“What if 2015 is the year that changes everything?”
As I stared at my white bedroom wall back in my old apartment, I knew I needed to fill the blank space with something. In the end, I came up with a project for myself. I took a bunch of inspirational quotes and wrote them out in different fonts and hung them up on colored paper.
While all of them spoke to me in different ways, I found that quote particularly powerful. Instead of inspiring me to go work out or reminding me to be a good person or something- it gave me hope. Its message was subtle; live your life each day in a way that works up to something larger and greater. It gave me hope about the bigger picture of it all and it served as a reminder to stop saying, “Eventually” or “Someday”. This was going to be my year.
Like every year, this past year has been jam packed. By now, Christmas movies have been replaced with TV specials counting down “The Best of the Year” or “Looking back at ….”. And every year, without fail, I find myself thinking, “That was this year? But it was so long ago!” January falls in the middle of a harsh Midwest winter. It all blurs together into one giant freezing blizzard until we come out the other end sometime in April. You enjoy spring for a few weeks amidst the rain before it turns to a blazing hot summer where every weekend is filled with another activity and before you know it it’s fall. Football and pumpkin season take over and you enjoy the cool weather before the harsh cold returns and you close out the year with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and OMG it’s NYE again.
It was only this past year that the Seattle Seahawks lost the Superbowl in a miserable disaster of a last play. Birdman won for Best Picture and Uptown Funk was the number 1 song. There were tragedies like the plane crash into the Alps, multiple attacks on Paris, an earthquake in Nepal, and a ton of other devastating newsworthy items.
But there were also happy things! Ireland and the US both legalized same sex marriages, the confederate flag was taken down, Myanmar had its first ever free election and the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Again. 🙂
Since this year those “End of the Year programs” aren’t available to me, I decided take it upon myself to reflect on my year. For those of you who do not know, I used to have a blog with lists of 12 (“Because life is too good for just ten”). My Top 12 favorite this or that and random opinions about obscure things. I wanted to bring it back occasionally on this blog and thus far it has only made an appearance once. So, to close out the last post of the year- a list of 12 Superlatives for Katie’s 2015.
1. Biggest accomplishment: Finishing a 2000 piece puzzle all by myself. I bought this son of a bitch for $0 .50 and my eyes were a little bigger than my brain. I saw it and thought, “0o0h! Puzzle! FUN!” It very soon became the bane of my existence and took over my life. I rearranged my living room furniture to accommodate the damn thing and it took me over three months to complete, but complete it I did.
2. Saddest moment: On April 29th, I got a phone call from my mom about my puppy. He was put down after 16 years of an awesome life. Kolumbo Johnson was the smelliest and weirdest dog there ever was and I love him more than anything in the whole wide world. He was my first dog- not that it gets any easier after the first, but I grew up with him. He was there to comfort and annoy me through my awkward middle school years, through high school and college graduation, and was always there waiting for me when I came home to visit. He had the biggest heart and even though we made fun of him so often for being such a serious weirdo, we all knew he fit in perfectly with our weird family. Just writing this makes me cry. Love you little guy.
3. Most inspiring: So, I moved to Thailand to teach English. And while, sure, it’s been an overall rewarding experience, I got something that I wasn’t really expecting. I got a new family. Through my TESOL training course I met some pretty incredible people. Every one of them has a different story and a different reason that has brought them to this stage in their life. We have all come from different places and it’s been amazing getting to know them and going through this entire thing together. They continue to inspire me every single day and I don’t know what I would do without their support and laughter!
4. Craziest thing: I guess eat a scorpion? Totally not something I ever saw myself doing. Oh, ate blood too.
5. Hardest thing: Saying goodbye to my friends and family back home. They are so understanding of me and my selfish pursuit of the world and I appreciate their patience, their support, and their love.
6. Most delicious thing: You know how you like someone and it’s great and whatever but then you fall in love and it changes everything? Like, EVERYTHING. Well, the burger from The Franklin Room was that feeling. I looked back at every other burger I’ve “loved” and it just wasn’t- it wasn’t anything to what this new burger was. And now, no other burger is going to be the same again.
1/3 lb. Wagyu, soft shell crab, whiskey-balsamic, fried egg, cheddar, provolone, bacon, pretzel bun #foodgasm
7. Most awkward moment: When my Thai school made me wear a slutty Santa outfit Christmas day during school. And then dance.
8. Proudest moment: When Wisconsin beat an undefeated Kentucky in the Final Four, completing what we couldn’t do last season to make it to the National Championship Game. They worked so hard and deserved every moment of glory. There were lots and lots of tears.
9. Most unexpected: One of my best friends from high school that I had lost touch with came back into my life! It was quite unexpected and I missed him lots.
10. Biggest surprise: Dude, Terminator Genisys was really good.
11. Most pathetic moment: When I wore a hoody all day in 65 (19 C) degree weather. Damn you Thailand.
12. Biggest regret: I can honestly say this year, I have had no real regrets. Sure there were the missed gym days or the time you wished you would’ve said no to that last shot, but big picture I can look back and have a very positive memory of this past year. I have discovered something within myself that I didn’t know existed. At times I wish I had found it sooner, but I don’t think I was ready before now anyway. The things I have experienced and learned throughout this year- the new people I have met and the few that I’ve let go of- all of it has led up to figuring it out now and I wouldn’t change a thing. It sounds cliché. And cheesy. And fake. But I guess I don’t really care. Because it’s real to me. I can happily and concretely say that this is the year that I figured it out (for now).
This is the year that changed everything.