A year ago today, I posted a look-back on 2013 about how excited I was for 2014. And then 2014 had to go and kick my ass. Looking back now, on the last day of this year that I can’t wait to be done with, it’s really easy to segment the year into three distinct parts: the first four months, clinging to a failing relationship and failing myself by doing so. Then May through August, checking out and putting on autopilot while I hid from facing some ugly truths and tried to heal. Finally, September through December, where I got to the point that life seemed great again. Lately I’ve been playing Imagine Dragons’s “It’s Time” on loop because so much of it resonates with me, particularly “It’s time to build from the bottom of the pit right to the top, don’t look back,” and “I’m never changing who I am.” After a year actively trying to change who I am, and struggling to build from the bottom of my personal pit, I’m just done looking back. 2015 will be better. It frankly couldn’t be much worse, but I’m really feeling like it’s time for it to be a year of me. 2014 did hold some redeeming points:
--Puerto Rico, for a warm-weather getaway that gave me just enough sunshine to survive Minnesota’s brutal winter this year. I drank approximately twenty mojitos, suntanned and snorkeled on the beautiful island of Culebra, hiked and ziplined through the rainforests of Luquillo, and soaked up the history of the two Spanish forts and beautiful, colorful streets of San Juan.
--Cincinnati and Oxford, OH, for another lovely visit with my sis and brother. This trip was more business than pleasure, as we moved both of them out of apartments/dorms, but we still made time for fun (and Graeter’s ice cream), of course!
--Baltimore and Dover, Delaware, for Firefly 2014. I’m secretly dreading Kaitlin’s departure from that beautiful city on the bay for grad school next year…I’ll miss the cobblestone streets, crab dip, and darling row houses. It’s so nice to feel familiar with a city, even as just a visitor.
-- Notre Dame and Chicago for Andrew and Alyssa’s wedding in October. This is the first year since I started school back in 2007 that I haven’t made it to a Notre Dame game, but even just setting foot on campus on their wedding weekend satisfied that intrinsic need for that place…it’s a home to me in a way that will hopefully never change.
--My 25th birthday with a surprise visit from my BFF Kaitlin! For a self-professed cold-weather hater to brave the polar vortex of the Twin Cities to surprise me was one of the most meaningful demonstrations of how much this girl loves me. We celebrated in epic fashion (and managed to stay warm while doing so!).
--My parents’ 30th anniversary. As I waxed poetic here, their love and their commitment to each other has been the best example and the highest standard for me. I couldn’t be luckier to have them in my life.
--A totally unexpected promotion at work. I’m being trusted with a role that is way ahead of where I expected to be at this stage with my company—to be barely a year in, and being given the amount of responsibility and exposure I’ve been entrusted with, is a true demonstration of the fact that I’m thriving here.
--Time living alone! This time last year, I was celebrating my first time cohabiting, and now I’m learning to be independent…cooking for one, decorating and cleaning, and making a home for myself all on my own. It’s been a revelation in learning self-sufficiency, and I’m loving it.
--Broken heart. We’ve covered it excessively. I was decimated, but I’m really lucky, in a way, that it took til 25 to really experience that. If nothing else, my life since April has proved to me that the human spirit can overcome anything with a little Prosecco, a lot of amazing friends, and a healthy helping of sheer stubbornness.
--Fantasy Football season. I was apprehensive, but after a LOT of coaching from my friend David and way too much time and effort, I made it through the second round of playoffs before getting absolutely slaughtered. I’m hooked and can’t wait to play again next year!
--Full year blogging. MinneapoLiz turned one in October and I’ve learned so much over the course of the year! Can’t wait for what 2015 will bring…a re-design, new content, and hopefully even more growth.
--My grandma and I have really built a wonderful relationship in the last year. From Sunday Fundays to random pop-ups after work for a glass of wine, I’ve loved getting to spend more time with her and hearing stories about her young adulthood—she’s been a treasure to get to know better after 25 years of her just being “Grandma.”
--My parents and I were roommates from April to October, and it was just what the doctor ordered after a terrible winter and breakup. They took care of me in ways both obvious (hello, laundry and lunches) and unobtrusive (endless talk-it-out sessions and marathons of “House of Cards”). I really needed them, and they were 100% there for me.
--My cousin Kari deserves a special shout-out for the bottomless support she also provided this summer. We went through breakups within hours of each other and she was the first person I’d text when I just needed to bitch it out to somebody who could understand without judgment. She’s always been my “fave,” but she truly is my favorite after the hours of conversation and texting!
Being totally honest, 2014 hurt, a lot. At the time, it felt like a body blow. Now I’m starting to think it was really just growing pains all along. After proverbially pressing pause on so much that was good in my life for so long, I’m really ready to begin again in 2015. New year, clean slate, and a lot to look forward to. Here’s to closing a tough chapter and starting the next off on the right foot! To continue our retrospective, check out this video—my year in Instagram—and I’ll see you loves in 2015.