Well, this first blog post is about to be a major cliche. 

I'm writing it 

1) On New Year's Eve

2) On the eve of a brand new decade

3) With the intention of using the New Year/Decade as a launching point for my website

4) In the style of a thoughtful reflection that acts as a beautiful beaded-curtain entry way to a path filled with all my hopes and dreams for this new period of time. 

If you're annoyed with me already, you have permission to leave. Happy New Year!

If you're still here, excellent! Thank you for getting my quirky attempt at humor. It's 11:04, I'm in bed with a sore throat, and keeping my eyes open is a struggle. But that old superstition of needing to reflect would not shut up. So here we are. Every year I tend to frantically scribble down my thoughts before the clock strikes 12. I'm not good at letting tradition die... except trying to reflect on a whole decade and not just 2019 is a bit more daunting. 

As I get older, I'm slightly horrified at how much faster a span of time seems to go by. When I was 8 and experiencing my first changing of a decade, I couldn't even comprehend what a decade was. Ten years seemed like an infinite amount of time. At 18, ten years qualified as the perfect amount of time to make almost every major life goal come to fruition. At 28, I recognize that ten years is an enigma. It goes by far faster than should be possible while still seeming like an expansive stretch of time. It feels like not enough time for certain life experiences, and too much time to have let old habits continue. That checklist the 18 year old version of myself made is now laughed at, ripped into confetti, and tossed around like glitter. Here comes the cheesy reflection of said list. 

Things on that checklist that happened:

-Bought a car

-Graduated from college

-Stopped working for my dad

-Kept and made stellar friends

-Continued with my art

Things on that checklist that didn't happen:

-Found a steady boyfriend

-Got a job in publishing or journalism 

-Move out at 22

-Got engaged

-Bought a house

-Adopted a dog

-Got married 

-Had a baby

Things that happened that were never on the list:

-  Studied abroad in England and fell in love with a group of amazing people

- Found my first real love in England, and eventually had my heart broken

- Wrote for an online magazine 

- Tried American boys back out and had more heartbreaks

- Decided boys weren't the priority and focused on my art and work

- Got a job teaching English at my old high school

-Made great friends at work- some friends with whom I would start my first Etsy shop with, travel, and start a podcast with (Don't Look Behind You, check us out) 

-Visited Austria at Christmas 

-Moved (At 25) in next door to my best friend and her future husband and lived our best Friends-like version of our lives 

- Traveled to Italy 

-Sold my first painting, and then more paintings

-Put my work up in a public space for the first time 

-Decided to start an Etsy just for my artwork 

-Started making stickers

-Helped create the logo for my dad's brewery, and eventually began doing his label designs for him

- Designed a Christmas card for the UNH President

- Designed a snowboard

- Went back to work for my dad 

- Put myself first

I'm grateful for the things that did happen. I was able to prove certain things to myself and provide a sense of stability that I very much needed.  I'm grateful for the things that didn't happen because they shook up the notion that there has to  be a timeline for life's major events. Everyone's path is their own, and while I very much believe in the notion that it's all in the timing, I've come to realize that none of us have control over that timing. Those things not happening in my original allotted ten years allowed for all of those things that were never on the list to happen.

And those things- well those things were the truly big things (please don't count how many times I've said things in this post). Those items were take-a-chance moments, step-out-of-your-comfort zone moments. These events that I never planned for led to the most growth and satisfcation. Some were so beautifully unexpected, others caused the worst types of heart break, and the ones that had time to grow and develop on my rader were ones I worked hard for. By taking breaks from certain parts of my life and returning to them, I came to realize how much they truly meant to me. And by saying yes to a ton of stuff that intimidated and scared me, I proved to myself that I am capable of pursuing the things I really want out of life. I did not always succeed at the new things I tried, but I still learned, and that's what's most important. All of those unexpected things- good, bad, lovely, and ugly, helped me to grow more condifent in who I am as a person. I'm leaving this decade more sure than ever of what I want, and ready to embrace the path towards it however it unfolds. 

Now for the art cliches in this cliche post. In thinking about what you want for yourself in a ten year stretch of time, you have to start with a blank canvas- NOT a super organized and tidy checklist. You can lay down skethches and lines in the hopes that they may result in the final product you are hoping for, but you also have to be willing to be flexible and embrace whatever chaos occurs as you create the next chapter of your life. A beautiful final product is not without its detours, blunders and mistakes.

Here's to a new blank canvas, a few intial ideas, and an open mind to all the unexpected moments to come. 2020, I'm ready for ya.