Highlights of the Decade (and the honest ups & downs)

Hello friends! I’m home from our Christmas trip to Illinois last week, and am slowly getting back into a routine (and cleaning up from the Christmas aftermath!). Before we left for Illinois, Will and I had Christmas with my family. Then, we drove out to Illinois for time with Will’s family. It was great to get out of the city and enjoy a slower pace of life. We had lots of family time and even enjoyed some four-wheeling! I also did a lot of reflecting on the past decade and the New Year and decade to come. Since this decade is quickly coming to an end, I thought it would be worthwhile to share highlights of the decade and the honest ups and downs that came with it.

Highlights from the 2010s

2010

Highlight = Turning 21!

I finished my junior year and did a summer internship at the Fox News DC bureau to explore career different paths. Then, I started my senior year at Clemson and turned 21 on 10-10-10 — such a fun night! But before turning 21, I remember feeling lonely because so many friends had turned 21 months before me. I also remember feeling very ready to graduate and start life in the real world, but also intimidated. I knew I was on the brink of big changes!

2011

Highlight = Graduating from college & landing my first job!

I completed my last semester at Clemson and graduated in May. Summer was spent at the summer or applying to jobs. In July, I landed my first real job, moved back to D.C. and began that August. In order to save money, I decided to live with my parents. Overall, I was excited to kick off my career, and I was surprised that being in Northern Virginia as an adult different than when I was in high school. I started making friends and going out in the city. It was a blast.

2012

Highlight = Enjoying a family trip to Ireland!

I began to realize how lucky I was with my first job. I loved going to work each day — loved working celebrity events and loved working for a nonprofit. I knew then I was lucky to work with so many people that I’d genuinely hang out with outside of work (and lucky now to still call many of them friends!), but now, I realize just how rare it is to find good friends at work. In late March, I felt I had saved up enough, so I moved out of my parents into an apartment in Arlington. I had a roommate and Maddie lived with me. Adulting didn’t seem so bad! I also enjoyed a trip to Ireland with my parents, grandparents and brothers. It remains my favorite family trip to this day. We drove around the whole country, stayed in a castle, drank lots of Irish coffee and took a falconry class!

2013

Highlight = Going to Italy with my family!

My dedication to work continued in full force. It was my number one focus and I felt fulfilled in many ways. But, I do remember struggling when my then-boyfriend he moved to DC. I honestly contemplated how much of this relationship to share, and decided I can’t ignore it. The relationship became increasingly unhealthy and manipulative, but it slowly taught me A LOT about myself and what I deserved out of a relationship. Anyway, about half of the time I ignored said relationship, tried to distance myself, and the other half of the time, I tried desperately to fix it. It was exhausting. On a happier note, I enjoyed spending a lot of time with my family and took advantage of them living close by. That summer we went to Italy together and explored Florence, Rome and little towns in the Tuscany region. It was beautiful!

2014

Highlight = Getting a promotion and starting grad school!

On the career front, I got a promotion at work and began traveling more, which I loved! I also made a goal to run 500 miles that year (which I accomplished) and decided to expand my horizons by starting a part-time, online Master’s program at American University. My work and school commitment provided a big distraction to the biggest problem in my life – that unhealthy relationship. In the spring, I decided to move into my own place, and that summer I gathered the courage to end the unhealthy relationship. Then, several months later, I got back into the relationship. I was under the impression, and maybe wanting to believe that this person had changed, but I was wrong. Aside from my relationship struggles, life was good. I went to a Clemson game with my family that fall. I was growing in my career and taking advantage of new opportunities that came my way.

2015

Highlight = Meeting Will!

This was a big year of change. After months of worry and feeling obligated to fix my then-boyfriend, I completely ended the relationship. There was instantly a huge weight off my shoulders, and I still wonder why it took me so long to gather to courage to do that. As fate would have it, a month later I met Will. He was everything on the list I had made for the man I knew I deserved – self-motivated, caring, successful, adventurous, funny and more! We had a three-hour lunch date, followed by a second date at Top Golf and our third date at a state fair. It was truly magical. I still remember saying goodbye to him after our first date, and knowing in my heart he would have a special impact on my life. Outside of the new-relationship bliss, work continued to go well and I finished grad school at the end of the year. Will met my family and that Christmas we cut down our first tree together.

2016

Highlight = Enjoying so many travels and firsts with Will!

Will and began traveling with each other this year. We started the year in Key West, then went to Los Angeles and Las Vegas together. I also met Will’s family in Illinois that summer and we were surprised with a helicopter ride. In the summer, he inspired me to finally start blogging. Then, over a long Labor Day weekend, I did a road trip from Portland to San Francisco (stopping in wine country of course!) with my mom and older brother. We also went on our first international trip together in October. Despite a hurricane getting close, we had a blast in Jamaica! My job was becoming increasingly frustrating, and I began looking for a new one. The week before Thanksgiving, I was let go from my job. In hindsight, there were signs of a mass layoff coming, but regardless, I was left feeling very let down by people I thought were looking out for me. Thankfully, Will was extremely supportive at this time. To take my mind off things, we painted our patio using stencils. It was our first home project together, even though we were still living separately.

2017

Highlight = Getting Engaged!

In an effort to prove myself worthy of a healthy career, I quickly jumped into a new job. After a couple months, I realized it was a terrible fit. Despite the turbulence in my work situation, Will and I were grew increasingly committed to each other. We loved dreaming of our future together and making plans. On April 2, 2017, Will proposed — we were engaged! The timing thoroughly surprised me, and I still remember the pure happiness of that moment. I dove into wedding planning, while also navigating a way out of my job situation. I changed jobs in May, but I remember beating myself up over the “wrong turn” I made in my career. It wasn’t until the end of this year, that I really let that go. Over the summer, I moved in with Will, he broke his collarbone while racing (requiring surgery) and we started going to a bible study group for nearly & newlyweds. In August, I enjoyed a trip with my family to Cape Cod. Then, in October, I decided that Maddie needed some company at home, so we got our cat Maple, who was four months old at the time. I loved watching them cuddle! I also ran my first half marathon and my parents threw an amazing engagement party.

2018

Highlight = Getting Married!

This year went the quickest! The beginning of the year was a whirlwind of wedding planning. On April 28, we got married and enjoyed a two-part honeymoon — spending some immediate post-wedding time in Antigua and then going on a European road trip at the end of the year. On the job front, Will started a new job one month after we got married. Then, a job opportunity came my way that I felt called to explore. In September, I started my own business in order to do full-time contract work and began working from home. I knew it was a risk, but at the time, it felt worth taking and I was excited to see how it would pan out for me! Shortly after that, Maddie’s health began to decline. I felt very lucky to be at home with her in her final months. Two of Will’s four siblings got married this year too, so we were blessed to get a lot of family time throughout the year.

2019

Highlight = Landing a new job!

We went to Cancun, said goodbye to Maddie, updated our home with new floors and met our very first nephew all in the first 5 months of the year. Over the summer, I began to get increasingly frustrated with my work situation. I felt isolated working from home, especially with Maddie being gone and I began to realize it wouldn’t be the best set up for me when we have kids (more on this later!). So, I began looking for jobs in September, feeling more confident than ever in what job situation would be best for me. Finally, I felt like I knew what I wanted and what I was looking for. On top of my desire for a job change, Will ended up changing jobs in October. In December, I was offered the job I had been wanting for months. I’ll share more soon, but I’m thrilled to be starting a new position in the New Year and finally feel confident again in my career trajectory!

What a decade it has been! Life in my twenties was full of ups and downs, big changes and so many lessons. With the new decade on the horizon, it is fun to imagine all that is in store for me and my family in the next ten years. I’m currently reflecting on my intentions for the New Year and plan to share more on that next week.

This New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, I hope you all get some time to reflect on the past year, the past decade and your hopes for the New Year. I wish you all a year of happiness, growth, health and love.

Cheers!

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