I can’t believe it’s already just a few hours until 2016! I feel like we were just carving pumpkins yesterday and here we are about to ring in a new year. It always makes me a little sad to see my favorite season wind down to a close. The best parts of the holidays, for me, are the weeks leading up to them. When the twinkle lights start covering homes and storefronts, and there are decorating trees, writing holiday cards to family and friends and figuring out what to buy everyone on your Christmas list. After all that, the stillness that follows the actual day seems sad almost. But then New Years swoops in and your find yourself comforted by looking back on the year you’ve just lived, and planning on how to make the most of the one to come. So, in the spirit of the season, I figured I would hop on the bandwagon of reflection and resolution. Here we go!
A Few of My Favorite Moments
1. Getting to meet my nephew for the first time. It’s so surreal to see your siblings become parents. Here is someone you’ve known and loved your entire life, and to watch them go through such a profound change is really something. Suddenly there is this whole new part beautiful part of their story and you get to see how it shapes them.
2. Starting a new job that I love. After several years of working with an organization that just didn’t fit, this was a real breath of fresh air. With as much time as we spend at work, few things feel as frustrating as spinning your wheels doing something you don’t care about. I feel truly lucky to be able to go to work each day for an organization that is making a real impact on an issue I am passionate about. I also have made some wonderful new friends in my co-workers, which is a lovely bonus.
3. Paris. I know it’s not a moment, but it feels impossible to choose just one favorite from this incredible trip. There was exploring Pere Lachaise cemetery, watching Eric nerd out in Sennelier, walking along the Seine at night with the Eiffel tower in full view… It was an amazing two weeks and I can’t wait to go back someday!
4. Celebrating our first anniversary. Eric and I were married in September of 2014, so this was our first full year of married life. And it was perfect. Not perfect in the sense that it was always easy, or we never fought (that’s not our style), but because I feel so lucky to be with someone who makes me laugh and makes me feel so loved everyday. And to cap it off, we got to spend our first anniversary in Paris! What could be more perfect than that?
5. Finishing my first 5k! I have my bestie, Sommer, to thank for this one. She lives in Vermont, but I’ve known this girl since kindergarten and she has a way of talking me into things. She called me up last Spring and said she wanted to run the Lincoln Park Zoo 5K. I’d always wanted to do one, but having a partner in crime gave me the extra motivation I needed to actually follow through. It was fun to “train” together by texting each other updates and playlist suggestions. On the day of the race, there was a huge storm, so big in fact that they actually cancelled the 10k and had to call in a lot of the runners who’d already started. Luckily, we were close enough to the end that, despite the weather, Sommer and I actually got to run through the finish line – together!
6. Dinner in Milwaukee with a dear friend. This was one of those moments that seemed inconsequential at the time maybe, but that I’ve thought a lot since it happened. This friend has been to hell and back the last two years. From job troubles, to a house fire that took her precious pup, it’s felt like one heartache after another. Few things leave you feeling as ineffectual as when someone you love is hurting, and there is nothing you can do. So when the tide starts to turn, frustratingly slow as it may be, it’s such a relief. It was wonderful to visit with my friend last summer in Milwaukee and see her laugh, really laugh, for the first time in far too long. Better still, it was wonderful to meet the boy who’d helped put a smile back on her face and to see her being loved and treated the way I always knew she deserved.
7. Reconnecting. Specifically, reconnecting with one of my dearest friends, who has been living out of the country for almost three years! Sawyer came to visit this past August, and despite it having been a full year since we’d last seen each other, in some ways it felt like we picked up right where we’d left off. I’d met Sawyer four days into my life in Chicago, we clicked instantly as friends, and he’s been a tremendous part of my story here. So when he left for Thailand to be with his love, it was hard. Of course, I selfishly wanted him to stay, as much as I’ve selfishly wanted him to move back every day since he’s left. But I’ll eventually come to terms with the fact that I’ll just have to treasure the time I do get to see him.
8. Exploring with my mom. When I was in middle school and high school, my mom and I use to drive to this beautiful cemetery near our house and spend time walking around among the gravestones, talking. Sometimes we’d read the names off the stones as we passed by and wonder about the lives attached to them. Sometimes we just talked about silly, inconsequential nothings. Regardless, these were some of my favorite moments with my mother. At the end of last summer when she came to stay with us for a few days, we stopped in one of Chicago’s many old, beautiful cemeteries and it reminded me of all those times when I was younger and living in Vermont.
9. Going Home. This past summer Eric and I took a trip to Vermont to visit my family and friends. It was only the second time he’s come with me, the first being when it was cold and snowy and we couldn’t really get out to do so many of the fun things I remember from growing up there. So it was fun to play tourist in my hometown and reminisce, while also getting to see things through fresh eyes.
10. Rediscovering my love for photography. I actually moved to Chicago for school because I’d wanted to be a photographer. I burned out pretty quickly on the idea, however, and moved in a profoundly different direction. That said, I always missed taking photos. I’d put my camera down in college and, for numerous reason and excuses, had a tremendously difficult time picking it back up again. One of my resolutions last New Years was to remedy that. I started just by playing around with my iPhone, and then I used the planning of our Paris trip as a good excuse to invest in something better. I’m so glad I did! It’s easy to get caught up in work and responsibilities, so having that creative outlet has been wonderful.
What were some of your favorite moments/memories/trips from 2015?