Thinking back on 2017 hurts, if we’re going to be totally honest here…which we are. The year was speckled with moments of intense hurt and self-doubt, and while they were few, I can’t help but see the vast gray cloud hanging above. And the rational side of me is aware of the multitudes of people out there who had it worse than me last year, but it somehow doesn’t help to compare hurt with more hurt—two rain clouds aren’t going to make it easier to see the clear skies, ya feel? It makes more sense to me to just admit that I wasn’t feeling it in 2017. It wasn’t a great year for me, emotionally.

That being said, it wouldn’t be fair to myself to ignore some of the steps forward that I made last year, some of which wouldn’t have been made at all if it hadn’t been for my dark moments. The most notable of those forward steps came in April, when I hit a wall hard. I had been casually searching for new work opportunities ever since the beginning of the year, when I realized that not only did my current job not line up with my future goals, but that the morals and goals of that company didn’t ethically sit well with me. So in April, when I experienced an emotional uprooting in my personal life, I did what any sane person would do and rage quit on my job! This gave me the opportunity to go on some spontaneous road trips, visit faraway friends, and ultimately begin working for the agency I do now, which could very easily turn into a career.

Rocky Mountain National Park in March 2017
Seattle, Washington in May 2017

I remade friends in 2017. That’s a thing, right?? Childhood friendships that went dormant in college came back in full swing last year. Cool people who knew I was hurting checked in on me, and even brought me food and ate it in bed with me when I wouldn’t leave my house—a shout out to those ladies who made a small gesture that had a big impact. My people texted me often, and I appreciated them for it. I lost friends in all different ways last year, but I also really felt the friendships I still have.

I started going outside more. I figured out how to go outside on my own, which I consider the biggest gift I gave myself last year. Above all other things, going outside has helped me gain self-confidence and feel empowered to navigate this life as an autonomous human being. I always thought that I could be my own person, but I forced myself out of my shell last year and it has opened my eyes to so many new opportunities and ways of being that I had previously never considered. Not only can I do this adulting thing, I can be a self-sustaining, confident single female adult. Ain’t nothing gonna hold me back. Thanks for that one, nature.

Spontaneous road trip to Chicago, Illinois with this gem in May 2017

I started thinking a lot about moving forward. Specifically, I started thinking about the discrepancies between “moving forward” and “moving on.” I think it’s important to realize that you can still move forward in your life without having completely healed from whatever it is that needs healing. Maybe moving forward is the healing you are looking for in order to move on. Maybe you won’t move on for a long time, or maybe you can’t move on. But if my choices are to stay stagnant or move forward, I choose to keep going.

And I started this blog in 2017. It was a project that I had been thinking about starting for a few years, and last year I finally did it! It has been a huge learning process, but I have enjoyed it so far. And I’m here I am, brain-dumping my thoughts and experiences for you lovely people, hoping that somebody might be able to relate, or feel comforted, inspired, what have you, that there is someone else out in the world figuring things out along the way! I have never meant this to be a place where I show off my highlight reel, because let’s be real, there’s no fun in that. I started posting more intermittently as 2017 wrapped up, but I have been thinking A LOT about where I want to go with this in the next year. In the spirit of the New Year (and brutal honesty), I thought I’d share with you guys some of my goals for 2018.

Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area in September 2017
Stephen C. Foster State Park (the Okefenokee Swamp) in October 2017

More blue skies, less gray skies. In keeping with this silly metaphor, I’m saying that I need an attitude adjustment. A lot of the hurt I experienced last year stuck with me so hard because I couldn’t find a way within myself to be happy in the midst of just a few bad things. If you’re reading this and think that my whole world fell apart last year because of the way I’m talking—it didn’t. A few bad things happened, and I let it take over. I’m going to be working harder on my own happiness this year.

More hiking, less donuts. Okay, maybe just more hiking. My goal is to hike 52 times this year. That’s a hike a week, if you need me to spell it out. It may not work out that I get outside once a week, but I’ll also be counting multiple hikes in one day as separate hikes. Whether it’s a mile or ten miles doesn’t really matter to me—the idea is to get outside more. BUT ALSO I’M NOT GOING TO BEAT MYSELF UP IF IT DOESN’T WORK OUT THIS WAY. That’s important. Obviously, I write about my adventures here on this handy dandy blog, so I’ll keep you guys updated on this.

NYC for the first time! With this lovely lady in December 2017
Raven Cliff Falls in November 2017

Write more, Netflix less. This is the big one! I’m back on weekly posts, you guys! I’m very excited to write more lifestyle-y posts for you fine, gorgeous readers! (Have I mentioned how much I adore you guys??) Head Along with Heart is going to be much more active this year, and I’m super stoked to bring you guys more to read. It’s going to take more dedication on my end, but I’m prepared to make the commitment to be more diligent. I started this project last year, not really knowing what to do with it or where to take it, and now that I’ve gotten my feet wet, I’m ready to play the game. Because what’s the point in blogging if you’re not going to blog?

And finally, try something new. I’m leaving this open-ended on purpose, because plans made in January can sound silly come December, and of course hindsight is always 20/20. Maybe I will try backpacking, or paddle boarding, or even rock climbing! Or maybe skiing, or snorkeling, or even scuba diving?! Maybe I’ll try something that’s not even on my radar today. Whatever happens, I will be intentional about being open to try new activities, and not let the fear of not being an expert hold me back!

Are you looking forward to 2018? Leave a comment and tell me what you hope to accomplish this year!

4 thoughts on “Hopes and Dreams for 2018

  1. Happy New Year to you, dear niece. Love to read this! Wishing you many blessings and good things in 2018. Love the discussion re “moving forward” v. “moving on.”

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