Just Two Lessons from 2017

2017 was a year full of growth, travel, yada yada yada.

We’ve read enough emotional Facebook statuses about how great or terrible everyone’s 2017 was. While my year was both in many ways, I’d like to focus less on what the events were and more on what I’ve learned from them (again, not crazy original, but hang with me). I broke them down into just two major lessons.

1. It doesn’t matter where you are, but who you’re with.

I embarked on many ventures this year and explored with both friends and family. I returned to the streets of Chicago to ring in 2017 with my good friend Madison, and greeted 2018 with her in Washington DC. Madison is a high school friend, turned distanced friend, turned matchmaker friend (third wheel?) when she introduced me to my boyfriend two years ago. Now that she is one of my boyfriend’s college roommates, Madison and I are closer than ever. It’s funny, the more I spend time with her, the more I realize we are SO different. She is fearless, feisty and determined, loves to party with friends, and comes from a big family with an even bigger heart. She faces conflict head on, something I will eternally envy. I am an only-child people-pleaser with occasional motivational obstacles, and prefer Netflix and pjs to parties. We both love to travel–we also spent a weekend in a hilariously horrific AirBnB in Pittsburgh in September–and have a blast no matter what we’re doing. We both prefer a plan over total spontaneity (a trait any travelers should share, whether it be one way or the other). Madison never fails to spark inspiration in me and that is something I can never thank her for enough.

I spent time in Gulf Shores, Alabama with my dad and grandparents back in March and we took a day trip to New Orleans, too. New Orleans, I must say, would not be a city I would wander unguided again…I don’t drink and the main tourist attraction is literally called Bourbon Street. That being said, as soon as we crossed some blocks and beignets into the French Quarter, I was in heaven. I fell head over heels for the colorful buildings characterized by the wrought iron balconies and innumerable strands of plastic beads from Mardi Gras just weeks earlier. My relationship with my father is a bit strained, but trips like this have helped to soften both of our prides and deflate each of our egos.

Two trips I never expected to take this past year were those to Los Angeles and New York City–two of the biggest cities in the world, both of which were totally new to me. I have had a ridiculous admiration of L.A. and California in general since high school, dead set on the idea that I would attend college there no matter what. Though I was accepted to USC and San Diego State, I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford the out-of-state costs alone, so we never even visited. So when my good friend Lindsay temporarily moved to DTLA last January, I was so excited when she invited me to visit! I had an incredible time living out a dream I had for years, and Lindsay and her fiancé, Noah, could not have been better hosts. We packed so many fun spots and delicious restaurants into my two and a half day visit that we barely noticed the hours we spent in traffic. Lindsay has taught me so much about resilience and the power of believing in yourself and chasing your dreams (like I said, bear with me), Los Angeles seemed to be the prime setting to experience her dreams unfolding. New York acted as this beautiful backdrop, too, when Lindsay, Noah, and my boyfriend, Nemanja, and I spent a weekend exploring the city.

I even did some exploring of my own city of Columbus this year. I worked with numerous wonderful photographers and even moved into an apartment with my longest friend, Tanner!  Tanner and I have been friends since third grade, worked together for a year, and have matching tattoos. Everyone warned us living together would be difficult, and though we have had ups and downs, it’s fun living with a friend and away from home (even if it’s just by twenty minutes).

Move in day!

2. No matter the circumstance, you can learn from it.

This is a thought which has been prevalent to me for many years now, but the more life I live, the more I realize the truth to the sentiment (and why it will be my next tattoo). 2017 was not a year of heartbreak or defeat or really much of the negative I have learned from in my past, but a year of firsts and success and push for me. I started my very first website (which I still can’t believe you’re on), wrote my very first blog post, made my first dollar through social media (yes, I still have the check), finished my first semester of college, and visited five major US cities for the first time ever. I’m still a long, long ways away from where I would like to be on my blog, in my life, and with my career, but reflecting on this past year and taking a chance to learn from each step along the way will only take me further. You can learn from the advantageous and learn from the adverse, and though it may not change the past, it allows YOU to change your future. I have taken time to understand this more than ever before in 2017 and am elated looking forward.

I can’t wait to be even more cliché in 2018 and hope you all will join me!

♥️ Amanda

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