The Cliche Resolution Post: Looking back this decade

Call me cliche but making new year resolutions bring me joy. Do I stick with them, let alone remember them after three months? Maybe not, but I don’t just set one(full disclosure: I am a Monday person, I look forward to fresh starts and forming new habits). The past few years I have made a list of FIVE resolutions to keep the odds in my favor. Turns out by the end of each year at least one resolution actually stuck. Over time I noticed that some resolutions I set are not attainable in just one year. Kudos to being a big dreamer but let’s be realistic it takes more time than you think to accomplish even the smallest things.

But this year go ahead and dream BIG, because it isn’t just a year to start fresh on, 2020 brings a whole new decade.

With making small positive movements over time they will eventually come together to be one giant change you didn’t even notice happening. All this being said, and it being the end of an incredibly weird decade I am challenging (myself and) you to make a few small goals for 2020 but make THREE giant goals you want to see over this upcoming decade. Write them down and put them somewhere random but still familiar enough to bring them up every now and then.

Alright, I am not going to strip down to the raw and emotional ride of the 2010’s, it is going to get personal. A decent read for but if you want more resolution ideas and goal setting talk you might as well scroll on down. 

Looking back at this decade I feel like I am looking back at most of my life. Ten years ago was “sixteen going on seventeen”, a junior in a small town high school and had no idea what 2010 held ahead. I was in that odd transition stage of learning I was capable of controlling my life – not correctly by any means- I was a complete mess and not to mention a serious asshole. 

My first puppy-loving-innocence-plundering “relationship” ended. I, like many other kids my age in our teeny backwoods beach bum retirement town, went a little wild. Days filled with car rides listening to Micheal Jackson and weird rave music to endless nights of beer bong and bonfires.  My curiosity on illegal extra curricular activities peaked. By not ignoring my inquiring mind I ended up making my life 100x more difficult than it had to be. I was grounded, a LOT (and yes, today I am grateful to have been). But whatever we live and we learn. 

While I was busy partying I missed out on a lot of great memories I could have been sharing with my family. October 2010, felt true loss for the very first time. One of the most important people in my life, my grandmother passed. Her death took a considerable toll on me. I found that loss is something my mind doesn’t agree with. Something dark, I guess anger consumes me for some time. I almost flunked out of high school but somehow manage to graduate early, where I then spent a lot of my time smoking pot, playing call of duty, learning all about graffiti and giving prison tattoos. But really in that time some amazing friendships developed. I got out of my comfort zone and realized I was not a “type” of person to fit in with a group. I needed lots of different “types” of people to keep my mind running. 

A major life shift started the following year. After being single(ish) (not counting the best friend neighborhood boy with the dawson creek ladder to my window as a relationship) I found myself going to my first prom (senior year) in my second notable relationship.

 What a world wind of emotion my poor seventeen year old self entered with that one. Toxic is a more  common word people would use for this time period. I am hesitant to even think back to those days, let alone write about them. It was a time of some of the highest highs and most terrifying lows. For those people who stay in unhealthy relationships for longer than everybody wants them to, I get it. I spent three years with someone who destroyed me. But those three years also introduced me to so many beautiful things. It was an abusive relationship. There is no excuses or better ways to put it. It started with manipulation then became physical. So much adrenaline.

 It is almost humorous for me to think back at all the deranged things that happened and seeing a deer getting skinned still sticks out. But no, it wasn’t just the deer that was awful it was seeing a dead dog for the first time, flunking out of my first go about at college. Getting knocked unconscious for the first time (and several times after that), the white flash where it feels like your skull is shattering and then everything goes blank. Fought back and drew blood. Being held at gunpoint with a red dot sight after not bring home leftovers from lunch. Woke up to a knife at my throat for sleeping on the couch. Was cheated on several times but also did my cheated myself (no one is perfect). Spent weeks in a tent because we had no where else to go, lived in a car, experimented with a lot of drugs all for what?

 Homeboy to get another girl pregnant and leave me. Yeah I felt like it was such a loss but was it? No, I gained sobriety, great friends, learned so much about the natural world we live in and the beauty it holds, along with important life lessons, self worth and so much more. It took me awhile to understand this but when I did I was finally free from being addicted to the super screwed up relationship I was in.

Alright definitely did not see this post going in that direction but feeling good to get things out and now I am able to leave all of that behind with the rest of this decade. So if you lost track of time we are now in 2014. I moved back in with my parents after living with a good friend until I ran out of money. I spent the last few months of being under the legal drinking age sober and working two jobs. I found God again. Ever since my grandmother passed I had trouble with my relationship with God. She was a firm believer and practiced that catholic religion, where we all followed in her path. One of her main sayings in life was “always remember to say thank you god”, words I now have tattooed on my arm. I can recall  the exact night I found God again. After working a night shift I made it back to my parents, it was late the sky was dark with a distant shimmer in the water from the faint stars above reflecting. I sat on the dock of the creek and looked up. I prayed for my grandma and asked if there was a god to please show me a sign, I want to believe. Call it a coincidence but I won’t believe you, as soon as I finished my prayer I looked up to the sky and a massive shooting star crossed over my head. My body filled with warmth and my eyes with tears. I knew it was her talking to me, and from that day on God has been with me. 

The rest of 2014 was pure joy. I turned 21, spent a week in Jamaica, and yes, drank my fair share of alcoholic beverages while making so many great memories with beautiful people. I re-enrolled into school that fall which brought the opportunity to study abroad in Rome and Paris. Even though I was pickpocketed, surprising? Not really…it was an eye opening life altering trip and motivates me to this day to get back overseas. By spring of 2015 I was living in Wilmington with my brother and was in a new-some-what-shakey relationship that lead me to getting my best doggo Hogan. The boy was great he loved and cared for me I just wanted more and had no idea how to be with someone that actually wanted me for me.

It wasn’t till June 7, 2015 that I found a darkness struck once again. A great soul was taken from this planet and put somewhere even greater. When I say great soul I mean someone who anyone could like, who the whole world needed to know. But like all of us, Josh had his demons. Our friendship started off because he was my neighbor’s best friend. We all started experimenting with drinking and other party favors in high school. I am going to just go ahead and say it, some of the deepest levels of relationships can be formed while not in the sober mindset. You end up in crazy situations with one another that will never be forgotten. But Josh wasn’t just someone to party with. Josh was someone who would come pick you up in his truck and jam out to whatever CD was in as we rode around town until we hit the waterfront and just talked, about anything. He listened and he shared. He passed 3 days before my 22nd birthday and I fell into that dark place again. Drinking hard. I dipped out on my boyfriend who pretty much lived with me and moved onto my friends couch with my dog and tv. Didn’t give him any closure just straight up dipped and went about it completely wrong. I didn’t want to explain myself I just wanted to deal with everything by myself in my own way. 

A couple months of “dealing with things” aka either at work or at the bar drinking went by I saved up money to move into a dreamy one bedroom apartment on the sixth floor of an old historic building in the heart of downtown Wilmington. Me and Hogan at it on our own, with a bear claw tub (a dream of mine to have but 10/10 would never recommend)! Being alone, like alone-alone, is wonderful. You find yourself and the best parts of you come to surface. My creativity goes wild and my mind reaches a level I never know it has. 

I started dating again but really most nights ended hanging with my friends. One friend in particular. Matthew. Who would have thought he would be the one. It wasn’t till this one boy started taking me out on fancy dates that Matthew got the courage to tell me that he didn’t like that and wanted ME to be his girlfriend. I was so wishy washy like eh if we date I probably wont like you in six months, that’s just how it goes, I lose interest. But we gave it a go. For the first bit of use “trying things out” we stayed downtown for most of it. Things were great we were happy. I was however thrown a curve ball in January of 2016. I was just about to head into my first night class at cape fear when my sister called me and asked, “What happened to Skylar?”. Skylar being with boy I dipped out on in June. Turns out Skylar was dealing with his own demons and decided to take his life. Unlike the other deaths I dealt with where I entered this dark place for awhile I felt like I couldn’t do this with him. I didn’t want to upset Matthew for being distraught about another man. I mean Skylar mentioned in the past when he was drunk how he didn’t want to be here anymore but I didn’t think anything of it. I should have listened and I should have been there. I also should have gave myself time to deal with his death.

But let’s stop clinging on to the sadder moments and skip through the next six months (ok maybe eight months but whatever you get the point).There I was graduating from community college and we were moving into a house together. Our relationship was fun, we drank and partied, watched good movies and did a lot of good eating around town. But I began to feel off-almost evil.

Something wasn’t right, I was constantly having migraines and was exhausted. The bloody noses started around the same time we moved into our house (May) and kept coming until finally I went to the doctor. September 14, 2016. The day the doc told me I had leukemia. It is crazy how much time and effort went into that period of my life only to look back like that wasn’t even me. Six months of my life robbed, even though sometimes I feel like those six months were me paying off my debt of being the WORST human for so many years when I was younger. We all have our opinion. All I know is that I was meant to go through that. I still deal with it daily. It is like I am living now a whole new life but damn that took a lot away from me and created this realm of anxiety about death that I had never worried about prior. I just have to remind myself that I am HERE, alive and I will continue to live a beautiful life, that is why I am HERE.

It has been hard even three years later to figure out how to get back on track. My life and everyone that was with me during that time was completely thrown off. We didn’t have jobs, and plan or anything. We just had to do what we had to do to get through it and we are still figuring it out. That is what amazes me about Matthew and I. Going through cancer together added years to our relationship. We truly figured out a big idea on what love actually is.What we went through others won’t have to till years ahead. We didn’t know what we were doing but we made it work together. We are not perfect. Our imperfections are almost complete opposite of one another. But that is what makes us. He is what I need and all I have ever wanted.

Once I hit remission in 2017 I decided to live it up to the fullest and then get serious with school and a career.

I planned a trip to drive up  the east coast with a best friend and stop in every state.We spent time at my family’s lake house, saw an old time favorite in concert, were tourists for a day in Boston after a quick train ride, explored the quaintness of Connecticut, stayed in a super sketchy spot in Jersey City, spent $30 on fast food before seeing a broadway play in Manhattan. Toured the naval academy while visiting my cousin, spent the night in hotel parking lots and hiked trails way longer than advertised!  Matthew and I took our first plane ride down to Florida and explored disney and universal ( a gift through the hospital) while getting to know his family.

We made it to Hawaii with my family and cruised around all the islands getting to go to my favorite breakfast spot in Oahu, got car sick on the road to Hana, went snorkeling in Kona and MISSED THE PLAYOFF GAMES, witnessed an erupting volcano and through the rocks we found back after finding out they were bad luck to take. I got to see Matthew in a completely different environment than what he is used to and it makes me so excited to think about the places we’ll go. But it wasn’t just about being in the luxury of Hawaii, it was being able to be around people I love and not have to think about blood counts or rounds of chemo. 

After a spring and summer filled with adventure I decided it was time to take a more serious approach and knock out another degree. I enrolled into UNCW fall of 2017 as a communication studies major. School pretty much occupied my life. Since I wasn’t working, I decided to take classes full time. Little did I know that was a blessing being hello 2018 you are pregnant! 

Something we did not see coming but so happy it did. I finished school fall of 2018, actually walked across the stage two weeks after Ray’s delivery. Being pregnant in college was not something on my to do list. But in reality I was already 25 in a classroom of 18 year olds. I wasn’t there to make friends, no matter how hard my mom pushed me to! I was there to get a degree and get on with it! After one terrible hurricane and four semesters of full time I graduated with a decent GPA. So am I using my degree now? Not officially but I use a lot of the information from UNCW to write and run my photography business, and you know what I am cool with that. I did it. Something I never thought I could or would do. 

With 2018 occupied mainly of lectures, quizlet and ultrasounds it flew by. Not as fast as 2019 thought. WTH. I feel like I was just pregnant like two months ago. But really I have a one year old running around rearranging the tupperware cabinet every ten minutes. 2019 has been the perfect ending to a decade filled with ups and downs. I learned what it means to love something in a way I never understood, a way where I would sacrifice everything to make sure they are healthy and happy. 

I learned that stress does make great relationships really hard. One of the best things I have learned though is how to recognize myself and stay true. There are days I want to crumble and cry out of exhaustion. I let my lack of sleep and constant adulting run me down the first have of the year. I became aware that depression is real and one day I may need medical help with it. But I am there now? No, not today. Today I am grateful to be in my house next to my snoring doggo with the baby napping in the room next door. I am happy to cook and keep things in order because I can and have all the means to. I may not be the richest or most fit gal on the block but I killing the game. I know now that I need to write down any thoughts or ideas because my brain is jumbled and I will forget. But these ideas are not dumb and are great points to be made. Looking to 2020 and I can not wait to see what the next 10, 20, 30 years plus have to bring. Like I said I am HERE and HERE to make something of myself and I will continue to pray for patience and guidance along the way.

Talk about a wild ten years but let us get back to today

And today I am here to share my top three big goals and my five small resolutions for 2020 and the upcoming decade. I think it is extremely important to write down your goals and resolutions. Especially if you have a list of them like me. You will forget, I always do. But having something to look back on gives you a visual, making it easier to manifest exactly what you want. So grab a pen a paper, open up your notes on your phone or text yourself i don’t care just get it out of your mind and put it somewhere visual!

Top 3 of the Decade

– To be happily married.

You would think this is a given seeing I am engaged. But I am striving to keep our relationship strong where we are staying together for all the right reasons,

– To move into a bigger forever(ish) home.

Eventually I want to move out of state but I may hold off on that until the next decade. Family is super important to me and I want to be around Matthew’s and my family while we can be!

-To be established in a successful career. 

Whether it is my photography, my blog or I go out and get a 9-5 job (once Ray is in school) I want to feel like I am providing my family with more than just support, I want to be financially successful as well. Yes money does not create happiness but it can help lower stress being debt free!

Five Personal Resolutions

-To be more environmentally conscious and make a better effort to recycle.

-Paint the interior of our house. Sounds simple but is something I have wanted to do for two and a half years now and haven’t got around to it.

-Create a routine for each weekday that doesn’t leave me feeling like I am on the “hamster wheel” of life.

-To write and pray daily and always include a to do list and list of gratitudes.

-To spend a minimum of fifteen minutes under the sun breathing in fresh air with Ray, everyday. I want her to know about the earth and the beauty of it all. I also want to use this time to soak in every moment with her. Looking back at how much she has grown this year is KILLING me.

So here are my resolutions and now I want to hear yours! Notice it isn’t lose 10 lbs or save $1000 dollars? This year I am challenging to step away from the common resolutions and try something small. Want to lose weight or save money? Don’t make it a resolution because if you fall short one week you will feel like a failure. Instead make it part of your lifestyle! 

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So long 2019 you are the end to one hell of a decade now CHEERS to 2020!

Thanks for the read,

-K