It’s time for the yearly recap of 2019! This recap includes the highs and lows for each month of the year. Recaps are important because when we take the time to remember and reflect, we can learn, grow, and appreciate what has happened and what is to come!
It’s a week into January and I am just now starting to reflect on 2019… I found myself having the thought “Is it even worth it to reflect on last year since we already started 2020?” and the fact that I almost considered NOT reflecting is so silly. The answer is YES, it is absolutely worthwhile to take the time to reflect, no matter how long ago these events happened! Personally, I have found that remembering and reflecting has been beneficial to understanding, learning, and growth. Ultimately, I am able to grow if I take the time to reflect on my thoughts and actions, because it is only when I stop and think that I am able to take note of my failings, the ways I can respond differently, and how to improve.
is it too late to reflect?
NO, it might be a bit late, but here I am attempting to reflect! If you find yourself in a similar place, you have my full support to even take a few minutes to think back on 2019… it’s not too late. Because even if it’s not for anyone else, it’s for you, and that is what is most important.
Let’s break it down
One thing I regularly do with my students is “Rose, Bud, & Thorn.” If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it is a way to debrief where everyone shares a “rose” or a high/positive, a “thorn” or a low/negative, and a “bud” or something you’re looking forward to. This way of thinking about periods of time is helpful because it forces you to think about more than just the good things. I decided to attempt this approach for each month of 2019. Let’s recap!
ROSE: Annual gals weekend
- Every year since college graduation, a group of us ladies meets up for an annual gals weekend. Despite the distance, moves, jobs, and all of the things that make life crazy, we all agreed we would try our very best to reunite one weekend of the year for the sake of friendship. We spent a snowy weekend at a cabin in Marceline, MO.
- The same weekend as the gals reunion was also when I started monthly reflections. I wanted to be more intentional about feats, fitness, food, feels, favorites, family and friends, and faith. It started off as monthly recaps, but turned into quarterly recaps. They were still a helpful way for me to reflect and learn.
BUD: Started my last semester of graduate school
- When classes started in January, I was officially in my last semester of graduate school! I had four more classes to complete until I could receive my diploma. While I will never complain about the opportunity to receive an education, I will be honest that night classes and full-time employment were difficult.
THORN: Weather in Missouri
- January was the month of the winter vortex. It was cold, windy, snowy, and extremely unpleasant. Since January also marked the beginning of race training, I committed to training outdoors, which meant bearing the elements. I certainly learned the power of layers and it was intense!
ROSE: Ran 20 miles (twice!), started family meetings
- In February, the biggest feat was the fact that I ran 20 miles…TWICE. I was training for a March marathon, so February was the month of long runs! It was so awesome to see how my body was trained to handle this.
- Another cool part about this month was how Alan and I started family meetings. Family meetings were basically our once a week time to talk business and get on the same page with one another. We usually did them on Sunday nights and talked about our budget, upcoming weeks, and whatever else needed our attention. These meetings have been so beneficial for our marriage.
BUD: Cooked a lot
- With marathon training comes extreme hunger. This month I did so much cooking! In addition to my weekly meal preps, I cooked mighty meals (like this and this), healthy snacks, protein balls, trail mix, chilis, and a bunch of other nutritious foods to keep me fueled.
THORN: Long mornings with training
- February was the peak of marathon training which required some EARLY mornings. The group of gals I trained with all worked for Universities so we had to be done running, showered, fueled, and ready for work by 8 a.m. This isn’t always bad, but a 5 a.m. wake up call (and sometimes even 3 a.m.!!) is hard when it is dark and cold, plus you’re tired. But I know I’m stronger for holding my commitments and busting out the miles!
ROSE: Completed my first marathon!
- At the end of March I ran my first marathon and wrote about my awesome experience.
- Another highlight of March (and really every month) was our monthly dinner parties. We had a rotation for hosting and balled hard to make delicious foods for our friends.
BUD: Upcoming races
- March was the month of the marathon, but only the beginning of races! The best training friend (Nancy) and I slightly impulsively signed up for many races for the upcoming months. We rested about a week after the marathon, but then kept training for multiple half marathons and multiple triathlons. All of the new training was exciting and kept me super busy!
THORN: Missouri was still freezing cold
- The midwest was just extremely cold the entire month. Even with spring on the horizon, the temperatures were still low and mornings were dark and windy.
ROSE: Accepted new jobs
- New, exciting opportunities were offered to Alan and I, which were totally not on our radar. We decided to fully commit and accepted positions at Camp Eagle, which required a big lifestyle change and cross-country move to Texas!
BUD: New opportunities
- I tend to let myself get freaked out or worried about big changes, but this month I tried to focus on how new opportunities can help me to learn and grow.
THORN: Leaving Kirksville
- Accepting jobs in Texas was very bittersweet because it meant we needed to leave Kirksville. Kirksville was the place I grew up, fell in love with Alan, and called my home for 7 years. It was the home to so many dear friends and I was not looking forward to the goodbye!
ROSE: Graduated with a Master’s degree
- Alan and I got to to sit next to each other at Truman’s Spring Graduation because we both earned our Master’s degrees! It was very cool to experience this together since we both worked very hard to earn our degrees.
BUD: Only summer classes left for school
- Even though I walked in the Spring Graduation, I technically had two more summer classes to complete. Though my motivation was very low after walking, I knew I needed to focus and work because I had just two more classes until I was DONE with my degree (and school forever!)
THORN: Packing up our entire home
- May was INSANE because it was filled with end of semester activities, a busy season at work, and packing up our entire home. Alan was moving himself and all of our belongings to Texas with him the day of graduation (he literally got in the moving truck right after he received his diploma!) which meant we couldn’t wait to pack up our home. We were trying to clean, shove things in boxes, but also organize, and it was maximum stressful.
ROSE: Ladies trip to Maine
- A few ladies and I took the best trip to Maine! We rented a beach house on the coast of Maine and filled our days with beach walks, kayaking, local restaurants, ice cream, games, and adventures. We visited Boston, a few Maine cities, and even Acadia National Park!
BUD: Upcoming races & intense training
- I had finished a couple of races by this month, but was still in the midst of training! I ran two half marathons and a sprint triathlon, but had two more triathlons planned for the summer. On the docket was still an Olympic distance triathlon and Half Ironman 70.3 on the calendar and wanted to keep up training to finish strong.
THORN: Moving multiple times
- During the summer, I had to travel for work and move multiple times. Most of my belongings were down in Texas with Alan, which meant I lived out of bags. The only piece of furniture in my home was a borrowed air mattress, and I lived in my not so homey home about a month until I moved in with a friend. Traveling and moving many times was tough because I felt chaotic and jumbled basically all of the time.
ROSE: Rhine River Cruise, Half Ironman
- One of my last tasks for my job in the Alumni Relations Department at Truman was representing the Alumni Office for Truman’s Travel Program on a Rhine River Cruise. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. The trip was filled with breath-taking views (we cruised on the river through Switzerland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands!), amazing food (local dishes everyday!), and incredible people. The 10-day trip went by so quickly and I am incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to attend!
- I completed the most intense race of my life in July… Ironman 70.3 Muncie! I have a post on the full race recap, but the race itself was an awesome experience I trained for months to complete.
BUD: Moving back with Alan!
- After spending the summer living over 1,000 miles away from each other (Alan in Texas and me in Missouri), all month long I looked forward to moving back in with Alan!
THORN: Long distance marriage
- Though we were super thankful for our opportunities in the summer, Alan and I did NOT enjoy being apart from each other. Long distance relationships, especially when one person lives in a place without regular phone service, is incredibly difficult. There were several times when I was alone by myself in an empty home (because Alan moved himself and all of our belongings to Texas), and I missed him so much. However, the positive thing about all of this is that we know we can never do a long distance marriage ever again.
ROSE: New job
- The beginning of August brought a new job as the new Assistant Director of the Gap Year Program at Camp Eagle. This job was a big job change from my previous office job. I swapped out button-up and collared shirts for shorts and t-shirts. My daily desk job shifted to adventures, leading students, and time in the wilderness.
BUD: Finding routines
- Change is hard for me and I was looking forward to finding new routines. I knew that day to day tasks and movements were going to feel very different from what felt normal to me, so I was looking forward to creating new ways to feel peace.
THORN: Transitioning with so much change
- Again, I am not a person who thrives in the midst of transition. I do not do well when it feels like everything is changing, and indeed, everything was changing! My job, community, surroundings, lifestyle, training, and basically everything about “normal” life changed and it threw me through a loop for sure.
ROSE: Completed a trail race
- For someone who loves to run on the roads, completing a trail race was a big deal! Camp Eagle hosted a big trail race series and so it was very easy for me to walk 3 minutes to the starting line on race morning. I ran a 25K and it was the hardest running race that I ever did (harder than the marathon for sure!) but I did it.
BUD: Finding routines
- Things did not immediately fall into place when we moved to Texas. There was very much still a lot of change and lack of rhythm, even after being at camp for awhile. It felt like the first few months were like treading water to stay afloat, and it wasn’t until realizing that wasn’t going to work for the long-term that I actually tried to establish some sort of routine or rhythm.
THORN: Injury & not much running
- With the move to camp, I transitioned from running on the roads to running on trails (these are two COMPLETELY different activities!) Even with decreasing mileage a ton, the transition to trail running took a tole on my body and I got injured. I have struggled with a persistant knee/hip pain from September through the end of the year, but am taking steps (literally) to heal.
ROSE: Beach trip
- We rented a little house on the beach and spent a long weekend there with our dear friends, the Espinosas! Our weekend was filled with laying on the beach, walks, hot tubs, yummy food, games, and a lot of chill.
BUD: Cooler weather
- Southwest Texas does not get very cold and the weather didn’t actually start to feel like fall until the very end of the month. I should note, when I say “feels like fall” what I mean is that on some days, I could maybe wear jeans and I didn’t sweat my face off. But most days are still shorts and t-shirt weather….
THORN: Busy with work
- October felt non-stop. This was the peak of business for my job — filled with so much planning and programming. It wasn’t the job itself that was the thorn, it was the business that made me feel overwhelmed, stressed, and not well rested.
ROSE: Adventure trips & revamped Jordo’s World
- The fall was filled with so many adventures like backpacking on camp’s property, backpacking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, hiking at State Parks, rock climbing at Enchanted Rock State Park, and much more. After a few trips, I finally felt good about being immersed in the wilderness and guiding trips again! (Pictures below by Kenna Watson!)
BUD: Trip back to Missouri
- Alan and I committed to going to Missouri for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which meant we would get to spend time with friends and family. After being gone for a few months, we were looking forward to taking a break and being with people who love us so well!
THORN: Missing people
- It was around the beginning of this month that I really started missing people a lot. Not only were we so far apart from people, but I just really struggled with communicating with people. Camp is located in a place without service, which means that if I want to talk on the phone with someone, I have to be physically in my phone and connected to wifi. That itself doesn’t happen often, so I really struggled to stay connected with people, which then lead to me missing them a lot!
ROSE: Tour of the Midwest
- For the holidays, Alan and I made a Tour of the Midwest, with stops in Kirksville, Columbia, St. Louis, and Kansas City. We got to spend time with so many amazing friends and family, eat delicious food, and do fun activities. We planned our days pretty full to maximize our time in Missouri, so while we didn’t feel totally rested, it was totally worth it to see so many people.
BUD: Time with family & friends
- All month long we were looking forward to seeing friends and family!
THORN: IT band pain (positive with PT)
- Like I mentioned back in September, I started feeling IT band and hip pain in the early fall. This pain persisted and got to the point where I was in pain pretty much all day, every day. While this eventually led to the point of me not having the ability to much of anything physically, it did lead me to a physical therapist. And the physical therapist led to stretches, taping, and so much optimism for recovery and long-term health!
Looking back at my recap of 2019, it was quite the year. There were so many roses and thorns that weren’t even mentioned, but that is okay. Again, I think it’s just important to take the time to reflect, so that we are able to appreciate, be thankful, learn, and grow. It is only when we consider our mistakes and hard things that we can improve and turn them into positives!
So, moving forward. 2020. What do I have in mind? I’m honestly not too sure. I’m an Enneagram 3 (or “Achiever”) so it’s pretty hard to believe I don’t have solidified goals to achieve going into the new year. I have some broad goals that include improving my health (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) and improving relationships (with Alan, friends, family, food, etc.) and other sorts of things related to my well-being. However, I am not one that needs a new year to set a goal or be inspired. While it’s probably a good time to plan something, I’m taking this year as it comes. If there’s something I feel like needs to be achieved, I will work hard to go for it. But I am also heading into this year with the mindset of taking it one day at a time. I don’t need to have it all figured out, and each day I will do my best. Here’s to 2020!
All my best,
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What were your roses, buds, and thorns for 2019?
Do you have goals for 2020?