As I sit here writing this on the first day of January, 2019 (*cough*… procrastinator… but I have been busy) I’m reflecting on the year that’s passed and the one that’s now upon us. I’m thinking about the places I’ve been blessed enough to travel to, the experiences I’ve had and the beautiful people I have met. And WOW… what a year it has been.
On the health front, more progress was made.
- I began 2017 with a diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue and an almost daily battle to just “get through”… to get through the grocery store, the trip to the barn, the anxiety, the day in general. I started a new supplement regime aimed at improving gut health, sleep and energy in appropriate proportions, upped my self-care game on the physical, mental and emotional front and began to heal. Over the last month I retested and learned that my adrenals have significantly improved from one year ago. A welcome surprise and wonderful confirmation that the work I’ve put in over the last year is paying off.
This year I had many different opportunities to travel.
- In March, I spent a week in Georgia visiting my parents and siblings and I flew down again over Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with them.
- In May, I traveled to the Maryland / Washington DC area for a business event combined with an afternoon of sightseeing and then went on to New York City to deliver an Equicizer to the personal assistant of Bernadette Peters, who, at the time, was starring in the Broadway show, Hello Dolly. While in New York I got to attend a performance of Hello Dolly, my first Broadway show, and afterwards had the opportunity to tour backstage.
- As my health improved with the weather, my love of traveling became a desire to do and see even more. I applied for a passport and planned a trip to a place that has been romanticized in my mind since I was a little girl… Prince Edward Island which is situated off of the coast of New Brunswick in Canada. I drove myself 21 1/2 hours, stopping halfway to spend a few days with my family in Massachusetts where we took a day trip up to Boston before I continued on my way.
- I spent five and a half weeks on Prince Edward Island, traveling the island and exploring it’s beautiful coastline. I even got the chance to spend a day in Nova Scotia driving around the gorgeous countryside. I tried my hand at waitressing and realized I wasn’t half bad. Ultimately, PEI was everything I had dreamed it would be and it allowed me to grow and expand as a person.
- I took three trips home to Michigan this year. One in the springtime to visit my grandparents, another in the fall where my siblings and I made great memories camping among the sand dunes off of Lake Michigan on the western side of the state (I wonder how often we forget to appreciate the beauty in our own “backyards”?) and a third over Christmas to spend the week with my family.
I had a few personal milestones as well.
- In July I decided to finally bite the bullet and start that blog that I had been sitting on for a solid year. I wanted a creative space that was my own where I could share what I’ve learned on my journey with others who might be struggling to find their own way through. Which brings me to thank YOU. I hope you know how much I appreciate your support and I look forward to this next year together.
- This fall I started working on developing healthy recipes for myself and others, which also opened the door for me to work on my photography, a budding passion. In the process, I started to fall in love with real wholesome, nutritious food.
- I was also able to dabble in the rescue work I love so dearly (aka re-affirmed my title as the crazy cat lady) with the rescue and re-homing of a couple of feral kittens. Then Archie came into my life. My miracle kitten. He’s been a joy and a testament to what a relentless spirit and some TLC can do.
Finally, I made some rather big decisions concerning my future.
- As we entered fall, I began researching culinary schools and I discovered the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. I became fascinated with their commitment to health supportive cooking. I took a trip back to Massachusetts to visit family and while there I took a day trip to Manhattan to tour the school and speak with the Director of Admissions. That trip cemented my desire to attend. Once they release their starting dates for this year, I’ll be applying to their 11 1/2 month fall training program.
- In December I began to look for a part time job to save up for culinary school and stumbled upon the Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio. I interviewed for a position as a dishwasher and I’ve been accepted with open arms into a loving new community. I end 2018 blessed with two jobs that I love and a family of friends that continues to grow.
When I look back on this year it feels like three condensed into one. Until I stopped to really think about it, I didn’t realize how much I actually got done, how many places I traveled to, and the countless ways I’ve grown as a human being. Of course there were plenty of mistakes and tears along the way but that’s just life. I try to focus on the positive.
2018 was a great year for me. This post allowed me to reflect back on the many adventures and experiences it brought but there is one more point I want to make. Not every year will look this. And you know what? That’s okay. You might have had a stellar year or to the contrary, perhaps it didn’t go quite as planned. Maybe you didn’t get that job and the trip you hoped to take just didn’t come to fruition. Such is life.
By most accounts, 2017 wasn’t my best year. I was virtually forced to put everything on hold as my health finally screamed loud enough to grab my full attention and I decided early on that accepting the cards I had been dealt was the only way through it. It was a process. It was tough. I struggled and I still do. I wondered why and particularly why me but I didn’t give up and in retrospect, I can see now what I couldn’t always in the moment. My struggles strengthened me in ways I’m still not fully aware of and directed my path towards the passions I’m now consumed with. What a blessing 2017 was.
I find it helpful to think of life in terms of growth spurts. Some years you are going to have big, life changing events and opportunities that allow for growth that is obvious to anyone paying attention. Other years will pass more quietly but don’t underestimate the small, subtle growth that is still occurring, even if you’re the only one that can recognize it in the moment.