Tomorrow is the last day of 2016. *Insert cheesy line about time flying.* This year has been challenging, inspiring, confusing, scary, thrilling, sad, and a roller coaster of emotions in between. I’ve laughed until my ribs hurts and cried myself empty. Since it can be therapeutic to look back and uplifting to look forward, I thought I’d cram some 2016 Reflections into a Friday Feelings post. It’s not all about food, followers, and Pinterest, but writing about life makes me feel good and I hope you can relate!
In between the bowls and plates of delicious food, 2016 brought ups, downs, and a plethora of new experiences!
For lack of more eloquent phrasing, 2016 was pretty shitty all around. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t fun, happy, and exciting days. Somehow this world continues to turn, the sun still rises everyday, grass grows, babies are born, and the miracle that is life carries on… Here are a few 2016 things I’m totally into:
- If I didn’t know it before, this year taught me even more how lucky I am to have an incredible partner in life. John and I are halfway through our fourth year together and we’ve never been closer. This year, we learned that I better express difficult emotions by writing them down, so that’s how we work through tough times. I’ve learned to accept his help, rather than push it away, when I’m feeling anxious or down. We also went on a fantastic vacation, continue to make our tiny rented house a home, and have vastly expanded our board game collection. I love you so much sweetie, and adventuring through life with you is my favorite pastime.
- From sappy to soapy, one thing I’ve gotten way more into this year is natural home & beauty products. I never put much thought into the products I put on my skin, in my house, or around my pets before this year. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with homemade replacements for harsh chemicals (i.e., I now use this recipe for carpet cleaner), using coconut oil for just about everything, sniffing new essential oils (got some new Doterra products for Christmas!), and swapping in natural beauty brands (Toms, 100% Pure, and ZuZu Luxe makeup are some current favs).
- Chocolate smoothies. Even with the cold weather settling in, I can’t stop drinking chocolate smoothies. It’s like waking up to a milkshake, and who doesn’t want ice cream in the morning? Or any time of day for that matter…
- I got a foam roller this year, and I’m aware this sounds like an exaggeration but I’m pretty sure it has my. life. I have a pretty drastic scoliosis curve, which has always caused me back pain. After having multiple chiropractors tell me “You may just have to live with pain your whole life…”, I was feeling pretty defeated and hopeless. Enter foam roller, who swooped in to save the day and provide a kind of comfort I haven’t felt in years.
- Binge watching TV shows. I’ve never been a big TV person; I could easily live my life without cable. Buttttt, I have to admit that this year John and I have watched a lot of quality programming. Some standouts include Parenthood, West Wing, Stranger Things, and Westworld. #joshanddonnaforever
I’d like to keep thing positive, but there’s no getting around the fact that 2016 brought its fair share of crappy days. Here are a few things that made me sad, mad, cranky, or just generally left me feeling blah…
- At 26, I’m finally starting to bear witness the ugly and depressing signs of getting older. No, not in myself, I am aware that mid-20’s hardly qualifies as aging. I’m talking about facing the facts that everyone you love and hold dear will someday get old, fall ill, and eventually leave this world. Maybe I’m naïve in that I’ve never suffered a major loss, but this year we lost John’s grandmother (the funeral was two days before Christmas), my grandparents hit 96, and I’ve spent more time in nursing homes than I have in nightclubs. While I often marvel at the circle of life, it’s sometimes easy to feel like the process is cruel and unfair.
- While I have learned a great deal about dealing with my depression and anxiety this year, I can’t deny that there have been days and weeks where the battle has been hard fought. In 2017, I’m committed to attacking this lifelong problem head on, facing some fears and haunting memories, and coping with this condition better than ever before.
- I don’t like to get too political, because I know it can be controversial and alienate good people, but I am so nervous about the state of our future government. I had so much hope, was so inspired, and got more involved than I ever have in the past with this year’s election, only to have my hopes and dreams extinguished by a very dark and daunting outcome. I’m nervous for America but empowered to take as much action as I can to make sure that the rights I value stay intact and available to people of all types and backgrounds.
- Chia pudding. Sorry, I just think the flavor is weird, the texture is gross, and I’m ready for that food trend to fade into the background.
- Snapchat. With Instagram’s new stories feature, do we even need Snapchat? How many channels do I need to broadcast every meal over? These are the existential questions I ponder in the New Year… Lolz.
Looking Forward to It
Looking back at the highs and lows of the year makes me inspired to think about the future and what 2017 has in store. I won’t pretend for one second like I have some type of grand plan, but I know this year will be filled with some pretty cool things.
- I recently transitioned into a new job as Data Services Coordinator and I’m ready to learn more about nonprofit finance processes, improve my data visualization software skills, and hone my Excel prowess (which is one of my favorite characteristics about myself to be perfectly not humble). This is certainly the most challenging role I’ve ever stepped into but I know I’ll grow more professionally this year than I have in my working adult life.
- Although it wasn’t under the most uplifting circumstances, both John and I got to spend more time with family than we have in years past and I’m hopeful we continue that into 2017. We’re navigating that weird and uncomfortable time period of being our own adults with lives outside of our nuclear family but I’ve learned that family never goes away. Nothing is more important and I plan to be intentional about cherishing every moment with the ones I love.
- One of my goals for 2017 is to do more blog planning in advance. My posts have been sporadic and I’d like to get organized so that I’m not scrambling to get a post ready at the last minute. If anyone has any pointers, I’d love to hear them!
- More plants! Two years ago, I took the Veganuary challenge to try out a lifestyle free of animal products. Clearly, something clicked and it stuck! I’m nowhere near perfect and I’d be a damn dirty liar if I said I didn’t steal bites of John’s Jenis ice cream cones but I absolutely love this lifestyle. Freeing my diet of meat (been almost 15 years!!), dairy, and eggs, along with refined sugar (most of the time), processed foods, chemicals, and alcohol (ok, that one’s harder) has allowed me to be so much more in touch with my body. I can tell when I’ve eaten something that doesn’t nourish my body and I feel strong and powerful when I’ve been filling my plate with nutrient dense eats.
Th-th-th-that’s all folks! Thank you for reading, today and everyday of 2016. I hope you find peace, success, happiness, fulfillment, purpose, and anything else you’re looking for in 2017! Cheers!