a look backward



This year was… honestly such a blur but I couldn’t really imagine it any other way. So full. So rich. And I’m about to unpack it best I can through some of the questions I had last year [crazy how the answers evolve!]

Shall we?

If you had to describe your 2017 in 3 words, what would they be?
Independent, courageous, surprising.

What new things did you discover about yourself?
I’ve got a bit of an addictive personality, I spend way too much time thinking sometimes, I really do enjoy singing, I’m far too hard on myself sometimes, and I do have the capacity to live in the moment!

What single achievement are you most proud of?
Probably making that stop motion animation vid that won me $2000 towards my tuition. God bless.

What was your favourite place that you visited in 2016?
California [Santa Rosa, San Fransisco, Bodega Bay, Lake Tahoe!] Hands down.



Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
The ability to remain positive in spite of circumstances. Sure, there were times when I had to take time to sulk, mourn, and grieve, but for the most part there was always a conscious effort to bounce back.

Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
My roommate. ♥

Which new skills did you learn?
How to work at Subway, some more calligraphy, how to do a mouth trumpet, in-game controls, better listening skills.

What, or who, are you most thankful for?
My family, my roommates, my friends, my school, Josh, the relationships I’ve been able to cultivate over the past year.

If someone wrote a book about your life in 2017 what kind of genre would it be?
A romantic dram-com. With some explosions and a dash of sci-fi.

What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?
Gonna make a list of 3 key lessons here:

-Sleep is always the better option
-GPA is just a number
-communication is key. ESPECIALLY those hard conversations.

Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
– The idea that I have to mold myself based on people’s wants/needs/expectations and that my self worth/value can be found in another person. Quite the contrary— I am my rescue and in full control of what I want, how I present myself, how I spend my time.

– There’s no use in trying to change myself for someone when all it brings is pain, and at a point, at the end of the day, some hard cuts have to be made in order to get on track to find happiness.

– When in doubt, talk about it. Too much of the time I find myself tossing around what I want to say, what I wish to say around the inside of my skull, creating a biased, assumed reality that may never ever come to fruition. If you’re worried about something, bring it up. If you want to make sure you’re on the same page, don’t be afraid to mention something. If you have questions, ask them. Sometimes the worst thing is sitting under the weight and then decay of thoughts that could be debunked but we don’t know because we don’t dare to investigate them further.

What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
TFW you gotta expand this list [but at the same time you realize that at this point in life, all you really need is a handful [or two!] of really solid people:

What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
Having to train another person in a line of work. Nerve-wracking, unpredictable, exhilarating and totally a confidence booster, esp. after it was all over. Definitely gained some valuable experience, though.

How did your relationship to your family evolve?
I’d say it’s pretty stagnant. There’s the whole “corrected partnership” ideal I mentioned last year but I would be remiss if I overlooked the fact that it’s not always that cut and pretty. There’s plenty to learn, plenty of hiccups, plenty of salt, plenty of passive aggression. The cool part is when you get to find moments that unite and reinforce the positive elements in the ever-evolving relationship.

What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey. That book is so chock full of tips and tricks and good habits that I’ve tried to integrate into my school life. 12/10 would *definitely* recommend.

What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
The walks to class, sunrise, sunset, rejuvenating showers, getting to sleep in, roomie quips, good morning/goodnight texts.
What cool things did you create this year?
A scholarship video
A 100 cards in 100 days project in which I created SO many cards.
A digital portfolio for aforementioned cards
-A kick-ass German final project [writing raps in German in hard]

What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? 
Torn between curious, on the go, and stressed…

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Yes. It was a HELLA great year for “firsts”:
touched the Pacific Ocean [and the West Coast in general!]
-visited the lady doctor [LOL]
-signed a lease [!!!]
-canoed in a lake
-paddle boarded
made a vlog
-road-tripped to the beach with my best friend
-rid myself of my Metro virginity
-got inducted into an academic fraternity
-got bangs consciously [I had them when I was younger but I had no say in that! HA!]
-climbed an actual mountain on the West Coast

What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?
I can’t choose just one—
-playing endless rounds of pool/billiards in the Tahoe house
-grocery store trips
-Rocky Horror round 2!!
-halloweekend with friends
-beach trip
-roomie lunch at BRG
-street festival gatherings
-game nights

What major goal did you lay the foundations for? 
– declaring my major(s)
– potentially studying abroad this summer
– getting a car [!! Still working on this!!]

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
-People hating/judging me for discontinuing a relationship
-various fearful feelings towards shots [I do NOT do needles well but it’s always not ever as bad as I think it’s gonna be]
-not packing enough for college
-worrying about how I was gonna stretch my meal plan

What experience would you love to do all over again?
Um, Cali.

What was the best gift you received?
Crazy, cuz this was rather recent. But oh well: a blanket.

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I like to think it improved. The world is so much bigger, there are people who will and do cherish you, your time is what you make of it, and I have faith that I’ll end up where I want/need to be.

What was the biggest problem you solved?
Cutting a lot of negativity/toxicity out of my life. Sometimes it takes time to step back and realize “LOL I actually don’t know why this even had a place right now.” And then you make adjustments, reflect on them, remember them, and, as always, try your hardest to move ever forward.

What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
All throughout the year, my roomie Traci and I have made short little videos of the most random things— one of my favorites [hers too!] is one where she asks me if I’d like to hear a bedtime story. I tell her no, which is followed promptly by her tossing a book at my head as I’m on my bed. [it was low key choreographed. Lol. No books or Stephanies were hurt in the making of that vid.] Those moments, plus just all of our pre-bedtime goofing off is something that will never fail to make me laugh, and is something I can’t help but cherish.

What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
Wireless mouse. My old one was so bad and I quite honestly needed it to do all of my work…but if we’re not talking about a necessity purchase, probably the variety of coloured paper/envelopes I got for crafting.

What’s one thing would you do differently and why?
I would listen to my instincts. They exist for a reason and sometimes there’s no use overriding them.

What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Writing a frigging rap with German lyrics as a final exam / completing this semester with minimal casualties.

What activities made you lose track of time?
Getting lost in conversation with friends, driving, blogging, reading, swimming, running, hiking, listening to music, sleeping.

What did you think about more than anything else?
Probably how to improve myself and my trajectory forward, combined with how I can better manage my time. Oh, and school. Though it’s always school, tbh….

What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
German history, come to think of it. Probably wasn’t the case when I started out the year but I grew to like it. I liked learning about German philosophers/philosophy also. Oh, and coding when I had the time.

What new habits did you cultivate?
GOOD: going to bed somewhat at consistent times [!] hygiene improvements, writing more regularly, eating more regularly, prayer regularly
BAD: eating habits, running [ugh I blamed it on the weather/didn’t have my shoes at school, etc], staying out late on weeknights [a recently developed bad habit]

What advice would you give your early-2017 self if you could?

Dear early-2017 self,

Be prepared for change. It will be scary, but the worst thing you can do is go hide, isolate yourself and pretend it’s not happening. You have so much ahead of you, so much time for joy and laughter that you will come to know. Please try to put your nose to the grindstone a little better, especially around finals time. Drink more tea, get more rest, and for the love of Christ please take time to slow down, unplug, and cherish the ones you live and love with. Mistakes are inevitable but they aren’t all bad. Do drink more water. Revel in the activities that make you happy, embrace the scary things and ask for help when you need it. Also read more books. You have a whole list now, go dig in. Say a prayer in the morning, count the blessings before bed and try to learn to forgive yourself. There’s plenty of pain but take time to feel it so you can move on more clear-headed, more thoroughly. Remember your worth, always take the time and put in the effort, even if it seems stupid. You can also afford to get off your high horse and listen to the dissonance around you. Lastly, put in the time to love yourself, free yourself of the wicked comparison game, and please—“habe Mut dich dein eigenes Verständnis zu bedienen.”
Your future self

Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
Yes. My relationships. It’s hard to think after investing so much time into one outlet, one avenue, one person that anything can stay the same. But some things have, and most of those things are the inner wishes and thoughts and goals and dreams that shouldn’t ever be allowed to fade out or burn away. I’d also have to say something for my more general relationships– they’ve grown deeper, more confident, less fake, more in-tune with both parties involved. It’s a good time.

What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
The friends who have long since stood by, who have loved me every step of the way… the road is almost never completely smooth but it would be a shame to say that one hits a dead end, a hard stop in learning and growing and loving as such things progress. It’s friends like these from 2017 that have taught me more than I could ever realize about myself, that have brought me endless joy and reason to wake up in the morning.

Riddled with extremes, imperfections and memories, there’s always beauty to be found in the dynamics of getting to know these people we’ve come to love most.

 Here’s to reflection on the old and embracing the new– have a blessed New Year’s, everyone ♥


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