Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in Review

Good morning!

I could be sleeping in right now but it’s the last day of 2017 and I don’t want to waste it!

A lot of people are saying 2017 was a garbage fire and while some of that may be true, I think most of the negativity is seeping over from a decision our country made in 2016.  Regardless of that, 2017 was good to us, and I’m not here to talk about the negativity.  I’m here to talk about the AWESOME things that happened in 2017, and you know what that means.  A COUNTDOWN!  Because… say it with me now: “I love bulleted lists!”

Here we go!

  • In February, we went to Nevada, for the annual dinner for Nevada Big Horns Unlimited.  It’s a tradition that is a big part of Owen’s family, and I got to go and be a part of it with his whole family.  Maybe after a couple more years I can even explain it to people when I tell them we’re going!

  • WE MOVED! After 5 years living together and two different studios, we FINALLY were able to snag a one bedroom, AND it’s on the first floor, which is essential for safety, when the fire alarm goes off here all the time.  We’ve never been on the first floor, and that alone has been life changing.  Nevermind the fact we now have a bedroom, a couch, closets, high ceilings.  It really is beginning to feel like home, and not a dorm room furnished with the most minimal budget furniture we can find!

  • We had the opportunity to represent the Mountain States region at their annual meeting, and I got to visit Salt Lake City for the first time!  Having been involved in the genetics community, always representing New England, it was a little weird to be telling people we are in Colorado now, but it was great to see some familiar faces, meet new people, and know we still have a set at the genetics table!

  • After several attempts, and not being able to make it work I finally had the chance to speak at the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) in Kansas!  I had dinner with one of my good friends from my MCH life, and was reminded the speaking to youth is really one of my all time favorite things in the world to do. Being able to share my story, and help youth understand what it really takes to create a life they love, and be independent to the degree they are able just gives me that surge of energy, that buzz of…. “I think this is my passion!”  Thanks Kansas! 

  • I started “going to” therapy consistently.  Yup. We’re going to talk about Mental Health.  Ready?  I have gone to therapy off and on since I lived in Maine. As many of you know, I am a verbal processor, and having someone who just lets me blabber, who asks questions and challenges my thinking is just helpful.  When I was in Boston, I had the only therapist that ever took my insurance, and it was basically less helpful than going to coffee with a friend.  Every time I went, we literally had the same conversation… but hey, it was FREE. When I moved to Denver, I found a wonderful person who was also a life coach, AND $130 A VISIT. Plus the Uber to get there, and the time off I had to take from work.  Then I took the plunge and signed up for TalkSpace, and it has been one of the best decisions I made.  I still pay out of pocket, but I have access to my therapist 24/7 (who I LOVE) and it’s all virtual.  I don’t have to schedule appointments or figure out how to get there.  I send her messages while I’m drinking coffee in the morning, or if I have after a bad meeting at work.  She has helped me set goals, and begin to process some of the things we experienced while living in Boston (and even before then).  For so long we were both in survival mode, most of our feelings sort of got pushed aside as we just had to get through the day, the week, that degree.  Now that we are settled, its time to practice some self care and really check in with where we are at and how we can be our best selves moving forward!  Virtual therapy may not be the best model for everyone, but it is a perfect fit for me, and I’m so glad I took the plunge!

  • I got a new scooter!  As you all remember, this summer brought some literal bumps in the road as my old reliable scooter Barbie took her last scooter breath.   I was absolutely stunned as my community came together and I was able to raise enough money for a new scooter in less than two days.  I am SO grateful for all the people who love and support us on our journey and helped me to maintain my independence for the rest of 2017!

  • We went to CONCERTS!  When we were long distance, Zac Brown Band was our soundtrack, and although they came to Boston a couple times when we were there, we just couldn’t make it work to see them.  This time, we weren’t about to pass it up, and seeing them at Coors Field (while its not Fenway) was incredible!  AND THEN THERE WAS KESHA. Seeing Kesha was not only fun, it was cathartic and healing.  I know that sounds silly, but both Kesha and I have been through a lot in the last few years.  Kesha was the first CD I blasted in my car in 2010, she was my going out anthem, the song that played when I got driven to my hotel in Vegas and said goodbye to Owen along with “You have my number, use it or don’t!”  The crowd at this show was one full of love and acceptance.  Yea, she got political and we needed it.  She only sang for an hour but it was the best night we had in a long time.  I sang, I cried, I let my hair down, and there was glitter, so much glitter. 

  • In September, my family came to visit, and I realized that it was the first time since I’ve lived in another state that both my mom and dad, and my sister have come to visit at the same time, and it was AWESOME.  They were able to sty with us since we have a bigger apartment now, and we did so much!  We brunched, we went to Taste of Colorado, I got to take my dad to the Grateful Dead bar by our house (which I’m pretty sure is now one of my favorite memories of all time), and we went wedding dress shopping!  I know we all went, feeling vaguely pessimistic, since dress shopping for me tends to be challenging, but the angels at Luv Bridal were incredible, and made it the best experience.  I didn’t expect to find a dress on my first trip, but I did, and I was actually sad when it was over!  We also went to the butterfly pavilion, which was so special, since butterflies are a symbol of the Nana, and it was like she was right there with us. Then we surprised my family by taking them to dinner at our future wedding venue.  It was so exciting to be able to share Denver with them, and celebrate how far we have come!  

  • THE WEDDING STUFF!  Last year at this time, we had just gotten engaged, and I was absolutely overwhelmed at what had to go into having a wedding.  I thought we could never do it, and people kept asking if we had a date or a venue and I already felt like we were behind.  Then we took some time, thought about what we wanted, enjoyed looking at venues and now a year later, it’s really happening.  I have a dress, we have our venue, DJ, photographer, and it’s really going to be what we want it to be!  We are SO excited to have all the people we love in one room, it’s going to be so incredible.  280 days and counting! 

  • Last but certainly not least, in the last couple weeks of 2017, Owen GOT A JOB!! Since moving to Denver he was worked endlessly, applying and networking to land a consistent opportunity that was a good fit, and something he could get to easily.  Well, his hard work paid off, and he is now a marketing research recruiter, and works just a few blocks from our apartment (and my office).  In addition to this huge accomplishment, in 2017 he worked at the elections division again and really found his niche in dog sitting which has been SO FUN!  He has such a knack with the canine crowd, and it has been great, spending time with different kinds of doggos,  so we can practice before adding our own furry friend to our home (I mean.. .we all know we’re going to eventually).  If you need a dog sitter in the Denver area, find Owen on Rover!  

So there you have it!  I thought it would be tough to make a list of 10 things, but really it was hard ONLY picking 10!  Cheers to all of you who supported us, and helped to make 2017 so incredible, I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.  May the new year bring you all health, and happiness!  Be safe, have fun, and make the most of this last night of 2017.