Year in Review

2018 – A Year in Review

In November, I was back in Manhattan, Kan., for a few days and spoke to an agriculture communications class at my alma mater (Kansas State). After my presentation, I spent most of the time answering students’ questions about my career and my path there. Toward the end, one of my old professors asked, “So what’s next for you Amanda? Do you have a 5-year plan or some goals looking forward?”

I responded, “Nope, I have no idea.”….and I’m pretty sure a couple of the seniors started to doubt everything I had just told them.

He then asked, “So how do you feel about that, or how do you deal with that uncertainty,” and the short part of my response was, “Well I’m going to go work tomorrow, I’ll probably go the next day and God-willing I’ll go the day after that.”

I don’t exactly remember the rest of what I said, but I’ll explain… That short response doesn’t specifically pertain to my job, (which to be clear, I LOVE) but more so to my life in general in 2018. It was just a weird year for me — and perfectly fits the sentiment, “lots of high-highs and low-lows.”

2018 was a year where I had to focus a bit more on patience and letting things go. Yes, of course I still have goals and bigger dreams, but some of them are just starting to evolve a bit and they need the space and time to do so. Right now, I am focusing on being present for the things right in front of me. It is kind of funny to think about the habits we spend so much time forming, only to grow up a little more and realize that some things we need to unlearn — in order to be a better version of ourselves or to move on onto a new season of our life.

2018 was a little bit heart breaking and harsh. It was gritty, sarcastic and the kind of year that really made me think on my feet. But it was also so colorful, and after a super rainy summer in DC, I was grateful for every ray of sunshine, both literally and figuratively. 2018 took me on grand adventures that added new perspectives and cultures to my life, and I got the chance to laugh a few of those deep belly laughs that are so good for your soul. This year was bittersweet, often catching me off guard with memories that needed to be tucked away and full of people who showed up and dug their feet in. There are few things more precious than the grace and love of people who believe in you. 2018 planted so many seeds for good things to come in 2019 and I am so ready for it.

I am thankful for this exciting life that I get to live, and even an off year, like 2018 was for me, deserves to be celebrated.

So hold tight 2019, I know you’ve already started (slacker blogger over here), but I am going to give 2018 one last look…

***********

In 2018, I traveled to 2 countries…

In April, my friend Brandi was traveling to London on a work trip and we decided make a girls trip out of it. I flew over a few days after her and we had the best time exploring the city in search of corgis and royals (and found none), had our fill of fish and chips and cried during The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre.

In September, I spent two weeks in Italy with 6 family members on a week-long self-guided walking tour through the Italian countryside. We also visited Rome, Pompeii, Naples, Venice and Florence. It was quite the trip, which included me spraining my ankle (still not quite ready to laugh about it yet)! And of course, I captured it all here on the blog with hundreds of photos and am still dreaming about the views we saw and all of the amazing food we ate! I had quite a few posts from this trip so I am going to list them all out here:

Walking Rieti to Rome – Summary
Doors of Italy
Exploring Rieti
Self-Guided Walk Day 1
Self-Guided Walk Day 2
Self-Guided Walk Day 3
Castello Orsini Hotel
Self-Guided Walk Days 4 and 5
Self-Guided Walk Day 6
The Colosseum and Exploring Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum
Pompeii and Naples
Venice
Florence

In 2018, my parents visited me in DC…

Other than a quick visit from my Mom in 2016 to help me move apartments during a busy time, this was my parents’ first official trip to DC to visit me! In March, I had so much fun showing them them all of my favorite places and even exploring a few that were new to me. I NEVER take it for granted how supportive my parents have always been of my goals and independence so it meant so much to me that I could take some one-on-one time with them to share my current home and why I love it so much.

In 2018, I traveled to Nashville for a 5-year college reunion with my old roommates…

Kyla, Megan and I all met when we were freshmen at K-State and residents in the Smurthwaite Scholarship/Leadership House. We quickly became friends and after two years there, we continued to live together through the remainder of college. Megan and I were co-Maids of Honor in Kyla’s wedding, and they are still such an important part of my life. 2018 marked five years since we graduated (what?!) so we decided to make the most of it and go on a reunion girls trip to Nashville and had so much fun reminiscing about college and making new memories.

In 2018, I traveled a lot for work, per usual, and continued working hard at a job that I love…

This year took me to Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona (twice); Seattle, Washington; all over North Dakota; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; and Manhattan, Kansas. In March, I celebrated three years at U.S. Wheat Associates and in July we launched our new website, after I’d spent the previous 7 months pouring everything I had into leading the project. I also shared on the blog about why I was loving my new standing desk (and still do!)

In 2018, I celebrated 100 classes at Pure Barre…

Right at the end of 2017, I practically forced myself to try Pure Barre. I didn’t really want to, but it kept coming up as something I might like and I was a little desperate for a bit of positive order in my life. It might sound dramatic, but Pure Barre honestly helped pull me out of a negative place and was one of the best things to happen to me in 2018. I found something that fits me and now I can’t imagine not having it as a part of my regular routine. In June I celebrated taking 100 classes!

In 2018, I spent a lot of time behind my camera…

It’s been my goal to learn more about photography and how to better know my camera inside and out. I haven’t really pursued that yet, but I did spend a lot of time in 2018 behind it getting a lot of practice. I will never claim to be a pro because there are too many people (and friends) whose talents I have so much respect for, but its a hobby that I love and that really fulfills my creative side. Aside from my big overseas trips, here are a few other of my photo ops in 2018:

Sawyer June turns 1
Golden Hour on the Farm
Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train
North Dakota Wheat Tour & Sunflowers

In 2018, there was SO MUCH more…

I took a care free approach to my vision board, wrote a personal post on emotional courage and midway through the year shared how I was striving to have a better attitude by writing down my weekly “roses and thorns.” In March, I was a guest blogger for one of my favorite full-time bloggers, Erica at Whimsical September, and in October I celebrated my 28th birthday by writing a love letter to my 18-year-old self. I tried to soak in all the family time that I could on two trips home to Oregon in June and December, and of course doted on Sawyer June. I saw the Grand Canyon and George Strait in concert (in Vegas!!), both for the first time. I served on the AFA Alliance Planning Committee and had the opportunity to serve others and continue to develop myself professionally in an organization that did so much to give me my start. I enjoyed time with friends both here in DC and during my various travels, and kept coming back to the same thought of how grateful I am for their words and company. And of course, I listened to some great live music and drank a lot of great wine 🙂

Yes, 2018 saw a lot of tears and hard moments, but man, it was also so, so good. Thanks for continuing to stop by and read along on this little blog of mine.

Wishing you all the very best in 2019.

For a look at past Year in Reviews:

2017
2016
2015
2014