Lessons Learned, Life Milestones & Magic Memories: Reflections on 2019

Twenty-nineteen has been such a long yet fast year for me.

It's been the first full year I've worked at my job, which I genuinely love.

It's been a year full of stress and financial strain due to wedding planning, while also being the happiest year of my life because I got to marry the love of my life.

It's been a year of realizing that I can no longer call certain people friends, and being disappointed that those friendships are no longer serving me well.

It's been the year that I begin to truly tackle my personal goals and ambitions.

It's been the year that made me really think about my priorities and life goals going into this next decade.

It's been the year I became an aunt to my first little nephew, who will always think of me as his aunt—I officially have 10 nieces / nephews now that I'm married, but Payton is the first one who was born after Tyler and I tied the knot.

Overall, I think this year was an enlightening year full of personal growth, and even though I didn't get to do some of the things I really wanted to do, I know that I'll reach those goals in the next year or two.

That being said, I want to share my reflections on 2019, from lessons learned to life milestones to the best memories of my year. I would absolutely love it if you'd share some of your reflections with me in the comments at the end of this post <3

Lessons Learned

Stop putting energy into one-sided friendships

This has been a hard lesson, but a necessary one. It doesn't matter how far you extend your olive branch toward someone if they aren't willing to meet you half way. In 2020, and every year after, I will only focus on investing time and emotion into friends who do the same for me.

Don't miss out on opportunities because of self-doubt and anxiety

For the past few years, I've been queen of "well I can't do that big thing because I'm not qualified / good enough." My anxiety has caused me to sell myself short, and I don't want to live like that anymore. In the next decade, I will have the confidence to go after the things I want to go after because I am a skilled and ambitious person, and anything I don't know how to do, I can learn.

You can't please everyone, so just do what makes you happy

It's a rare day when everyone surrounding you agrees with every single one of the decisions you make. Here's the thing: it's your life, not theirs. Do what makes you happy because at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

Celebrate the uniqueness of you rather than comparing yourself to others

I'm very guilty of comparing myself to other beautiful and successful people without ever really appreciating the fact that I'm beautiful and successful too. It's so easy to get caught up in the comparison game, but it's such a waste of time and energy. You are you for a reason. If you want to change something about yourself, by all means, do it. But do it for you, not because you want to be just like someone else. Uniqueness is a strength we all share, ironically enough (;

It's up to you to pursue your goals & ambitions and to turn them into realities

For the last few years, I've thought about how cool it would be to do "x" or how amazing it would feel to accomplish "y" without doing much to work towards turning those thoughts into actualities. No more of that. It's such a bad feeling to know that you have dreams that you're not actively working toward, and I don't want to feel that feeling anymore. Even if my goals and ambitions scare me, I will work toward them anyways because failing is even scarier.

Life Milestones

February 21: Celebrating three years with Tyler

Three years of partnership down and a lifetime to go. Every year we spend together feels more and more special, and I'm so excited to find out what amazing things the next decade has in store for us.

August 6: Celebrating one year at my first "career" job

I've been working as the Digital Media Specialist in the Marketing department at my local YMCA for nearly a year and a half now! I'm so lucky to say that I genuinely love my job, my boss, and my co-workers. I do not love that non-profit paycheck... but I suppose it's somewhat of a trade-off.

August 23: Launching this blog

Having a successful blog that I feel proud of and committed to has been a goal of mine since I entered my freshman year of college nearly six years ago. If you've been with me since then, you might know that I had a shortly-lived fitness blog in 2014, then an even shorter-lived blog similar to this one in ~2017. Both were flops because I didn't have a clear vision for where I wanted to go, and I didn't feel inspired by what I was writing. I don't even think I knew what I really wanted to write.

I'm so, SO happy to say that I love writing for this blog and for you. And I want to thank you for being here, from the bottom of my heart. It's crazy that there are people out there that even care about reading what I write. So really, thank you (:

October 12: Marrying Tyler

What a dream come true it's been to be married to my soulmate. I hate how cheesy that sounds, but I've dreamed of finding my perfect match for as long as I can remember. I've always wanted to have a happy, successful, loving relationship, and I could just cry at the fact that it's my reality. I am so, so lucky. And a total cheeseball.

October 23: Becoming "Auntie A"

Becoming an aunt to my first "real" nephew when he was born in October has been such a giddy experience. Like I mentioned above, I have a boat-load of other nieces and nephews, but none of them really think of me as their aunt because they're old enough to know me as "Tyler's girlfriend." I'm so happy to have them all, but I have a special connection to Payton because he truly made me an aunt, and he'll never know me as anything different. I've been deemed "Auntie A" and Tyler "Uncle T," which I absolutely love. Babies are the coolest.

Magic Memories

Anniversary dinner at Ruth's Chris

Shoutout to my dad for gifting T and I a Ruth's Chris gift card last Christmas! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for one again this year... (; I particularly loved this experience because we made a reservation on our anniversary, the food was amazing, and we got to feel like fancy adults for the night. We even stopped at my all-time favorite chocolatier, DeBrand Chocolates ( shoutout to my hometown, Fort Wayne, for being the birthplace of the best chocolate in the world ), afterwards. It was a perfect date night / anniversary celebration.

Being Cinderella for a day

What a fun, magical day this was. I get to do so many random, cool things because I work at the Y: I got to be Cinderella for a day because it was the middle of our summer camp program, and the theme that week was Disney. My boss was Belle and I was Cinderelly, and it was one of the most heartwarming experiences I've ever had. Of course the older kids knew we were just two women in costume, but the younger ones had so many hilariously adorable questions and wanted so many hugs and to show off for us however they could. One little boy even asked if he could marry me, lmao. It was a truly magical experience that most people never have the opportunity to be a part of, unless they work at a Disney theme park! So I'll just be packing my bags to go work at Disney in 2020, basically.

Austin & Olivia's vow renewal

Tyler's best friend and his wife renewed their wedding vows this past summer. It was a special day for them because they were married the previous year only in the presence of immediate family, so this was their opportunity to celebrate their love with all of their family and friends. It was such a fun night; we had a blast with all of our friends!

Visiting IUPUI with my little sister, Ashley

It's so weird that my sister is starting college this next year! It's wild to have grown up with her and to have continued to watch her grow after I left for college, and now she's going off to college herself. She invited me to go along with her to her IUPUI visit, and it was really fun to feel like an incoming college student again and to learn more about the university. I'm excited to see her to do great things there!

Becoming an ACTA ambassador

This was a big personal achievement of mine. ACTA Wear was my first ambassador partnership, and I genuinely love the company, the founders, their mission, and their products so much. It feels really rewarding to be a part of their journey and to represent something I believe in so strongly. If I'm going to buy fitness / athleisure apparel, I might as well be supporting a great mission while I do it.

Surprise bridal shower

My co-workers are above and beyond what most people get in their workplace. They're all so nice and easy to work with, especially my immediate team. I'm so lucky to work in a department that gets along so well that we get together outside of work. Case in point: several women from several departments throughout our organization threw me a surprise bridal shower at Oliver Winery and took the time out of their weekends to do it. They came together to create an entire spread of food, gifts, and hella wine. It was the sweetest thing a group of people have done for me in a long time.

Finalizing my wedding dress

It took such a long time to have my dress altered, so when it was finally finished, it felt like a huge accomplishment. It was the first moment that I felt the "this is actually happening soon" feeling. Wedding planning took so much thought and energy that this moment was the light at the end of the tunnel, I think.

Notre Dame vs. Bowling Green game with Ashley

I believe going to this game with my sister was the first "trip" of sorts that we've taken just the two of us. We had a really good time together, and ND won by like 50 points or something completely ridiculous. And Chicago ( the band ) randomly performed at half-time, which was a neat little bonus.

Getting married + Pickle Rick's guest appearance

Obviously getting married has been the highlight of my year! Aside from the whole becoming husband and wife part, Pickle Rick's guest appearance was definitely the highlight of the day for us. Please do yourself a favor and go read what I'm talking about here, if you haven't already.

All the baby snugs with my nephew, Payton

P is the first baby I've held since one of my cousins was born about ten years ago. I love holding him and feeding him and even when he farts on me. It's the greatest, and it's keeping my baby fever at bay. I have things to do and places to see before I begin my own baby journey, thank you so much.

I want to hear all about your year! Feel free to share anything you'd like to in the comments below.

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