Ah, 2017. It was a quiet year in many ways, but also contained some of the deepest growth I’ve experienced too. I didn’t move mountains or cure cancer, but my faith is deeper and habits better.
Here’s a little of my year in review.
In January, I volunteered for the Walk for Life West Coast for the first time (which is happening again later this month!). This was the first pro-life event I went to (back in 2011), where I first remember feeling part of something bigger than myself. So it was and is special to be back and helping to coordinate the event.
A couple college friends visited (separately) this year, and it’s fun to have my own (shared) place to host. We did some exploring in San Francisco! Even though I’ve now worked in the city for over a year and a half, it would be less than honest to say big city life, and this one in particular, are any more appealing to me. It just feels so dirty and too busy to stop and be human. There are certainly benefits, but I come for work and not much else.
Speaking of work, it was a significantly steep learning curve at first. I definitely cried one of those first days (on my way home because of public transportation issues, before I had my car). But at some point this year, I smiled and realized it is now my own. I have grown into my job, learned so much (including from some mistakes), and am grateful for it. These little flowers brighten it up too.
There was a bit of travel this year – a bridal shower and then in June the grand adventure of going to two weddings on back to back days: one in Iowa and the other in Colorado. I held my breath hoping there wouldn’t be early morning flight trouble getting to the second one and thank you Jesus there wasn’t! It has been so beautiful and wonderful seeing cousins and friends get engaged and married, and I am just so happy for them.
There was a bit of greenery on my back porch for a while, but then my green thumb ended up being more blackish because it almost all died. Only the succulents survived round one. Now the bulbs I planted in the fall are starting to come up early, so we’ll see if those survive round two. Someday when there is actual land instead of pots, I look forward to figuring out the art of keeping things alive.
I’ve enjoyed furnishing the apartment through the thoughtfully curated feed of Craigslist, and fit some crazy things into my small hatchback car. My bike is one of them, a ficus tree another, but my proudest Craigslist journey was a $10 dresser that was too long. So I went to CVS across the street for some jump cables, left the back of the car open, and gingerly drove home up a very steep hill. Thank goodness a college friend was in town and held onto it so it wouldn’t fall out. Good deals require a bit of finagling at times.
I read more than I have in a long time. You can expect more on that soon! But I did get out too. By nature I’m in the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. So I want community and friendships like what I miss from college, but have found it challenging to find and grow them. It’s takes a LOT more effort when everyone’s busy working. It’s taken forcing myself into many events (that usually end up well – don’t worry), but it’s a work in progress and I’m proud of where I’ve come in my budding social life.
I rediscovered my love of group fitness classes, Zumba Toning being the most frequented. It is ridiculous and cracks me up. I’ve learned the moves and teacher over the last several months, which makes it so fun to be feeling capable. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life, but eat mostly well and feel strong, so it’s probably all new muscle. LOL. But really, it has toned me noticeably and I’m feeling great with the level of exercise I’ve maintained (and plan to increase it!).
I also discovered a spark of creativity, and have been experimenting with watercolors, calligraphy, and hand lettering. I’ve been thinking of starting an Etsy shop for over a year, so maybe it’ll happen in 2018.
Some of my favorite posts from 2017 are:
My Bookshelf – November 2017
A silly little 7 Quick Takes about crazy California drivers
Growing in Silence
You can see that this year wasn’t about anything crazy big. It really was relatively quiet and focused on my own development professionally, spiritually, physically, etc. But it was also filled with many ups and downs that aren’t the kind to see the light of Instagram.
I learned this year that love, if it is sincere, does not calculate. I learned that love is a choice, and chose to give it many times when everything in me absolutely did not want to. That isn’t to say how heroic my capabilities are, but just the opposite. Life has shown me how incapable I am on my own of being a saint. It is ALL God’s grace and learning to hear and respond to it.
I’d really rather my year have been filled with crazy stories and adventures to tell, but it was more a school of love in the little boring and difficult moments of everyday life. It still was good. And I’m grateful for every step! 2017 ended with a quick trip to Southern California for family festivities (see above, unfiltered, picture of our glorious sunshine), and now it’s back to work. I’m stepping into the year with hope and peace about what it may or may not hold. May the beginning of this year be filled with faith, hope, and trust that whatever it brings is part of God’s master plan.
New Years excite me with the possibilities they hold, so cheers to 2018! Thanks for being along for the journey.