It’s hard making these lists, when someone you love dearly, who was there for the first 27 years of your life, passes away right at the start of it.
But I’ve been doing this since college, and whether people read these lists or not, it’s one of my favorite annual traditions.
Even when it hurts.
I like making these lists, because as I get older, it helps me remember where I’ve been and what I’ve done. And sometimes, we just need to reflect on the good moments that were sprinkled in amongst the bad.
And sometimes, we need to remember the bad so we can better treasure the good.
Enough exposition, here’s 2018 in review:
- The year started out with my grandpa passing away on Jan. 5. I miss him, and at the most random moments. It may help picturing him up in heaven sharing a Guinness with the Lord, but it also hurts.
- I started going to a therapist once a week, to start working through some things I should have addressed years ago. We’ve made some great progress, and I’m really proud of the work I’ve done over the past year.
- In February, I met John Cusack with my dear-friend-since-kindergarten Bailey Jane, and we both realized that while his endearing, boom-box-holding character was a goal to strive for in high school, we’ve since met our real-life Lloyd Dopplers. ❤
- I helped my roommate/wifey-for-lifey Katrina find her first house. Let the record state that I was the first one to send her the link, before her father or realtor. :
- Edit – how could I forget I had the wonderful opportunity to see one of my favorite stand-up comedians and social media sensations John Crist live?! Seriously though. I laughed so hard my non-existent abs hurt afterwards.
- I enjoyed a spontaneous night out with Bekah at Caroline’s, a jazz club off Florida St. where dimly lit Tiffany lamps set the scene and a glass of wine is the equivalent of three. As we danced in our seats from our corner table, it was the first time since my grandpa had passed where every atom in my being felt alive.
- In March, I became an aunt for the first time. It should be noted that my nephew Sawyer is one of the cutest babies of all time, and no, I’m not saying it because I”m biased (well, not only) but it’s also just a fact.
- In April, I turned 28. Zach gave me his traditional gift of tulips, we went to Wauwatiki (finally) after it being at the end of our block for a year, we went and saw A QUIET PLACE in the theater and had a delicious dinner at Le Reve in downtown Tosa. Zach then surprised me by bringing a group of my friends together so we could beat the clock in an 80s themed escape room. We definitely won.
- In May, I finally made it to San Francisco, after spending years of wanting to go (thanks Full House and Princess Diaries and Mrs. Doubtfire, for making it seem magical). I got to ride a cable car like Uncle Jesse AND eat at the Stinking Rose AND see my friend Kristen swing dance like a winner (literally) AND enjoy picnicking in front of the Painted Ladies with our friend Sarah while we drank the best boba I’ve ever had AND I made $5 while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.
Fact: San Francisco has the best weather on the planet.
- In June, I moved out our loft in Tosa, and in with my grandmother. I’ve been able to save some money, and keep her company around the house. It’s oddly been really helpful with handling my grief.
- I made it out to several lakefront festivals this year, including GermanFest. I ate a Rollbraten in my grandpa’s honor, and then I watched a schooner come into port while listening to polka music while I snuck in an illegal ride on a Bird scooter at golden hour.
- In September, I had a lovely day walking around downtown Milwaukee with my grandma for Doors Open Milwaukee. She showed me her and my grandpa’s first apartment together. It is now above a Mexican restaurant, a two-minute walk from the Oriental Theatre on the East Side.
- I went on antidepressants. I don’t know if I will be on them forever, but they’ve (along with therapy) have helped me get back on track with life. Much like medications you take for regulating your cholesterol or blood pressure, my antidepressants help me regulate a special part of my brain that needs just a little extra boost these days.
- I got to see the China Lights again with Zach and our families. I got my grandma a panda that reminded her of the one my grandpa gave her when they were dating. It made her cry happy, rememberful tears.
- 1/3 of everyone I know is currently pregnant and/or just had a baby. Mazol tov everyone.
- I saw Tootsie the Musical with CRAZY EX GIRLFRIEND’s Greg (sorry, I mean Santino Fontana) and oh my goodness can that man rock several octaves (and a dazzling red dress, I might add).
- Zach and I celebrated 10 years as friends, and slightly less as a couple. We took in countless coffee shop dates, spent hours in bookstores, and held a multitude of several never-ending conversations. For our anniversary, we spontaneously decided to go to Cedarburg for the day, and it was pretty much perfect. The weekend ended with drinks by a cozy fire on a rooftop and a romantic stroll along the river walk. I won’t wax on poetically about just how great Zach is, but if you have met him, well, you already know. 😉
- I read more this year. Thanks to deleting the Facebook app off my phone, I read more news, think piece articles, and books. My literary travels took me to Cold War-era Siberia and geisha-centric Kyoto, Japan, from a zoo in Pondicherry, India to the temperamental seas of the Pacific, and I can’t wait to see where I’m headed next.
- I wrote more this year. To date, I’m just shy of 50,000 words on my novel. I started the year with 15,000, but a writer’s retreat in July renewed my excitement and energy into my story and these characters. I’ve been writing this book since high school, and it is about time I finished it. I don’t know if it’ll get published, or if it does, if it will make any bestseller lists or become anything of prominence, but by God this draft will have a beginning, middle, and (finally) an end. I owe that much to my characters, and to the people in my life who have continued to encourage me in writing.
I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting, but honestly it’s just because this year felt so…long. Where 2017 flew by, 2018 seemed to drag on, to the point I looked around several times asking myself “it’s STILL 2018?”
I’m looking forward to 2019. I’m going to turn 29 (“TWENTY-NINE!”), and excited to see what the last year of my 20s has in store for me (I also really like the number 9, but that is neither here nor there). It’s funny, I really don’t feel a day over 25, and some days I forget I don’t have my late 20s spread out before me 😉
This year, it really hit me just how short life is and how I haven’t been looking around to take it in. As the wise philosopher and self-proclaimed car-less walrus Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
I don’t intend to miss life in 2019.
Which is why, unlike some year reviews I’ve done in the past, I’m going to end this one with looking forward, instead of back. I”m going to share some of goals, hopes, and plans for the new year, and instead of becoming overwhelmed by already having things on the calendar, embrace what I have to look forward to. What I hope for. What my goals are.
- Finish a completed, first rough draft of my book.
- Read more books, period.
- See the Backstreet Boys in concert. Again. Twice.
- Head back to the Pacific Northwest after too much time away.
- Take TEFL (English as a Second Language) courses.
- Apply to grad school.
- Submit my script to a few competitions.
- Write more: books, scripts, blog posts, to-do lists.
- Turn 29 so I can say I’m “TWENTY-NINE!” like Max Greenfield does in NEW GIRL all day. All. Day.
- Go see MOULIN ROUGE on Broadway.
- Tattoo something meaningful on my wrist. Finally.
- Pierce something other than my earlobe.
- Lose that last 15-20 pounds I’m carrying around.
- Visit Los Angeles: tour the Universal Studio/Warner Bros. Studio lot, the Hollywood Bowl, and Disneyland.
- Meet Michael J. Fox.
- Plan a kick-ass baby shower.
- Buy and prepare Christmas presents in summer.
- Take more pictures, including ones with me in them.
- Do a better job at “loving my neighbor as myself.”
And instead of resolutions, I’m going to center my focus on a word or action instead (watch for a follow up on this later this week). Instead of putting this pressure on me to check all these various items off of some list, I’m going to strive to just do better. In several aspects of my life, of course, as any good New Year Resolution, but with a focus on what particular aspect of my person.
Stay tuned, and Happy New Year!