51 Things I Learned in 2016

Historically, my aspirations of keeping up with writing on this blog have led to countless posts beginning with “It has been too long.” Once again, history proves that it repeats itself as I dust off my laptop’s keys and pause briefly trying to remember what my password for this account is.

History is also repeating itself because, as per my annual tradition (going on eight years now), I am going to look back and share several memories and things I learned over the course of 2016. If you are intrigued, please read on. If I have already successfully bored you, here’s a photograph of a cute baby animal before clicking away merrily to a more fascinating website:

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Ahem. And now, 51 Things I Learned in 2016:

1) You wake up with hesitation about 2016 on January 1st. You’ve been having doubts about everything it seems lately, and you are genuinely unsure of where this year is headed. You have just moved out from your parents’ house, and you are still re-adjusting to living on your own.

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2) These doubts and fears don’t go away when you find out that your new landlords tell you they are selling the house you are currently renting on January 2nd, and you have until April 1st to find a new place to live. Again.
3) To fight these feelings brought on by the large blank canvas that looms before you, you start  making spontaneous plans, like entering a writing competition, pitching a story to a magazine, applying for a fellowship and planning a two-week trip abroad with your boyfriend the two of you have dreamed about for years. You tell yourself half-heartedly that if you are meant to be a writer, at least one of the writing things will pan out.

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4) You get rejected by the magazine, but are encouraged to keep pitching.

5) You become a savvy apartment hunter, and within two weeks of learning you have to be out of your current residence you and your roommate locate an adorable two-bedroom that will be ready by March 1st – and you can paint the walls.

6) You have driven a U-Haul. Never forget that.

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7) You sigh relief, thinking you don’t have to move again for a long while – until your place of employment informs you they are moving their offices in August.

8) It’s during the spring where the year suddenly takes off for you, and in turn throws several surprises your way: Your co-worker and fellow work space neighbor informs you she is leaving for another job in another city. You make it into the fellowship. Another co-worker and dear friend informs you she is leaving her part-time job where you work for a full-time gig elsewhere, but she gets to visit you at your fellowship. You receive a voicemail from a number you don’t recognize only to learn that the writing competition you entered has selected your piece out of 270 submissions to be one of the 12 performed in September.

9) May and June are very conflicting months for you.

10) But you start to feel like this whole writing thing might actually be your calling after all.

11) The night at Hotel Foster and Ian’s Pizza in celebration of a friend’s graduation will live on as a story you tell your kids when you reminisce about your twenties before they came along.

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12) You learn that you will never ever ride the Lake Michigan Ferry again. EVER.

13) Because apparently, you get motion sick. Or so you think.

14) Remember, you have driven across half the country completely alone, after getting sick – twice, through states you’ve never been to, with a phone at 10%, a dead GPS, no maps, and with less than half a tank of gas. Remember that you did that.

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15) But next time, remember you should fly.

16) You would find the one lady in Rochester, New York who runs an AirBnB that looks like a fairy-tale cottage and is a freelance scenic designer for some of the community theaters in town.

17) After a 2.5 hour ferry ride, and over ten hours on the road lending to hundreds of miles driven and several toll booths fed, you will find yourself in one of the most comfortable beds of your life. It will easily make the Top 5 List.

18) The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is a magical and inspiring place.

19) You meet some of the best theater critics and arts journalists currently working in the country, and you instantly feel insignificant. All confidence you just gained regarding your writing is gone.

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20) Marisa Tomei is a fantastic actress. Period.

21) When you think you suck, remember you made Chris Jones laugh with your writing. Laugh because he found it funny, not because it was awful. You hope.

22) You realize your next car should be newer, so the chance of your muffler falling off completely after a cross-country road trip is less likely.

23) Food poisoning isn’t fun. Especially when you are 1,000 miles from home.

24) You spend your second week at your fellowship feeling like your disappointing everyone because you keep getting sick, off and on. You wonder what the hell is going on. You’re quite certain several people are speculating you are pregnant.

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25) But you’re not pregnant. You (finally, and officially) get diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Suddenly, so many moments of your life make sense.

26) Thank God for your dear friend who was able to help you drive back home. You learn the two of you are even more alike; she is after all the reason you learned about the fellowship, told you to get checked out, and helped you get anxiety medicine.

27) It’s also because of her that you have seen Times Square and your first Broadway show, Something Rotten! at the St. James Theatre in New York City.

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28) In August, you spend two-weeks on a whirlwind adventure abroad with you boyfriend of six years. You thank your doctor for giving you another batch of anxiety medication to help you cope.

29) You don’t remember planes being a problem before, considering you have gone on a plane every year since 2012 and aside from freaking out from occasional turbulence, you have been fine.

30) Despite the rain in Iceland, you enjoy its natural springs and waterfalls and black sand beaches. You adore the colorful houses of Reykjavik. You eat at Bobbie Fischer’s favorite pho place. You sit on a basalt column outside of Vik, in the mist, never wanting to sit anywhere else. You stand in front of a Skogafoss, and the brisk droplets from the waterfall make you feel truly alive and happy. Months later, you will want to go back.

31) London is as wonderful as every single British romantic comedy has ever made it out to be. You feel welcomed. You become a skilled Tube rider. You spend the day touring the Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels. You learn sometimes you just need to go off and discover, and you will happen upon a local pub (just around the corner from 221B) and it will have the best fish and chips you have ever tasted. You walk the whole length of Hyde Park in hopes of finding the Peter Pan statue. Months later, you will want to go back.

32) The London Tube and The Paris Metro both have a tendency to attract accordion players.

33) Paris is exactly how you picture it. You find joy in sitting outside of Notre Dame, eating your leftover airplane breakfast as lunch, listening to the bells beside the love of your life. At that moment, you can’t imagine anything more romantic.

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34) Bike signals save lives in Amsterdam. So does the fact you and your boyfriend both have your phones on you, allowing you to find each other when you separated.

35) You get cursed at in Dutch. You deserved it.

36) You also learn that stairs are incredibly steep in Amsterdam townhouses. But from all the walking you are doing in their beautiful parks and around their museums, your calves are up to the challenge. Good thing, since Scotland also has an obsession with stairs.

37) Edinburgh is the city for artists and writers, and feeds your passion. You attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and see circus acts and a wonderful tale about the true writers behind the Grimm tales. You visit the coffee shop where J.K. Rowling worked on Harry Potter, which reminds you to write more…and that you need to finish reading the books.

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38) It is amazing how close a room full of strangers can become over a magical evening featuring whisky tastings, dinner, and an illusionist’s show.

39) The Scottish Highlands are beautiful. You decide you need to return someday to see everything you missed. Speaking of which, you miss Scotland a lot.

40) Your boyfriend can drive on the left side of the car in Ireland. You find this new ability of his extremely attractive.

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41) The Irish countryside makes you think of home.

42) You make it to the Cliffs of Insanity. You can neither confirm nor deny that you took a piece of them with you.

43) Your new work desk is a mini condo with a window. But still, you hope for no more moving.

44) You are called a playwright when the monologue you wrote for a writing competition is performed before an almost full-house at a professional theater. The artistic director hugs you, and she and her artistic associate, along with your piece’s director and actress all commend you on your writing style. For the first time in a long time, you feel like you have found a place where you belong, among these fantastic artists.

45) In regards to a certain election, you didn’t see that coming. You also can’t help but feel as if you are living in an alternative timeline, what with the election results, the surplus of celebrity deaths, and the Cubs winning the World Series.

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46) Apparently, if your boyfriend’s parents host your entire family for Thanksgiving, your grandparents will take this to mean you and your boyfriend are actually engaged.

47) Between the holidays and end-of-the-year-work-related-stress, your anxiety flares up again in time for all end-0f-the-year festivities. You decide you won’t let it get in the way.

48) La La Land helps you find magic in a month where you have been feeling anything but. On that note, Rogue One makes you wistful for Iceland and Carrie Fisher and Arrival helps you make peace with the concept of making decisions for your future self.

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49) Your roommate makes you a Star Wars blanket, a friend gifts you Nessy socks, your landlord and downstairs neighbor continue to be the best landlord and neighbor ever when they surprise you with gifts, your mom gives you a book followed up with the words “you can write better than this,” and your boyfriend invests in your health by getting you a Fit Bit – which, surprisingly, helps you manage your anxiety. Bottom line: on your worst days, no matter the distance, remember people love you just as you are.

50)Speaking of love, you realize how grateful you are to have Z in your life. From remembering the little things (such as the fact you like peanut M&Ms in your movie popcorn) to being there when you need it most (such as having a panic attack), he is absolutely one of the best elements of your life. He has seen you at your worst (mentally, emotionally, physically – yes, including illness) and he still holds your hand and helps you get through to the next moment. Remember his kindness and patience and love as you head into your seventh year together. Men like him (heck people like him) don’t just appear at your doorstep everyday.

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And, finally…

51)You realize you need to keep working on being happy yourself. You skew bitter and resentful too often, which is sad because if there is anything you have learned this year is how much you actually have going for you.

So, in the famous words of Shia, “JUST DO IT!” is the theme for 2017. Eat the healthy salad instead of the pizza you will regret. Clean up the mess instead of letting the mess control you. Turn off Facebook instead of scowling at the stories friends share. Read a book or work on your own, instead of wondering why nothing ever happens to you. Book a flight and go on a trip and don’t let your anxiety win. Love your family, your friends, and Z to the best of your ability, and remember they are human too. Don’t be afraid to be selfish from time to time, and don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself. Don’t judge your life by the friend that got engaged, the brother that bought a house, or the acquaintance that got a new job – hold yourself to your standards, not some other human’s.

Remember that.

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Cheers to 2017,

-The Shoe
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Inspired by _______________________

Inspired.

There really is no better way to describe the day I had today.

Often, when I sit down to share my thoughts with the world on this blog, I tend to focus on a negative or less-than-glamorous aspect of my life and strive to find the silver lining of positivity.

However, today I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I’m going to share the positive elements of my day.

Today, I was inspired by:

1) My co-worker, who has a hearty laugh that is highly infectious.

2) A grilled cheese sandwich with macaroni and cheese embedded within, and the lovely company of one of my closest friends.

3) A young man that I guarantee will win a Tony someday, had amazing stories to share, and yet has remained sensationally humble.

4) The sweet stench of the city air while sitting on a park bench.

5) The image of two women wrangling a mattress up a flight of stairs to a cozy efficiency apartment with the biggest personality in the city.

6) The stories and tales we shared over drinks and sweet potato fries while on a rooftop overlooking the city we both love.

7) A theater company and the story they shared about women, who helped save generations of future women by their actions.

8) Z himself, who continues to surprise me with his endurance and strength, and my pride for him grows. And – on that note – despite his most tired of days, still takes the time to tell me he loves me – even though I already know.

9) The stars. Whether you believe in a higher power or science or both – the stars are beautiful and miraculous, no matter how you look at them.

Some days, I spend far too many breaths complaining. Today was a great wake up call in the best way. I was reminded that it is never too late – or early – to dream big. I was encouraged to try new things and be spontaneous. I recalled how great conversation can be. I was humbled by the stories of women, who faced workplaces much more dire than my own. I felt an incredible surge of love and respect for a man I sometimes don’t always appreciate. Finally, and above all, I felt content knowing that my life is far from perfect – and somehow that makes it just right.

May you be inspired today by anything – great or small.

Sincerely,

The Shoe

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#25: My First Gala or The Age of Confidence

This past weekend I did one of my firsts. In case you recall, it was me promising myself I would try 25 new things to commemorate turning 25 this year. With that said, one of my firsts happened this past weekend. It was a gala for work, which in layman’s turns means you get dressed up like you would for prom (but with less glitter) or a classy wedding and go to an event where everything is “free” (and by free I mean you pay a fair amount of coin to get all the free stuff where you are then expected to spend even more money to support said cause gala is for). I went to represent my boss and company.

No pressure.

I’ll admit, I had about two days where I seriously questioned why I had volunteered to go. I’m not known as the classy one in our circle of friends, and I wanted to do my best to represent my company. On top of that, I still had nothing to wear the night before.

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Thank goodness for certain department stores and their steep discounts. Through the magic known as clearance items, I was able to pull together quite the outfit. The outfit is what helped calm my nerves. The second I shrugged that silky sheath of a gown on, I felt comfortable and confident all at once. Believe me, that is not an easy combination to come by with formal wear.

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It was almost as if the dress had some magic powers, for the moment I purchased the dress I was no longer nervous for this gala. I felt ready. Prepared. Ready to take on the world (or at least the world of very generous individuals and their lifestyle that was oh so foreign to me).

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As I prepared for the gala, the nerves stayed hidden. I curled my hair (all by myself – those that know me understand that this is a feat indeed), slabbed on some after 5 o’clock make up, shimmied into some black tights, and threw the dress on. When I saw the finished project, something happened. As I looked at myself, I didn’t see the awkward duckling everyone has come to know (and love). I didn’t see a girl that struggled with her confidence on the daily, that had issues with anxiety and always seemed to question herself.

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No, instead I saw a confident, mature, and beautiful young woman staring back at me. It was like knowing you have potential bottled away somewhere, and then suddenly seeing it take form for the first time. That was my Saturday.

What was great was once we arrived at the gala, for a brief second this new bold lady disappeared, only to come back to the surface and network like a boss (see what I did there?) and she wound up having a fantastic time. This woman used the right fork on her salad, properly held her knife when cutting into her filet mignon, and helped keep an engaging conversation all through dinner. In some ways, the few hours at the gala and the confidence gained almost made up for every embarrassing moment I experienced at school dances as a young lass. Almost.

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Now this all may sound quasi-arrogant, but I am merely sharing because I know I am not the only one out there that struggles with confidence. Especially in the writing community, we can be an insecure bunch, and that feeling intensifies when one actually lets others read their work (more on that later). It’s like exposing a vulnerable nerve, an open wound, and praying the individual holding your precious words doesn’t pour copious amounts of sodium into the fragile abyss that is your literary soul.

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No. I do not share this experience at a gala to brag about how great I looked or how amazing I felt afterwards (well, not only). No, I’m sharing because it makes me happy that the confidence and potential I had been searching for so long is there and showed its shiny beaming face finally. It gives me hope that when other, bigger, scarier things come up in the next few months or years, be it related to writing or not – I will be able to handle it, no matter the size or fear attached.

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So, I raise an imaginary glass of bubbly to you (again), recent graduates, fellow writers, and others who struggle, and to you I say simply this:

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YOU GOT THIS.

Sincerely, The Shoe

25 New Things

I turned 25 recently (by recently I mean almost a month ago), and it has been very…interesting to say the least. The months leading up to my twenty-fifth birthday were not pretty – they were filled with self-doubt, immense questioning, tears (the ugly kind), reruns of Friends and lots of staring at the ceiling late at night while trying to sleep wondering why I was such a mess.

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Then, almost like magic, I turned 25. Within the past month already, some very positive changes have taken place. I have been spending time (actively!) on writing, and have been meeting regularly with two other young female writers at a variety of coffee shops and diners to focus and encourage each other with our writing. On top of that, every day life things got a huge sigh of relief when I submitted my final student loan payment almost exactly three years post graduation – which I am still in disbelief about, if I’m honest.

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It’s funny – I spent all this time agonizing over turning 25, but here I am a month later and it is amazing how much better I feel already. I tend to worry unnecessarily (rather frequently, I’ll admit), but this new calm (largely due to the relief of no more student debt hanging over my head) has brought a newfound (albeit small) confidence into my life. And with this newfound confidence, which I believe may have been lurking behind a paranoid concern or pillar of low self-esteem (or two, or three), I feel ready to finally take charge and do some things I have been wanting to do for a very long time.

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So my goal for my twenty-fifth year is simply this: to try and attempt twenty-five new “things”. It could be as simple as renting a car because I can now do that legally at every major rental car company to trying a new type of food. It could be big like traveling to a brand new destination I’ve never been to before or it could be something small, like a writing exercise in a different style or catching up on some classic literature.

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I already have joined an amazing writing group, which has not only revitalized my passion for writing but has been an extremely healthy outlet for me (both creatively and socially). I have paid off my student loans, which means while I still have other debt and bills and am still living at home, I have gained another small ounce of financial freedom and self-reliance. I am going on an adventure with one of my dearest college friends at the end of summer as she moves on to another part of her life, and I will be flying alone for the first time ever.

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All these little things I’ve noticed are having an extremely positive impact on not only myself as a person, but on my writing. I’m forcing myself to sit down and just DO IT and carve time out of my busy schedule to do so. I realized one night that I don’t need to spend countless hours on Facebook or Netflix – especially if I am not using my time wisely, time I could be using to flesh out the character of my current protagonist or working out the kinks in the plot.

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So on that note, I raise a glass to year twenty-five, and am excited to see (and share) what new things come my way!

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Sincerely (as always)
The Shoe

Writerly Musings: First Person or Third Person?

Greetings! I haven’t written here in a while, mainly because I am trying to focus on writing and working on a few projects of mine I’ve been putting off (more on that later…at some point).

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TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY WINSTON. Anyway, moving on.

Today while I was having a really good surge of writing motivation, the following thought crossed my mind:

I have heard a variety of individuals state their distaste for novels written in the first person. I personally have always enjoyed them, and was surprised to hear the negative feelings from others! So, I thought I would turn to you and ask you what you prefer, both as a writer and as a reader.

Do you prefer the first or third person tense? Pending on your answer, why or why not?

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Please leave your thoughts in the comments below, and I look forward to hearing your insights! For the time being though, I will resume my power hour of writing. 😉

Sincerely,

The Shoe

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To My Dearest Self

A month ago I promised myself I would maintain this blog better. This month ago I made a lot of semi-serious promises to myself, what most people call “New Year Resolutions”, the silly semi-serious promises we make ourselves before another winter storm and several inches of snow takes every ounce of optimism away from us. Before we know it, the new year is beginning to resemble the previous year. The only difference being one is older, in not just age but potentially looks, and the sheer frustration that if I haven’t lost the weight or kept up with my goals that I keep making for some reason-will I ever truly change?

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I love my commute home. After a day of work, which could be any number of things (long, busy, fun, boring, tiring, upsetting, or the go-to “ok”), I settle into my car for a 30-minute drive on side roads in rush hour traffic. I don’t know if it’s because I finally have a few moments to myself to think, or if it is the natural calm that comes with driving, but I have some of my best ideas and thoughts while driving. They range from picking and working on songs I hope to perform in a lip synch battle with Jimmy Fallon someday…

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to planning my dream elopement (which won’t sadly happen because I’m not heartless nor do I lack feelings). [end sarcasm]

Sometimes my mind wonders to my writing (or lack thereof). Everything from writing prompts to my writing style to the fact that I have all these great ideas swirling around in my cranium and yet when it comes to actually pinning them down in actual ink (or pixelated text) I suddenly whine and say it’s too hard, I suck at writing and shouldn’t even try-and before I know it I’m watching another season of Friends on Netflix (after I get home, of course).

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Most often, though, my thoughts become rather reflective and I begin to look at myself.

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I guess when I was younger, I saw myself further in life. To be honest, I never really pictured life after 24 years old. I kind of just assumed that I would graduate college, get an awesome job I loved, marry my true love, and start making babies-all before the age of 25 (I have diary entries to back it up…however we won’t get into that right now).

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If I’m being fair however, my ten-year-old self wasn’t factoring in some pretty big details. Like, student loans: how after almost three years, you will still be paying off your education and degree. Or the big awesome job? Some days I do truly love the job and what I do, but other days are hard-that’s just life. Life is never easy, it’s never without challenges, every day has it’s own struggles that need to be overcome. And marriage-marriage is not as simple as I originally thought as a child. I thought it was as easy as bumping into some random stranger that when your eyes met they just knew your whole life story-one they joined a year or two later. I didn’t factor in things like loving someone despite their flaws and faults, loving someone when they have wronged someone (or after you have wronged them), not being ready for the big commitment marriage is or how truly long ‘forever’ is. Don’t even get me started on babies. There are a lot of things they didn’t cover in my high school sex education class.

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I look in the mirror at what I have become physically. I resemble that ten-year-old girl, except I look older-and tired. My hair has lost that youthful luster, while the acne I was told would go away still is camping out on my cheeks. My body is no longer rail thin-it instead boasts curves, edges-some larger than I would like.

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What I don’t spend enough time doing is looking on what I have become on the inside. Believe me, it’s a bit of a murky mess, but a murky mess that intrigues me-and oddly makes me optimistic. I’m not the strongest person I could be-but the potential is there. I’m not the most confident person I could be-but the potential is there. There are some qualities of mine that have grown and matured and have developed quite nicely over the years, while others could use some work and careful tending.

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What I don’t always recognize is how intertwined our inner selves and our outer shells are connected. If you feel like utter rubbish on the inside, it isn’t going to help you feel like a million dollars on the outside (nor will you be motivated to even make an effort to fake the look through the use of smoke and mirrors). I have a vision in my mind of what I could look like-should look like-but if I don’t start making changes on the inside where it matters, than that vision is going to stay exactly what it is right now-an imaginary picture of what I could be and nothing more.

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So as I stare at myself in the mirror, a month after I made some semi-serious (and semi-empty) promises to myself, I think about the inner self and the outer shell. How it honestly is never too late to make a resolution, and at the same time realizing I am nothing more than a human being that will occasionally slip up. Thinking that maybe I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be the best instead of just to be my best. There is a difference, after all.

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So here’s to not giving up, but letting myself fall down sometimes. Here’s to sorting out the mess on the inside, with hopes of it oozing to the surface. Here’s to loving myself enough to give myself a chance. Or several chances, since I will screw up the ones given. Here’s to still dreaming, because even though every dream is now drizzled with a sense of realism, that ten-year-old girl that thought the sky was limitless is still inside-pushing, motivating, desiring-and I owe it to her-and myself-to let her be heard.

This Valentine’s Day, yes I will hand out whimsical valentines to my co-workers and shower Z with amorous love. But first? I’m going to try to love myself better than I have been. I think that’s a good resolution-who cares what time of year it is.

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Sincerely,

The Shoe

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My Year in Review: 2014

There has been some debate lately about the year in reviews Facebook has been posting on countless Facebook users’ feeds this week. Reviewing one’s year has seemed to be a trend for 2014, and even WordPress emailed me a beautifully designed stats sheet sharing information about how my blog did this year.

However, and not to brag, but I have been reviewing my past year since 2008. I started doing so because my 2008 had seen a lot of changes, and around New Year’s Eve I needed to focus on the positive. In 2008 I had graduated high school, received my first kiss, started college, had my first boyfriend and ultimately my first break up. Days after, and hours before midnight, I took to Facebook, created a new note, and started pouring my heart and soul into everything I had learned that past year.

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I have continued the tradition since then (with the minor exception of making the move to WordPress), and some years have been equally hard to focus on the positive while others have been hard to write anything down for because the year was overall relatively great!

2014 was an interesting one. I won’t sugarcoat it-it was at times a very rough year. When it was rough, it was rough…but when it was good, it was truly, wonderfully, incredibly, good. So without further commentary, I give the mixed bag that was my 2014:

1) I started my first official “big kid” job in January, on the second.

2) Word of advice? Try to start jobs on the first, not the second if you can, because sometimes this means you have to wait an extra month before those pretty adult things called benefits kick in.

3) Benefits, in case you were in the dark like I was, are these wonderful things that help you survive as an adult in the real world. Sadly, I didn’t quite get how insurance and 401ks worked because for some reason, How to Be a Competent Adult In the Real World is not a course you can take at any college or university-you just have to learn at some point.

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4) I went sledding for the first time in years. It was magical, and beautiful, and entirely fun. It was lightly snowing, we had soup to keep our bellies warm, and I was surrounded by friends that loved me and were in love with each other and life. I took a moment to treasure the moment mentally, because I knew deep down the moment wouldn’t last forever.

5) In spring, Z and I trekked to Seattle to visit some old college friends.

6) With some college friends, even being divided by several states can’t divide your friendship.

7) Washington state has mountains, forests, coast, and ocean. And copious amounts of good coffee.

8) Don’t drive to Vancouver, BC, Canada during rush hour on a Friday whilst with a full bladder. Just don’t do it. Trust me.

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9) Speaking of downtown Vancouver, it is…interesting. Memorable to say the least.

10) Z and I were able to see the sun set and the moon rise simultaneously from our tiny airplane windows as we flew around dusk. It was incredible.

11) On a side note, Z and I celebrated 5 years together in December. We didn’t celebrate on our actual anniversary, and instead commemorated after Christmas. He cooked me a delicious dinner, and we also went to the movies for cheap. We also binge-watched White Collar while drinking white wine. Ladies and gents, this is romance to us-and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

himym-marshall-lily-high-five

12) Relationships are hard work. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently. Even if you have one of the best, healthiest, and most loving partners on the planet, there will still be tough times. Working through those tough times with them however, is worth it and extremely rewarding.

13) Speaking of relationships, Z could have very well saved my grandma. He was in the right place at the right time, and I am can’t express how grateful I am for what he did.

14) Life is short, and in seconds everything can change. Cherish and love those near to you. Now every time I see my grandparents, I always say “I love you” and I hug them a little too long. They are okay with that.

15) Luke Bryan talked to me. It wasn’t that cool.

16) Motley Crue payed my brand new laptop. True story. No, really, I’m not kidding.

gasp barney

17) Confession: I did not stand up in a wedding party nor did I attend a single wedding this year as a guest…and I enjoyed it. The last time this happened was seven years ago. That is not to say I hate going to weddings or standing up in them. I just also like saving money. Which brings me to my next point.

18) I paid off one more of my school loans last week. 2 down, one to go. I can’t express how excited that makes me.

Nick Miller goofy 2

19) I had a traditional Labor Day for the first time in years. We picnicked by the lake, flew kites, and road bikes in the beautiful tame sunshine. It was wonderful and relaxing, and just what I needed.

21) Working full-time in the private (creative) sector is hard work.

22) I would never have survived my first year at my new job with my wonderful co-workers. Seriously. They are beyond great.

23) I entered a competition during the summer. A local theater was seeking monologues on the theme of banned books for their monologue festival in 2015, and I wrote something. It ultimately didn’t get picked…but it was apparently a finalist.

Jessica Day feels nothing

24) I also had my first “paid” freelanced writing gig go extremely well.

25) My blog surpassed 4,000 views of all time and features over 40 followers.

26) These last three points have helped me realize that my writing doesn’t (always) suck. So thank you, to everyone, for reading anything I have ever written, and for uttering those two simple words, “It’s good.” Really. Thank you.

meryl streep life worth living

2015 is right around the corner, and I am very excited to see what this year brings. No trips planned (yet), and the entire year is like a beautiful, fresh, blank space (see what I did there) ready to be filled with memories. I can’t wait to see what those memories, lessons, and stories will be.

Happy New Year, to you and yours

Sincerely,
The Shoe

lea michele new years eve