A patron at the bar asked me what I want to be when I grow up while I was getting his beer. I answered, “that’s still up for debate.” He liked my answer and agreed that life isn’t always black and white. Over the past seven years, I’ve tried to determine my “dream job.” After taking personality tests and career tests and researching job prospects, I am still only a little closer to that answer, but every time I ask myself this question, a quiet voice answers, “motherhood is my dream job.” I knew when I was younger I wanted a family. At times, I want to be a mom so much that it hurts. Having kids was always something I had to look forward to and progress towards. The past few years have made that goal seem further and further away. When I was talking this through with my cousin she responded that disappointment is a part of life. Of course, she’s right. Disappointment in myself is a constant battle of trying not to compare myself to others or think negatively about myself. I know I am disappointed in myself. It seems like I took a wrong turn, and I’m not living my life but someone else’s. When I made it through college and job searching, I wasn’t ready for a relationship let alone starting a family. Now, I see young families walking at the park, and I question whether I’ll ever be capable of loving someone enough to start a family with them. I have to just keep going and pray that I’m headed in the right direction.
1.What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?
When I shot my first deer.
2.If you had to describe your 2016 in 3 words, what would they be?
Sisterhood, Charlie, and Affinity.
3.What new things did you discover about yourself?
I’m a decent bartender because I know a little bit about a lot of subjects.
4.What single achievement are you most proud of?
I put almost $2000 into repairs for my car plus paid off my car loan.
5.What was the best news you received?
I got a raise.
6.What was your favorite place that you visited in 2016?
Allegany State Park.
7.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
My observation skills and common sense.
8.Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
9.Which new skills did you learn?
Tending bar, PagePlus (software), new chords on the guitar, cutting shoots off a plant, training a stubborn dog, treating a sprained knee, laying laminate flooring, and more.
10.What, or who, are you most thankful for?
Charlie Horse. A walk with him transforms my mindset.
11.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2016, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
Rural underdog flick.
12.What was the most important lesson you learned in 2016?
A little raise goes a long way.
13.Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
At the beginning of 2016 I lost 15 lbs. I thought I was on my way to my goal weight. I lost the motivation though and became stressed again. I didn’t let it completely tear me down. I stayed confident in myself.
14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
Rachael, Emily, Mia, Dad, and Nora.
15.What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
I started taking on more marketing projects. I designed literature and photographed products.
16.How did your relationship to your family evolve?
I had to remind myself to stop into the house on Thacher St. I met my parents for drinks once or twice a week. Also, Mike graduated and joined the Navy… three out of six of us are out of the house! Having Nora around has made it a little more fun to get together and hang out. She turns 1 on January 4th!
17.What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
I read two books that reinforced what I have come to believe about life. One was Maybe in Another Life and the other was Back When We Were Grownups. Both stories show how a person’s life can go in a variety of directions. One choice can change the trajectory forever, but thinking about how things could-have-been is not helpful. Happiness is the outcome of so many different story-lines. Hindsight can’t truly prove that you’re decisions were wrong.
18.What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
I will reiterate what I wrote last year: “I should start writing down the compliments people give me.”
19.What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
Walking Charlie Horse // kissing Nora // music
20.What cool things did you create this year?
I finally worked on the painting of Mia swimming that I started almost two years ago. Also I used up some cotton yarn to make a little blanket.
21.What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
The first half of the year, I was optimistic and really creative; the middle was stressful; the last part of 2016 was a combination of being tired, proud, and motivated for a new year.
22.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Shot a deer.
23.What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
Camping with Rachael and Charlie and Jude at Allegany State Park. We just laid on the beach and played with the dogs and hiked 12 miles – no biggie.
24.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
I helped out a lot with the modified high school volleyball team and it reminded me how much I miss the sport. I think I would like to continue coaching that level. Also, I realized how much I want to get back in shape.
25.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
Automobile repairs. Although, “unnecessary” is a strong word. It is what it is.
Dancing in the rain at the bar during the Strawberry Moon.
27.What was the best gift you received?
Dad got me a travel backpack for Charlie which I’m very excited about.
28.How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I realized that I love living in my hometown. It’s such a beautiful town. I love that I can walk my dog down the street and let him run around off leash along the river. I like to think that my 12-year-old self would be interested in the life I live now but also kind of confused. My overall outlook is that I don’t need to impress other people, but I have to remind myself that almost daily.
29.What was the biggest problem you solved?
Check engine light.
30.What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
Oh my gosh I laughed so hard at Rachael for something just a few weeks ago. She just said something without meaning to be funny but I found it gut-bustingly funny.
31.What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
I don’t have an answer for this, but on December 27th I had my nose pierced. So far it’s been a good decision. No issues yet.
32.What one thing would you do differently and why?
I probably spent too much money at the bars. Which isn’t really that much, but over the summer I had stopped drinking for a few weeks and it really improved my state of mind.
33.What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Remaining confident in Charlie’s training capabilities.
34.What activities made you lose track of time?
Walking, training, or snuggling with Charlie.
35.What did you think about more than anything else?
The Blue Tuscon.
36.What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
I’m still learning a lot at the tile factory, but I most enjoyed practicing the guitar.
37.What new habits did you cultivate?
Walking almost every day.
38.What advice would you give your early 2016 self if you could?
Don’t stop dieting. Don’t settle.
39.Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
I think a 180 is building up but nothing happened in 2016.
40.What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
The other girl I work with at the factory is constantly telling me how good at my job I am. She is so supportive that I sometimes feel like I don’t deserve it.
What do you want the overarching theme for your 2017 to be?
I think perseverance worked well for 2016. Persistence was critical to some of the struggles I faced. For 2017, I’d like my theme to be ADVENTURE.
What do you want to see, discover, explore?
Who do you want to spend more time with in 2016?
What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
Painting, photography, music.
Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
Still applicable: “I have a hard time giving people orders while at work. I feel self-conscious about needing things from people.”
What do you want your everyday life to be like?
I would like to awaken refreshed. I would like to exercise often. I would like to share more with other people.
I have some nervous habits I’m really trying to get rid of altogether. So hard to do.
I still want to do as much good as I can in my current position. However, I have been considering asking a few people for their input and advice in regards to careers. I also really want to explore ways to make money online. I do love my hometown and small town life. I should take advantage of the possibilities of online work.
I want to remember 2017 as the year I lost 40 lbs.
While putting your laundry away, you were thinking about choices. Life is full of them. The choice you make every day is to live in this town. You like it here, but you don’t know if somewhere else could be better. You know that you’d miss your family, but you don’t know if things would go right for you just because you changed the scenery.
Maybe it takes participating in a talent show at your high school to realize that something is missing. You’ve been preoccupied with making the right decisions without recognizing how you arrived where you are today. You have been having trouble believing in yourself because you’ve been disappointed by yourself in the past. You have been doubting your decisions. You just don’t trust yourself to make the right ones.
You hadn’t really yet put into words why you get so uncomfortable when you think about high school (and now college). Now you understand that the high school campus reminds you of the potential you had, and college reminds you of the anxiety and doubt that worstened while you were there. You don’t know why you didn’t acknowledge it before this, but your misconceptions have destroyed the pride you once had in your accomplishments. Now you constantly worry whether you should be changing the status quo or staying with this path. You can’t decide what your passion is and whether or not that even matters for a career.
There are a couple people in your life who truly believe that you can do anything you want. They want you to do what you love and be successful emotionally and financially. There are also those who want you to be rational and traditional about your career. A couple of them have given up on themselves a little bit. Show them all that it’s about hard work and a good attitude. Rebuild your self-confidence and learn to trust yourself again. Today is a new day.
Write down your goals.
Put your goals first.
Make this day better than the last.
Most importantly, understand this, in order for you to find happiness where you are, no matter where that is, you have to be happy with yourself. Stop letting your attitude beat down your goals. Even if they don’t appear to be amazing, life-changing plans, they are your jumping off point. Make sure that you keep moving forward, and only look back to glean something helpful. Don’t look back for too long. Remember, tomorrow is when it gets even more interesting.