Gosh, I just cannot believe it’s 2018.

I am officially to that point of my life where I’m starting to feel old. The other day at school, I realized that some of my high school students weren’t even alive when 9/11 happened. OMG!

I seriously don’t even know where to begin….2017 was an insane year. I thought I would share with you some of my year highs and lows, as well as share where I see my life headed from here.

At the end of the post, I’d love for you to comment about your 2017!

My 2017 Highlights //

  • In January, we brought home Shadow puppers! He is seriously the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life, aside from meeting Trevor. I cannot begin to describe to you guys how much I adore that 70 pound fluffball.
  • In February, I had the opportunity to participate in an amazing styled shoot at the Ice Castles in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
  • This isn’t exactly a highlight, but also in February, I spun out my vehicle on the icy highway and was nicked by a semi! Thank God everyone was okay. Vehicles are replaceable, but humans are not!
  • In March, I was featured on Becca Tilley’s blog on how to mix boho patterns.
  • Also in March, I started the “My Current Obsession” series on my blog, which has been so fun to write for!
  • In July, I saw Guns N’ Roses in concert for the second time.
  • In August, I had the most beautiful bridal shower <3
  • At the end of August, I started my high school counseling career (!!) I love my job and am so thankful for the opportunity!!
  • In September and October, I stood up in two of my best friends’ weddings.
  • In October, I married the love of my life!
  • I continued to grow my fashion platform here on my blog and started to monetize my outfits.
  • I worked with some awesome brands this year, including POPSUGARWeddingWire, Apricot Lane, Bay Park Square Mall, Best Self Company, Almost Famous Clothing, Dove, Basic Invite, Tom’s of Maine, the Luv.It app, and Jord Wood Watches. Specifically, Apricot Lane and Bay Park Square are local collaborations in the Green Bay, WI, area. It was super awesome to meet and collaborate with amazing local creatives.
  • In December, I graduated with my Master’s degree in Professional Counseling!
  • Also in December, I traveled to Punta Cana on our honeymoon! I won’t mention the broken ankle that occurred there…

WHEW!!!!!! There was a LOT going on this year!!!

Isn’t it funny how day by day, nothing seems to change, but when you look back, everything is different?

I’ve seen a lot of posts from other bloggers on their “Word(s) of the year.” Last January in my 2017 post, my guided words were Fearless, Patience, and Passion. I strived to take more risks, be patient with where I was at in life, and passionately pursue my dreams and goals. I still love these three words!! But this year, I have a different focus of where my life is heading.

2017 was a year that marked new beginnings for me; a year of change. There was a lot of fear associated with where I was heading, and what my new beginning would look like. I was still in school, job searching, and afraid of what was next lingering around the corner. I was overwhelmed financially with planning a wedding and being a student. I was stressed with how much was on my plate, and I struggled trying to balance it all. Specifically, September/October was the most challenging time for me, which is when I balanced starting my career, planning a wedding, and gearing up for graduation.

I believe that 2018 will bring me more security and (hopefully) more relaxation.  Now, it’s time to enjoy the recent life changes, and build our lives together as newlyweds.

Without further ado, here are my guided words for 2018…

Specifically, I’d like to focus on work/ life balance. My job is high-demand and high stress. I realize that I cannot realistically save all of my students nor guide them all to make the perfect decisions. I need to give myself more grace, and remember the importance of setting boundaries.

In 2017, I spent a great deal of time studying, checking my email, and working. I wasn’t so great at the whole “self-care” thing. This year, I’d like to focus my self-care this year on more active self-care (AKA, Netflix, you’re going down.) Specifically, I’d like to cook more, exercise more, and exercise my brain by reading more books!

Like I mentioned above, I struggled with work-life balance. My husband and I both do. Sometimes, I lose focus of what’s really important. It can be difficult to focus on one another when we are both career-focused. For 2018, I’d like to remember in the moments of chaos what the “big picture.” I pray for perspective. To remember what is truly important in life; relationships and people. To slow down and enjoy where I’m at.

Photos by Shaunae Teske // Sweater: Nordstrom // Scarf: Walmart // Purse: Target // Boots: Charlotte Russ

Why did I choose these guided words?

I think about 2017 and how big of a year it was for me. In terms of “accomplishments,” it was a great year, but in retrospect- does that mean it truly was the “best” year? Do accomplishments = happiness?

In some aspects, yes, it was the best year! But personally, did I really have time to enjoy my new accomplishments/changes? As much as I tried to be intentional, I feel like I was stuck in a snow globe, and someone was constantly shaking it. Everything happened so fast and I didn’t have a lot of time to spend focusing on myself or be with my  family and friends this year. I was constantly stressed and sick with anxiety about my new role, not to mention burnt out from trying to balance everything on my plate.

I’m such a goal-driven person and am fueled by feeling productive , but I have to say that right now, I am initiative-fatigued. I just don’t want to accomplish anything at the moment. I want to enjoy my husband. I want to get outside more. I want to check my email less. I want to stop worrying about the things on my to-do list. I want to brush it off if my house is messy and cluttered. I want to feel okay with doing less. Ultimately, I want to stop thinking the world can’t go on without me.

If I have learned anything in the past year, it’s that no matter how hard you work in your career, it doesn’t bring happiness. People and self-care bring happiness. We all need time to refresh and replenish.

So I challenge you to remember that it’s OKAY to slow down and enjoy the natural flow of life instead of trying to always beat the clock to get ahead. Work is important, but so is balance. Boundaries are imperative! And we are the only ones who can stop this endless cycle of the “busyness” madness. We can choose to do less. It doesn’t make us any less important, successful, skilled, or unproductive human beings. It makes us human.

I encourage you to put people over yourself this year and above tangible things. I challenge you to care for yourself, even when it’s hard. Although this is incredibly cliche, I challenge you to not take life for granted and to appreciate the presence of these around you.❤️ It really does make a difference.

Here’s to you and a happy 2018! I’d love to hear about your year, if you are willing to share!