I did a year-in-review post last year, so I thought I'd make it a tradition and do it again. It's fun to scroll through my Dropbox, where all of the photos I've taken are stored, and remember just how much has happened the past 12 months. It's amazing what we can fit into 365 days.
Last year, I shared 16 photos, but this year I just couldn't narrow it down, so here are 32 of my memories from 2016. They aren't necessarily my favorite photos aesthetically speaking, but they are dear to me for what they represent--sweet, fleeting moments filled with love, adventure, and new experiences.
Like I did last year, I want to share a list of some of the experiences for which I am grateful.
- Babies! My nephew Mason was born, Ella visited from England, and Bailey Lynn celebrated her first birthday.
- Weddings! My sister got married and it was absolutely beautiful. I also attended an old friend's wedding. The vows and the ceremony were the most memorable I've ever witnessed. Many tears were shed.
- Firsts! I played tennis and shot a wedding and went on a cruise and got a big tattoo and started painting and visited Kennedy Space Center and tried Ethiopian food.
- Travel! I went to Vegas, New Orleans, the Bahamas, DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.
- Life! So many sweet and tender things, some big and some small: entering a new romantic relationship (rooted in a deep, long-standing friendship), watching sunrises on the beach, making new creative connections, volunteering, sitting in the afternoon sun on a cool day, walking through my neighborhood at sunset, smelling magnolias, visiting with old and new girlfriends, watching hot air balloons twinkle and light up the night sky, returning to my beloved mountain lake.
It's popular to say that 2016 was a terrible, no good year, with celebrities dying, Aleppo, inequalities and violence growing, and our political system falling into what feels like chaos (though this last part really depends on your personal perspective). But when I reflect on my personal story, I am lucky to see a lot of beauty, and it's that beauty in the face of the uncertain and unthinkable that gets me through. There were hard times for sure--medication changes, emotional vulnerability and heartbreak, tough decisions. Sometimes I didn't live up to the person I want to be. C'est la vie.
2015 was a time of big transition. 2016 brought me back to Florida and into a new sense of home. 2016 brought me love, adventure, connection, and a burst of creative energy. And 2016 brought me a deeper sense of self, born from a lot of hard work and introspection.
I am grateful beyond measure.