This is my Camino. Welcome.

New Year/ New Outlook – 2022

It’s been a RIDE.

I was slated to end up in this mountainy place of UTAH the first week of January. You see, my sister’s wedding invitations read “January 15” and I was going to fly in and support-staff until the happy day. Alas: a COVID scare meant I was quarantined an extra week in Michigan before the nuptials. No big, the airline said. I flew out, and boy did we have a fun time! Wedding! Party! Dancing! And then…I got COVID for real this time. So now I’m in Utah for another few days until I’m cleared to fly again. Wah wah.

I’m feeling fine, y’all. Symptoms were light, I’m just ready to pull a Dorothy Gale at this stage of the game. BUT…until that moment!!! Time for some personal (and then shared!) reflection!

Many moons ago, this Verily article aired, and I’ve been springboarding off of it ever since. 

Here we go. And no stress for me to get all o’ these Q’s in one day. We’ve got allllll year, man.

  1. What advice would you have given yourself on January 1, 2021?

To hang in there. To trust my gut.

On January 1, 2021, I was unemployed. I hustled to find a new job, and had something come March. Thing is…my gut started tingling that things were “off” at that location. I pushed it down but…eventually it was too obvious.
It was hard starting the job search again, not even six months after starting a new job. But, I did it. And…I found a good, new job! I feel like I’m in a much better spot!

2. Describe your year in three words.
Instability, laying-low, biking.

Instability for the job stuff etc…but the biking because I rode my bike to work just about all summer long. And it was DELIGHTFUL. I loved that part! Just enough to get a little bit of exercise and sunshine at the bookends of a work day. <3 I would ride up a street that has some small businesses up and down the sides, and in the middle some shady, old residential houses. I saw the seasons change–from cold, damp Spring, to sunny, floral summer. It was a rainy summer, but as long as the mornings were dry, I’d bike in. (And then inevitably catch a little rainfall on my way home…)

3. What is one thing you learned about yourself?
I love rope class. 😀 I’ve been doing circus for a few years, here, but with COVID I had to pick a specific apparatus, and I’ve ended up in rope class. Yooooo. I’m for sure the worst in the class. But I DON’T CARE. Who cares? No one. Do you know how hard it is to swing on a rope for 90 minutes??? IT’S HARD. And also I love it. And also I can do some cool stuff now.

4. What single achievement are you most proud of?
You know what??? I’M PROUD OF THE WORK I’VE DONE. Just…mentally, in therapy. I was at this summer-job like, “Yo, this place is toxic. And I have the skills and abilities to manage the nonsense but…I don’t need to. I can leave. I don’t need to be treated like this.” And I did. It was demoralizing *for sure.* Each weekend I would send out FIVE resumes. And then during the week I’d interview. And repeat. For several weeks. Follow-up interviews, places that never called back, places that didn’t seem “right,” either…

And…I got a new job! (As I mentioned). But…I’m more proud of the fact that I was like, “I don’t need this,” that I identified that, and that I left. That’s a freaking piece of progress, to be honest.

Also, I redid this website. A little smaller of an accomplishment, BUT STILL COOL.

Also I learned how to climb a rope WITH MY TOESSSSSSS.

5. What good thing happened to you that has never happened before?

I had to flip through my photos of the year to find this but then I found it and I’m hype.

My godfather, my Uncle Bill, was talking to me one day and told me that his uncle was the head of the Passionists order for the United States. And my Uncle showed me the rosary that this man used to use. The crucifix opens in the back to reveal a relic. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) So then my uncle was like, “You can have it.” (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) And my uncle also says, “Now your prayers will join with the prayers of this martyr.” So ANYWAY that was heckin amazing!!!!

!!!! Yo check it!!!!

6. If your life this year was made into a film, what genre would it be?
Hahahahahahahah it would be a slow-paced Indie film where there is a hint of a storyline but you aren’t really sure where it is.

With the summer-job that I had, my vacation days were very limited and with certain circumstances, I couldn’t take much personal time. So instead I stayed rather close to home and poured a lot of time into ye olde job hunt. ….and that’s not exactly exciting and roller coasters now, is it?

7. Recount 3 of the best compliments you received this year.
First: How I heard about the application for the job I have now–I posted on a Facebook group for Catholic-folk and I was like, “Hey, I’m a story-teller and an events person, I do marketing, I’m looking for a job.” And anyway a man messaged me on Facebook like, “Yo, I’ve been following your career for a while, would you like to apply for this job opening?” So that was cool, to be known like that.

Second: There was a coworker at the summer-job place who told me that she found me to be an interesting person–full of life and interesting stories. (It’s because of Jesus!!! And I know that!)

Third: One of the kind warehouse gentlemen over the summer told me he thought of me as a Disney princess of sorts…because I would bring in flowers! <3 Hahahaha, it’s not the brightest and best, but it sure is cute.

8. Describe the favorite place you visited.
I had to scroll through my phone photos to try to remember everything I did this year! In February I flew out to UTAH to visit my sister, along with my brother, Paul, his wife, and my boyfriend, Jesse. Jesse and I flew round-trip through Las Vegas, where the flights were more affordable, and from there we drove up to Salt Lake City and back after a few days. On the way back we stopped at Bryce National Park and also Zion National Park. I found Zion to be STUNNING–probably helps that the day was sunny and clear and a little warm. But–holy smokes!–the colors and soaring views! From what I understand, it’s super busy and crowded in the summer…but I’d love to camp in a park like that someday.

And besides that, I loved my very simple camping trips with my cousin, Hanna. We met up along Lake Michigan, a halfway point for us, three times this year. And then we just hiked and biked and ate ice cream. And it was perfect, every time. My times with her were some of my happiest memories this year. 

We basically just hiked a lot and biked a lot and ate ice cream when we wanted to. The best.

9. What (or whom) are you most thankful for?
These things:

  • My family. I’ve known them my whole life, but I really like how much we like to celebrate. We like to gather and eat and live life and I find it so very good.
  • Fr. Paul and his daily Mass devotion. Keeps me going.
  • Jesse–we have quite a bit of fun together.
  • My bike & health.
  • Circus classes with Sebastian

10. Whom in your life most surprised you this year?
In my summer-job, I shared an office with the BEST DEWD, Edwin. Love him. He’s so delightful. He’s as large as a Viking–with Viking hair and a Viking beard, and he organic gardens and practices yoga and rescues cats and sings lead vocals in a Death Metal band and he rescued a bird that was trapped in my bird feeder. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing a tiny office with him and his musical tastes. He’s a photographer, and we embarked on all sorts of artistic endevours together. He loves beets, the root vegetable, so one day I bought a jar at a Farmer’s Market and we ate it together. Five stars.

Edwin taking photos. And names. But mostly photos.

11. Did you overcome any fears?
Yes. I have always been a little afraid of being unemployed…I don’t think that that’s too weird. Just–not knowing how to make it, not knowing what will happen next, etc. And…I ws unemployed this year. And…things were okay. <3
Not that I want it to happen again, mind you, just………….I did it.

12. Name your best career-related achievement.
Yay! New job! I’m a Director now, overseeing two different teams of people. It’s big stuff.

I was actually offered a few positions, the same time I was offered the one that I selected. And I was telling my sister about the other ones and she said, “That sounds safe.”

And I knew what she meant. She meant: do you want to grow? Do you want to challenge yourself?

This queen. I picked the one that challenged me. <3

13. How has your relationship with yourself changed?
Wow. I don’t know.

I have this one memory of a very hard day at work and I met up with Jesse after work, at the cemetery. (Aside: cemeteries are underrated. Would recommend if you ever need, like, a peaceful walk or a place to have a good cry. No one double-takes someone having a good cry on a cemetery bench). I was frustrated with the job, chalking it up to the learning curve and not to negative management styles, and I was in Jesse’s truck and he said, “You don’t need to keep this job.”
That moment of release was a big thing.

I was also talking to a friend, Lauren, about the job, and I was like, “I just don’t think it’s the job’s fault, it must be mine,” and she was like, “I don’t know about that, the world is fallen and broken and there are a lot of broken people in it.”
And that, too, was a form of permission for growth and healing.

14. How has your relationship with your family changed?
My sister got engaged!! And married! Technically “married” was in 2022, but still! That’s a difference. <3 I also got a new niece and a new nephew. So I am smooth sailing with the aunt life. And also…I’m the last one, now. The last one not-married. That’s a place to be. There is much thought to be had there.

Here we are BRIDAL GOWN SHOPPING for my sister! Me and Hanna and Mama.

15. How have your life goals evolved?
Perhaps not.
I talked this over with my therapist last night and we were definitely like–it’s time to reflect a little, dream a little, reset a little. There’s work in this…and that’s okay!

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