What a fucking year. 2017 brought me my highest highs and lowest lows. As I reflect back on this year, my first reaction is to laugh. I started off this year picturing what my life would look like down the road, only to get to the end of it in a completely different space. I never could have imagined being where I am now, but I am utterly grateful for every single thing that brought me to this exact spot. Over the past few months alone I have realized and learned so many new things about myself and the world that I may not have, had I continued along my old path.
I started off this year in a great mindset; I wrote down a few goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of this year and I was determined to meet all of them. But that never happens, let’s be real- I did achieve a few of them, which I am still very proud of. At the tail end of 2016 I created my blog, and as the months went on I found it harder and harder to keep up with while working full-time, but I have had so much fun learning about the process over this year. Starting my blog is what gave me the first push to start doing things that I truly enjoyed. One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to travel to 3 new places, which I did achieve. In March I traveled to Portland, Oregon, which had been on my bucket list for years. I fell in love with the city and would love to return one day. In April I also achieved another long-term goal of mine: attending Coachella. What an unforgettable weekend that was. I had the time of my life and I am so glad I was able to attend this year because I’m probably going to miss out in 2018. My sister graduated from high school in June and it was so crazy to witness. It really started hitting me that we weren’t little kids anymore, and we were both on our way to becoming adults. July is the month that truly changed the course of my life, and reflecting back it was 100% for the better. I came out of a relationship that lasted almost 5 years, and at first I felt as though my life were over- I felt like I had no one and no purpose. Since I was 15 years old, all I had known was having that person there in every aspect of my life, and throwing away all of those years, memories, and future plans seemed like a twisted nightmare. Suddenly removing that factor from my life was not an easy transition. Thankfully, a few days later, my family and I took off on a week long vacation to Belize that we had planned a few months prior, which couldn’t have been timed any better. I am so grateful for this vacation for 2 important reasons: it allowed me to forget about the real world and have the time of my life, and I was also bit very hard by the travel bug. When I returned, I developed a new level of determination that I never knew existed within me. I wanted to travel, and I wanted to do it as soon as possible. I experienced so much joy and happiness during that trip despite what was going on in my personal life that I instantly craved more. I became fascinated by the world and all of its mystery, and I needed to see and experience more of it. In August I finally turned 20, and it’s crazy to think that I’m not a teenager anymore, even though I still feel like one. I spent my birthday surrounded by my family and that is all I could’ve asked for. A few days later, I caught a flight to Boise, Idaho to visit my best friend in college. I spent the weekend with her and I had such a blast exploring the city by her side. At the end of August my family and I dropped my sister off at college in San Diego, and it was very weird at first not having her at home. I’ve gotten used to it now and I can’t complain about having the house to myself (besides with my parents). In September I finally took a leap towards my dreams and booked a flight to Thailand. This was going to be my first destination in 2018 and I planned to travel the world for most of the upcoming year. I notified my work so that they had plenty of time to find a replacement for me, and this was extremely exciting for 2 reasons: I was really going to be traveling the world and I was finally going to leave the corporate world and follow my dreams. After Thanksgiving, my dad and I set off on a road trip for the weekend to hit some major landmarks. We explored Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon, and the Hoover Dam. We covered almost 1,500 miles in 4 days and saw the most beautiful scenery. A few days before the road trip, I had met one of my dads patients who has done a lot of traveling, to hear about her experiences and ask for some advice. She mentioned that she was going on a trip to Colombia at the end of January with a travel group and invited me to go with her. I gave a lot of consideration to it as this trip was at the same time that I was supposed to leave for Thailand. About 2 weeks later, I decided to join her and signed up for the trip to Colombia. I was beyond excited knowing that I was going to start off my travels with someone I knew and also to travel with a group of people who share similar interests. Earlier this month we went up to LA to do some shopping and spend time together to get to know each other better. After a very fun and successful day trip, she took me home and handed me an envelope. I went inside to open it, and in the envelope was a printed confirmation of our flights to Colombia that she had booked for us. This amazing, generous woman paid for both of our flights. I expressed my deepest gratitude to her and felt so thankful to have met her and taken the opportunity to travel with her, even though the trip is costing me more than I would like to spend. I know that it will definitely be worth the money though. Over this past weekend, I celebrated Christmas with my family and had a lovely holiday with them. I returned to work today to begin my last 2 weeks at my job, and I am eagerly looking forward to my last day, which is January 5th.
This year really shaped me into the person I am now, and who I strive to be. Back in July, I never imagined myself to be where I am today. This year I encountered the darkest time of my life, but the light at the end of the tunnel was absolutely worth it. I am, and always have been, a firm believer that every thing happens for a reason. Every. Damn. Thing. I said the same words last year in my 2016 reflection and I will always hold true to this phrase. After re-reading my 2016 reflection, it was clear that I was lying to myself about my happiness when realistically I was suffering inside. Things happen in life that make absolutely no sense in the moment, but time reveals all and shows that everything has a higher purpose. I couldn’t see it a few months ago, but it’s crystal clear now that everything I encountered was meant to happen because I had been denying my unhappiness and restricting myself from living my best life. I am forever thankful for all of the experience and growth I gained from that period in my life that has led me to the present. It feels like every year brings many new life lessons, and this year will definitely be unforgettable. The most important lesson I have learned as this year comes to an end is that true happiness can only be found within yourself. External factors can only provide happiness to a certain extent, but the driving force is you. It has been a challenge for me to remind myself of this as I take on each day, but having this mindset has greatly improved my life. Being content with yourself is something that neither people or objects can supply. From the best times of my life to the worst times of my life, I wouldn’t trade a thing- everything has brought me an important life lesson. I may only be 20 years old, but I feel like I sure have experienced and learned a lot at my young age. My 2018 is going to be filled with countless adventures and priceless memories throughout my travels. I have been working for the past 2 and a half years, diligently saving my money, and I believe that spending money on experiences is far more valuable than buying material items. I couldn’t feel more grateful coming out of this year with a better outlook on life and I can’t wait to see where my travels bring me. If you read all of this, thank you. Here’s to 2018: may you confidently strive and effortlessly thrive.🌟