It’s that time of year again, year end reviews and reflections. Whether this year was one of your best or one of your worst, it is coming to a close as quickly as it always does and preparations for the new year are being put in place. This is a great time to look back on the bad and the good to see what you learned or can learn from with the experiences that you had.

beachblanket_jeninnashThis was not my favorite or best year, but it wasn’t all bad either. I moved in to an apartment by myself – completely on my own (and with my corgi of course). I made new friends and lost a couple along the way. I suffered losses personally and professionally, and  gained personally and professionally. I completed goals (& slacked on a few as well).  I traveled to new places and didn’t travel as often as I’d like. Through the good and the bad of 2017, I did the best I could with what I had and I can’t be disappointed in myself no matter what I went through because of that.

I want to share with you (in no particular order) 17 things I am thankful from 2017.

  1. New Music – There was so much good music put out in to this world this year! Thomas Rhett‘s “Life Changes”, Lauren Alaina‘s “Road Less Traveled”, Kelsea Ballerini‘s “Unapologetically”, Danielle Bradbery‘s “I don’t believe we’ve met” and Taylor Swift‘s “Reputation” are just a few of my favorite releases this year. If you haven’t noticed, country music is kind of my thing.
  2. Traveling – I love to travel. I love everything about it and this year I took a mini-vacay to Destin, FL which, shockingly, was my first visit to Destin. Renting a beach house with friends and having no set schedule was a great chance to recharge.
  3. Blogging – Although I am new to this world, I have found that it is something I enjoy. I may not be great at it, or be the best writer but I am doing my best! I am learning along the way and discovering new things and meeting new people. Thank you, yes you reading this, for taking time out of your day to read what I have to say and I hope things only get bigger and better next year!
  4. New Apartment – For the first time, ever, I am completely on my own – no roommates! This was a very scary thing for me but since I worked so hard to have this it is now my own little safe haven that I can come home to.  I am also trying my hand at interior decorating as well to make it feel more “home like” instead of a small-will-work-for-now apartment.
  5. Starting Kickboxing – This one may seem odd to some. Are you really that excited to have joined a gym? YES! I have tried having memberships to gyms in the past, never went, never felt motivated and never enjoyed it – I also never knew what I was doing and felt self-conscious and awkward. I randomly discovered HotBox on the internet back in January when I was finding I needed something new in my life and I needed to be healthier. I was always scared an intimidated working out in gyms because I was afraid people would make fun of me. That is not the case with HotBox! They treat you like family and make you feel totally comfortable. The instructors have the best attitudes and truly do care about their “clients”. I am proud to be a part of the HotBox fam!
  6. Adding to my “Framily” (Friend Family) – As mentioned in my 5 tips for Staying Organized in a Busy World blog, I work two jobs. My part-time evening job as a bartender may not seem very glamorous but it has been one of the better parts of my life since starting the job almost 6 years ago. A few of my coworkers have become like family to me – which is such a blessing when I don’t have any of my blood-related family near me. It’s about a 13-hour drive one-way to go home and the closest major airport is still about 2-3 hours away. I am so thankful for coworkers who have taken me in as their own and the new ones that have come in to join the family along the way.
  7. Career Changes – This one falls under one of the worst but also one of the best memories. Although my time with a job I loved with amazing people, I started a new career as my primary job. I am still learning the in’s-and-out’s of the new position as well as a new industry but that is part of the challenge and I have new co-workers who have embraced me and help me along the way of facing these challenges.
  8. Backstreet Boys live – I am a 90’s boy band fan and have been a fan of the backstreet boys from way back in the day. Unfortunately, I had never seen them live during their prime and had a feeling I never was going to be able to. Until this year! I was fortunate enough to attend their CMT Crossroads taping with Florida Georgia Line and I had the absolute best time of my life and am dying to get to Las Vegas to see a full show. My 11/12-year-old self is definitely happy:)
  9. Stanley Cup Finals– I am a huge hockey fan and love cheering on the Nashville Predators. If you can imagine, I was pretty excited that the Preds made it to the Stanley Cup Finals this year! I never thought I would ever be able to attend a finals game and luckily enough I was able to attend a game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals here in Nashville! What made it even better? Seeing the Preds win 4-1 to tie up the series. Although, they did not win the cup I am still staying hopeful they will soon.
  10. CMA Fest– I have attended CMA Fest every year since 2009. It is one of my favorite weeks because I get to see friends that I only see once a year during this week. Not only do I get time to reconnect with friends I get to hear and see some of the best artists in country music play!
  11. Living With Landyn Live! – Over the course of the last year I was introduced to a fellow Nashville blogger named Landyn. If you aren’t following her, you should! She recently hosted an event that was “all the things”. I treated myself to a VIP ticket and had a great time learning new tricks and tips to see and do “all the things”:)
  12. Hammocking – I’m not really an outdoorsy type of girl, but I had been wanting an ENO hammock for the longest time and finally caved this summer and got one! It quickly became one of my favorite activities to do in my free time and I can’t wait until the weather is nicer again to get back out and explore all the great parks here in Nashville!
  13. Solar Eclipse – Another benefit of living in Nashville is that during the Solar Eclipse on August 21, we were in the path of totality! I was working during the eclipse but our office did have a party with solar themed snacks and we took time out of the day to watch it happen and it’s a pretty cool time to be alive to be able to witness an event like that!
  14. Life After a Loss – Last year was pretty rough in the relationship department for me and I definitely faced my doubts of ever being able to date again let alone find a new relationship! Although, I have not found a new relationship, I have gone out of my comfort zone and have gone on a few dates. Some better than others, which comes with dating, but I have put myself out there and learned that it is possible to get back to the dating scene and that there is still a chance for me to find the relationship that is meant for me.
  15. Independence – I am an only child (No, I am not spoiled;)) so naturally I am pretty independent, or at least I feel like this is something that is natural for being an only child, but this year I became the most independent I have ever been. I’ve either always had my mom, a roommate, or boyfriend to help me. Not having family in Nashville, not being in a relationship or having a roommate I have learned to take care of myself, by myself. Sometimes it’s hard but I have proven to myself that I can do it and taking that leap of faith of being completely alone hasn’t been so bad after all.
  16. Mentorship – I’ve never really thought I needed anyone to serve as my mentor, I just figured I was a self-sufficient, independent person who could handle themselves. While that is true, it is nice to have one person to confide in and provide guidance for you when needed. Luckily, this year I have found two people that have served as a great resource and are willing to be there for me the best they can. Do I call or tell them they are my mentor’s? No. I just finally let my guard down enough to find someone and in this case a couple people that I can trust and confide in. I hope that everyone has “someone” they feel they can go to. If you do not I hope you find that you can bring down your walls and learn to trust people again, I’ve been there and I’m still learning even with those in the small circle of trust.
  17. My best friend -Last but not least, even though this list is in no particular order, one thing I am most thankful for and will always be one of the better parts of me and my life will be my dog, Checotah. She has remained a solid constant in my life since I adopted her almost 11 years ago. Her heart of gold and unconditional love teach me new things day in, day out, year in and year out. Plus, she is always down to go for a car ride, blasting some music, and grabbing a cheap cheeseburger from McDonald’s or just staying home and laying on the couch with a good movie.

jennifer_checotahThere are plenty more memories and things to be thankful for from this past year but I think this list is long enough, until next year 😉 Now we say goodbye to one year and start another, I look forward to what 2018 has in store. Again, I thank you for starting and staying with me on this blogging journey and wish you and your family a great remainder of 2017 and an even better 2018!

Happy New Year!

x-Jennifer (& Checotah too!)