I'm going to be candid. It's been awhile since I had a great year. Of course, there have been great moments in the past few years--many of them. But overall, the years behind me have felt hard. My father died when I was young and when I lost both of his parents in 2008, so began a long stretch of time where I struggled in relationships, with my identity, with my direction in life. I won't go into too many details here, but so many other things happened that challenged and consumed me as well. I almost gave up on it all at one point.
But then 2015 happened. And it was challenging and hard, but it was filled with so. much. beauty. I still haven't lost all the weight or paid off all the debt or totally worked out who I am and where I'm going, but it's all starting to come together.
And strangely, for it all to come together, it came down to letting go. I quit a job I was starting to hate, gave up most of belongings, rehomed my beloved cats, left a city I loved, left behind friends and relationships, and moved across the country to start all over ... without a real job. Then I found a real job that gave me the freedom for which I longed. And then I turned 30 and things started to feel even better.
Above are a few highlights of the year in pictures. Below are just a few things that 2015 brought for which I am most grateful.
- landing a remote job that I actually love
- finding a new passion and hobby (screenwriting!)
- using my photography skills to capture my closest friends and family (I love making them feel beautiful and cherished)
- chasing the northern lights, only to fail and settle for a late night trip to a casino instead (my first!)
- seeing some of my closest friends get married and have babies
- riding on a sailboat in the rain at sunset
- spending time home with my family for 6 months, growing closer to them than ever before
- staying up all night making new connections, and then going to see hot air balloons at sunrise
- floating in clear water in the middle of the Smoky Mountains in July
- seeing Bruce Munro's exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical gardens
- finding a new passion for the symphony (especially this)
- experiencing new adventures in 19 cities, across 7 states (This doesn't include all the states I've driven through--I'd love to know how many miles I've put on my tiny car this year. Probably a lot!)
It's been a breathtaking year. I'll be happy if 2016 brings me even half as much adventure, satisfaction, and growth. But of course, I'm asking the universe (and myself) for twice as much. Because after all, it's good to be challenged.
First up for 2016? I'm moving back to Jacksonville.