Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back

Looking back I see that 2013 was a HUGE year for me! Sometimes I zero in on the day to day things or one month at a time and forget to look at the big picture. I was just scrolling through my instagrams and realized WHOA!  I finished a wonderful first job, lived in my first apartment, traveled to five new countries, enjoyed time spent with friends and family, and moved halfway across the world. 2013 gave me more than I could ever ask for - incredible adventures, life lessons, amazing friends, and more!

Like most people I’m not one to stick to specific New Year’s resolutions, especially once January is over. And as my brother always told me, “why should you have to wait for the New Year to change? If you want to make a change, just do it.” He’s right.

Instead I take this time of year to self-reflect on what I’ve taken away from this past year and what I want to focus on for the coming year. I’ve made a list of the Top 9 ( I was going to do ten but couldn’t think of a final one) from 2013 (in no particular order). It can be a place, person, group of people, or a thing that influenced my year:

Family | Family not only includes immediate family but my extended family as well, even those not blood related. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the love and support I’ve felt from my parents and little brother this year! They’re my number one fans and I’m theirs! In addition to them, my aunts, uncles, cousins, St. James’ family, continue to show me how important it is to have family in your life.

YASC | I couldn’t imagine my life with the Young Adult Service Corps. Not only have I met 23 other incredible, passionate young people. They’ve become my dear friends. I don’t know what I did without them in my life before this year. Also, I thank the YASC personnel for believing and having faith in me to carry out their mission in the Philippines! The opportunity to serve the Episcopal Church in this way is a blessing. It’s allowing me to experience faith in a completely new way.

Richmond, VA | This small but great city allowed me to grow into an adult my first year out of college. I learned to pay my own bills, live in my first apartment, find new friends, and explore hidden gems. It’s a great, fun place full of other twenty-somethings trying to find their way. From hole-in-the-wall restaurants to museums to food truck courts to local breweries to funky thrift shops, Richmond is an eclectic mix.  While I may never (never say never) live there again, I greatly enjoyed my short time there!

Mentors | I feel fortunate to have had mentors, whether they be former professors, ministers, or bosses, sharing their wisdom with me. From them opening up, I’ve been able to learn life lessons and take away invaluable advice.

Friends | I am blessed to have supportive, fun, caring best friends. Even halfway across the world, they are there for me. This year as we are experiencing the “real world” we’ve had to be a shoulder to cry on or a therapist to advise one another or someone to simply laugh with. They’re always there for me. I don’t take any one of them for granted.

Philippines | At first I was like “the Philippines?!” I didn’t know anything about this island country but I’ve quickly learned it’s a beautiful place. Not only are the landscapes gorgeous but also the people are joyful, full of life and laughter. It’s constantly pushing me out my comfort zone to new limits. I’ve only been here four months but it feels much longer. Let’s see what else it has in store for me.

Travel | “Travel is the only thing that makes you richer.” I feel blessed to have had to opportunity to travel to five new countries, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Colombia, Philippines, and Hong Kong, this year! There’s nothing quite like experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, listening to different languages, tasting new cuisine. Everything about travel gets my heart racing. I love it! I’m always planning my next trip. Travel has become a part of who I am. I wonder where 2014 will take me?

Blogging | While this may seem trivial, it’s not. Blogging has opened me up to a new creative world of fashion, interior design, food, communication, and pure inspiration. Blogs have allowed me to read and connect with others who are going through the same life challenges and experiences. It constantly gives me new inspiration and ways to look at the world. With my own blog, it’s become a tiny piece of the internet where I can share this journey with you. It’s a wonderful creative outlet to share my photography, adventures and lessons learned.

Episcopal Diocese of VA | Growing up as an Episcopalian it never occurred to me that there were people behind the scenes working their magic to have the Diocese work as one unit. Well, there is. And they are an amazing, hard-working, dedicated, and fun-loving team! Not only do they work hard, but play hard. I feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of this small family even if it was for only a year. They opened opportunities for me to write, be creative, and collaborate within a work place. I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better first job out of college!

What's at the top of your list for 2013? 

Thanks for reading!

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