I had so many unforgettable moments in 2018. From dream achievements to life learning realizations, 2018 was a year I will never forget.
Below, in no particular order, I am going to recap important moments from 2018, as well as lessons I learned along the way. Walk back through my year with me, if you’d like:
•Graduating college…in the moment, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal…but, it’s the moments afterwards that make it feel like the greatest thing you have ever done. I find myself telling people, “don’t graduate…the real world is not all it’s cut out to be,” which in turn makes me feel very old. However, I have grown more in the past six months since I walked across that stage on May 12, 2018, than I have in a many years combined. I graduated with a bachelor’s of science in Strategic Communications with two minors in Film, TV, Digital Media, & Communication Studies. I never thought that moment would come, and I believe that feeling of accomplishing something so pivotal, will always feel like magic.
•My last semester in college reminded me of my own strength, and one in which I had no idea I possessed. I removed toxic relationships and people from my life because I knew in order to find myself and be happy, I had to do so. (That’s a whole other conversation for a whole other post). It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It wasn’t until I made that decision, and followed through, that I rose up from a dark hole I had been in for a while. My strength comes from God and my strength these days is unmatched.
•On June 2, 2018, after booking a last minute trip to Chicago, my best friend and I, both unemployed at the time, saw my favorite artist in the pouring down rain. Little did I know, I would end up seeing Taylor Swift 3 more times in 2018, but this moment in the windy city with Stephanie Bell, is the one I will be telling my kids about. We had so many worries about our unknown futures at the time. Regardless, we danced like no one was watching and I cried when Taylor surprised the audience by singing “22” because Steph and I were both 22 and in that stadium, at that moment, I felt like all was right with the world.
•I started working in the agriculture industry just two months before my grandfather retired from the same industry/company after 53 years. In that short overlapping time, I learned a lot about him and how much of a legend he is to those he has worked with and come across in his time at Riceland Foods, and in this industry. Words cannot describe how incredibly proud I was to be able to witness this, and I consider myself very lucky for this connection we formed in 2018. Again, we are so proud of his accomplishments, and we still celebrate his retirement every single day.
•I learned that God brought me back home to Arkansas after graduation to build me up. I know I am here, for now, to be showered with love and encouragement. I could not have done 2018 without my family. My parents are working harder than ever, plus they have me back at home part time. I have been able to attend most of my brother’s senior events as he prepares for graduation. I was able to see first hand him fall in love with a school and make his college decision. We had many great weekends in Fayetteville together. And another bonus, I have been able to be closer to my sister, Madison, than I ever have felt. I live with my aunt and uncle part time and it has been a time I will always cherish. I have spent so much time with my best friends from high school Maycen, Stephanie and Leighton. I feel more connected to them than ever. I also believe, Leighton Lawson takes the prize for favorite friend of 2018. There is no one like her and I love looking back at how our friendship grew this past year. I’ve also gotten to help with the family businesses and watch the different stores grow. Having a role in that feels very rewarding and makes me feel more a part of the team than ever. All of this, and them, have lifted me up to where I am today.
•The year wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Every day I learn more about mental health and battle my own demons. 2018 taught me that social media has such a negative effect on me, and many others, mentally. I haven’t figured it out yet, and I don’t know how I am going to fix it, but it is often a daily struggle for me and I know others feel the same. We constantly compare ourselves and allow likes to define us. I am hoping in 2019 I can find a way to be on social media in the most positive way, and I hope to help others as well.
•Southern and Thankful officially became an LLC (limited liability company) in 2018. It was a gift from my parents to me this Christmas, and it showed me that they believe in me and my dreams. I launched a new podcast with the queen of my life, Grace Lamb. 2019, is going to be a big year as the blog and company grows. I have a lot of ideas and a lot of things in place. Stay tuned!
I could go on and on about the trips I took, the friendships I formed, the mistakes I made, the delicious food I ate, the people I miss, the concerts I attended, or the lessons I learned, but I want to end with this…
One complement I have been receiving since the Podcast dropped is, “you sound happier than I’ve ever heard you.” Numerous people have said that, and when I hear this, I tear up because those words could not be more true. In 2018, I set out to learn how to love myself. On the last day of an incredible year, I can say with a 100% confidence that I achieved that goal. I love the way I look and feel. But even more, I love the person I am, and the heart I have. I believe wholeheartedly that you cannot love others or love your life, until you love yourself. I don’t love myself in a vein or selfish way, I promise. I love myself in a way that is healthy and in the way God taught me to. I aim to build on these things and hit 2019 running. I’m ready for the new challenges, memories, and to see where God takes me. I pray he protects my heart and mind everyday and that he continues to build me up. However, I know that when the time comes for whatever God has planned for me next, that I will be able to take all of this love and “buildups” on to the next path.
Thank you God for this year. Thank you for 2018. Happy New Year!
Southern and Thankful