Thursday, December 17, 2015

Last Christmas...

The other day I was thinking about how Christmas is a great time to reflect on how I've changed throughout the year. Christmastime is a time I can look back on each year and probably best remember how I was feeling since Christmastime is such a magical time of year for me, so it stands out brighter in my mind. 

I thought it might be interesting to compile a list of what has changed in my life since last Christmas especially since I can vividly remember what my life was like this time last year. There are more similarities than differences (I think) but I attribute that to all the blessings in my life that continue to stick around.

So, some things that are different:

// My Job - This time last year I was a marketing intern at our company and had only been here about two months, so I was still getting used to how an office worked and getting to know everyone. Now, I'm an editorial assistant in the editorial department working part time while in graduate school. I couldn't be more thrilled to be here and more blessed to have been offered the opportunity.

Typical morning at my desk!

// School - I was on break during Christmas last year, but I hadn't actually started graduate school yet. I was enrolled but I had to finish up something for undergrad during fall quarter, so I didn't start graduate classes until January. Now, I'm only 5 classes from being officially done! I can't believe it. Crazy how much I was able to do in one year.

// Anniversaries - Last Christmas my family and I were dealing with the anniversary of my Papa's death. He passed away on Christmas Eve the year before, so last year we were all kind of stepping on pins and needles waiting to see how we would each react to the one year mark. He was one of the greatest men I've ever known so his physical presence is deeply missed, but I know he's always with us no matter where we are, so this year we'll all be a little wiser about feeling his warmth with us.

// Sammy - Sammy's career path has taken him on several roller coasters this past year. He's been testing at several police departments hoping to be hired. This time last year he had sort of just begun his journey, or at least the similarly paced journey we're used to now. He didn't start to get further into the hiring process (which is an exhausting process) until recently and is actually waiting to receive an offer from a specific department right now while also waiting to schedule the last steps in the Chicago Police Department testing process. If he receives an offer from the other department it will definitely change our daily lives since the department is out of state and would have to move there to go to the academy, and eventually to work there. It's going to be a challenge for sure but we're a team so we'll make it work. It's definitely different from last year because I didn't even know he'd be applying to an out of state department last year. I hadn't considered him getting hired would change our lives as much as this could, but I suppose that was naive on my part. More on this later. We're hoping to hear something this week or next.

// Siblings - While my brother is still working the same job he's much further in his fire science program. He'll be starting EMT training next semester (I believe… or soon at least) and I couldn't be more proud of him. My sister has made a good amount of changes in her life. She's switched colleges and jobs and is going through all those processes in her own way. I'm proud of her for having enough courage to go off the beaten path and do things the unconventional way.

Had to throw it back for this one ;)
// Family - This time last year my cousin announced to us she was pregnant after years of infertility and this year she and her husband have graced us with the most beautiful angel that has ever been. I'm a little biased ;) She's such a light in all our lives. I can't wait to squeeze her soon.

Another cousin gave birth this time last year and now they'll be celebrating their little boy's first birthday!
 Also, it was around this time last year Sammy's cousin started her wedding planning and just a few months ago they got married! I can't believe how fast that went.

Last year my uncle interviewed for a teaching position at Le Cordon Bleu and was hired immediately. He's a beyond gifted chef and teacher and this is the job he's waited twenty years for, so I couldn't be happier for him.
Last, but not least, Benny turned two this month last year and will be three in a few days! He brings a contagious joy to every day life and I couldn't be happier I found him on a random visit to the shelter.

// Friends - My girlfriends have all had big changes in their lives and it's been so much fun watching them through it all. Some of them have recently started, or are about to start new jobs, and one even got engaged and a new home! While none of these things happened to me they still affect my life in a way because I am able to celebrate all the accomplishments and milestones my friends hit.

// Travels - This time last year my mom and I hadn't even begun to plan our trip to Paris yet (we didn't start until about March), but I had been dreaming about going for years. Now, I have so many magical memories to look back on. Not to mention an ornament I can hang on my tree every Christmas from now on. While this is something I did rather than how I'm different I do feel like this trip changed me in a way I have a hard time articulating which is how all travel experiences should be. I'm different now than last year because of this trip and so grateful for that.

Every year I look back and feel like I'm closer and closer to the most authentic version of myself. I love how as humans we have the ability to remain the same and yet change so incredibly allowing us to be different people. There are so many things about me that are innate and specific to how I was as a child while there are attributes I've fine tuned and acquired as I've gotten older. I am so grateful for all experiences, good and bad, throughout my life and during this last year. They are always remarkable learning experiences I am thankful to receive.

How are you different from last year?
Reflection is such a powerful thing. It's so therapeutic for me in terms of learning from past experiences and acknowledging blessings. I'm a naturally nostalgic person by nature so recognizing these differences across the years are particularly enjoyable and worthwhile.

Here's to a new year full of new experiences, similarities, differences, and the lessons that help us make sense of it all.


  1. Ahh, so sorry to hear about your Papa's death. He seems like a wonderful man and hopefully you'll continue to see the light of his life, rather than the darkness of his death.

    It's so sweet to hear about the birth of your cousins baby. My brother and his wife were unable to have kids, they had a second round of IVF and fell pregnant last year, in July my sis in law gave birth to two beautiful babes :) they're adorable.

    Corinne x

    1. Thank you so much, Corinne! He was a wonderful man :)

      Ah, aren't babies such a blessing?! Especially when you watch people struggle to have them. So wonderful. Congratulations to your brother and your SIL! I'm sure they're so sweet.

  2. What a beautiful reflection post. This is so personal so thank you for sharing all of the big changes that occurred in your life in this past year

    1. Thank you for stopping by Jasmine! I really appreciate it.