2015, a year that ANSWERED

Happy New Year readers!

Those of you that have read for a while, know that every January I like to do a post that reflects on the past year and also looks ahead to the new year.

And that's why you haven't heard from me yet this year.

I didn't want to come into January without first posting my annual New Year's post. One of my all time favorite quotes is "I cannot advise that we remain as we are" by Plato. I like to enter the new year with that in mind--embracing change, betterment. This blog has become the place for me to express that, and it just didn't feel right starting a new year of blogging, without first, reflecting on myself in the new year and sharing that with y'all.

If you remember from last year's post, 2014 was literally the worst. After a year that was so tough, I found writing a New Year's post to be cathartic. It was easy to make goals, because it felt like the only way to go was up. That being said, I've felt a lot of pressure to write this post. Can I give it the same earnest emotion as I did last year? Do I have many goals or resolutions for 2016? Is it bad, if the answer to that last question is no?

Then, yesterday morning, The SouthernC tweeted (yes, I have Twitter now! Follow here!) this:

It's one of my favorite quotes and I pinned it myself, ages ago. As soon as I saw it on Twitter, though, I knew the direction that I wanted this post to go. 

Last January, I proclaimed that 2015 was "the year of doing my thing," a time to un-apologetically be myself, and also to be selfish.

So...how'd it go?

I have to say, great! 2015 was most definitely a year that answered.

Being so tough, 2014 asked a lot of questions. My relationship with Bryce was put through huge external challenges; I learned that teaching today isn't quite what I had hoped; and I really had to dig deep to determine what controlled my happiness.

By proclaiming 2015 the year of doing my thing, I found answers to those questions. It was a whirlwind year.

The biggest "answer" of the year probably comes to no surprise to you. It was the choice to leave my teaching job and seek a new career. You can read all about that choice in much more detail here and here, but all I can say was that it was the best choice. I am a new person and didn't realize just how much teaching was affecting all other parts of my life. And now, when I look back, quitting my job this summer is one of my proudest accomplishments. Having the courage to take a stand for myself, and make the unpractical decision was huge for me.

In terms of Bryce and I, our relationship is stronger than ever before. I can honestly say that he is the best partner or teammate in life--someone I can count on for literally anything and everything. My career change has also led to big improvements in our day to day relationship. I come home in a good mood and still have energy, rather than coming home frustrated and grumpy.

And finally...the happiness piece. That's a tough one. I would like to think we are all in charge of our own happiness, but I will say that a lot of my unhappiness was wrapped up in my teaching job. The reality is that we spend a majority of our time at work; so when work isn't satisfying, it does affect happiness. I struggled to "leave work at work," because teaching is so all-consuming and emotional. While I don't like that it was such a controller of my happiness, it was the reality. My control or take charge piece, however, came in when I chose that it was no longer worth it and to leave. I think taking control of one's own happiness, shouldn't be assuming that you'll always be happy, every second of every day. It is accepting that there will be bad times and good.Taking control lies in reacting to those ups and downs in the best way you can, and hopefully, ultimately, coming out of those tough times a better or happier person.

If I haven't bored you yet, I'll do a quick check of last year's official goals or resolutions and dive into how I hope to grow and improve in 2016.

Last year, I planned to:

  • Focus on Positive Relationships: Check, check check! 2015 was a great year in this department. I will say, that the not so pretty side of this, was having to walk away from or let go of some toxic relationships. But 2015 also brought lots of new and amazing people into my life. I reconnected with some old friends as well. I really feel as if my cup runneth over.
  • Spend More Time Interacting with Other Blogs: I have to admit, this was a fail. SO much happened for me in 2015, but being a star blogger was not one of those things. Does anyone else feel as if Instagram has taken over your blog? 
  • Get Back to Healthy Eating: This was also a bit of a fail. While I can say, I am not very picky anymore, 2015 was a year of good eating. The Richmond restaurant scene continues to boom and Bryce and I are foodies. That, combined with a new job that includes regular lunches out, caused 2015 to be a year of weight gain for me. So...to new beginnings in 2016!
  • Build Up My Savings: I'd say this was a success. I've cut way back on my spending, particularly on clothes, and at the end of 2015, I bought my first car! Prior to that, my biggest grown-up purchase had been a mattress, so financing a car was a big step. Because I had worked on my savings, making a down payment on my car wasn't as hard as I thought. Having a monthly car payment, I think is also going to make me be more mindful of my purchases moving forward. I am going to have to stick to a tighter budget and am actually excited to be at this phase in my life.
Ahhh...and now for 2016. In all honesty, I have to say that this year is light on the resolutions. I'm so proud of how far I've come, but alas feel like I need to make a few goals. So here they are:

As mentioned above, my life is feeling more and more grown-up. I've now entered the world of car payments, started a new career, and have multiple friends with babies. Though all the responsibility can feel overwhelming from time to time, I am so happy to be at this phase of my life. You couldn't pay me to be in college again or a different phase of my life. All that, being said, I still have a lot to learn and figure out. For example, I have been putting money away for retirement for several years now. Do I fully understand the whole investment thing? No. I hope that in 2016, I can learn more about my investments, and perhaps tweak the way I am investing some of my money. On a smaller scale, I also want to get better at day to day "grown-up" things like staying on top of the laundry and meal planning.

GET BACK TO HEALTHY EATING...and lose a little weight
I can say with a lot of confidence that I will be successful in this goal. I just know I am in the right mindset. Bryce and I have started the year doing the no carb/sugar/alcohol thing, and for the most part, it's been much easier than I expected. I am already noticing differences when I put on my clothes in the morning and just feel better nourishing myself with healthy foods. After this initial phase of strictly adhering to the diet, our ultimate goal is to eat in this way most of the time. Meal planning and getting creative with our meals has been key to our success so far. (Post with a round-up of Alexandra Bee Approved Low Carb Recipes coming soon...) I also am working on my exercise routine. I am currently doing a New Year Barre Challenge of 20 classes in 30 days, which has been a great way to hold myself accountable. After that concludes, I want to start taking cycle classes 1-2 times a week in addition to barre.

Plain and simple, I want to blog again...with consistency and routine. The last several months I've had a laundry list of posts, but have lacked the initiative to sit down and write them. As mentioned before, sometimes I feel like Instagram has overtaken the blogworld; but point blank, at the end of the day, I really love writing here. Bryce has a lot of studying to do in the coming months as he prepares for the Professional Engineering Exam in April, so I am hoping that we can carve out study/blog time that will be helpful.

No explanation necessary.

2016...I'm ready for ya!

How was your 2015?

Do you make goals or resolutions for the new year?

How's your 2016 going so far?