2018 was a roller coaster…

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2018 is almost over, and for me, this is bittersweet. A lot happened this year. I survived my boyfriends first deployment, that months before had seemed impossible. I quit my job of almost five years and moved four hours away from my family and friends. I moved in with my boyfriend of three years – something we had been talking about for a long time. I learned how to truly love with all of my heart by learning how to be an Aunty to a niece deserving of every world, when I can only give her mine. I got my first apartment and a new job, where I met some really amazing people. I got my first pet – a needy and annoying little orange kitten that I love dearly. I went from part time to full time to part time again at one job, and then picked up a second job doing something I really love, which I’m now making my full time job in just a few short weeks. I got to stand up beside my best friend as she married the love of her life.  2018 was hard, but it was also beautiful. So with 2019 right around the corner, I thought I would take a minute in this busy life to reflect. I’ve never been one for new years resolutions, so instead I am going to look back on the year behind us and think about what I’ve learned. Because the truth is, I have no idea what 2019 holds – but I do know what 2018 held. I encourage you to take a moment to do the same.

1.) I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. This one might seem kind of egotistical and a little bit of a cheat, but it’s true. 2018 tested me. It put me in places I never saw myself being. But I made it even when I didn’t see any way that I could.

2.) I am never truly alone. Again, might seem like a cheat, but this is a big one for me. I have always known I had an amazing support system, but this year it really showed itself. From when my finances were low to when my spirits were, my parents and sisters and friends were there to help in any way they could, when I didn’t expect a thing from them. They dug me out of holes this year that I put myself in and did it without a second thought – reaffirming one thing I already knew – I am surrounded by incredible people.

3.) I am capable of doing so much on my own. Ever since I was little I had always wanted to move away from our small town, the number one reason being that I wanted to prove to myself that I could. And yes, while this year I did have to accept some help here and there, I got two jobs on my own in a state where no one knew me. I have made connections all on my own that will last me hopefully a long time. These things are huge for me.

4.) It is okay to be selfish. I have always cared about others happiness over my own, and this year it nearly drove me to a mental break down. I was getting so stressed trying to please everyone that I was getting sick almost every night, I was barely eating, and I was more depressed than I had been since High School. And then I put myself at the front of the line and all of that faded away. It’s okay to look out for yourself sometimes. In fact, it’s crucial.

5.) I am valuable. This one I will keep short and sweet even if it is perhaps the most important. This year I learned my worth and next year, I intend not to let people take me for granted anymore. I’m not one big on new years resolutions but this is one I think I can keep – 2019 will be the year I say enough is enough to a few people.

6.) My parents will always be my number one’s. No matter who else comes and goes, no matter who else is important to me, they have had my back since day one and continue to do so every single step of the way. I won’t forget that.

7.) While I’m still working on this one, it is a lesson I began to learn this year – it’s okay to accept help from others. It’s always been very hard for me to do this – I’m a very independent person. But if you’re kicking and screaming and working your ass off to get where you want to be and someone offers you a step stool, it’s okay to step up on it.

8.) Last one. I learned not to feel guilty for making my own choices. This one is a work in progress, but one I feel confident about. My choices might not always make others happy, but I can’t feel bad about that.

This year was huge. I learned so much more. From how to love a cat to how to care for a grown human being to how to pay my electricity bill – but these are at the top of my list. So I encourage you to do the same thing. Look back on this year with a warm heart. Look ahead to the new year with an eager one. And remember, just because the calendar changes doesn’t mean you have to – but you can if you want.

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21 Lessons Learned in 21 Years

(in no particular order)

1.) Forgive people. Life is too short to hold onto the past, no matter how hard it hurts to let go of situations that hurt you. Just forgive. You’re only hurting yourself by holding on.

2.) Soft blankets straight out of the dryer and a cup of hot chocolate make any cold winter day magical.

3.) Having a ton of friends is great, but don’t forget about the one person that’s stuck by you through it all. They were there when it started and they will be there when it ends. Don’t let that get lost. Best friends are hard to find.

4.) Communicate with people. No matter who it is, a boyfriend, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a boss, a stranger – people are just people and you aren’t going to get what you want by staying silent. Your opinion won’t be heard that way either.

5.) Be spontaneous. It’s good to have rules and to live within them, but every once and a while it’s okay to draw outside of the lines. As far as we know, you only get this one life.

6.) Work hard. You aren’t going to get what you want by sitting on your bum all day.

7.) It’s okay to ask for help. If you know you are doing everything in your power but you still need assistance, there is no shame in that.

8.) The world can be a terrible place, but most people are good. This has been true everywhere I have gone from Hawaii, to New Orleans, to Vermont – from cities to the country. Most people are good.

9.) It’s okay to not have it all figured out right now, no matter where right now is for you. There is no deadline for anything. Find what makes you happy, find it, and chase it.

10.) Crying is good. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being incredibly sad for hours or days or weeks, and then that sudden feeling of calm that you get after you have a nice sob. It’s okay to cry. Life can be tough.

11.) Tip your waitress. I don’t care how horrible the service was, just do it.

12.) No matter how alone you feel, you are never alone. Someone out there somewhere cares about you, even if you can’t see it.

13.) A bubble bath, a drink, and a nice book can fix any long day.

14.) If you want something, go for it. The worst that’s going to happen is failure, and a good amount of failure never hurt anyone. Get back up and try again.

15.) Always be positive.

16.) It’s okay to miss people. It’s normal, healthy even.

17.) Exercise. It’s good for you and it’ll make you feel good.

18.) No matter what society says, you are beautiful the way you are. Don’t listen to what other people say. If you are happy with you, that is all that matters.

19.) Relationships are hard. They aren’t all butterflies and rainbows, they are hard. But they are worth it. When you find the right one, you’ll know, and it will be worth it.

20.) Don’t take your family for granted. When you have no one and nothing, they are the only people you can count on.

21.) Do what makes you happy. Nothing else matters.

– Share and Comment friends –

Lessons with Harry Potter

Harry Potter has saved me numerous times. My big sister read the series to me when I was little, and I have read it myself at least five times since. The messages to gather from the story are ever changing, the characters I relate to ever revolving, and no matter my age, I am convinced Harry Potter will continue to stay a part of me.

The first time I heard the story, Ron was hands down my favorite character. As a struggling preteen who didn’t seem to fit in anywhere, I related to his bright red hair and protruding ears; his awkwardness made me feel not quite as alone. He also had an amazing best friend that he would do anything for, which I connected to as well.

While Ron is still a favorite of mine, as I progressed through middle school, Hermione scooted into the number one spot with her brightness and bushy hair. Her loyalty to her classes and friends no matter what others thought of her helped me accept that maybe I wasn’t born to fit in, and that was perfectly okay.

Luna and Neville, also misfits seemingly cursed to always be on the outside, helped me realize that the outside is the place to be. This is where you make the best friends and learn the best lessons.

Of course, the main character and hero of the story, Harry Potter, deserves a shout out. While he wouldn’t of won without the help of his friends, Harry had an unwavering strength that is unquestionable. Without parents his whole life, believing no one loved him for the first eleven years of it, he never let the world harden him.

Snape, Sirius, and Dumbledore also make the list of my all time favorite Harry Potter characters. Each have their own redeeming qualities, strength and intelligence prevalent in each, and the undying will to keep Harry Potter safe at all costs. Each with their own agenda, there is no question that all three deserve applause, as each ultimately gave their life for Harry Potter.

There are so many other characters that deserve recognition, but too many to name in only one blog post. Others for another day would include Dobby, Ginny, Lupin, Mad Eye Moody, Hagrid, and many, many more. J.K Rowling carefully carved out each character, giving each a life and a personality unmatched to any other series I have read.

Which character was your favorite the first time you read the novels? Did that opinion change the next time you read it? What did you learn from each character?

I would love to hear what you have to say, please feel free to share!