2017 has been the most challenging year of my life. However, with change and challenges comes lessons and growth. Here’s what I’ve been botching and learning this year and signs of what’s to come in 2018.
I moved into my own apartment. Decorating with free reign was the best part about living solely on my own. I discovered my love for interior design. I had a lot of shopping to do! Homegoods, Wayfair, West Elm, and Gilt became my new best friends. I racked up those credit card bills and quickly paid them down. (Be on the lookout for future posts on interior design tips, a home tour, and tips for how to pay down your credit card).
I’ll show you my bathroom, because this year was pretty “poopy”. Also, I think it perfectly showcases what you can do to a home if you’re a single girl living in her own babe cave.
While I enjoyed decorating, I also experienced a new sense of loneliness that came with living alone. I can truly say, I never felt lonely before this year. I always surrounded myself with people. I lived in New York city for the bulk of my adult life, and there was always something to do and someone to do it with. In Jersey, and as I get older… not so much. Plus, I came home to an empty house every single day after a long commute. The only thing I wanted to do was plop on my expensive couch and stream free cable. I tried to stay busy by making plans in the city after work. But even when I was busy, I never felt present. It’s hard for me to describe how loneliness feels. I guess I felt lost like everyone’s life was evolving and mine had to adjust too, but I just didn’t know where I fit.
Then, in April, my grandpa Henry passed away after being on life support. I knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier when my father broke the bad news to me while I was still at work. I could barely speak and tried to pass something off to my co-worker between total sobs. I had to come to terms that I would no longer see him. That’s kind of a hard notion to grasp, that you’re never going to see someone again. And just like that, my own life had changed in the blink of an eye. When my nana was ready, there was a service for him in June. Surprisingly, it was fun… believe me, I know it’s an odd word for me to use in this scenario. But there was a great slideshow capturing all the happy memories of a life well lived and the whole family toasted him with his favorite, Heineken! My heart also felt so big for my family and I learned just how important it is to cherish every moment with them. As an aside – I’ve always said something is going on behind the curtains. You don’t know why things happen, but it sets the stage for the acts to follow. My grandfather passed away soon after the birth of his first great grandchild who arrived months premature. She’s now living a beautiful healthy life. This taught me to hold onto hope and believe that everything happens for a reason that we don’t need to understand right this moment.
Unfortunately, my older brother was also taken from me this year. He passed away in a sober home after trying to get better. While I knew he gambled with his life, I never thought this would happen to him or our family. We had a complicated relationship, but we loved each other. I was so proud of him for getting serious about getting clean. I’ve been struggling for months with grief, guilt, and trying to rationalize what exactly I’m feeling. Still can’t really describe that either. A few days after he passed though, I found out I was his legacy contact for Facebook. It was such an honor that my brother trusted me with this responsibility, and below is the cover photo I made him filled with all of his favorite things. What his death taught me is that life is precious. It can be taken from you or altered at any moment. So I’m going to start living more, quit feeling sorry for myself, give everyone the benefit of the doubt, judge less, forgive more easily, go after challenges, and spend more time with the people I love. I see life through a different lense now.
One of the things I admired about my brother was how disciplined he was when it came to health and fitness. He’d eat extremely healthy and exercise daily. He knew everything about every supplement and every body part. After being hospitalized for a month, through grit and determination he returned to hitting the gym hard. I couldn’t comprehend how he could be so disciplined and determined to be fit, but couldn’t have that same willpower when it came to drugs. When he was getting clean, I tried to give up chocolate just as my own form of solidarity. I couldn’t do it, I had no willpower! I also joined and quit 2 gyms this year, and got a personal trainer hoping it would give me the motivation I needed to get fit but that also ended after 2 months. That worked for a little, but man they’re expensive and I should really be motivating myself! So now I tried to channel some of his healthy determination and joined Weight Watchers again. I’ve lost 10 pounds so far, and probably gained it back this holiday season LOL. But I’m jumping back on the bandwagon in 2018 and am determined to finally stick to something in honor of him.
2017 was also filled with some shining moments. I celebrated 3 weddings and 6 births. I got a financial advisor and am getting smart about saving for the future. I went on vacation to Austin and a bunch of small trips too. I ate a lot of brunches, attended a ton of happy hours, made it to an outdoor winery in February, went for a few rides in my parent’s new boat, saw a couple of plays, and kept myself relatively busy.
Work had its ups and downs too. I earned a spot bonus for doing a great job. I passionately executed a scratch off ticket incentive along with millions of dollars of other incentives. I went to Nashville and the Atlantis in the Bahamas. My direct report got a well deserved promotion. I also feel like I’ve developed leaps and bounds navigating never ending changes and doing things that have never been done before. My offices moved from midtown to downtown by the World Trade Center. While the commute completely blows, I’m enjoying discovering a whole new area.
2017 definitely tested me. As I reflect back on this year I’ve really learned and grown so much. I hope to carry these lessons in 2018 and revive Botch and Learn with the candidness and vulnerability that it deserves.