chapter 24; 2014.

My favorite part of December is that it’s at the end of the year. It’s a new start, again. (I wonder how many ‘new starts’ I give myself throughout the year. Whatever.) It’s time to flip the page and leave 2014 in our past. A lesson that is nice to look back upon and reflect but something that ultimately is better to be closed and left on the bookshelf. I’m huge on reflecting- it’s how I learn and cope with every day life. Where did we take ourselves in 2014? What are the goals for 2015? How can I make a more positive impact on others and the earth with the coming year? And, my personal favorite; what sorts of adventures can I set myself on?

For me, 2014 was quite a big year. I completely fell in love with a city (not yet my own), quit a job I was passionate about and obsessed with, uprooted my comfortable life, moved across the country, started over and stated dating the most amazing human. The other day, as I was catching up with an old dear friend she reminded me how we always said that 2014 was going to be our year, I was pleasantly pleased to finish it and realize that perhaps maybe, just maybe, it was indeed just that.

Reading back on what my goals for 2014 were, the biggest one was for it to be a year of adventures. I had a ton of big adventures that filled up my life. My goal was 30 adventures and I think I more than surpassed that. I’m actually not one for number (yuck, math) but I like the idea of reaching for something that keeps me active. Adventures come in many shapes but I count anything new, traveling and of course; a giant move. 2014 for me was another year that I was able to touch the east coast, west coast and Midwest.

The year 2014 began in Seattle, which, coincidentally enough I now call home. I knew right when that ball dropped and the Seattle skyline lit up with pink fireworks; that it wouldn’t be long before I was moving west. Five months later, I was quitting my job. Six months later, packing up my apartment and seven months later, saying farewell to my family and heading west. The whole “move across the country thing” is something that many of my friends have done; especially in the past two years. Each has his or her own story and each has been a HUGE lesson in growth for that person. For me, it’s mostly felt like a dreamland. I still wake up wondering when I’m going to go home to the real world. But, I’m not so mad that dreamland is my reality, at least not for now. Before moving, people warned me not to put too much pressure on a new city, that it may take some time to adjust. They reminded me, ‘you can always come home.’ Well, they were wrong. Before I even made it to the state line I could feel that it was right. The city and this new life in Seattle has more than surpassed every expectation. Of course, I would be lying if I said there hasn’t been some downs and set backs, but, my time in Seattle is one that I am so in love with. Coming back to Minnesota anytime soon? No thank you. Forever West. The mountains and the natural beauty steal my heart much easier than any old city line can.

So clearly, this past year for me was also the year of the road trip. Early in the spring, my friend Joe and I road tripped across Eastern Canada and back down through Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Following the Head and the Heart, we set out on an adventure that consisted of great music, bonding and a few questionable choices. All in the name of learning, right? The next was Minneapolis to Chicago and Minneapolis to Oklahoma. The next was the big and probably most important one; Minneapolis to Seattle. I wasn’t settled long before it came time for Seattle to Portland, Seattle to San Francisco, and then a bunch of mini California trips. I always get so anxious about ‘needing to live’ and ‘dying to travel’ that when the end of my chapter comes and I reflect, I decide I’m doing alright in the living category. My soul will never be at ease though, until I see it all. I’m already planning what adventures 2015 will have for me. Hopefully, lots more road trips, more states to see and possibly a stamp or two in my passport.

I think sometimes, the best things come into our lives when we least expect it; friendships, relationships, jobs or general good luck. The older I get it seems to ring truer and truer that the less I look for something life changing, the more it falls into my place. Not to say that you shouldn’t continue to reach for things but some things, like love, are better to allow happen rather than push for it. Sometimes, something great has been in front of you for two (or more!) years you just have to open your eyes and your heart and let the universe play its course. One of my favorite things about this year was turning a beautiful friendship into an even more beautiful relationship. Each day, I wake up and wonder what I did right to get this amazing life. A boyfriend who is the sweetest and most caring human, a family that is so full of love and support, friends that know me better than I know myself, a job that makes me feel like a super hero, adventures that keep my spirit strong and a life that leads me to more smiles than tears each day.

I used to think ‘20’ was my biggest year for personal growth, however, ‘24’ and 2014 has definitely trampled that. I am satisfied with the challenges and comfort levels that were pushed. I have always said that with each year, it’s not enough to have just a good year but instead to make it an even better one than the previous. Hands down, 2014 proved to do just that. When the good times out number the bad I consider that a success. And, when the great times fill your heart and mind so much that you hardly remember any bad, I consider that a blessing.

What a blessing 2014 was.
Cheers and Happy New Year! I hope you find your year is filled is love, adventure and happiness.

xo!

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