2017 Reflections: Personal Growth, My Blogging Journey, And Heading Into 2018 With Confidence

And just like that, it’s December 31st. Another year comes to a close. 

As with most things in my life, I’m a big nerd about New Year’s Eve. There’s just something that I love about reflection, setting goals, and a fresh start. And a new year is the perfect occasion to look back and reflect on my journey and to make those big, loud declarations that I love so much of new beginnings and big plans.

Aside from a brief time during college (when I somehow had myself convinced that going out, partying, and staying up way too late were the best ways to spend your youth *eyeroll*) I have always been kind of a stay-at-home-and-be-cozy kind of girl on New Year’s Eve. As a kid, we always went to my cousins’ house, watched the countdown on TV, drank sparkling grape juice, and threw our DIY confetti in the air to celebrate the new year (and the fact that we were encouraged to stay up until midnight).

The last several years, I’ve gone back to those roots. My favorite way to bring in a new year is in my jammies all comfy-cozy with the people I love.

2017 has been a year of change, growth, and discovery. If you’re up for a little trip down memory lane, keep reading…

my personal growth

I started out the year pretty miserable. I was coming up on two years at a job that had drained the life out of me. I wasn’t myself. I had just kind of stumbled onto this path and then before I knew it, I was promoted, given tons of responsibility, and making a lot more money than I had been used to making. All of this sounds pretty amazing, right? It would have been, except that, and I’m going to come off pretty harsh here, I hated it. I didn’t like what I was doing. It wasn’t the right place for me. I felt like I was pretending to be someone else. All of this made me feel even more awful, of course, because objectively I should have been very happy. But that’s not how happiness works, right?

So after two years I felt completely stuck. I was not only unhappy where I was, but I had no idea what I wanted to be doing instead. I knew I needed to make a change, but I didn’t know how. And that scared the crap out of me. If you’ve ever dealt with something like this before, you know that it becomes a vicious cycle. I kept finding excuses (albeit not conscious aware of the fact that they were excuses at the time) that kept me in my current state. I was trapped in my own mind. 

I finally snapped out of it one day in the spring when I realized, holy cow, I don’t need to figure it ALL out right now! I decided to apply for some jobs, any jobs, to help pull me out of this trap I was in. And you know the story from here. In June I started at a new job, and slowly I came back to life. Many different factors all added up to a perfect situation to allow me to crawl back out of my hole.

The real me came back, and damn! I’m so glad she did! I missed her! I’m now teaching French again, working at my dream job full time (and from home!), and feeling full of inspiration and optimism for what the future holds.

It all comes down to that one choice, to make a move, to allow everything to fall into place as it has. In terms of my emotional health, I don’t think there could be a bigger difference between where I am today and where I was on January 1st. Night and day.

my blogging journey

I also revived this blog in 2017, changed its name, and discovered how to find joy, strength, and balance through sharing both my projects and my inner thoughts. I’ve learned so much this year about blogging, web design, SEO, Pinterest, the list goes on, and it’s all thanks to you! Thank you for being here, for following along, for giving me a place to vent and work through my thoughts, to be creative and weird and embarrassing, to share my projects and stay motivated to take on more and more. Thank you for cheering me on and for being there when I come back to this place saying “hey, sorry I’ve been away, I know it’s been a while…”

Looking back through what I’ve shared this year, I can’t help but smile at how far I’ve come in both my writing and my DIY skills, and at how this blog has shifted focus from one tiny part of my life and my passions, to sharing in all of it. I wasn’t fully into it when I was only sharing DIY projects. It just felt like something was missing. But as I continued to work on it, eventually it clicked and my vision came to life. And now I have my very own creative sanctuary to share it all with you.

Top 10 Posts of 2017

  1. BEADBOARD CLOSET DOOR MAKEOVER
  2. HOW TO PAINT FURNITURE WITH CHALK PAINT – A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
  3. THRIFT STORE LAMP MAKEOVER WITH CHALK PAINT
  4. HOW TO PAINT A LAMPSHADE
  5. WEATHERED GRAY KITCHEN TABLE MAKEOVER
  6. DIY CURTAINS (FROM $5 SHEETS!)
  7. HOW TO PAINT LAMINATE FURNITURE
  8. INSPIRATION AND REAL TALK
  9. HOW TO WHITEWASH FURNITURE WITH CHALK PAINT
  10. DIY CHRISTMAS TREE TOPIARIES

While I’m sure I will continue to struggle through spells of writer’s block and lacking inspiration, I’m very excited to see what sorts of projects and stories I’ll have to share in 2018!

heading into 2018 with confidence

I usually pick a word, phrase, or theme for each new year rather than a New Year’s Resolution. This year, I wasn’t really too sure what I wanted that to be as I head into 2018. I could feel it, but I didn’t know how to put it into words.

I want to be more confident, more intentional, more decisive. I want to be organized. I want to feel like a real grown up. I want a clean house. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to burn candles. I want to find the perfect lipstick and buy myself a nice handbag. I want to read more. I want to speak French again. I want to learn something. I want to travel. I want to have dinner parties. I want to bake bread and cook delicious meals. I want to finish projects that I start. 

As I was cleaning out some old storage bins yesterday, I came across a note from a fortune cookie that I had saved years ago…

PUT YOURSELF PROUDLY IN FRONT OF THE WORLD AND DECLARE YOUR PLACE

2018 is the year I turn 30. I’m ready for it.

I will be back soon to share some more goals and hopes for 2018, but first I need to finish my list. Until then, I wish you the happiest of Happy New Years. Tonight I will be in my pajamas with champagne and popcorn in hand, bidding adieu to this amazingly hectic and scary and wonderful year.

Thanks for being here, mes amis.

 

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