How is it New Year’s Eve? I know it’s a cliche to wrap up the year with the sweeping “where does the time go?!” statement, but I feel like it’s true. More than any other year I can remember, 2013 completely flew by, leaving me a little bit dazed and overwhelmed.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the last couple of years really felt like “fillers” to me. That’s an awful thing to say, especially in the middle of my 20s, but it’s true. It’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself or have some incredible experiences (traveling to Israel and running two half marathons come to mind), but I feel like I spent a good three years with my head down, just trying to get shit done. I was teaching full time, working on my Master’s degree, and pushing through what I knew would be the last few years of long-distance with Nick. Life was good—I loved my job, I was happy in my relationships with my family, friends, and boyfriend, and I felt healthy and strong and successful. But I also felt much of the time that I was waiting for the next chapter to begin.
And then 2013 rolled around—and it felt like a whole new BOOK began. This year has been so good to me, both personally and professionally.
In May, I finally defended my thesis and graduated with my Master’s in curriculum and instruction. Without a doubt, it was one of the proudest moments of my life; I worked my ass off for nearly three years to get this degree, and walking that stage and knowing I had KILLED IT made me feel elated.
In June, after five years and ten months of long distance (but who’s counting?!), Nick left North Carolina to come live with me in Maryland. These last few months of living together have been my favorite months of our relationship. Living alone was fun, but knowing that I get to come home and hang out with this guy every night is the best.
We spent much of the summer and fall doing wedding planning things. We took engagement pictures, sent out Save the Dates, picked out flowers and hotels and attire for the wedding party. Because my best friends are the most incredibly generous women on the planet, I spent some time in Rhode Island for my bachelorette weekend, at a beach house they had rented right up the road from where we lived in college. It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in recent memory.
Then, to accommodate my friends in Maryland who couldn’t make it to the party in RI, my girls threw me a beautiful bridal shower down here as well. It was overwhelming and wonderful and I spent most of the weekend crying and feeling incredibly blessed and lucky.
Then in the fall, I took the biggest step of my professional career so far and began teaching a graduate course at the university where I got my Master’s. Yup. Just about six weeks after graduation, I was offered this affiliate position at the university that I knew I couldn’t turn down. Teaching at the college level has been a dream of mine since my freshman year in college, one that I had pushed aside once I decided that I ultimately didn’t think I had the time or desire to pursue my PhD. Teaching the course was extremely time consuming and a lot of work, but it was the most fulfilling professional experience I think I’ve ever had.
It feels like 2013 was one of the most overwhelming years of my life, in the best way possible. And, as a result, I find myself at a loss for what to expect or hope for in 2014.
There’s the obvious: we’re getting married! And while planning the wedding will surely take up a lot of our time for the first few months of the year, I don’t really consider getting to the wedding as a goal. Getting to the wedding under budget and with our sanity intact might be more appropriate, but I think we’re doing fine in that regard so far (heh)! So other than getting married, here’s what I’d like to accomplish, or at least work towards, in the next year:
- Be more social. I am naturally a social person, but I have become grossly antisocial in the last year and a half. I blame it on the “busy trap” that I know we all fall into, but that can’t be an excuse any more. I miss hanging out with my friends and meeting new people and trying new things. I thrive on that stuff, and it’s time to make time for it all again.
- Travel (or, more specifically, plan a kick-ass honeymoon without freaking out). I am a frugal person. I do not spend my money frivolously, and spending a huge chunk of cash on anything, even if it’s something I really want or even need, can cause me serious anxiety. I am putting all of that aside when it comes to saving and planning for our honeymoon. We’re considering this a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and I am all in with that mindset. We haven’t settled on a location yet, but we have several awesome ideas, and they’re all trips that I would LOVE to take. Win-win.
- Challenge myself and try new things. This is so broad, but it applies to so many different things. I get stuck in ruts very easily, and I need the reminder to forcefully remove myself from them sometimes. I want to try some new fitness classes, plan some “out-of-the-box” lessons for my classroom, visit some places in the Baltimore/DC area that I still haven’t been to, etc. Doing the same old stuff is comforting, sure, but it’s far from exciting—so bring on the different and new and unusual!
- Publish? Heavy on the question mark. I think it’s time to revisit my Master’s thesis and make some revisions suitable for publication. This will take some serious work and aggravation and commitment, but I’m proud of the research I did, and I want other people to see (and perhaps benefit from) it.
- Volunteer. I have been putting this off since I started my graduate program, blaming my lack of time. I volunteered quite a bit in high school and college, and I miss it. I’ve already started looking into some local programs, and I’m excited to get back into it.
- Write more. Again, something I’ve put off due to being busy. But I miss writing! Back to it I go.
All in all, it’s been an incredible year, and I have so much to look forward to in these next twelve months.
Wishing you all a very happy, healthy New Year!