This post has been swirling around in my head for weeks and I have not made the time to sit down and commit those thoughts to words on a
page screen. Today, in the middle of my two-week winter break, that changes. This blog is one of my favorite things I have ever started; I love to go back to Summer 2009 when I wrote my first post about going to Spain and Italy by myself for a month. That girl, that version of myself, was discovering a part of herself she never knew existed. She was growing in confidence and feeling rather footloose and adventurous in all facets of life. I love her. How important it is to look back and smile, knowing you did something right. Reflection is how we learn, how we think critically, how we embrace mistakes and celebrate little victories.
So let’s do this. Let’s reflect on the last twelve months in a cliche end-of-year post. (Did Auld Lang Syne just pop into your head…or is it just me?!)
January: a thousand glances at my left ring finger that was sparkling with a brand new diamond and a promise. My best friend moved to Africa for a year on January 9. My principal, who hired me and believed in my potential as a school leader, left the school after me being on the job for six weeks.
February: a general sense of feeling lost without Amanda, enduring the winter blues
March: wedding date and destination chosen
April: my first visit to NYC with the ever-fabulous Jason Clark, a lovely wedding for Jason and Erin, prom (still cracks me up), engagement pictures courtesy of the fabulous, multi-talented Jon Whittaker
May: Jon quit Fox Sports (thank god) and started working at The Weather Channel. He had no idea what it was like to feel happy, fulfilled, challenged, and respected at work. Our relationship immediately became healthier. I finished my first full semester as an assistant principal, having learned many hard lessons but loving leadership and the change in my career. Took lovely little Memorial Day getaway to Jen’s mom’s home in Beaufort, SC.
June: got a new principal who makes me better every day, went to NKOTB with Jen and had the most ridiculously fantastic time reliving my childhood. And Kimber called to tell me that she can’t go to the wedding because she’s going to have a baby in a few months.
July: the most eventful, glorious month of them all! Spent ten days in the Dominican Republic getting married and honeymooning with our parents, Brooklyn, Ashley & Craig, Jen & Marty, Elizabeth & Greg, and Jon & Lindsey. Everyone got along swimmingly and had a lovely time. Our wedding was exactly how we had hoped it would be: a beautiful day on the beach, a perfect dress, gorgeous pictures, and only those we know and love there. Jon Whittaker led us through our vows and legally united us in marriage, therefore coming full circle in our relationship as he was the one who introduced us years ago. We came back to celebrate Brooklyn’s first birthday, sweet little love of mine. Shortly after, we threw ourselves a hell of a party at Monday Night Brewery and celebrated with our friends and family who traveled from near and far (Africa!) to shower us with their love and congratulations. Then the next week we bought a house. (July, you win.)
August: a flurry of a month, spent getting mortgage documents together, starting a new school year, packing up the apartment, working 14-hour-days. Closed on the house on my birthday (August 29, duh) and moved the next day.
September: unpacking, adjusting to suburb life; working every Friday night at the football games (Go Raiders.)
October: lovely weddings for Robin & Chaz and Lindsey & Aaron
November: Brooklyn was dedicated to the church, my 102-year-old great-grandmother passed away
December: painting, decorating, furniture shopping, celebrating, gift-giving, (finally) relaxing. Oh, and Amanda moved back home. :)
And that’s a wrap, folks. New jobs, new bosses, a destination wedding, a new home. So many life events crammed into a few months but I feel healthier than I have in years. The Jillian that started this blog five years ago is still very much alive in me, itching for plane tickets to anywhere, but priorities and behaviors have shifted a bit. (My bank account thanks me.)
Now that life moves a little slower, I have a few new habits I’d like to pick up in the new year. (I am remiss to use the word resolution as I feel like it sets one up for a feeling of failure if they are not carried through to fruition.) I want to learn to sew, to crochet, and to garden. I want to continue running, a practice I have picked up and dropped over the years, but one that makes me feel whole and healthy and powerful when I am consistent. Most of all, I want to read and write more, another practice that makes me feel whole and healthy.
My heart swells with love and gratitude to those who enriched this year with your love and friendship. Thank you.