Posted on Jan 7, 2018 in LIFE

Hello, there.

It’s been a while, I know. I feel like from September until New Year’s Eve was a blur. My sister got married, I went on a bunch of trips, and celebrated all the holidays. Then I woke up and it was 2018, a welcomed sight to move on from the (political, cultural, etc) chaos that was last year. If you’ve been following me here for any length of time, you’ll know that I really struggled last year, and at this point, I keep hoping we are getting to the light of the end of the tunnel. We’ll see. The climate of last year, both nationally and within my own home state, was pretty rough.

However, personally, things were pretty great and noteworthy. I attended the Women’s March, which was spurred by wholly negative events in this country, but changed my life nonetheless. (Silver lining.) I also spent more time this year calling representatives for my state than I ever have. If there’s another positive thing from the shitstorm that was this year’s political whirlwind, it was that it made me much more aware and willing to put my own voice to use for the greater good. So that’s something. I put two more semesters of grad school under my belt, and I can definitely see the light at the end of that specific, academic tunnel. I had several pieces of writing published (one in a book!), and was able to read my work for a crowd of people I truly admire and respect in the writing world. I saw some great concerts and local shows, including Maren Morris, Loretta Lynn, The Avett Brothers, The Dividends, Ona, Patrick Stanley, and Tyler Childers. I went to Ireland (!), Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Lewisburg, Hocking Hills, Lake Norman, and of course the usual Bald Head Island and the Outer Banks. I had my first pop-up shop outside of my house for Mountain Gypsy, which was exciting. I also won a small business grant to go toward Mountain Gypsy, and attended the WV Good Jobs Conference in Beckley. Kyle and I had our Christmas party at our house and got to see so many awesome friends for cocktails and conversation, which helped me end the year on a pretty great note.

I saw some things, learned some lessons, and came out on the other side. So, yeah. Not too shabby.

Of course, I revisited my 30 Before 30 list that I posted almost three years ago. I’ve been trying to check in with this list semi-regularly, but I am officially in the year I turn 30, so I need to get on it. I went through and evaluated my progress, and guys, I have a lot to do in 9 months before my birthday.

30 Before 30

1. Buy an airstream. — I’ve been consistently saving some money for this, so this year might be the year it finally happens. I’m learning that the process is part of the journey, though.

2. Start a shop. — I have an official business license, held my first pop-up shop outside of my home, won a small business grant from the state of West Virginia, and have a business coach. So all of those are baby steps toward this big dream.

3. Start a magazine with Kyle. — Unfortunately, this is still on the back-burner, as it was last year. Our ideas for this have shifted a bit, so I’m hoping we can readjust and start something this year. 

4. Turn my blog into a business. — I think I’m slowly but surely making this happen, and I feel good about the business I’ve created, so I’m going to go ahead and scratch this one off. I have a lot more work to do, and am looking to rebrand a bit this year. 

5. Start a YouTube channel. — Not officially, but still working on some video work for Whiskey with a West Virginian, and hoping to try some new things. I have utilized Instagram stories quite a bit, and that seems to be a good in-between point for video work.

6. Run in another half marathon. — I am currently (and somewhat secretly) training for a half marathon in May.

7.  Be able to hold an inversion. — This doesn’t seem to be a big goal for me anymore, but I would still like to be able to attain it. It’s just not something I think is as important for my yoga goals anymore. Isn’t it funny how things change that way?

8. Travel to another country with Kyle.We visited Ireland last spring, and I’d love to plan a trip to Italy for the next year or so.

9. Go to a music festival. — I haven’t attended an official music festival, but I saw A LOT of concerts this past year. Maren Morris, The Avett Brothers, Tyler Childers, etc. 

10. Host an outdoor dinner party. — Nothing outdoors yet, but I held a Christmas dinner last year and a cocktail party this year. Crazy fun. 

11. Go on an overnight hiking trip. — Not yet. Maybe this year!

12. Go camping.We went camping twice – once in a cabin, once in tents! As fun as tent camping can be, our experience was not the best. We did get to kayak quite a bit, though, so that’s great.

13. Travel somewhere alone. — This still hasn’t happened, unfortunately, but I’m hoping to make it happen by spring, possibly. I also think I need to revisit this list more often than I have been, so I can remember to plan things! I’m running out of time!

14. Volunteer somewhere. — I’m not going to cross this off just yet, because I feel like I need to do more of it. Kyle and I signed up for a local mission group with our church, which has given us some volunteer opportunities, but I still feel like I need to do more.

15. Take a cross-country road trip.Kyle and I traveled to Las Vegas and California this year. I know that doesn’t really count as a “cross-country road trip,” but we drove a lot and were across the country, so I’m going to cross it off. I feel good about that trip, and I’d love to plan an actual road trip with him soon, I’m just not sure when.

16. Take an art class of some kind. — I still really want to do this – holding out for a ceramics class!

17. Go on a yoga retreat. — Wild Spirit Yoga Camp, Summer 2016. Hoping to make it again this year!

18. Get my teaching license. — Still. In. Grad school.

19. Read the Rory Gilmore book list. — I still feel super behind on this, but I’m truly trying to read more in general. Grad school makes reading for pleasure really difficult, but I’m hoping to spend less time mindlessly swiping on my phone and more time reading. So even if I don’t finish this exact list, I’d like to get to the other side of 2018 with more books under my belt.

20. Finish reading through the whole Bible. — I’m so close. And I received the most beautiful Bible from my sister for Christmas from She Reads Truth!

21. Get something published.This one is tough, because technically, I’ve had something published online, but I’m hoping to get something published in print. Then I think I’ll feel okay about checking it off the list.

22. Take a train somewhere. — Totally need to do this. Not sure where, though. Ideas?

23. Go out dancing like when I was in college. — Will this happen? Have I missed the moment? We’ll see. Maybe karaoke will do. 

24. Hike the Appalachian Trail, or at least some of it. — Yeah…this still hasn’t happened. I need to get on this. I know I can’t hike the whole thing at this point in my life, but I would at least like to do a big of it.

25. Finish decorating our house. — I don’t know if this will ever be finished, but I would like to check some big things off of the list this year. Kitchen and bedroom are the two biggest ones.

26. Get a tattoo. — I’ve been feeling this one more lately. Sometimes I think it’s crazy, and other times I’m ready for it right now. We’ll see!

27. Upgrade my camera equipment. — Ugh. One day.

28. Perfect my wardrobe. — This will probably always be a work in progress, but I feel like I’m getting closer. I’m working on having a lot of basics, and less trendy stuff, and I am still trying to perfect the capsule situation. Although, I have really learned how to shop better and more sustainably over the last couple of years, and that feels good. 

29. Get a dog. — Maybe this year. We also need to buy a car, so we’ll see. 

30. Take a trip with my girlfriends.I traveled to Lake Norman with my sister and her bridesmaids (a lot of my own friends, too) for her bachelorette weekend. I would still like to go somewhere with my friends, but I think this trip was the kind of girls trip I needed, so I’ll check it off. But I would still love to go somewhere this year with some women! 

Even though this year was nuts, I will say this: I feel like I’ve made pretty good progress overall, and even if I don’t get to “check off” every single item, I feel like I’ve made big steps toward a lot of these. Of course some of them – like “get a dog” and “get a tattoo” are just a matter of deciding – but many of the other ones require time and preparation, and I feel like I’ve done an okay job at that. And I think in the coming year, when things are likely to continue on the path to crazy, it will be helpful for me to keep focusing on my goals.

On top of these ongoing goals, I’m going to try to read at least 30 books this year, cook at home more and only eat out once a week, and spend more time at home in general. We traveled so much last year, which was great in a lot of ways, but I feel like we ran ourselves ragged. This year, I want to spend more time in my own city, or at least in the state, and spend more time with my people. Kyle and I have resolved to have monthly planned date nights – like REAL dates – and monthly friend nights (Supper Club!). I also want to really work on spending money on self-care and experiences rather than “stuff.”

I feel like this year will be a year of cultivation – relationships, experiences, creativity, dreams. I want to deepen my relationships with the people I love, with my community, and with people I haven’t even met yet. Experiences are exponentially more memorable than material things, and I am realizing that more and more. I want to spend more time and energy making that a priority this year, and spend more time doing things that bring me back to life, like writing in a journal, listening to really good live music, watching inspiring movies, hand-lettering, crocheting, reading good books, and going for long walks. And rather than worrying so much about the consistency of my social media feed or whatever, I am trying to learn how to put myself out there, whatever that looks like. I think I’ve learned a lot through my years of blogging and such, but I’ve also been trying to fit myself in someone else’s box — someone else’s blog or business is not going to look like mine. I need to remember that. Let this year be the year of cultivation — of putting effort and energy into making myself, my relationships, and my world better.

I’m always interested to hear what goals others are setting for the year. Do you set resolutions of any kind, or have a bucket list? I’d love to hear them! Comment below or share them with my on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

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