Reflections of 2018 – Part 1

Featured image courtesy of Yours Truly ©2018

As I sit here looking out at the snowy scene in front me, I can’t help but reflect on how much I have grown over the last year…and I don’t mean by inches. Rather, in maturity. I’ve faltered a little here and there but for the most part, my journey this year has actually been a really positive one.

I started out the year wondering what 2018 was going to be like and hoping for something (or someone) beautiful in my life, and I know. Everybody wonders about the upcoming year as another year comes to a close. But for me, it’s different and it didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. Yet, it was still pretty awesome!

I’ve been on my own now for four years. Suddenly becoming single again after many years of being with someone…and at the age I am…it’s an interesting experience. At first, you realize you have two decisions to make – sink or swim, metaphorically. I chose to swim and I chose to rely on God (heavily) to do so.

The first year and half or so, I wasn’t even concentrating on the fact that I was alone. I was just doing what I could to find joy in life. I made new friends some of which who are no longer part of my immediate sphere (but I continue to pray for daily), and that’s OK too. I traveled alone for the first time in my life and realized I could do that AND enjoy it! I changed jobs and I’m still working for that company today. I enjoy what I do. I even started dating again. Now THAT was a huge step.

Over this last year, I chose to focus on the things that invigorate me, that I had forgotten how much I enjoy – working on strengthening my faith, traveling more, and taking in a whole lot of LIVE music. That last part, I’ll save for Part 2 of these reflections because there’s so much more to say about that, but the first two, let me explain.

Hatteras Island, September 2018

With regards to travel, this year I made sure I took my summer vacation even as the summer concert season got HOT. My job is very demanding from April – October, basically, so taking time off is hard, but this year, I needed it. I needed to refresh and regroup. My summer vacation was one of the best I had taken in years. It started with a trip to Massachusetts to visit family for a couple of days AND to take in a Red Sox game at Fenway for the first time in a very long time. From there, it was on to Maine for solitude and quiet for 3 days all on my own. Perfect. And ended with a short visit with my Mom for an overnight before heading back to North Carolina.

Then, in September, I took 4 days and went to my favorite source of peace – the beach – specifically, Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks, or as we North Carolinians call it, the OBX. Again, THE BEST solo vacation I had taken ever. The weather, the beach, the food, the daytrippin’, all of it was just perfect.

In October, I took a dear friend of mine with me out to North Carolina’s Wine Country in the Yadkin Valley for my Birthday weekend and finally got to visit the winery I’ve been dying to see – Raffaldini Vineyards where I discovered there wasn’t a wine I did not want to purchase and bring home. We also visited the fall festival in “Mayberry”, Mount Airy, NC as well as the one at Shelton Vineyards too. Again, a wonderful time of travel full of great memories.

As for my faith, I’ve made it a point every single morning to have quiet time with devotions and prayers even before I get out of bed. It has made a difference. My days begin on a good note and seem easier to handle when I face challenges during the day too, all because I spend time with Him each morning. I’ve also been attending a church pretty regularly that I really enjoy. Between the messages and worship and praise music to what they do for the community as a whole, I feel comfortable there and I look forward to each Sunday when I attend too, which is just about every Sunday unless weather or I’m out of town. But, yeah, my faith has grown immensely which has only helped me to continue to grow.

2018 was “my year”, though a different version of it than I had hoped for and yet, I’m ending it on a very positive note. I am the happiest I have ever been. I am finally at peace with who I am and where I am, AND I look forward to the future ahead of me. I have a feeling 2019 is only going to be that much better. At least that’s what God keeps putting on my heart.

Part 2 will be all about my re-discovery of LIVE music and how that just might transform this blog some too in 2019. Maybe. Still thinking about that…

Until next time, I hope you’ll reflect back on 2018 and even if it wasn’t as much of a growth experience as mine was, you’ll find the blessings you had along the way. Always count your blessings! May God BLESS your holiday season too.

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