My Favorite Moments of 2017 & A Few Things I’m Really Proud Of

I actually can’t believe this year is over! It’s gone by so fast, but, not gonna lie, I feel like it lasted forever. Hands down, I have grown more this year than any other. The person I was in January is completely different than the person I am now in December. I’m more independent and confident in every aspect of my life and I’m so proud of that. But, wow, did it come with some challenges.

2017 certainly wasn’t the year that I wanted, but it was absolutely the year that I needed.

A few things that I’m particularly proud of myself for this year:

  • Doing more things by myself. Moving to a new city can be intimidating, but I feel like I really rose to the occasion. I’ve spent the year going to bars alone for an after work beer, taking classes at UW-Madison in dance and writing by myself, and going on walks by the lake on my own. I have always loved hanging out with myself and I feel like I got to cherish that this year.
  • Facing my fear of living alone. Although I’ve always enjoyed doing things by myself, I have always harbored a fear of living alone. I often have trouble falling asleep and get nervous when it’s time for bed and, although I still get it sometimes, I feel the anxiety subsiding a lot these days. It may not be perfect, but I’ve lived alone for over a year now and that feels pretty good.
  • Feeling like a young professional. When I started at work, I had total imposter syndrome and for good reason! I was an arts grad doing really technical work in an industry I’d never even heard of. But I’ve learned a ton and really embraced a logical side of my brain that had apparently gone dormant. I’m now comfortable giving big presentations, confident voicing my opinion about technology and business, and have a level of professionalism that only a corporate job can unwillingly instill in you. Work has been fraught for me this year, but I’m definitely better for it.
  • Getting into a more consistent workout routine. I’ve been pretty active ever since I started exercising back in high school, but I really found a routine that works for me this year. Running has always been my staple, but mixing it up with hot yoga and HIIT workouts has made me stronger, more toned, and more challenged than I’ve ever been. I’m more consistent and more excited to workout these days, which feels really good. Next year, I want to branch out even more and try boxing or strength training – they feel so much more approachable now.

On top of all that, my year was punctuated with some pretty amazing moments. I’ve gone on some amazing trips, I’ve enjoyed Madison soooo much, and am constantly reminded how amazing my friends are and how strong my family is. I picked out a few photos of some of my highlights, if you’re interested…

The Women’s March

What a way to start the year! It was the first time I felt proud of my country in a long, long time. Who’s ready to march again in 2018?

A Quick Trip to Florida

A short trip, but it was certainly some much needed sunshine after a long Wisconsin winter. I spent most of the trip drinking coronas and reading on the back deck of the hotel and, honestly, it was perfect.

My Graduation from Trinity College Dublin

Definitely my proudest moment of 2017. I almost didn’t go back for graduation, but it was such an amazing bookend to my time at Trinity. It was great to see all my grad school friends, to be back at all my favorite Dublin spots, and really let it soak in that I got a Masters degree! Cheers to that!

The Most Amazing Trip to Japan

Hands down, best trip I’ve ever been on! I would probably do 2017 all over again just to go back. Seeing my best friend from college, Betsy, was so great – it had been almost 3 years – and getting to experience Japan through her eyes was incredible. Japan is seriously magical. I don’t know how to explain it, but if you ever get the chance to go – do it!

A Great Summer in Madison

After all my travels in the Spring, I was sooo ready to hang out in Madison for the summer. My friends and I spent every Monday night watching The Bachelorette at the local bar, we drank pitchers at the Union Terrace, went to street festivals, hit up the farmers market every Saturday morning, ran a 5K with my mom (her first!), and spent Sunday afternoons going on long runs around town. It fucking rocked.

A Fun (But Challenging) Trip to Colorado

My biggest work accomplishment of the year was this trip I did to Colorado: it was a week of big customer presentations that I organized and moderated myself. It was really nerve racking, but I ended up doing really well, got great facetime with customers (I usually talk to people on the phone), and was really proud of myself for taking on such a big challenge. Was definitely happy to relax with a weekend in Boulder with the parents after all that!

Running My Fifth Half Marathon

I hadn’t run a half marathon in over 2 years, so this was the most nervous I’d been about a race in a long time. Despite getting sick the week before the race, I trained really well and was really happy with the experience overall. I actually enjoyed my long Sunday runs around Madison and nothing beats running onto Lake Shore Drive on a beautiful morning to hundreds of people cheering you on. The pizza and beer at the end didn’t hurt either!

Home for the Holidays

I ended the year on a high note. A great, chill week at home catching up with my family and friends was exactly how I wanted to spend my Christmas. A lot has changed this year – and a lot more will change next year, I’m sure – but that feeling of driving through the town I grew up in feels exactly the same every time.

What were you favorite (or most challenging) moments of 2017? I feel like we all sort of got bowled over this year, so I’m happy to to have a fresh start. And I don’t know, I have a good feeling about 2018. I feel like I’ve gotten through the worst of things for a while and I’m really ready to dive into the new year. Would love to hear your highlights, too!

Also, here are a few blog posts about some of my favorite moments, if you fancy reading more:

  • Read more about Japan here, here, here, and here.
  • Learn more about my summer in Madison here.
  • See some of my favorite snapshots from my Colorado trip here.
  • Check out all my favorite spots in Dublin here.
  • Read more reflections on my first year in Madison here.

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