Year Reflections

Doing a New Year’s/Year Reflection post is a bit overdue considering we’re now over a month into the year, but as always I’m playing the catch up game. I wanted to do a reflection post, even if it is late. I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. It seems that people, including myself, make these lofty goals, maybe accomplish them for a month, then resort back to old habits. So, starting this year, I’ve decided that doing a reflection on the previous year to think about things that I’ve been able to accomplish, things that I’ve been grateful for, or moments that changed me or served as growing experiences, as well as setting some targeted goals that would be worked on over the course of the upcoming year would be a better use of time. So, starting with reflecting on 2015, here are my thoughts and experiences from the year:

  1. School – Being able to get through my second and third semesters of grad school were both amazing and challenging. It still blows my mind sometimes that I’m even in grad school at a renowned college, getting my MSW. I’ve been able to accomplish so much, including starting at Tufts Medical Center, join organizations, meet lots of inspiring people, and manage to pull off good grades. As with all things worthwhile, though, it certainly has had it’s difficult moments. There have been long nights working on papers, and many of my classes have forced me to be far more introspective than I thought I could. School has brought me so many blessings and growth over this year.
  2. John’s Accident and Family Deaths – 2015 sure brought a lot of hardship on my family. Between Cade and I’s sides, we had three deaths, a cancer diagnosis, my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s worsened, and John’s accident. To say the least, it was a difficult year when it came to family with a lot of heartache and tears. However, as with anything that is difficult, it brought all of us closer. Through these hardships, one of the lessons of the year was to make time for family and to remember that there may not be a tomorrow with those you love.
  3. Family – Right in line with #2, I’ve been incredibly thankful for my family this year. Between all the spoils we continually get from the family, from dinners out with Cade’s aunt to Christmas presents to home cooked meals, and all the love we always get from them, family has been an amazingly grounding force in my life this year. We’ve been incredibly blessed to have the support from our family and see them as often as we do being so far away.
  4. Travel – A huge theme in Cade and I’s life is travel, if you haven’t noticed by now. We made the promise to each other a few years back that we would make travel a high priority and do it as much as we were able to. This past year we’ve been able to go to Colorado, Concord and Lexington, see countless new things in Boston, and go home to Indiana. There have been trips into the mountains, retracing history’s footsteps, exploring dinosaur lands, hockey games, football games, basketball games, lounging on beaches, so many new foods tried, and numerous brewery tours. When it comes to travel, we have been incredibly blessed, and each experience has the potential to create profound changes. I’m so grateful that we’ve been able to have these experiences to relax, enjoy experiences as a couple, and grow with each other.
  5. Running – In 2015, I was able to get serious about running, something that I’ve never been able to accomplish previously. For the first time, I was able to allow myself to see myself as a runner. I credit a lot of this to Cade’s influence and the 5K that we signed up for. However, I will not overlook the hard work I put into being able to reach this point. Through running, I’ve been able to feel a lot healthier than before, develop confidence, and build gratitude for the things my body allows me to do.
  6. Meditation – I also made a commitment to work meditation into my life over the past year. It was definitely hard to stick with..when life gets busy, it’s easy to push things like this aside, but incorporating it into my life has reaped a lot of benefits. Through practicing meditation on the regular, I’ve been able to feel far less anxious, gain a lot more focus, feel better about myself and life by letting go of negative thoughts, and be able to stay in the present moment. I know meditation is kind of a fad thing right now, but it’s been around forever, and you should definitely try it if you haven’t. There are apps for it to guide you, which I use, because there’s an app for everything these days!
  7. Therapy – Even though I re-started therapy in 2014, I was able to remain in it for the entirety of 2015. As a future therapist, it might seem strange to some that I’m going to therapy or a no-brainer. Either way, making therapy a priority has been both the most challenging thing I’ve put myself through and the most rewarding. Again, anything worthwhile is going to be challenging. (Maybe that’ll be my saying for 2015!) With everything that happened over the past year, therapy has been a godsend in helping me get through it all. It’s also brought so much peace and calm to my life and allowed me to understand and accept myself on a whole new level. Of course I would say this, but I recommend therapy to anyone.
  8. Tattoo – As I previously wrote about, I got my second tattoo this past year. Not only was this a super exciting experience, it also served a lot of personal purpose for me. One was that I was finally able to take the plunge and get another tattoo after so much time since my first one. Being able to sit through a 6+ hour tattoo was pretty liberating and made me feel so powerful. Second, it went along with helping my process of accepting myself, including all of my mistakes and past. This tattoo was all about moving on and learning to accept who I am, for better or for worse.
  9. Lastly, my relationship with Cade – Our relationship has served as so many things over the years and continued to do so in 2015. Not only does he push me to be a better, stronger person, he’s been my travel companion, source of comfort, and the person I can be a silly child with. We’ve experienced so many amazing things together that have created lifelong memories. We’ve struggled together, been each other’s strength at times, and grown more connected as a result. I’m an incredibly lucky girl to have him in my life and am amazed at the life that we’ve created together.

Here’s a recap of the year in pictures:20150906_152451 20150906_15280420141101_21491620151210_19173120150905_140014 20150905_14562020150822_104535 20150822_135820 20150823_11001020141108_130409 20141108_16144220150926_13003220150731_11564920150731_093334 20150731_10452020150801_112245 20150801_143400 20150801_14463420150702_182436 20150702_183607 20150803_11431020150702_19073720150824_212729FB_IMG_144096727536220151024_093250unnamed (38) unnamed (45)20151223_125712 20151225_22535220151222_135702












































































































































































































Now for the goals to come in 2016!

  1. Travel – Go figure, huh!? Cade and I have so many things travelwise coming up this year, and I can’t wait to experience them then share them with you all. We’ve already been able to mark one trip down, which I’ll talk about in the next few posts.
  2. Graduate – Okay, so this one may seem like a no-brainer, but there certainly are ways for me to screw this one up, and it’s such a huge accomplishment. This one had to go down as a goal for the year, because it’s a big deal and it marks a huge transition that I’m trying to prepare myself for.
  3. LCSW Licensure – This one goes along with graduating. Once, I can mark graduate off the list, the next step is to successfully pass the licensure exam. With my test anxiety, I’m not thrilled about this, but it’s one of the stepping stones along the path.
  4. Find a job – Again, goes along with graduation and getting licensed, and it’s another that will be challenging. I’m not sure what kind of job I’ll be searching for, so I’m not making this goal too specific, but finding a job would make the year a lot more pleasurable.
  5. Return to Yoga – This is one that I’ve also been able to accomplish in the first month of the year. Go me! This one ties into the next goal listed and also has been a goal that I’ve put off for long enough now. I decided that enough was enough, and I needed to just make it a priority again. So far, it’s been a fantastic decision, and I’m loving my weekly yoga sessions at a nearby studio I joined.
  6. Become a trained yoga instructor or at least start a training program – I’ve been throwing this idea around for awhile, and with graduation approaching, I’ve decided that becoming a yoga instructor is something I really want to do. After having the opportunity to teach a 7th grade group at my first year placement, I feel that this is part of the journey I’m supposed to take. My hope is to eventually incorporate my role as a therapist into the yoga world (trauma-focused yoga anyone!), but I believe I would greatly enjoy teaching at a studio on the side. Baby steps!
  7. Continue Meditating – This one is pretty self-explanatory. Now that I’ve started a meditation practice, I want to continue it in the new year and eventually make a specific time for it in my schedule.
  8. Run or Exercise Routinely – Again, speaks for itself. This one has actually been a challenge so far, as I run outside here with no (affordable) access to a gym, but I’m not into running in the freezing cold or snow. I could count yoga as exercising, but I’ll have to hold the running goal until the warm weather returns.
  9. Improve Diet – Okay, this one is pretty New Year’s Resolutiony, but one that I’d like to realistically work on. Cade and I do pretty well least I think, he’s not always in agreement, but we’ve talked about trying to cut more meat and sugar out of our diet. So far, we’ve cut down on our soda intake pretty substantially. We’ve decided that there will be no more buying it, but we can have it if free soda presents itself. We’ll see who cracks first on this one..
  10. Improve Spanish – This one is going to likely be the biggest challenge for me. I’ve made speaking Spanish again a goal in my head several times and have yet to make it happen. I decided to put it on my list, because 1) Why not? Let’s just go for it; and 2) There’s a chance Cade will move us to a Spanish speaking area, and it’ll be super useful to have the ability. Duolingo and I will need to reunite.
  11. Read – This one is the most open ended of all the goals, but my reading list continues to grow almost daily, and according to my Goodreads account I need to tackle 20 books by the end of the year. While I think 20 will be attainable, I’m hoping this year I’ll be able to make this a higher priority and swap out some TV time and internet surfing for good ‘ole fashioned cuddy time on the couch with a book in hand.
  12. Tattoo – As a way of marking the transition between finishing school and going back into the real world (along with wanting to finish my half sleeve and liking the artist who did my second tattoo, but we’ll go with the transition thing), I’ve decided to get my ode to psychology tattoo. I’m still bouncing a couple ideas around in my head, including phrenology and an id, ego, and superego representation, but I feel it’s good timing and I’ve marked the due date for this summer.
  13. Lastly, just continue to work hard and stay focused – This is a broad goal, but I feel like it’s carried me far. My hope for this is just to stay focused on my goals, specifically for the year and not worry too much about 5 or 10 years from now, and push myself to work hard at things and get out of my comfort zone as often as I can handle. Doing this has allowed me to grow as a person and having amazing and profound experience, so looking forward I want to carry this into 2016.