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2018 REFLECTION

2018 is coming to an end, and that means it’s time for a bit of self-reflection… So here are six major takeaways from this year!

1. Things Happen for a Reason

No matter if it’s a wildfire or a sudden inspiration to become a pilot, this year has taught me that things happen for a reason. This doesn’t mean things always work out in the way we want them to, but it does mean that there is typically a hidden layer to why and how the universe reveals itself to us.

2018 has become one of my most definitive years. At the beginning of 2018, I was boarding a plane to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I was a nervous wreck. Though I’d lived abroad for four months prior, Christmas at home made me realize how much I love my home country, the United States, and my family and friends here in Tennessee. I was pretty upset that I was going back to BA, but when I got there, things weren’t so bad after all.

I traveled to some of the most incredible places on the planet: Ushuaia, the southernmost tip of the world, and Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. But this doesn’t mean that places are what make a person’s life: I truly strengthened some of my friendships, and this is key to why 2018 has been such a defining year in my life. (More on that to come.)

When I came back from Argentina, I challenged myself to write five novels over my summer break, and BAM! It was one of my most productive breaks, and my writing repertoire grew drastically. Time flies when you love what you’re doing, and… My heart learned to open up a little bit more.

In the summer of 2018, I started flying. As you guys know, I had a recent revelation to follow the flying path as my career, and I cannot be more excited for the future with this. It has become one of my favorite things to do, and a true blessing when I need to escape from normal college drama that occurs at my school in California.

In the fall, I moved back to Los Angeles, where I became a college student once more. School was pretty easy, but the reason I love college so much is because of my friends, who have made my world go round for the past few years. I love them so much, and it will kill me when I graduate early (this will be part of a good 2019 Resolutions post) and fly on home to Tennessee permanently.

We went to Yosemite in October, survived a wildfire in November, and prayed our way through December. I almost missed my flight (saved by only two minutes) home for Christmas, recently got over food poisoning, and am waiting for what’s coming next. At this point, I’m ready for just about anything–and that’s what makes life so exciting.

I can already see how things have a definite purpose in the way they work out. If I had started flying at sixteen or seventeen, I would not have ended up going to California for college, and therefore I would not have met the people who have been truly inspiring to me for the past few years. I would not have gone to Argentina, which taught me to appreciate my home even more, and I would always think, What if I’d just…

But we can’t always think like this. We have to remember that things are going to happen like they were meant to happen, but we still must make decisions in response to the choices we face. Which leads me into the next point…

2. Plan Accordingly

This year has taught me that things will happen, and you just have to adapt to whatever is hurled your way: But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for what will come.

Life is never guaranteed, and so it is imperative to be thankful for what you have. I am so guilty of this, expecting that things will go my way, but instead I’ve learned that having a back-up plan is always important.

3. People Are in Your Life for a Reason

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ROACHES!!! πŸ™‚ (December 2018) Even, Maggie, me, Laiken, Matt

I love meeting people! Though I’m not the most extraverted, outgoing person in the room (that would be my one-of-a-kind Momma J), I have found that people are what make life worth living, and each person has a story no one else can tell.

Over the past few years, I have really learned to appreciate getting to know people. As a storyteller, I find inspiration in diving into people’s personalities and what makes them tic. I want to know why people are the way they are, how they came to be that way, and if it’s possible that people can change.

Here is something I’d like you to think about: Pick one person in your life, somebody you have met in the past year or two. You didn’t know that person before, didn’t even know they existed! But now, on the other hand, you know all about this person. You know the intricacies of their personality; you know their history, their backstory; you can’t imagine life without them in it.

And just think… What if you hadn’t met this person? What if you didn’t get to know this person? What if you had met somebody else instead? Human connection is wild, and it’s incredible. Some people aren’t big into interaction, and others thrive off of it.

There are eight billion people (and counting!) on this planet. Don’t tell me that the people in my life aren’t here for a reason, that the souls I know now were just random specks of cosmic dust floating through the universe.

When I was eight years old, my sister was born. I remember my mom being pregnant with her, and I remember watching her grow. I was there for the ultrasounds, I felt her kick against my mom’s stomach. I held her newborn body, and I’ve watched her turn into the beautiful young woman she is today.

People are in our lives for a reason.

When I was in third grade, I switched schools. Growing up, and now even, I was never a big fan of school. I loved to learn, but the social side of things always got under my skin. Kids can be so mean, and I have always loved peaceful, calm locations. School just ain’t that way. But I met two of my best friends there, two people who have been in my life for  ten-plus years now. In the spring of 2020, I will be in one’s wedding.

People are in our lives for a reason.

When I was eighteen, I got in my car, drove across the country, and settled into college a thousand miles away from home. I’d received a friend request on Facebook from one girl who was going to be my suitemate, and I was excited to meet her. When I finally did, I learned she was from Wisconsin (cheese, my favorite food), had a mouthful of a last name (Miss Givenchy), and wanted to go to Argentina (me too, lol). Flash forward a little bit: Chica became my best friend, roommate, and ultimate pusher of the buttons.

People are in our lives for a reason.

By the time I was nineteen (last year), I was on a plane to Argentina. I knew a few people, including my best friend, but was pretty nervous for the rest of the seventy-plus group also going abroad with my college. But God provides: My friendship with Maggie only grew, and we made an incredible batch of friends in our first semester: Even, Chase, Hannah, and Laiken, to name a few. Hannah and Chase left after one semester, and our friend group shifted. But then, out of nowhere, a chico named Matt appeared for second semester. The Roaches were born, and they scuttle always. πŸ˜‰

People are in our lives for a reason.

I cannot imagine my life without the aforementioned people. I cannot imagine life without my family, both in Tennessee and West Virginia. I’m a realist, and I know friendships change, and I know that I haven’t met so many people who will make my world in the future (future husband, where you at?), but for now, I am so thankful and blessed by the people here today.

4.  Be Realistic (and Dream Once in a While)

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Malibu, California (December 2018)

A dreamer burned into a realist.

When I was eighteen, I thought I’d move to Los Angeles, strike it rich as a writer, and never have to pay taxes. Oh, how things change. At twenty-one, I expect to move home after graduation, become a full-up pilot, write as much as I do now, and one day get discovered (for my writing, that is). I’ll pay Tennessee taxes, marry a good-hearted church boy, and have beautiful children.

It is important to incorporate reality into dreams.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Flying over LAX (November 30, 2018)

A big part of why I didn’t start flying sooner was because I was afraid. Looking back, I laugh. Fear keeps us from so many things, and it is crucial to overcome this. If we wallow in our fear, nothing can be accomplished.

The more we step out of our comfort zone, the more we will feel comfortable trying new things. I’ll admit that I’m not the riskiest person when it comes to trying new items on the menu. For example, I’m not a fan of fish, or anything that comes from the sea, river, lake, etc. (I can attribute some of this to one summer, when a kid chased me around with a cooked crawdad.) But I wouldn’t know this if I didn’t sit down and try it.

2018 has taught me to step out of my comfort zone. Travel South America? Check. Learn to fly a plane? We’re getting there.

Maybe there’s something you want to do. Maybe you’ve wanted to do it forever, and maybe it’s a recent goal. You’ve got nerves, you’ve got jitters, you’ve got insert whatever lie you’re telling yourself. Get out there and go for it! Pursue that dream, as long as you’re realistic. πŸ˜‰

6. Be Yourself

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Do people change? This has been a constant question I’ve had for years, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Growing up, I was pretty quiet. I was a good listener, had close friendships, and wanted nothing more than to get the heck out of dodge. Though I’ve retained most of who I was, the high school version of myself was pretty different than the Katie of today. I’m still the same person who prefers writing to just about anything else, but the Katie of yesterday wouldn’t be as interested in digging into people’s hearts.

And sometimes, growth comes with a case of heartache, because you have to adjust to the new you, so to speak.

But once you find yourself, stay true to who you are (however cheesy and cliche this might sound). There really is no other you out there, and you have so many contributions to society to make. Here are some examples of this:

  1. Speak your mind, in a respectful way. In 2018, I learned this the hard way, when a woman confronted my friends and me in the airport over our political beliefs. Fun times!
  2. If people don’t like you, so what? Some personalities just don’t melt, and you can’t make people fall head over heels for you. People should want to be near you, just because you are who you are!
  3. Don’t be afraid to do what you love. For me, when I’m in my writing zone, nothing else matters. Though I hate writing in public, sometimes you just have to go for it.

YOUR REFLECTION.

I hope this year brought you nothing but happiness and excitement, but if we’re being realistic, I’m sure you went through your fair share of ups and downs. You probably had good months, bad months, and lukewarm months.

It’s your turn to reflect. What are some of the lessons you learned this year? Maybe they’re tough, but I’m sure they are important. Don’t forget to listen to what you’ve learned, or you’ll just end up making the same mistakes over and over again.

2019 is just around the corner, so be sure to get ready for your New Year’s Resolutions (expect a post on that subject soon). πŸ™‚

Until next time,

-A reflective K.

18 thoughts on “2018 REFLECTION”

      1. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AS WEL!! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ I wish you the best of the best as well, and cannot wait to read your upcoming posts and hear your stories. πŸ™‚

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  1. How annoying! Only joking… I mean this in a positive way. You are only 19? and have already figured out all this .I’m still getting there at 59….. You have a bright future. You’re absolutely right though about how life/fate, call it what you will, throws people together. And the more risks we take the easier it is to take them. I love to travel….met my wife that way on the other side of the world. We have travelled right around the world and back again. Lived in both hemispheres……still more travels to come. More people to meet, places to see and experiences to be had.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading. It means the world to me!! And that is incredible that you met your wife on the other side of the world! So glad you found herβ€”and what a story to tell. πŸ™‚ and yes, it is both strange and thrilling to think about the fact that there are people to meet and places to see. ❀

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  2. You asked if people change. My belief is that our distinctive characters remain the same, but the way that we present ourselves to others and how we react to certain situations can evolve, based on life experiences that we’ve gained or certain efforts that we make. For example, I’m still an introvert in my head and worry constantly about things, including what others think. However, by working as a teacher for many years and upon retirement joining and ultimately leading several writing critique and reading groups, the way that I deal with my innate personality has evolved. I still have to really push myself, though.

    In addition, you mention not making the same mistakes over again. Yes, people can learn lessons from their past mistakes and try to do things differently the next time. Because of our innate characters, however, I believe that we’ll at least be tempted to do the same things all over again. Life’s a challenge, but sure is interesting!

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts!! I will definitely put these to heart. Character remains the same, but our reactions can evolve… That is true wisdom, and it can explain why our perceptions of people shift in time as well. Thanks again ❀

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  3. People are the best gift on earth, regardless of whether they become our friends, neighbors, lovers or enemies. They all bring us gifts.

    Without challenges in life, we would never learn compassion, or how to relate to others in their times of need. And our walk in this journey would be so flat. Life is full of mountains and valleys, and we need them to make life meaningful.

    Wishing you and your loved ones the best life has to offer today, tomorrow and always, Anne

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