There’s been several posts from Buzzfeed and other media outlets about how 2016 was a terrible year. And while there are definitely events and outcomes I wish had ended differently, 2016 for me was the best year yet and here’s why.
1. Passport Stamped:
In January I took my first trip abroad to Hong Kong. I went for work but had a couple days to explore Victoria Peak, Victoria Harbor and a fish market. I had never been out of the country before so Hong Kong will always be a special place for me.
2. Brewery Bucket List:
I’ve always loved Bells beer from Kalamazoo, MI so when my friends and I took a weekend to visit multiple breweries in the area and eat at Bells I was pumped. It’s been on my list of breweries I wanted to visit and it was a wonderful weekend with good friends and lots of fun.
3. Reunited with Kim:
Kim is my oldest friend and in April, while I was in Boston for work, I got to spend the weekend with her. It was great to see her and meet some of her friends. Not to mention explore the incredibly historical city of Boston.
4. Following Muir’s Footsteps:
John Muir is a corner stone of modern environmentalism. He spoke about preserving nature not for human benefit but for the benefit of nature itself. One of the stories I learned about several times was Muir’s involvement with Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. It’s been a dream of mine since learning about it that I hike and visit Hetch Hetchy. Big thank you to my cousin Kevin who made it all possible this April. I already want to go back – next hike, Half Dome.
5. Home Sweet Home:
Ever feel like you’re moving constantly, saving boxes for the next move and not really hanging anything up because you know it’s just temporary? No, just me? That all changed in May when at 24 I bought my first home, a condo in Chicago. It’s not so much that it’s cheaper than renting or that I can paint and change what I want to, it’s more that every time I walk through the door I feel home and I don’t need to save packing boxes anymore.
6. Passport Stamped Again:
Lots of traveling this year (hope to keep that going in 2017 too). In July I traveled, on my own, to Shanghai, China. The purpose of my trip was to work an international trade show for the company I was working for. I learned a lot from working where I couldn’t always communicate with everyone, but I also learned a lot about myself from traveling alone to another country. If you ever have the opportunity – highly recommend it.
7. Runners High:
Let me start by saying I have no desire to run a marathon, it’s too far and the first person to do it died afterward – no thank you. I do, however, want to run more 10ks and maybe a half marathon after running my first 10k in August. Maybe it was that it was the Big Ten 10k or that we got brats and beer afterward or that I ran it with one of my best friends. Either way I plan to do many more.
8. Golden Year:
As you get older most people tend to hate their birthdays, not me. This year was my Golden Birthday, 25 on the 25th. And if this year tells me anything about my future birthdays, the best are yet to come.
9. One Hundred and Eight Years Later:
Part of the reason my birthday was so special this year is because I got to share it with the whole city of Chicago as we cheered on the Cubs to win their first World Series in 108 years. I feel fortunate to be alive during the incredible series and celebration. It was truly an entire city celebration with hardly any violence or arrests, everyone just thrilled to celebrate with their team.
10. On the Right Track:
If you have a passion, an interest, something you want to pursue – go for it! I am happy to say that I am now working for a company with a mission and purpose inline with my own. I market energy efficiency solutions, something I think everyone should take advantage of in their homes. I waited for the opportunity that I wanted and I went after it, something you have to do in every aspect of your life.
11. What Do I Want?:
I think this comes earlier for some people than for others, but this year I learned how to put myself first. By nature I tend to put others’ needs before mine and make sure everyone is okay before I am. While I am and forever will be the middle child with this need to make sure everyone is happy – I am doing a much better job making sure that I am happy. What a concept! 🙂
12. I am a Volunteer Again:
During college I volunteered for the student organization REthink Wisconsin and I loved it. Promoting solutions to environmental issues. Well now I’ve found Green City Market. GCM runs a farmers market year round in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The best part of the market is that people using the Linc program, or food stamps, can shop at the market using their Linc card. GCM provides an opportunity for anyone to get local produce year round. It’s a fun atmosphere and amazing group of people. I hope to join their Junior Board in 2017.
12 months. 12 reasons. 1 great year. Maybe 2016 wasn’t you’re here but that’s the best part, starting next week or really whenever you want, you can restart, reset and make it your year. Happy New Year everyone and thank you for reading!