Friday, December 30, 2016

20 Things About Turning 20

20 Things About Turning 20 Gillian @ Young Yankee Lady blog.

I've been searching for the right way to reflect on being alive for 20 years. I thought of listing what I'd learned, but that seems overdone. I wanted to list 20 favorite moments, but they all seemed too recent. So here is 20 Things About Turning 20. 10 are things that shaped my 19th year, and 10 are moments/experiences I'm looking forward to in the next decade. 

10 Things That Shaped My 19th Year:

01: Passing my senior moves in the field test. I was extremely proud of it, because I completed the 8-test track in 5 years, instead of the typical 6-8. I love moves, and this was very validating of the time I dedicate to them.

02: Working retail 35 hours a week. This job was boring and hectic, grueling yet easy, anger-inducing and laugh out loud funny. I shared it with some of my favorite people in the entire world, and others who's path I'd rather not cross again (it's mutual, I'm sure). 

03: Going to ProSkaters in Knoxville. This was so eye-opening, and really shaped the way I approached the rest of the year in terms of skating. While I've been open about how I wasn't particularly happy with my performance, I've accepted that I usually need a trial run of something before I do my best stuff. I am SO looking forward to this year. 

04: Loosing my paternal grandmother this summer. After my grandparents living out of state for most of my life, they finally moved back summer of 2015, and I visited them every single Saturday that fall and winter. We lost my grandmother almost exactly a year after they'd moved back. While her actual death was not a shock, it made me grieve all over again for all the time I lost with them growing up. I am so grateful for that year of Saturdays. 

05: Skating at the National Theater on Ice Competition this summer. In my second year there, I found I was so much more present while we competed. We did David Bowie's 'Fashionista' for our Freeskate, and performing it was fun and fast and bold and so right. It was a great way to finish a rocky season of bad critiques and scrapping programs.

06: My best friend getting married. When you've been friends with someone since you were 11, their wedding is a big deal. It was a great day for a great couple, and only promises better things ahead.

07: Getting my new job. I knew that eventually if I wasn't spontaneously cast into Disney on Ice I'd need a job that was more stimulating than retail, but I hadn't made any real plans about moving on, because I was 19, and it was fine. But after talking with one of the paras that assisted one of the work-program store employees, and realizing the hours were practically what I was working already, I went home and applied. I didn't overthink it. I just sent it in. And now I'm here, in a job that's unveiling a passion I wasn't sure about, and a skill set I didn't know existed. Really looking forward to the rest of the year. 

08: After about a year of deliberation, this spring I placed membership with a different church than the one I grew up in. No gasps needed, it's still church of Christ. My reasons for leaving were many, and varied, and extremely thought out. This was me choosing a congregation as a single, contributing adult, and that is scary. But it is so great, and exactly where I need to be. It has restored my faith in a way I can't even describe. I have real, deep connections with my brothers and sisters, and the mutual support there is amazing. They have given so much warmth to this year.

09: I want to challenge my soloist performance skills more, so I decided that this was the year I'd start competing in Showcase. I worked with Kate McSwain to create a show program to 'Candyman', and It. Is. The. Literal. Bomb. This program is my happy place, the light of my life. You'll see it soon, promise.

10: Driving. Everywhere. I don't even want to know how many hours I logged in the car. But: I've listened to hundreds of hours of audiobooks and podcasts, navigated Mass highways at night with only notes written on the backsides of envelopes, learned exactly how far you can get on a quarter tank of gas, learned which gas stations have the best coffee, and learned the invaluable skill of manually turning headlights on when yours stop working. #commuterlife.

20 Things About Turning 20 Gillian @ Young Yankee Lady blog.

10 Things I'm Looking Forward To For My 20's:

11: Lots of skating related travel, audition opportunities, performances, and experiences that will only make my skating better. I'm excited to keep striving and performing and searching for my niche. 

12: Getting better at daily life stuff. I just learned to drive a standard, and I want to be able to do it without thinking. I want to keep up with laundry. Learn how to cook really well. Make my bed in the morning. You know, act like a functioning human. 

13: Getting physically and mentally stronger, to support more adventures in my life. I want strength, energy, flexibility and resilience, in body and soul. 

14: Doing work that is more a lifestyle and value system than just work, and involves me creating, actively contributing unique ideas, challenging myself daily. Whatever that is, or whatever multiple things it is, I want it. 

15: Having better relationships. I want closer friendships, people I work with that I can collaborate with, side projects started with friends, and eventually a real, healthy relationship that brings us both up. 

16: Finding a Luke's Diner. It's all I really want from life. Universe oh Universe, send me a Luke's!

17: Living in new places, in whatever way that looks like. I want a cute, small town New England apartment. But I also want to try living in a city, or a completely different state. This is also just an excuse for me to decorate multiple imaginary apartments.

18: Learning things that seem impossible now. I was thinking about how different I am now than I was at 15, and imagining what I'll be like when I'm 25. I want to learn how to better navigate life, obviously, but I also want to learn some skills. Know how to put together projects and be really good at whatever work I'm doing. 

19: Tackling my nagging insecurities and anxieties, and being more successful (not to mention happier) because of it. 

20: Finally feeling 'my age'. In some ways I feel like I'm already 23, and in others I still feel 15. In my 20's, I'm looking forward to being what I am...not ahead or behind, just present.

I remember being ridiculously excited when I turned 10, because I was finally 'double-digits'. I am equally excited to start living my 20's. Onwards and upwards (and happy new year!).

Happy Friday, xoxo.

PS- 16th birthday, 17th birthday. OF COURSE I wouldn't do something obvious like post about my 18th and 19th. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

All The Good Stuff

I've been in a wicked baking mood lately, which made me go through my phone and reminisce about food.

These are paleo chocolate chip cookies from Ambitious Kitchen. So good, you could make these for a bake sale and no one would know they were grain-free. Amazing!

This is a coconut flour chocolate chip zucchini bread I made about a month ago, I basically just combined a bunch of Ambitious Kitchen recipes based on what I wanted and what I had. It turned out pretty good, just grain free bread doesn't raise a lot so you have to make sure you're pan is just as full as you want your loaf to be.

For a church potluck, I made Gluten Free bacon mac and cheese! I used rice pasta, and sprinkled Parmesan on top so it got all crusty. I wish it was creamier, but I'll try harder next time. I just am always at a loss about what cheese melts the best.

Did you know that Annie's is selling cinnamon rolls now?! I tried them yesterday morning, to celebrate that this morning, I'm starting a new job! Onwards and upwards!

Happy Monday, xoxo

Monday, October 24, 2016

Gilmore Girls

I make up a minority of the American female population, in that I have not yet watched all of Gilmore Girls. Shock! Horror! Shame!

As a book-obsessed, comedy-loving 90's child, I realize that this is ridiculous. When it was actually airing, I was just a tad too young for it, and more interested in I Dream of Genie re-runs, anyways. But now, with Netflix at my fingertips, I'm finally living out my fullest potential, and binging it as quickly as possible. There is a revival to prep for, after-all!

You ever notice how some things, like a quote or a book or a blog, find you exactly when you most need them? That's how it was in 2014 when I read Someday, Someday, Maybe Lauren Graham's (Lorelei Gilmore) debut novel about an actress in NYC struggling to 'make it' before her self-imposed deadline. That book was life changing for me. As a junior in high school, it spoke to everything I was feeling as I entered my senior year and faced what adult life would be. There were times that I felt my dreams were silly, and not possible, and this book taught me to hope, and chase after them anyway. I felt so seen and understood after reading this, which was welcome after all the hard questions like "so where are you going to college?!" that I was getting daily.

So, when she already had that much impact on my life, maybe it's not surprising that I completely fell in love with Lauren Graham and everyone else that brings Gilmore Girls to life. I feel like it is yet another moment of finding what I need, exactly when I need it the most.

Right now I need community. I need friends, and neighbors, and the small-town vibe of Starshollow. I was starting to really feel it this year. At my job, I knew everyone that come in. Since it was a grocery store, I knew every local chef and driver and restaurant owner. I knew all the local construction company guys, all the elderly couples from assisted living, all the elementary teachers that run in before school starts. I had my favorite manager, and each morning we'd have a new story to update each other on.

But I just got a new job. I start the 31st. I am over the moon excited and grateful, and it's going to be such a better situation than my old job. But Saturday, I also found out that my favorite manager just got transferred. I won't even get to say goodbye, he's in a new store starting Monday.  And that all just feels like too much change. I'm already missing my little community. It took me a while to feel a part of it, and I don't know if a new one will be easy.

I wish I lived in Starshollow. Right now, I need that community. I wish I could walk to everything. I wish I knew exactly who to call when I'm feeling down. I wish I had a Luke, with a diner that is magically open at any time of day, yet also incredibly easy to leave so that he can come help me fix problems. I wish I could eat burgers everyday with no repercussions.

Everything is looking up right now. This is going to be a great winter, I know it is. I've been anxious about everything I've said above, because change is scary and I'm very easily spooked. But I know in a few months, I'll be happy with the new situation. But right now, when I forget to calm down and enjoy, I turn to Gilmore Girls for the reminder. There will always be family to turn to. There are always more people than I think willing to help me. You need to find friendship before romance. And we all need something to work hard for.

Currently on Season 2, episode 18. No spoilers, please! I know a few are obvious but I'm trying really, really hard here!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

If Everyone In The World Did This, We'd All Be Happy

If everyone in the world...

...had as many conversations with their mom as possible,

...actually made their bed in the morning,

...took every opportunity to cook a brag-worthy breakfast,

...this world wouldn't be so stressed.

If everyone in the world...

...had a waitress that memorized their order,

...a close group of cousins, nieces, nephews,

...a co-worker that always had their back,

...this world would have more compassion.

If everyone in the world...

...introduced themselves to everyone that sparked their interest,

...spoke their minds kindly, but honestly,

...knew how to plan dates that are actually enjoyable,

...this world would have a lot more confident people. And probably less single people, too.

If everyone in the world...

...could support each other with a 'yay! you tried something and completed something!' attitude,

...valued the process as much as the result,

...understood that not having all the answers is normal,

...this world would have so many more dreams inspired, tried, grasped.

Somehow it's easier to talk about the whole world being more this or more that, than it is for me to make these same changes in myself. I never make my bed, I rush through everything, and my pessimistic inner voice pops up at the first sign of 'failure'. But maybe, 'changing the world', or, even more difficult, 'changing out lives', starts with just getting the simple stuff really right. Being in our communities. Noticing the world around us. Working really hard. Running after stuff we love. Maybe that's a lot to ask of everyone in the world. But, what if I?

Till next Monday, xoxo.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Last Quarter Goals

I feel like God presents you with the lessons, or quotes, or people, or opportunities, that you most need at the time. I believe that good can come out of any situation, as long as we stay hopeful and make the most of what's presented to us. 

As a future-oriented person, I've always had a fair amount of anxiety about goals and careers and what I want my life to look like. While it's not a good thing, I'm a worrier by nature, and sometimes I can channel that worry into drive, and use it to help me actually reach my goals. I tend to have a lot of skill-based worries. I never doubt my vision, I never doubt my work ethic, or my stamina. But I'll often find myself worrying about my inadequacy in one specific area, and then using that as my excuse for never moving forward.

I have always wanted to audition for skating shows. In many ways, it's the only thing I've really known I wanted to do. And while I've put myself out there in various ways (like Knoxville!), I've also sometimes found myself holding back. I haven't always understood this, but now I do. I've held back because I'm afraid of being inadequate. I'm afraid of being rejected, of people thinking it's a silly thing to try and then me looking silly if I try and then fail. But I've also held back because I'm afraid of being successful, and then found out. I'm afraid that somehow, I'll get cast or start talking to someone or something, only for them to slowly realize that I'm actually not that great. And I fully realize that this is the most ridiculous thing I could possibly be scared of. But I'm terrified of it.

One of my coaches pointed out, though, that I am doing this for me. I love skating as a lifestyle, and I don't ever want to stop skating. I love performing, I love practicing, I love experimenting, but the enjoyment of those things don't diminish just because I'm not being recognized, or because I wish I was better.

I have tunnel vision. Some say it's a good thing, but lately I've been working on fixing the negative side effects of it. My tunnel vision tells me that if I don't get my act together and become a perfect skater in a month I will never be anything, period. But I know that life is so much more full than that. And that while skating is a huge and ever-growing part of me, it's my attitude, work ethic, what I do with friends, the conversations with my mom, my go-to coffee order, and my favorite sitcoms that make me me, and a much better me than the tunnel-skating-me. In the same way, within skating I can get so focused on landing a particular jump, that I start to obsess over it to the point that you'd think it was all that skating was. And it's not. I love choreography, combination spins, footwork patterns, making faces. Just like we need well-rounded lives, it's well-rounded skating that provides the most fulfillment. And messing up one jump doesn't  diminish that at all.

We are all so much more than one thing, and thank goodness for that. Our lives hold every possibility of infinite things to do. We would be pretty boring if we limited ourselves to only one specific thing.

I am so excited to be entering this last quarter of 2016. I am excited to try new things and buckle down on old things. I'm excited to put forward my best self, free of inhibitions and crippling doubts. I wrote a list of goals for October-December that is making me wicked motivated, because while it's a tough list, it's also a totally doable list. In the interest of privacy (I know! Strange concept for me!) I haven't shared all of them, but don't worry, you'll see the rest once they're completed.

Goals for October-December 2016:
-Pass Intermediate Freeskate.
-Compete in a showcase competition (Cannot wait to tell you more about this!).
-Read The Two Towers.
-Pay back some bills I've had to sit on. 
-Make progress saving for this year's travel.
-Consistently workout 3 days a week (Currently have zero off-ice routine and it's a problem).
-Get an internship/shadow/become a staff writer, do something. And do a good job, preferably.
-Code something. Just a random thing to learn!
-Do at least 4 social friend things.
-Meet friends in Boston.
-Blog post once a week.
-Knit 10 more things.
-Make an audition video.

I am excited for what's next. I'm ready for what's next. What's getting you motivated for the last quarter of the year?

Happy Monday! xoxo

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

12 Books In A Year

gmrobidas 12 books in 2016 book reviews

At the start of 2016, I made my reading goal for the year: 12 books. 12 books. That is so small compared to what I used to read. So small compared to what my goals for the past couple of years have been. And yet, seeing I read 11 books in all of 2015, apparently it's pretty on target. 

This was finally the year I realized that I'm not in middle school anymore. That reading in the middle of the day isn't always an option. That I usually don't get in bed early enough to read.

But with all that being said, I made the goal to read 12 books this year. And I reached that goal in September. So apparently I did something right! I realize that 12 books is ridiculously low for some, and ridiculously high for others, but I'm really proud of actually achieving a reading goal. I guess setting something realistic is a good strategy!

At the beginning of the year, I created a habit tracker to inspire me to read every day. It lasted all of January, but not much longer. I still wish I could get in that habit, but truthfully, I'm not focusing on it right now. But here is how I did read this year:

Audiobooks. Yes! Duh, I know! But for the first time in my life, I listened to, finished, and enjoyed audiobooks this year. I commute a lot, and usually depend on podcasts. But I have found that sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the informational noise of podcasts (granted, I listen almost exclusively to self-help shows). Audiobooks have been a very welcome break, but I do have to be choosy and make sure I'm picking a good narrator and the right length/style of book to hold my interest. 

Lunch breaks. I would love to be the person that reads religiously every lunch break, but I'm not. I only get a half hour, and by the time I heat up my food and walk to my car, I don't have a ton of time to eat left. But when I convince myself that the 1-2 pages are worth the effort, I always leave thinking of course they are. So this is something to get better at. 

Trips. The reason I hit my goal early is because I was able to blow through multiple books while I was traveling. Travel time is uninterrupted reading time for me, I don't try to do anything productive except read. 

Sometimes I didn't watch TV. Okay, so right now I'm watching through Gilmore Girls, which means only the greatest of books is going to inspire me to leave Netflix off and read instead. Buutt, earlier this year when I finished The Office (sob) and could not bring myself to watch anything less amazing, I didn't watch TV at night and read instead. 

Sometimes I feel like I'm playing catch up with my reading, instead of reading what I want in the moment. But, I made a concentrated effort this year to read what I want, when I want, without book guilt. Progress!Here's what I read, in chronological order:

He Loves Forever by Thomas OlbrichtTom, a retired professor, preacher, and missionary, used to attend our church before he moved. In one of the classes I had with him, he gave us all copies of the new edition of one of his books. I finally got around to reading it, and it was just what I needed. This book discusses God's love for us with a focus on the Old Testament, and refutes the mainstream idea that the God of the OT was a God of wrath and anger. I found this book soothing and uplifting, and it helped me re-evaluate some parts of my faith that needed to be looked at. But my favorite part was definitely hearing Tom's voice on every page.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This was my first audiobook of the year, and I loved it. It's an adult book, written from a child's perspective, and it's not at all patronizing. I love the whimsical feel, and can't wait to get to the rest of the series. 

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. Now this was an intriguing book. In it, Gladwell discusses success and the million and one random events that can push people towards true greatness. There were times that I found his opinions rather depressing, because I think it's dangerous to take too scientific an approach to our dreams and goals. Humanity is not always scientific. But I also found parts of it really inspiring, like when he was talking about the school in New York, and the 10,000 hour rule. Lots of good discussion here.

I Like People Too by Lindsey KublyHumph. I was so looking forward to this book, but it didn't do it for me. I thought it was going to be about making friends as an introvert, but it just didn't really share any actual information about how to do it. It was really short, though, so maybe still worth the time.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari Another humph. I love Aziz Ansari from his Parks and Rec days, but I don't know if I'm super drawn to his humor outside of the show. This book is supposed to be half research, have humorous monologue, of the ridiculous state of modern love, dating, marriage. I love the concept and found the research really interesting, but I found his jokes distracting and and some of his conclusions just...wrong. Another one for good discussion, though. 

Humans of New York : Stories by Brandon Stanton When this arrived out our library, I had to grab it! A completely beautiful book, I could have sat and read the whole thing at once. Though I'm not the most avid HONY follower, I didn't notice any repeat stories. Perfect for when your faith in humanity needs a booster shot.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton You know when you abandon a book, not because you hated it, but just because it wasn't right for the time? And then eventually, you pick it back up and it's everything you could ever need? That is my story with this book. Years ago, I got it on audiobook (CD audiobook!), and ditched it pretty early on. But picking it up again this spring was so, so right. This book is slow moving in a decadent kind of way. You can sit for hours and just digest it. It haunts you when you're not reading it. And Kate Morton is the queen of twists. Can't wait to devour more of her books, but I've held back because they're all so hefty. 

Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg Blagh. Gak. Okay. So, this was another audiobook, and if it was any longer, I would have had to abandon it. The story of three sisters on the American home-front during WW2, and based largely around their letters and contact with their boyfriends away at war, it's less endearing and a lot more...stupid. It tried to be a bittersweet, hopeful, coming of age story. And it became one of ignorance, immaturity, and blatant searching for chances to use retro phrases.

Bossypants by Tina Fey Yet another audiobook! My absolute favorite part was hearing about how she got started, and her time writing for SNL and her own show. I find her energy and work ethic so inspiring! Plus, she's a great example of why author's should read more of their own work.

Some Like it Lethal by Nancy Martin This is the third of the Blackbird Sisters mysteries, so it was the usual dose of glitz, sarcasm, and over-the-top posh-ness. They are so fun. This was my least favorite of the three, however, because at times I felt like she went off on tangents. 

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay Is it weird that a self-help book about your 20's is one of my favorite books of the year? Probably. But I do love a good self-help. Here, Dr. Jay challenges the the idea of just 'living it up' in your 20's, and discusses the importance of being intentional with your career, relationships, and overall life. I've always been more on the planning side of things, and loved finding a like-minded person in Dr. Jay. But I'm also a procrastinator, and this book served to kick me into high gear, as well.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough Even though this is a pretty hefty book, I tackled it on audio! The Thornbirds follows multiple generations of the same family, recording the struggles and day-to-day life of the Australian outback. While this book sucked me in and was the reading shot-in-the-arm I needed for September, I did find myself having to step away occasionally. This book deals with some heavy stuff and on some of my long commutes, I needed a break. Still such an absorbing read, though!

I'm so happy with the reading I've completed this year, and now that fall is here to stay, I'm looking forward to finding more time to read again like I was in the spring. Right now, my only reading goals for the rest of the calendar year are to finish The Two Towers;and listen to more audiobooks. Right now, the titles I'm most wanting to dive into are Someone Else's Love Story168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, and a good Agatha Christie mystery.

Happy Tuesday! xoxo

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Summer 2016

Before last week, we hadn't talked since the end of April!  Here's a peek into the past 4ish months...because let's be honest, the blog silence started way before April!

In April we Act 1 ladies learned an entirely new Freeskate! After getting critiqued at the Vermont Theater on Ice Festival, we decided that while our CE was full of potential, our Freeskate needed a new direction. It was definitely a risky move 2 1/2 months before Nationals, but we took the plunge and pulled in Adam Blake. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never had so much fun in my life! After a week of long practices, we finished it, and then stood around in a mixture of awe for Adam and pride in our team. An experience I'll never forget!

Act 1 also skated in Ice Chips: Show of Champions. On my own, I was a soloist for my home club's annual spring show, and most exciting of all...I passed Senior Moves! I was very proud of my skating that day, and got a 4.7 or higher on every element (passing average is 4.5). For someone that hated moves in the field at first, and didn't even test until my freshman year of high school, passing senior after just a 5-year period was extremely satisfying!

Gillian Robidas Act 1 of Boston at Spotlight on Theatrical Skating CE 2016
Spotlight on Theatrical Skating (can you tell we're cold?!).
In May we did two competitions with Act 1, the North Shore Open and Spotlight On Theatrical Skating. We won both! Perks of being the only senior team in the area, haha! Seriously though, these competitions were a great way for us to get feedback that was especially useful to us with such a new freeskate. Experience skating outside of practice in any venue is always helpful!

Another exciting May highlight was wedding dress shopping with my best friend!

Gillian Robidas Act 1 of Boston 4th at the 2016 National Theater on Ice Competition

In June I focused a lot on getting outside, spending more time with my family, and going out with friends more often. The pace was a little slower...for the first two weeks, anyways! After that, everything got busy with Nationals!

The 2016 National Theater on Ice Competition was incredible! I loved the experience of competing on a senior team verses a junior team, but there were so many good programs from all levels. Honestly, some of my favorite events were Special Olympics and Preliminary! We placed fourth, coming home with a pewter medal. While this is not the placement we were hoping for, I personally was very proud of our team. We went up against a lot this year, and I love how adaptable and hard working and open minded we were this season.

4th of July fireworks in Nashville, Tennessee // gmrobidas

In July I came home, but not before spending the 4th in Nashville with my mom! I loved how local Nashville felt, it seemed almost small-town for such a big city. I would love to go back at some point.

A few days after coming home, my grandmother on my dad's side passed away from brain cancer. We knew it was coming, but were (of course) still hoping for more time with her. In a way, it was almost comforting to know she was no longer in pain. The cancer really changed her, and at the end she was not even recognizeable as herself. I will always really hate, though, that my last memories of her are so pained. We moved my grandfather in with my aunt, and thankfully, that is going very well.

Country summer wedding of best friends // timeladygeek // gmrobidas

In August we tried to hold on to the last lazy summer days, but to be honest, I was getting itchy for the 'new' year and regular schedules and skating to start back up. I coached my own private student who I met through group lessons and stuck with me through the summer, and focused on my own skating lessons. I also went to two workshops for American Ice Theater of Boston, and started working on putting together a Showcase program.

The most exciting thing about August, though, was my best friend's wedding! Deanna and I have been friends for about 10 years, and being a part of her wedding was such a joy! Having been by each other's sides through first boyfriends, and school, and first jobs, and then her starting to talk to Jake (her husband) at Teen Conference, and then dating, and their engagement, it was just an honor to be by her side at her wedding. It's not everyday you get two great friends in one couple!

And In September...most of the rest of the calendar year is up in the air, as it's currently unclear what coaching will look like and I'm waiting to be pointed in the right direction in terms of day job. I'm putting most of my focus right now into creating a showcase program to compete with this year, which is all new to me and really exciting. I'm also going to take my Intermediate Freeskate test this fall, so a lot of prep is going into making that test ready.

After auditions with TOI of Boston, I was placed on Act 1, their senior-level team, again. I am so, so grateful to skate with this amazing group again and am really looking forward to this season. We started choreographing last weekend, and I came away so pumped up and ready for more!

I have to admit, this was an extremely busy summer! But thankfully, it was busy because we had far more blessings and opportunities than negatives. While it's crazy that it's already September, I am looking forward to the fall schedule and settling in, not to mention fair season and fall leaves and hot coffee.

So how has your summer been? And what's your September going to be like?

Thanks for reading! xoxo

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Year In

Hey guys. Took me a million years, but I'm back.

This time last year, I was embarking on my first post-high school year. My first year as a 'real adult'. I know. Cue laughter.

Looking back on my senior year of high school, I remember how restless I was. It was like I spent the whole year feeling anxious and fidgeting. I worked a lot, and skated a lot, and dated a lot, but I had a really hard time feeling sure or stable. I do feel like I did more growing that year than almost any other, so maybe that's a part of it, but at the time it just felt like I couldn't get my feet under me.

But the restlessness of my senior year left me even more ready to move on. I came with a lot of ideas but no sure things. A year in, I have mixed feelings about how well I used this year. Part of me feels like I did a lot of running for not a lot of progress or hard results, but I also realize that I learned and grew a lot this year, and am now in such a better place to build a happy, successful, complete life.

Here's what I learned, about myself and life and work, this year.

Not going to college was the perfect decision for me. I've never really been pulled by the whole college experience/lifestyle, and I'm so happy that I didn't push myself into it based on what my peers were doing. I'm sure further education will have a role in my life at some point, but definitely not in the traditional sense. Being in the same place for four years continues to be extremely uninspiring to me, so I'm happy I listened to that.

No matter how much I work, not working will always be more stressful. I feel like I wasn't even home this year, just jumping between work and skating! I pulled some really long hours/days/weeks this year, but no matter how stressful those were, I was always unhappier and more anxious on the days/weeks when I wasn't working. Work, and progress, and moving forward keep me centered and content and help me feel in control. If I suddenly have downtime, or start to get comfortable, I immediately stress out.

Personality can open just as many doors as skill level. I worry about not being 'good enough' to go after things. But I've realized that, to get you started and open the door, our attitudes and personalities have as much to do with it as our skill level. Many people will be understanding of the fact that you're 19 and maybe don't know a lot. But they'll still be impressed if you're excited, hard working, make the first move, show up on time, prepare, and don't need to be micro-managed every second to stay productive.

Our society is screwing 20 year-olds, but you don't need to fall victim to it. I'll be 20 in December. Our society thinks that at 20, you shouldn't have to be supporting yourself. Shouldn't be thinking about marriage. Shouldn't be getting up early on Saturday mornings and sometimes, even declaring a major. But we are adults, and that's all lies. Be responsible for yourself and make good decisions, because the same people who are telling you 'not to worry about it' now, will think you're a joke when you turn 26 and haven't accomplished anything.

Money is great, but make sure it's not the only reason you're there. I'm all for being financially independent and doing what you need to do, but a job is more than a paycheck. It's where we spend most of our time, interact with people, and contribute to the world. We work because we need the money, yes, but we also need to create something, help someone, learn a skill, or at the very least, be shown we're appreciated. So whether you're an architect or a dancer or a cashier, don't put up with a toxic work environment, a stagnant career, or utter boredom.

You need friends, and walks, and stupid sitcoms, and books, and haircuts. A huge lesson from this year is learning that working for the paycheck and grinding for your dreams is fantastic, but it is not all there is to life. No matter how driven we are, we need to make time for relaxation and fun and joy. I started to cut these 'extras' because they weren't necessary. But being joyful is necessary, so now know that I need to be more diligent about making time for them on the regular.

Overall, I'm happy with who I became this year. I feel so much more level-headed, and clear on what my priorities for my life are. With September right around the corner, I'm confident in the fact that this Sophomore year of life will be filled with grit and work and hopefully, satisfaction.

Thanks for reading! xoxo

PS-Can you believe my last post was in April, guys? This summer was full, so an unintended (but, apparently, needed) break was in order. I don't know exactly what blogging will look like this year, but I am hoping that there's more of it. Thanks for sticking around!

PPS-2015 Was Quite A Year, and 2016 Will Be Quite A Year.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

For When You Don't Feel Seen

For When You Don't Feel Seen post from Young Yankee Lady

My regular customers are the best part of my day job. 

We have one guy who works at Turbocam, and comes in to buy lunch a couple times a week. I brilliantly call him the Turbocam guy (I actually do know his name through some clever credit card stalking, but it's useless since the facebook search options have decided to fail me). He's got light brown hair, a normal, clean cut beard, and almost always wears a plaid flannel shirt. He comes in just before noon, always goes through express, and often has an older friend with him.

He's sweet, and quiet, and attractive, so I have a standing agreement with the express cashier that she puts on her light and pretends to need something so I can walk over when he's in line. It's all very sneaky, and subtle to the point that (sigh) he's probably never noticed. But I go to great pains to show off my management skills (look how fast I can make a void!), or make some stupid joke. Sometimes I even look right at him and say, "how are you?". I guess you could say it's getting pretty serious.

In the daily grind of our lives, it's easy to slip off into our own little world. We make coffee in our quiet house and commute with just the radio for company. We're tight with our coworkers, but only until 5 o'clock. The line behind us doesn't care about our day or our goals or that we think we're getting a cold. And it's always the nights we're feeling extra antsy that no friends are free. 

There's a lot of joy that comes from going at life solo. Making our own routines, not looking to anyone else for a schedule. But there's also a lot of anxiety, and loneliness, and mundane-ness, too. And while we may be completely content with our lives, it can start to feel like you're just one in a sea of a million, unobserved, and easily replaceable. 

But we'll never be completely aware of who notices us. We miss the sideways glances and the fact that they see us the minute we walk in the door. Someone somewhere knows our order by heart, loves the way our jeans fit, and legitimately looks forward to our regular Tuesday stop-ins. And yet we remain oblivious, too busy worrying about the frowning woman behind us and all we have to get done and whether or not we'll die alone.

Connection isn't found by scrolling through Humans of New York. It's found by being an active, present Human of the Here and Now. It's found by not simply stopping at 'good' when we're asked how we are, and by noticing the regulars in our community. We connect over the little things, the mundane rituals that get us through the week. The things we think only matter to us, but others learn to expect.

Turbocam guy probably just comes in looking forward to his sub. Perhaps he looks forward to our awkward joke exchange, too. But even if he's completely unaware that it's the same girl every time, his patience and smile and presence has added warmth to a sea of brusque, strange people. It's a connection that couldn't be any smaller, and yet feels so very deep. 

Don't ever think that you aren't seen. Somewhere, a cashier has a nickname for you.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Knoxville, Part 2

Part 1.

I'm just going to say it: I was actually really disappointed with myself about my Knoxville ProSkater audition.

I felt like I wasn't friendly enough. Bright enough. Good enough. Like I wasted an opportunity to make a great first impression by selling myself short.

And, yes. I still feel that way. Next year, there's a lot of things I'll be doing differently.

But there will be a next year. As I was processing my disappointment over these past few weeks, it sparked a shift in my own thoughts. I will stay committed to my dreams. To my goals. I will keep working hard, keep improving, keep experimenting until I hit on where I need to be. 

Throughout highschool, continuing to skate and putting 'Disney on Ice' as my goal was shiny, exciting, and very, very far off. This year, my first out of school, has been scary and stressful for the simple fact that now, I need to actually make something happen. And that's a huge jump to make.

But I'm in the process of shifting my attitude. Regardless of the fact I didn't get a job from this particular audition, I'm proud that I went. I'm proud I put myself out there and tried something new. I didn't leave with a job, but I left with the tools to keep trying to get one. And while in the moment that felt disappointing, I'm realizing that's a huge step, too.

Knoxville brought to light a couple of key takeaways:

I am building a whole life.

Don't get tunnel vision to the point that you hurt yourself. I'm focusing on being healthy and happy on the ice, but also off the ice with church, coaching, writing, and being social. There's a lot of life to live, and I don't want to miss an opportunity because I was hyper-focused on one path.

Which brings me to...

There is no one path.

Every presenter in Knoxville had a different story. There were only three common factors between them: they worked hard, they were open to opportunities, and they loved skating. Outside of that, every single one was wildly different.

I've never been 'normal' a single day in my life. I was homeschooled K-12 in a conservative church of Christ home where we had horses instead of dogs and should chickens through 4-H instead of selling girl scout cookies. Never in my life have I taken the busy road, so why would I start now? Rather than worrying about the things I feel I should have done, I'm focusing on actively doing great things now. I'm excited for my path to be different.

I have not even come close to trying. Not yet.

And I mean that in the most positive way possible.

My initial reaction coming home from Knoxville was, "WHAaaaaatTTTT will I do nooooowwww?! I'm done! Done! Unwanted! Washed up! I will never make it! I tried. Yes, I tried this one singular time, and that's it! They did not want me! They will never want me! I missed my shot."

I don't care what your goal is, but at 19, that monologue will never (ever) be accurate.

There is so much more room for me. So much more room for me to grow, mature, put things out there, and chase other opportunities. I have not even scratched the surface on chasing this goal, which means I have amazing options in front of me, and that is very exciting.

I was on the ice for three and a half blissful hours yesterday. My senior moves are on the brink of peaking again for my test in two weeks. I landed five double salchows after a horrible few weeks of not landing any, and I was *this* close to landing a double toe-loop. Yesterday was such a fantastic day, and I'm still beaming about it.

I have control of my life. Often, I freak out and fully believe I don't. But I'm getting better at stopping when that happens, figuratively poking me ribs, and saying: No. You are in control of the choices you are making, and you have the power to keep making choices that bring you towards your goals.

And isn't that an amazing thing to be grateful for?

Happy Thursday! xoxo

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Knoxville, Part 1

Photo Cred: The Ice Chalet

Doubt is a killer.

For months now, I've been living with a tireless pit in the bottom of my stomach. It flares up when I've had a bad practice. It flares up when I'm at my part-time retail job, so far removed from what I really want.

Being a show skater has been my end goal for years. It is a very integral part of what I hope is a lifelong career in skating. But as a 19 year-old, almost a year out of high school, I've been feeling so much pressure to really get it going. 

Now granted, most of that pressure is coming from me. I'm the one worrying. Comparing. Judging. I'm the one who believes I'm a horrible skater just because I've had a bad practice, or not put together because I've made one clumsy mistake. All this pressure I'm talking about is coming from me, not others. But it is no less anxiety-inducing. 

I have an extreme fear of being stuck. It may seem contradictory, given my love of routines and how uncomfortable I can be with new situations, but I live in fear that I will end up stuck. That a year from now, nothing will be really that different. That I'll miss my opportunities to leave my job, be skilled at my passion, create something new. 

That's what was on my mind on a Saturday afternoon in February. I was excited about skating and was making lists of everything I wanted to do...but I was also giving myself a panic attack over the fact that I might not be able to make all those dreams come true. 

And that's when I stumbled on ProSkaters. And, right on the home page, an advertisement for the 2016 Pro Skater Performance Camp and Live Audition in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

I quickly read through everything. Held in March, it's a weekend camp focused on educating aspiring show skaters with on and off ice classes. It culminates in a show with group numbers you learn over the weekend, and a chance to audition a solo. The best part? Casters from major ice shows sit in the front row the entire time. A fun-filled weekend put on by top choreographers, it has a high success rate and many skaters have been cast after being spotted there.

I showed it to my mom. And in the matter of an afternoon, just three weeks before the event, we decided I had to go. 

And I am so glad I did. Doubt is a killer. It's debilitating. And I have spent far too much time worrying about whether or not I'm good enough, instead of simply putting myself out there and finding out. 

I don't believe I'll be getting any offers this go-around. We had the opportunity to speak to all the casters after the auditions, and I have to admit, I was scared. In my 4-H days, I spoke in front of crowds, led groups, and was interviewed constantly. But now, I'm supposed to be an adult going for a real job and unlike my 4-H self, I'm not completely confident in my ability to nail it. And that shows.

And, as I've learned, comes back to haunt me. I'm not overly proud of the first impression I made. I didn't feel put-together, or confident, or strong. My routine was clean, but the performance was sorely lacking. I was nervous and didn't put my best foot forward.

Doubt is a killer. It got to me this weekend, and my skills--my work--suffered because of it. 

I am not allowing that again.

It is the human condition to have insecurities, to sell ourselves short. It's something I've personally dealt with on a seemingly daily basis since Freshman year. I've made a lot of progress towards having confidence in myself, but I definitely take steps back sometimes. Skating, unfortunately, always seems to bring up the worst insecurities. 

I took so much away from this weekend. I learned on ice techniques, some great choreography, what I have to work on, and tips for getting a contract. But I was also made aware about parts of myself I haven't had to deal with before. On the ride home, I made a long list of skating moves I want to learn or improve on. But I think I'll be making a second list of mental shifts to make as well. 

Like to stop feeling so down about this 'rejection', because it was my first time trying. And to stop feeling like I'm running out of time, because no 19 year old can possibly have tried hard enough yet. To spend less time worrying about what others will be wearing/eating/doing, and simply be myself. To realize that no one will think you're silly for trying to sell yourself. To realize that you're trying to be a show skater, and silly is allowed (duh!). To be more present and focused and learning in the moment instead of always running a few steps ahead (or behind!). And to take more deep breaths, and walk up and start talking to more people.

I'll admit, doubt got the better of me this past weekend. I let it control me and it cost me the ability of  making a good first impression. But while doubt may reside in the back of mind for awhile, I no longer have to listen, and certainly not give in to it. I am in control of my life. My choices. And to a large degree, my feelings. I, no outside force, decides if I'm stuck or not. And I am decidedly not. 

Thanks for reading! xoxo

PS-Check back in on Sunday for Knoxville, Part 2 where I share more details on what I learned, who I met, and my program! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Just A Reminder

Just a reminder that...

You're the one in control of your life. YOU.

No one is going to work as hard for you, as you.

If you're off-balance with yourself, everything around you will start to explode.

Everyone's journey is different, and you'll appreciate yours in the end.

All you can do is focus on doing the best you can every single day, taking small steps, and making progress. Don't chase perfection.

You need to know yourself enough to to give yourself what you need to feel less stressed and do better work.

The only way to 'make it' is to show up for your thing at every. Single. Opportunity. Show up every time you can.

No one ever achieved anything by feeling sorry for themselves and sitting on their couch. Get up. Do the work. Smile. And imagine the best for yourself once and a while.

Unofficial blogging break has officially ended. You're welcome.

Happy Thursday! xoxo

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Some Super Advice

I've just started listening to This American Life. I know, late to the party, as usual. But I'm seriously in love with the short-story concept. My favorite episode so far is How To Win Friends and Influence People, and my favorite part within that is "People Like You if You Put A Lot of Time Into Your Appearance."

In it, Luke Burbank tells the story of a man he met on a plane. The interesting part, is that the man was wearing a superman costume.

But he doesn't just wear it on the plane. Luke stays in contact with Superman, and eventually spends the day interviewing him. Superman's wife died at a young age--and since then, he had simply decided that life is too short to be boring and mediocre. He wanted to do something special, something with meaning, something unusual.

So he took his love for superheroes and starting sewing his own costumes. He wears Superman in the summer, and Batman in the winter. After work, he'll go out for the day all dressed up, hanging out in public places and talking to anyone who's interested.

What the hell? Is probably the first question that comes to mind. But actually, his 'why' is pretty simple.

It makes people happy. The way he sees it, if someone is pumping gas and Superman pulls up at the next pump, you've just made their day. They have something to talk about. A funny story to tell. And can anything bad really happen on a day you say hi to Superman?

We live so much of our lives chasing arbitrary shoulds and check-points. We all complain about how society wants to trap us in boxes, yet we still beat ourselves up when our lifepath doesn't look like Jane Jones' or the most recent "25 Things To Do Before 25" list. Even worse, we're still so quick to judge others when they start challenging how 'it's supposed to work'.

So just as a reminder: these lives are ours, and we create them every day through the choices we make. We are never done. We are never stuck. We have tremendous (usually untapped) power within us to stand out, make a difference, be happy. And so long as we're not hurting anybody, there's no real reason to avoid the crazy thing written on our heart. Just go do it.

A grown man walking around his small town in a Superman suit is pretty crazy. But dedicating your life to making strangers smile is pretty genius.

Happy Thursday! xoxo

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January Book Report

I don't remember if I've specifically shared it on the blog or not, but one of my goals for 2016 is to read every single day, even if it's just a page (here's an Instagram of the goal tracker I made!). I started counting on the 28th of December, and now three weeks later, I've only missed 6 days. Definitely room for improvement, but so, so much better than I was doing last year.

I'm already almost done with my third book of the year, which is a big deal to me, since I only read 11 books in all of 2015! I'm loving this boost and want to try really hard to keep it up.

First off, I finished He Loves Forever by Thomas Olbricht. The book's about the love of God in the Old Testament, challenging the mainstream thought that the God of the OT is angry and overbearing, whereas the God of the New Testament is loving and carefree (spoiler alert: it was the same God the whole time!). Our family's known Tom through the church since before I was born, and he gave me a copy of this book after our VBS in 2014. I loved the book, and found his writing comforting and hopeful. The very best part to me, though, was hearing Tom's voice on every page. He writes just like he talks, and I loved every minute of it.

At the same time, I finished The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley on audio. I loved it! It filled the void that can only be filled by a totally British mystery told by a brilliant, 11 year-old chemist. It was funny and quirky but still very well written. I'm going to try the second in the series as a print book to see if I prefer it on audio or a 'real book' better.

I'm almost done with Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. Once I get going I have a really hard time putting this book down, but in the beginning I almost had to abandon it! Gladwell looks at the outlying situations that end up making someone successful, and in the beginning, it felt so hopeless that I was leaving it really depressed. Luckily I stuck with it, though, and the rest has been more than inspiring! I think Gladwell glosses over the importance of actively choosing to take advantage of your unique situation a little too much, but still it's a very interesting read. The chapter on geniuses was fascinating and almost eerie.

I just bought I Like People, Too: A Field Guide for Introverts by Lindsey Kubly as an ebook. It's much shorter than I thought it was (only 42 pages!) so I'm planning on reading it on my phone at work over the weekend. I've heard nothing but good things about her tips in this book, and seeing another big goal for me right now is being more social and building better relationships, I'm excited! I'll probably use it as my 'book you could read in a day' for the MMD Reading Challenge.

Looking ahead to what I want to read after Outliers and I Like People, Too: my first thought was Jane Austen's Emma, as it's been awhile since I read a good classic and I would love to get through more of Austen's books this year. Another heftier book I'd love to get into is Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper. I actually attempted listening that to audio on CD two or three years ago, and while I loved the story, I just couldn't listen fast enough and had to abandon it. I'm thinking I should pick it up at some point in February and do it justice!

On the other side of the coin, I might do something fluffy: the third Blackbird Sisters Mystery, Some Like It Lethal by Nancy Martin, or finally finishing another audio I eventually abandoned, Austenland by Shannon Hale. I should also finally finish reading yet another book that's been languishing half-read since 2013, The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper. That one's actually the second out of three books, but I didn't know it was a series when I started, so I read through it #3, #1, then #2.

Strategic as I might like to be, I'm really just enjoying the extra reading I've gotten done! I'm refraining from making any specific goals of which titles I have to read, and simply going with what I most want to read in the moment. It's been such a release for me lately, and I look forward to that goal tracker being much more full in the future!

Happy Thursday! xoxo

PS-I track all my reading on goodreads and would love to see you there! I also sometimes share book thoughts on Instagram and tumblr!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

14 Things For The 14th

01: I LANDED MY DOUBLE SALCHOW! Yesterday. We didn't get the first one on video but we got the second one! I landed about 5 or so after that. So an exciting day! I'm chomping at the bit to get back on the ice and practice them again. Friday come sooner! I want to write a much more in-depth post about double-salchows, but for now here's a preview from Instagram:
02: Speaking of, I got an Instagram! I've loved Instagram for awhile and mercilessly stalked bloggers on it, but I didn't have a smartphone so I couldn't have my own account. I got an iphone 5s for Christmas, though, and the very first app I got was Instagram! Definitely jump over there and follow me!

03: I know I'm super late to this party but Elise's small business story is well written, addicting, and a great series for those of us who often forget that there's not set path.

04: I'm in love with my phone. Seriously though. I feel like I should be ashamed to admit that but I'm just not. Right now some favorites are being able to easily send photos/videos, Instagram (duh), budgeting apps (through Every Dollar), constant access to email, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

05: I am loving the fact that it's only January 14th and I'm already working through my 3rd book for the year. That's quite a feat considering I only read 11 books in all of 2015! The extra time is coming from just a page or two everyday as part of my daily reading goal I mentioned here, and being able to listen to audiobooks easily!

06: I've been working on getting up early again and while I hate it in the moment, I love it the rest of the morning. Before the holidays I was up at 6:45 perfectly everyday and now I'm going for 6:30 and might go as far as 6. I'm in love with being able to have a slower (but productive) morning routine.

07: Last week I had a really bad asthma cough, and it got to the point where I couldn't talk without talking. My side also hurt a ton from coughing, but not just an ache, actually pain. So Saturday after skating and coaching I went to the urgent care. They gave me a new inhaler but didn't seem concerned about the pain at my rib cage...but I totally think I either bruised it from coughing so much, or cracked it, because it just hurts too much.

08: I'm dreaming of soup again. I should learn to cook.

09: I'm back to obsessive clutter attacking. I want to focus on consciously taking care of myself in 2016 (fluffy as that sounds), and I've become really in tune with how much my stuff being sprawled everywhere puts me in a bad mood. So I need to stop!

10: Does anyone use Periscope? I'm intrigued and want to try.

11: Coaching on an outdoor rink is a ridiculously beautiful experience. There's fresh air, sunlight, and it just feels magical. It's also miserably cold and will have you in tears if it starts to rain, but seriously. It's an experience I'm very grateful for.

12: Every day I realize how blessed I am to have my family (for the most part) close by. Especially grateful for my grandparents on my dad's side moving down this summer, so I can see them every weekend!

13:This guy has created a video game called Level Up Your Life where you essentially break your life goals into levels, and can earn points for working towards them! It's pretty cool. Learned about it from the College Info Geek podcast which I just re-discovered and can't wait to find out more.

14:Putting a lot of trust in gut feelings and doing what's on your heart. If something keeps coming back, and just won't leave your mind alone, maybe you should stop ignoring it.

Happy Thursday! xoxo

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Will Be Quite A Year

See also: 2015 Was Quite A Year.

Happy New Year, my friends! I don't know about you, but I am very excited to put 2015 behind us and move on to a bright, beautifully blank-page 2016.

I'm really into resolutions. 3-month plans. January 1sts, Monday mornings, fresh starts. I love all of that. This year, I'm taking two very different (and seemingly hypocritical) approaches to goal setting and I am so excited about it.

First, I'm getting REALLY persnickety and focused. This part of my goal setting speaks to the Type A perfectionist that hides away inside of me. I'm letting her out by:

-Coming up with a short list of big goals for year, which I've displayed on sticky notes on my motivation wall.

-Building a budget and making real saving goals.

-Committing to two daily habits I aim to do everyday in 2016: practice a yoga headstand every day (because headstands) and read every day. I made colorful daily goal trackers and everything!

-Writing a 3-month plan that gets broken into goals for each month and objectives for each week.

-Focusing on creating a rhythm and work flow that is not only productive but happiness and inspiration inducing.

But secondly, I'm also coming at 2016 with more relaxed intentions and mantras for the year. These objectives are just as important to me as my clearly-defined ones, and often, make the clearly defined ones possible.

-Getting better at unwinding. As in hanging out with friends more, knitting, and reading.

-Showing up every single day. Not waiting for inspiration, chasing my dreams now!

-Finding joy and actively pursing joy. I love the work I'm trying to do, but lately I've been very frustrated with my personal skating. A huge goal for me in 2016 is to get back to joy, love of the sport, and love of the art and always keeping that in the forefront. So I'm working on checking in with myself more, focusing less on 'better' girls out on the ice, and not getting down on myself.

-Refusing to be walked on. I don't want to rehash 2015 again, but a huge theme from last year was feeling pushed around and stepped on. In 2016 I'm going after what I want and not putting up with crap.

I love the concept of choosing a word to guide you through the year. It may sound silly, but for 2016, I want my word to be stubborn.

Stubborn as in refusing to give up on dreams.

Stubborn as in digging my heels deeper when the risk of failing seems to get bigger.

Stubborn as in refusing to be put down...

And stubborn as in going after what I want even when others don't believe in it.

2016 is going to be quite a year. I can feel it.