Here we are. About to close out 2016. With each year that passes as an adult, I try to reflect in order to not only reminisce, but to learn. This year was single-handedly the busiest and most emotional year of my life. Literally full of blood, sweat and a whole lot of tears. That being said, it was also the best year of my life.
By now, everyone knows the disaster that came with our original wedding venue, but before that took on a life of it’s own, the year was actually going pretty well! And thanks to friends and family, it continued to have its patches of sun through the clouds (lets be honest, downpours).
At the very end of last year, I announced to my friends and family a secret that I had been keeping for a few months. THIS BLOG! I was so nervous about what people would think and the judgment that would come along, that I kept it to myself until December 31 when I did a 2015 reflection. To my surprise, I received an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family, strangers, etc. And for those who judge, save us both some time and X out. The blog has had so much growth this year. I’ve met some really wonderful people, local and beyond, and learned a lot from them. I’ve also worked with some inspiring causes and collaborated with some awesome brands. In particular, I had the honor of working with a girl boss that I’ve admired since graduating college and moving into Baltimore City. Her style was everything. And this year, five years later, I did a shoot with her, my first shoot outside of Will, so naturally I was completely unnatural, but she made it work and I took over her Instagram for a weekend. That was a big moment. It’s hard to believe that ‘never been so’ has only been alive for a little over a year, because it feels like such a huge part of me now. I can’t wait to see what’s to come in 2017.
This year I also got to give up the four hours a day I spent commuting for the last four years. I got a job MUCH closer to home, giving me my life back. I knew the commute took a toll on me and the people around me, but I never knew just how bad it was until it was gone. I used to wake up at 3:15am out the door by 3:45am to trek to DC and not even get home until around 6pm. That is a LONG day. The commute was basically a second job. I spent so much time refreshing google maps and waze just to avoid even more delays that I couldn’t even enjoy something distracting such as audiobooks. I ended up with high blood pressure and a ton of car problems. I was left stranded on 95 more times than I’d like to share, however, I did make the most of my AAA membership. It was bittersweet leaving NAVSEA, it wasn’t just about the job, I made a family there, those people went through something with me that I hope to never experience with anyone else, but I needed this change.
Not only did we have our own wedding (ICYMI, read our wedding story here), but we watched so many close friends tie the knot, get engaged, buy houses, get pregnant and have babies! This year especially feels like we’re hitting that age where these instances are expected, but I’m still filled with joy every single time I hear a new announcement. These are people I’ve known since writing notes in middle school, getting hammered Wednesday-Sunday in college and even new bffs who are now settling down where we’re supposed to and starting our lives. It’s pretty amazing.
Speaking of weddings, it’s actually been a really fun year planning and experiencing an engagement, ya know besides the wedding venue issue, the way a normal engagement is supposed to go. My maid of honor, bridesmaids and family planned some pretty awesome pre-wedding festivities.
My bridal shower was SO pretty, there were fresh flowers everywhere and it was full of champagne! I mean, a mimosa bar? YES. It even came with a video of Will answering questions about us and to my surprise, guessing all of my answers correctly!
My Bachelorette party in Key West was one of the best weekends ever! It was definitely way more than I could have ever imagined. This trip came right at the height of the venue disaster, right when I was at my worst, and because of the seventeen beautiful women who joined me from all over, I spent NO TIME thinking about that. I cried once on that trip and it was out of pure happiness when I looked around and saw the love surrounding me, I couldn’t put into words how much these women meant to me, so the tears just flowed. Villas with a ‘courtyard’, live music, private yoga, private all day booze cruise with complimentary front row dolphin shows, dante’s, drag shows, body paint, flamingos, A LOT of alcohol and a go pro video that captured it all in a four minute package.
Travel was on the back burner this year with all that was going on with the wedding, but I managed to squeeze in a few trips to Napa, Chicago, and Jamaica. I need to get back to ALL three of them! I’m craving Napa’s vineyards, Chicago’s food, and Jamaica’s everything. We are already planning several trips for 2017 including Charleston, San Diego, Zion National Park, and our Honeymoon to Tanzania and Zanzibar! #neverbeensowanderlust
All in all I feel bittersweet saying goodbye to 2016. While I’m overjoyed to no longer be dealing with Elk Manor BS and the other stresses of wedding planning, there’s a ton of things that were once in a lifetime experiences for me with regards to the wedding that will only be celebrated in 2016, so for that it’s hard to watch it go.
This year taught me a lot. But mostly, it taught me to never give up. It taught me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how bad it seems. And when it’s bad, lean on the people around me, they’re part of my circle for a reason. It’s a lot easier to handle the hard times when you ask for a little help. 2016 also taught me that I’m a lot stronger than I used to think I was. It taught me that the little shit doesn’t matter; that it takes up too much energy and time worrying about nonsensical drama. It taught me that being the bigger person is actually a lot easier and healthier than holding onto resentment and anger. It taught me to be cautious. It taught me that when I am passionate about something, I should chase it. I’m ready for you 2017.
Tell me one thing you learned in 2016…
3 thoughts on “The Rollercoaster That Was 2016”
wow – I just love this blog. I have learned a lot in my life – the most important is to never look back, never say I wish I would have. Look to the future.
So proud of you! For everything you have become as a young woman, for being strong when everything around you was falling apart, and for not only reaching for the stars but grasping them and continuing to rise above it all. You are an inspiration to so many. Keep up the good work Ash!
Love this! One thing I learned.. strangers can turn out to be the most necessary people at the strangest time ❤ xoxo
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