As much as I can try to ignore it, I am most definitely sentimental and sappy to my core. I couldn’t possibly finish a year, I mean the best year of my life, without exaggerating and dramatizing the very whimsy it left in my heart and memories.
I decided to skip the Insta-stories and snap-memories and reminisce on it where I can really romanticize the year that I just had. This year offered me travel, loss of a sweet friend, new friendships I couldn’t have dreamed up, and memories my thoughts and desires will dance around forever.
As many of my friends and family know, or if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, the beginning of my freshman year of college was everything I expected it not to be. Don’t get me wrong, I made friends I still have today, but found myself in an anxious state of being and a girl who wanted to run home to the comfortability Michigan offered me.
Motivated by that angst, I left Kentucky for London. As I am slightly hesitant to dwell on my study abroad experience, I have to note the fact that it is accredited to this year being half of everything it was. To sum up my first couple months of 2019 the words intentionality, wanderlust, and really really hard belly laughs are prominent in my head.
From January to April I traveled to places I had saved on my Pinterest board for as long as I can remember. From an impromptu trip to Iceland to eating crepes as the Eiffel Tower twinkled to being behind a DJ board in one of Barcelona's hottest clubs and everywhere in between I found myself confident in the fact that you can travel quite literally anywhere in this world and the part that will be the most special about it is the people you are with.
That's right people, the biggest lesson I learned this year was the importance relationships hold in our lives and how real intentional ones can change you, grow you, and show you parts of yourself you never knew were there. Two key players of my abroad experience- and now my everyday life, are my two sweet friends Anna and Arizzona. I can vouch that I quite literally have never laughed as hard as I do when I’m with these two. Anna taught me the importance of intentionality. She loves hard and in a way that you have no choice other than to grow from what she will teach you. Our friendship is one like I’ve never gotten to experience before: it’s raw and it is rooted in growth. Anna and I decided to prance around the coast of Southern France for spring break, and despite that, anything that could've gone wrong did go wrong, we still had the most amazing trip that brought us to tears (both from laughing and emotions). Arizzona brought out the weirdest and goofiest side of me that I think only she has seen. I’m talking next level. We met from being roommates in London, and boy oh boy our room holds some of my favorite memories from the entire semester. We would take a tube ride 45 minutes there and 45 minutes back just for Dunkin’ coffee, pull all-nighters every Tuesday like it was on our schedules, and laugh so hard that we couldn’t catch our breath to get the next word out. She taught me the importance of hard work ethic ( & I mean it she got an A in Acc201) but most importantly that originality is something to be valued at all costs in the world we live in.
Both of these friends I still get the privilege to love every day. Europe inspired me for days and I will forever cherish the season of life that my spring semester was, but unfortunately, my euro-dream had to come to an end until I impulsively go back.
This summer didn’t go quite as I planned it to- I had my hopes to work at a boutique, rake in some cash, and rekindle with my hometown friends. Instead, I decided the day to go volunteer at Younglife Camp for a month. This month rocked me; it brought me to my knees. The major thing I gained from it you ask? Relationships. Intentional Relationships. (Shoutout to my retail and coffee shop girls- you know just how to love me). I have learned about myself that I can be a flaky person, but the thing about relationships like these, they don’t allow you to be, and I think we can all learn from that this coming year. As my summer came to a close, I got to spend it with my family and girlfriends that mean the most to me. From hanging out with Victoria Justice at Lollapalooza ( I'm never letting this one down) to downtown Detroit coffee days, it was a sweet end to a summer that taught me how to love on my friends where they need it and meet them where they are at.
As I came back to UK for sophomore year, I was excited yet terrified I was going to have a repeat of my fall semester of freshman year. Instead, last semester provided me with finding purpose within my sorority, clarity in my career choice, and oh yeah- relationships that are real and meaningful. My close friends at school and boyfriend have given me purpose at the University of Kentucky, a place I used to question why I was even there. I’ve never been one to stress about things or take things too seriously, and this silly group of girls has taught me where to lean into that less or more. I could go on and on about this specific semester, as I have stories for days, but I think I’ll keep those memories for a different day. On top of this, I went on a trip to Hawaii with my hometown best friends and when I tell you I found a piece of calmness in my heart and mind that I have never discovered before, that shook me. Stay tuned for my Hawaii blog post, it’s gonna be a good one.
All in all, the thing I want you to take away from my 2019, my dream year, the year that I rid my anxious thoughts and ever-pressing fear of what is to come and how I can make it perfect, is that you need to be where your feet are. Lean into your relationships, they are gold. Find people that make you cry laughing because of a plastic skeleton or spilling ranch all over the place. Find people who offer you corrective criticism, who support what you want but help you keep in mind the reality of your situation. Intentional is defined as done on purpose; deliberate. Don’t be flaky, follow through with things and with what you say. Practice healthy relationships: you will see yourself grow wildly through knowing and loving people. As easy as it may sound, a lot of our generation is clouded with toxic relationships. You have to be willing for people to know your heart and be willing to step out of your comfort zone. I can promise you guys, you will be addicted to being purposeful in what you do once you get the hang of it. “New Year’s Resolutions” or words or quotes or whatever it may be never stuck with me until this year. The word intentionality was drilled into me in January 2019 and I am still unpacking everything it means to me today.