, she's taught me a lot about who I want to be as a person. I am more patient. I am more understanding. I am more willing to listen and be aware of others needs. Rory has made me a better and more compassionate human which is vital in the world we are in now.
I got to see Paramore perform live...
This has been on my bucket list since 2007. I am completely obsessed with Hayley Williams. Her music got me through so much from all the good to all the bad. I was even more lucky to get to see it with my amazingly wonderful cousin, Lexi.
I got to help my Great-Grandparents celebrate 70 years of marriage...
This one is a little bittersweet to me now. With this wonderful celebration also marks the only real regret I've had in my life. I decided that my job was more important than taking the time to stay an extra week and film and interview my Grandpa Great. It's something I wanted to do for a very long time. He's 93 and until this November was out farming and ranching everyday. I told myself that my job was more important because I really thought I was going to get a promotion and move away from the front desk and toward agent services. I convinced myself taking time off right now wasn't a good idea and that I was going to focus on my career. Well, as fate would have it, in the same week I found myself no longer working that desk job and found out my grandpa great had cancer. I had chosen the wrong priority. I had convinced myself that I had become necessary at my job and that I was going to get what I wanted. In reality, I was very replaceable and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I got to see Grandpa Johnnie in the hospital and ask him some of the questions I had been wanting answers to. I listened to him talk about his childhood and all the changes he had seen in this world. I listened as he told stories about washing dishes to pay for a surgery, the births of his children and his love for the farm. He told me about all the places he had seen all over the USA.
As I stood up to leave I promised him I would see him at Christmas and that this wouldn't be goodbye. He hugged me as tightly as he could, and as I pulled away the tears poured from both our eyes.
He looked at me and said, "This is the hardest part of this, isn't it?" I knew he meant dying. I knew he meant saying goodbye. It broke my heart. I kept my promise and got to see him again at Christmas. He held my hand and we sang Christmas carols and watched the snow from his large front window. Grandpa Great taught me a very important lesson. As cliche as it might be, we don't know if we have a next summer. So I'm going to start taking the days as I am given them. As Grandpa says, "We are just taking this one day at a time." From now on, so will I.
I met some of the most amazing people...
That crappy desk job I mentioned? I stuck around mostly for the people I met. I hated being chained to a desk 40 hours a week and wanted to be doing and creating more, but without that job I would not have met some of the people most dear to me. I could name them all, but my KW crew you know who you are and I loved you to pieces. Thank you for getting me through the hard times. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for all the joy you have brought into my life. It is because of you all that I can look back on that year I worked there and not feel like my time had been wasted.
I got to live by myself for the first time EVER...
After having one of the best roomates ever, shout out to Chanelle, and having her leave, I realized that it was time that I lived alone. Expensive. Yes, but the peace of mind I have coming home and knowing that I'm the one that ate all the food or made the huge mess has made all the difference.
Shout out to the friends who have become my family....
I am easily one of the most hermit people on the planet. These amazing women have become my support system. They don't judge me when I am feeling down. They don't roll their eyes at all the terrible mistakes I make. They encourage me, love me and accept me unconditionally. It is hard to find people like that so to have 5 astounding women I can name off the top of my head playing that role in my life is beyond words. I love you guys. Thank you for letting me be me, even when me isn't at her best.
I learned a lot about myself....
While this did not always feel like a good thing, it was necessary. 2017 was super rough but ultimately it taught me so much about what I stand for and who I want to be. I challenged my beliefs, my values and in the end came out stronger than I would have if this year had just been easy and a piece of cake.
When I break it down like that, even on the most basic of events, it makes me feel better about how I spent my time in 2017. i'm hoping that with this 20/20 hindsight of 2017 I can go into 2018 even more focused and ready to really kick some butt with all the things I learned.