A Look Back at 2017

Hi Friends! I've missed you and my life has been insanity the last couple of days. In 26 hours my car will be fully packed, and I will drive out of Davidson towards Chattanooga to start the next chapter of my life, and this has seriously got me in the feels. So as we are about a week into the new year, it only feels appropriate to take a minute (or several) to reflect.  Usually, this is something I would do sitting across from one of my many people who know all the best questions to ask, but as I’ve promised, I don’t want this to be a blog that just touches on the surface things. I don’t want this just to be a place for you to discover a new product even though that would be great but I want it to be a place that inspires & pushes you to feel/lean into your most authentic self. And I think this happens by looking back- so lucky you get a look back at what 2017 was like for me and hopefully, it inspires you to sit down and look back at yours!

As I stood in an arena last year next to my best friend maybe one too many drinks deep with my favorite band on stage all I could think was I just want the nightmare that 2016 was to be over. I have less than classy & cordial feelings towards it, and my loud mouth made that clear that night, but as the 1st settled in and several cups of coffee were had & I learned from my mistakes from the night before I realized that all I wanted was for 2017 to be different. One of my other very dear friends introduced me to the idea of picking a word for the year instead of a resolution. In 2016 my word was brave and fearless, and I will be the first to tell you that I think I did a pretty damn good job at being brave at whatever chance I got, but this isn’t about 2016 (and if you want to hear lots of great stories about a 20 something putting herself out there over & over message me and I’d be happy to entertain you). I keep trying to remember my word for 2017 because I know I had to pick one but for the life of me it’s slipped my mind. Looking back though I see an apparent pattern and that’s this rediscovery of who I am and who I want to be and what I want to be about. 

When I lost my mom, my whole world went dark in a matter of minutes. She was my best friend and the person who always steered me back when I lost track, and without her, that was gone. Yes, I had so many and still have so many people who love me and do this for me, but it’s different with your mom. From the most trivial of things like calling her crying because you spilled your coffee all over you and now your worlds ending, and she would just get it. I could call her up with the craziest idea, and she would believe in every word. Like my mom, she was apart of me. Literally, I was flesh of her flesh, and when that is taken away from you in an instance, you begin to question who you even are. 

So my year started with making small promises to myself that I knew were 100% selfishly only for me. I wanted to travel. I wanted to knock the number one off my bucket list. I wanted to take a semester off of school because it was making me miserable. I wanted to buy a ton of clothes because I love clothes and I didn’t care if people thought that it wasn’t wise or smart. I wanted to see the time with my Young Life girls through and then together I wanted us to walk into whatever the next chapters of our lives were going to be. I wanted to lean into the friendships I had around me and pursue them. I wanted to read articles about John Mayer and fantasize about becoming his wife. I wanted to be okay with my anxiety and depression and know that some days I wouldn’t want to get out of bed, or I might cry in Harris Teeter or some days would feel normal, and that would all be okay.  I wanted to linger in places even if I had other responsibilities. I wanted to figure out what it was that was going to give me purpose. I wanted to endlessly binge watch TV shows without shame. And the list goes on. And I think as I look back all of these things have something lying just beneath the surface and that’s that I desperately wanted to feel like “Summer” again in whatever way that would look like. 

I’ve always felt influenced and pressured to make decisions based off of what the people around me are going to think or say. But then I have this other conflicting side of me that hates to follow the rules & the norms. I can be stubborn as heck when I get a gut feeling, and I will blindly support it because I trust it to a fault. After my mom, the two of these were in full on the battle I mean like queue Bad Blood by Taylor Swift. Being in such a helpless state, I ran to other people for their opinions and guidance, and I’m not saying I take it back or I regret it because I think at the time I needed that. But as 2017 rang in the rebel side of me started to win the fight hence the long list above of doing all of the things for me.

At first, they started out small except my trip to Iceland that was a big one, but the other ones were simple in that I just gave myself space and freedom to just be. And as that grew so did the voice inside me that I felt like had been buried. I decided to hire a web and brand developer so that I could finally pursue my dream of launching a blog and it was the best decision I made in 2017 one because I made a new friend and two because I completed/followed through with something without quitting for once. I decided getting out of Davidson was the direction I needed to head in next so with VERY minimal consultation I mean like a single text to my friend who at the time probably doubted how serious I was I decided to withdraw from Queens and apply to UTC and move to Chattanooga in January! These were the two decisions that made me see it all full circle (I don’t know anything about sports, but right now I have a voice over in my head similar to that scene in Never Been Kissed where Drew Barrymore is talking about baseball as she is about to throw the first pitch in the final scene). These decisions made me realize that the Lord was using all those small decisions to make me slow down enough to see that I was still in there and that though my voice may be a lot different now because my story has been forever altered it’s always my voice and it still has a purpose. 

Sometimes I get so mad that this last year couldn’t have happened under different circumstances because boy would my mom be proud. She would be laughing hysterically when I told her daughter who hates working out is going to work at Pure Barre in Chatt. She would love to hear about all my travel adventures and probably reprimand me for my online shopping addiction, but I trust that she’s watching over me and that along the way as 2017 felt like my year back to myself she was there. I am also thankful for that in all the moments I tried to run away from the one who created me He kept pulling me back in so that I could sit here and see the way he beautifully wove the last year together even in all of its dark & hard moments.

I’m excited for 2018 because it feels like a year of fresh starts and new beginnings in the least cliche way possible (like honestly sometimes I wonder if I could be more basic?). Thanks for reading until the end and I hope that somewhere and all those words there was something that stood out to you. And I challenge you to reflect back on the year before we look ahead because there’s so much I promise you that you wouldn’t want to miss! Are there things you look back at and think "damn I'm proud"? Are there places you see significant growth? What do you want to look different in 2018? What do you want to be about? Because you need to shout these things out, write them down, share them with a friend over coffee or I would even love if you shared with me! 

I am the most thankful for this platform and that somehow my crazy leap to launch my blog has landed me here being vulnerable on the internet, but loving every minute of it because it’s what I love & y’all continue to love + support me in it all! SO THANK YOU! 

Cheers to 2017 down and the beginning of 2018 ✨🎉 Let's make this year a good one loves! 

XO Sum