Every single year of your life you tell everyone that “This year is my year”. It’s usually filled with a New Years Resolution you don’t keep past February, and a bunch of the same days as you lived the year before. For the first time in my life, I feel like this really was my year.

February brought my first airplane vacation with Dylan. We flew to Vegas and drove to Los Angeles. February 19th, four days short of our two year anniversary, I was proposed to. This boy who used to fight to get her to message him back on Facebook, got the girl. March brought the first full time job offer for Dylan and within a month of being engaged, I was preparing to move away from Minnesota and the only home I ever knew. April was the month the car was packed, the goodbyes were spoken, and life changed for this little Minnesota girl. Lincoln, Nebraska became home. May through August was filled with days learning how to lean on myself. I never turned the clothes pink, never started the apartment on fire, and never went completely broke. I made friends, found two awesome nanny jobs, and started to really love our first little home. September was my 24th birthday, and my first REAL mental breakdown about not having a full time job, a child, a marriage, and a 401K. (That was short lived once I realized that I’m actually only 24 and I get to do cool things, and Dylan’s still stuck with me even though we’re not actually married yet..) November took our lives in a new direction, and I packed up once again to follow the man of my dreams while he continued to chase his. Des Moines, Iowa became our second home sweet home of the year. December gave me a new job, and a new family to love on. We got to vacation to Vegas for the second time in one year, which is always a blast. We ended the year at home in Minnesota, soaking up lots of love from our families.

It was a year of change, a year of adjusting, a year of growth. The two years before this, my entire world was focused on the same house, the same people, and my only real change was my weight. I could spend 2 hours a day in the gym because everything else was normal. This year, that wasn’t an option. I had to learn to balance work, school, bills, health, finances, and I did it only with one person to lean on, in a new place. This year had a little bit of darkness as I really struggled with my self image, with my finances, and with being so far away. I’m a big girl though, and I got through it.

This year brought me two new places to call home, and a whole different type of family in Nebraska. I have a diamond on my finger and share a bed with the man of my dreams. I have a family at home who constantly checks on me, supports me, and loves me from miles away. I have in-laws to be who always make sure Dylan’s being nice to me. I have friends who are still my friends even though I left them, both in Minnesota and Nebraska.

This year forced me to fall a little bit, to fail a little bit, and to learn that I can’t act perfect anymore. I learned that when you gain twenty pounds and lose your self confidence, you have no option but to pick yourself up and brush yourself off. I learned that loving myself is way more important than the number on the scale. I learned that all of the extra fat on my stomach and on my thighs are a result of good meals eaten next to the man I love, while enjoying my life. Sure, I could spend hours a day working out and worrying that I fit into the skinny cookie cutter mold of society. But I would rather keep all of that tummy pouch, thick thighs, and only be able to wear leggings if it meant that I got date nights at Red Robin laughing over the trivia game that is at the table. This year gave me the ability to FINALLY look in the mirror and think that I am pretty, no matter what I weigh.

Sure, 365 days ago I was in the best shape of my life, I had a lot more money in my bank account, I wasn’t worried about the temperature of the house, my biggest concern was when I could go get an $8 protein shake with Chelsie, and I worked around 55 hours a week between three jobs, BUT this has been the best year of my life. 

It will be hard to top 2015, but I wish 2016 the best of luck. 
I lived a VERY blessed life this year, and I look at the future with hope that it will continue to get better. Happy New Year! xoxo – always, ampersand.

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