Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Favorites

I would be totally lying to you if I said that 2016 was easy. I think the majority of people on this planet would agree that 2016 has been a rough year. I would say that a year ago today I didn't really start off on the right foot (literally, I was on crutches). From there the year had its pits and peaks, twists and turns and everything in between. The first third of the year was stress overload. I was finishing up my last semester in college, writing a book, nursing a knee injury all while trying to find balance. The middle months gave me stability, comfort and excitement. Towards the end of the year the stress picked back up while "me time" and mindfulness went down. It is honestly hard to focus on the positives when there are negatives but that being said I want to focus on positive things in 2017. So, to start this year off right, here are some things I loved in 2016.

ONE// Camp

If this one surprises you then seriously, where have you been for the past 4 years? For the past 4 summers working at summer camp has easily been one of the biggest highlights of my year. It was something I looked forward. I counted down the days eagerly awaiting the time that I could go back to my home away from home. This year before camp I had a lot of decisions to make. I was on the fence for a while as to whether or not I would actually go back to camp (hard to believe, I know). The reason being was because I was told that it was not an adult thing to do. I was supposed to have a great job lined up, move out of the house, make money and well, be an adult. Hearing it so often made me think that going to camp was bad, or something that I shouldn't be doing no matter how much it really meant to me. The thing that prompted me to go back was something someone said to me. She said, "would you regret it if you looked back 5 years from now and didn't do it?" And I said yes, I would. I think I really needed that last year, a definitive last year, one where I could tie up loose ends and be at peace with the fact that that part of my life was tied up neatly. Now by no means is that the end of camp for me. Camp is still a huge part of my life and always will be. My camp friends will still be some of my best friends and the memories will always last. But this year camp was special to me and it was something I felt as though I really needed.

TWO// Writing

I did a ton of writing this year. Not just on my blog but the last semester of school for me was very writing dense. I mean, I wrote a book for goodness sake! I have always enjoyed writing. I loved putting my words onto a page and seeing them come to life. I like going back and editing and changing things to make sure that it is exactly the way I envisioned it. Writing my book in the beginning of this year was one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced in my entire life. It was something that I really had to be conscious about. Writing for my blog is more carefree and sometimes my words and sentences don't always make the most sense but somehow they seem to all work out eventually. With the book, I had to make every effort to just be aware. I had to be aware of works and punctuation. There were just so many little intricacies that I really had to pay attention too that I never really did before. While writing that book was hard, it is amazing the impact it had on me and the impact it had on my writing here on my blog. In a way it made me want to be completely different from what I had just done. It made me really want to put my voice into something and I am thankful that I had an outlet like my blog to do that. I felt as though I pushed my own personal boundaries this year on my blog. I wrote about things I liked and I felt comfortable to open up enough about the things I didn't like or things that had some type of negative impact on me. My blog now offers me a space to be creative, something I miss terribly after leaving school. I miss getting the opportunity to design things and think of something then be able to see it right in front of me. My hope for 2017 is that I use this platform more as a way to let my creative side come out more. Recently I have felt as though I have needed it more. It offers me an escape from my routine and allows me to reflect on things that mean something to me.

THREE// Health

I think this is something that we so often forget, something we take for granted. As I have mentioned, I didn't really start off 2016 on the best foot. I had knee surgery on the 29th of December 2015, so I spent the majority of January in terrible pain. It had its ups and downs and unfortunately another surgery was scheduled for April of 2016. It was not the best news that a competitive person wanted to hear. It was a set back, a major one, one that I unfortunately have not fully bounced back from. But in the grand scheme of things, its not anywhere as terrible as it possibly could be. So for that, health is one of my favorite things this year because it has been a healthy year. Sure, there were times when my health and health of loved ones was not the best, but I believe that we are ending 2016 on a good foot and I hope that 2017 is even better.

FOUR// YouTube

This is no secret, but I have been hooked on watching YouTube videos for quite sometime now. I love it. I honestly don't think I go a day without watching at least one video on YouTube. I think one of the main reasons why it is my favorite this year is because I have been able to find channels that I connect with and channels that positively impact my mood and overall happiness. Watching them gives me a sense of calm, something that I often miss in my day to day life. It gives me a chance to sit and unwind from the day and it is something that I truly enjoy and look forward to at the end of the day.

FIVE// Tea

I have always loved coffee. I had my first taste of coffee when I was really young, probably way too young honestly. My mom's favorite ice cream is Vienna Mocha Chunk, so naturally I thought that actual coffee tasted like that. Clearly I was wrong, but it was something that I lived off of during my first few years of college. That being said, I have also always liked tea. I liked having something warm without the major caffeine kick that coffee gave me. It wasn't really until this past year that I started to actually choose tea over coffee. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my medium iced coffee with caramel swirl and cream from Dunks just as much as the next person, but lately tea has been my go to. I love trying new types and seeing which one works best for whatever mood I am in. I even have little jars on my desk at work with all types of tea in them, so aesthetically pleasing and so practical!

SIX// Makeup

I feel as though there will always be people in your life that say you don't need makeup, which is partly true. I don't need makeup. But I do enjoy it. I think this year, or at least towards the end of the year I have started to experiment more with my makeup. I have tried new products and stepped out of my comfort zone a bit when it comes to the beauty department. I have learned that I adore lipstick and that winged eyeliner isn't just for a fancy occasion. I think wearing makeup has allowed me to enjoy getting ready in the morning. It is something that I actually look forward to doing because it genuinely makes me happy.

SEVEN// Friends

This is something that should literally be on everyone's favorites lists. I can honestly say that I am so incredibly luck for the people that surround me. Whether it be old friends, friends from school or friends from camp, I literally have the best friends in the entire world. This was a difficult year for me at times and I really needed people in my life to lean on for support and I am so blessed that I had people to help me out. I am so grateful for the people that I choose to surround myself with.

I guess that is it for now folks. As I said, one of my New Year's resolutions is to blog more, so trust me, there is a new post in the works for you! Keep an eye out for it!


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