2017: A year in review.

Hello 2018! Here’s to the next few months of continuing to write 2017 on every document that needs to be signed and dated!

I don’t know about you, but for me, 2017 was one of my craziest, life-changing, challenging years yet. So many things have happened this year that when I look back on it as a whole, it’s hard to believe that all of these things happened in a short 365 day span. I feel like the entirety of this year felt as if it lasted about 3 months, and I am in disbelief that an entire year has ended and we are now inching ourselves into this new chapter of our lives.

This year, I started a new job in my field that has proven to be challenging, but even more rewarding than I could have ever imagined, solidifying the fact that I have found my passion and purpose in life. I completed my Master’s degree, a feat that I am proud of for having the courage to change my path and find my happiness, regardless of the opinions of others. I watched my brother win a state championship for hockey and then graduate from high school and move out of state for college, something that makes me prouder than I have ever felt in my entire life. I fell more in love with my best friend, proving that I am lucky every single day of my life to have someone that supports me through everything and anything I wish to achieve, and spoils me more than I even deserve. My family remains happy, healthy, and tightly knit, something that I continue to be thankful for with each passing day. I experienced a devastating loss of a friend to suicide, shaking me to my core, yet pushing me to be stronger and to continue to advocate for the well-being of all those suffering with mental health. I watched my best friend get into dental school, solidifying a future so deserved to the person that is my constant rock and support through this crazy thing called life. Also in the mix can be outings at concerts and sporting events, spending time with family and friends, travel experiences, good meals, deep conversations, dancing without a care, singing at the top of my lungs, decorating a home, purchasing a new car, bettering myself, and experiencing all life has to offer while trying to live it to the fullest.

In terms of this journey owning and operating as told by gab? As most of you know, I started this blog last year as a New Year’s resolution to myself. While I had “started” this page earlier than January, I vowed to religiously keep up with this blog, post frequently, and build a name for myself. Running a blog was something that I had always wanted to do, but never had the courage or the drive to actually complete it. I didn’t think anyone would care about anything I had to say, but I felt like there was so much in me that needed to be expressed and needed to be shared. I was going through a rough patch and honestly, I needed a hobby. Did I do a hell of a job at running this site? Absolutely not. Some months were harder than others, and I found myself uninspired and struggling to come up with things to write. There were times that I didn’t see the fun in running this page and I didn’t care if days went by without any activity. But, although I wasn’t religious with my posting and I didn’t quite make a name for myself in the blogging community [yet], I still kept with it and eventually circled back to becoming more inspired and finding more fun in doing this. I feel like I ended 2017 on a high with my site and I can’t wait to push forward into the next year – especially now that I won’t have the guilt of “ignoring” school or any impending assignments hanging over my head!

So from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you who have stuck around on this crazy ride with me. Here’s to making more memories. . together! xoxo.

24 things I want to accomplish + focus on in my 24th year

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Today is my birthday, and I have made it my goal for this year to complete everything on this list during my 24th year of life. Let’s get it!

  • Worry less about the things that don’t matter. [I tend to stress over every little thing, so this is my main goal for this year].
  • Learn to put down my phone and pay more attention to life around me. Sometimes I can get so caught up in technology that I forget there are things happening in the now.
  • Attend at least one concert. Doesn’t matter who or where, just one
  • Get a 4.0 GPA for at least one semester. This has been a goal of mine for a while, and I always come so close, but never have accomplished this feat.
  • Religiously go to the gym [and lose 10 pounds]. I’ve been feeling kind of blah about myself lately and the way I look, so losing some weight will help build my confidence.
  • Eat better / more nutritious foods. I’m usually not too terrible in this aspect, but pizza is my friend, and also my enemy.
  • But also continue to eat ice cream every once in a while. Because who doesn’t love ice cream?
  • Drink more tea instead of coffee. I waste sooo much money on coffee, it’s borderline ridiculous. And I’ve recently gotten into a bad habit of adding cream and sugar that I don’t need.
  • Watch my brother graduate from high school. This will happen. But it’s an important milestone.
  • Send my brother off to college. He doesn’t know where he’s going yet, but he knows he is moving away from home, as every college he’s applied to is out of our hometown, so moving him out will also be an important milestone this year.
  • Reorganize / redecorate my bedroom. I desperately need to de-clutter and get rid of some old clothes.
  • Save more money. I’m usually pretty good with this, but I can definitely do better.
  • Travel. A lot. Preferably to places I’ve never been before.
  • Try seafood. I despise everything that swims, but I’m ready to try and face my fears. At least once.
  • Find a new job doing something I love. I feel like I am at a dead end with my current job, so a fresh start might be good for me.
  • Enroll in a how-to class — like cooking, painting, pottery, etc. with my best friend or boyfriend. This is something I’ve talked about a lot, but now I just need to man up and do it.
  • Continue to take dance classes once a week. I love this, so this shouldn’t be any issue to continue on.
  • Spend more time with family. I still live at home, so this isn’t hard. But with our 4 different schedules, sometimes it is harder to all sit down as family than one might think.
  • Capture more memories. Sometimes I regret not taking pictures of important moments. I need to step my game up.
  • Read more books. I love reading, but I tend to get distracted by other things. I need to force myself to make time to do this.
  • Have more me time. I tend to focus on everyone else. I need to have some time to myself to relax.
  • Start going to church more. This is a big one. I used to go religiously, going to Catholic school and all, and have really fallen off this path.
  • Spread love. So important. Everyone needs to know they are loved once in a while.
  • Be happy.

Cheers to 2017 years!

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“When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents and those moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same — you are grown and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living. You are wrapped in endless, boundless grace. And things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday.” — Morgan Harper Nichols

I saw the above quote by Morgan Harper Nichols on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like it is very fitting to use to kickstart a new year.

Here’s to 365 new pages in a new chapter that is the story of your life. Cheers to 2017. Let’s do this thing. xoxo.

Here’s to a fresh start.

1*_JgZ9V8Wmb2YUZ0j83hoig.jpg2016… Where to even begin?

This year, it seems like we experienced quite a bit of everything. Who could forget Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Academy Award, the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Queen Elizabeth turning 90, Donald Trump winning the United States Election, or the death of the now-famous gorilla Harambe? We experienced some tragedy — the outbreak of the Zika virus, the Orlando night club shooting, the controversial sentencing of Brock Turner, or the mutliple police shootings, just to name a few.

It may have started off as a sarcastic one-liner, but as we come closer to the end it really seems like “nobody was safe.” We lost [what feels like] so many icons this year — David Bowie, Nancy Reagan, Prince, Mohamed Ali, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Arnold Palmer, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher — staples of our childhood, and as we come closer to the end of 2016, the list is continuing to grow.

If there is one thing that we should take away from this year, it’s that anything is possible. While I do not know your own personal triumphs or sruggles that you may have had this year, I do know mine. And I can confidently say that this year shook me up, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Never in a million years did I expect this year to turn out the way it did. I overcame some pretty tough battles. I worked through the pain I was experiencing. I overcame my struggles with anxiety. I changed my life — joined a gym, fell more in love, enrolled at a new university, spent time with friends, cut my hair, changed my job, and started to focus on me.

I educated myself in the things that matter [well, to me at least]. I watched the first woman become a Presidential nominee, and watched a well-known celebrity win the token spot. I learned to embrace change. I learned to respect others and the differing opinions they have while standing up for myself and what I believe in. I partook in research, fieldwork, and internships to help individuals with developmental disabilities flourish in today’s soceity — something I stand so strongly for. I started looking and applying for new jobs in my field. I worked my ass off in school and was rewarded with a 3.9GPA; something I never thought was possible while juggling these multiple batons.

All that, and the most important thing remains. Although sometimes I got knocked down, I always got back up.

2016, thank you for the memories. And to 2017…you are 4 days away, and I am ready for you.

(PSA: My New Year’s resolution is to start blogging & to be more open about my personal experiences. Stay tuned!)