Monday, December 31, 2018

My 2018 Retrospective

2018 has been a year, friends. It felt like the days were flying by, even though the months were slipping by slowly. It was a year filled with some incredible opportunities and experiences I'll cherish with a handful of the folks I love. But it was also a year where there was a lot of personal emotional turbulence driven by stress, anxiety and heartbreak, which was... not fun. It's been one hell of a roller coaster ride of a year, but I've made it through (just like all of you have too, no matter what your year has looked like) with my head held high and my heart filled with joyous anticipation for what will be in the year to come.

If there's anything that I've learned in the year 2018, it has to be just how much I'm capable of... which is actually more than I ever could have imagined. I can handle difficulties with grace... for the most part. I can survive heartbreak with my heart and precious memories intact. I can perform athletic activities with more skill than I thought I possessed (and without injury to my person). I can find the joy in little things, make peace with my life's simplicity, experience emotions unabashedly and with an intensity I haven't since I was still in school. I can handle more responsibilities - at work or at home. I can work hard to make sure my relationships (of all kinds) flourish, be there for the ones I love through all their ups and their downs, love people with all I possibly can give. I can say yes to things that scare me, perform tasks to the best of my ability, and learn more about who I am and what I want to be every single day. I can still dream, still create, still hope, still love. It may sound like the simplest of realizations, but the entirety of this year has taught me to love myself harder than I ever have before because I can do (and will do) so many incredible things and there is so much more yet to come.

Before I get overly emotional (because I've come to a point where waterworks is inevitable when I look back on this year), let's dive right in to my look back at the last twelve months. Thanks in advance for joining me on this trip down memory lane! 

Oh, before I start the recap, allow me to say thank you, dear readers. I know I haven't been the most consistent blogger in the past few years, but I wanted to mention that I appreciate every single one of you that read my posts, leave your comments, share my posts and just interact with me - whether here, on Twitter, on Instagram or on YouTube. You really do make my day, and I'm hoping to be present more consistently in the year to come! Fingers crossed!


Okay, now it's really time to jump into my recap!


While there was a bout of cold weather during the month of January that encouraged me to stay warmly curled up indoors reading or watching more anime, there were a couple of noteworthy events: seeing Wicked (for the third time) with Macky and Rachel (and it was with Ashley Parker Angel as Fiyero, which was a discovery that reminded me of my good ol' boy band fangirl day), attending The Cruel Prince event at Barnes & Noble Tribeca (Holly Black is a delight, and Melissa Albert is equally wonderful) and finishing off the month by going to the Reign the Earth event at Books of Wonder (A.C. Gaughen is still as lovely as she was the first time we met).


Winter wasn't over, as the cold weather definitely stuck around in February. But it was a month of fun adventures: snowboarding at Mountain Creek (where I actually discovered I *could* snowboard and enjoy it), seeing Waitress twice (once with Sara Bareilles and Drew Gehling, and once with Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz; this brought my total number of times seeing the show to five), celebrating Rachel's birthday with a visit to Black Tap, attending the Heart of Iron event at Books of Wonder (Ashley Poston is such a delight) and the Meet Cute event at Books Are Magic.


March was one of the most exciting months of the year for one specific reason: my long-awaited trip to Iceland with Rachel! I honestly still can't believe we actually went. It was our first international trip together, and if you're interested in what we got up to, the specifics are in the recaps I wrote (part 1, part 2 and part 3). Basically though, it was an incredible trip with one of my favorite people in the universe! There were two other highlights this month: seeing an early screening of Love, Simon as Kristin's guest (that movie is delightful and makes my heart so happy) and going down to the DC area to attend ApollyCon with Rachel and DJ (which was seriously such a fun experience to share).


The weather started getting milder in April, marking the start of the transition into spring. I experienced it for only a couple days before I flew off to London for a four day trip with my sister Mel! It was seriously so fun to reconnect with my favorite teacher in high school, see all these sights I'd only ever read or heard about and just actually visit the city of my heart (and have it confirmed that it is London). There's more about our trip in my recap (part 1, part 2), but it was definitely another highlight of my year. There were two other exciting things that occurred in April: seeing James Bay in concert with Rachel (I just love him so much, and he's so brilliant live) and attending the Stay Sweet event at Books are Magic (there was Ample Hills Creamery ice cream to be had!).


May was a fairly relaxed and warmer month overall... up until the latter half of the month. One of my favorite things was getting to take my sister Rachel to see an ABT performance of Giselle! We both grew up studying ballet, and we definitely appreciate seeing professional dancers in action. We also had our first sisters' beach trip, which was a delight. And my friend Sam was visiting from the Philippines, so I briefly got to see her and hang out! Apart from that, the end of May always means Book Expo and Blogbound Con as well. This year, I had the privilege of speaking on two panels at Blogbound Con and I briefly made appearances on the floor during BookExpo. I did get to attend some fun publisher events with my friends though!


June was definitely a warmer month, heralding the start of summer, which is always exciting since that's my favorite season! BookCon happened, and I attended it for a wee bit (though it can get really crowded and overwhelming most of the time) with my friends. Other exciting occurrences this month included seeing a couple of ballets with Rachel, driving up to Cape Cod for the weekend with Rachel, Macky, Pat & Ian, a "French" day out in New York, seeing Sam Smith live (which was incredible, as he's so talented) and finishing off the month by seeing Songs for a New World.


July was delightful! It was full on summertime, which means more sunshine and blue skies, which means I was a lot happier. So many exciting things happened during this month, including: seeing Melissa Benoist in Beautiful (a stellar performance!), attending my first ever yacht party (to celebrate my coworker and his husband), seeing Taylor Swift's Reputation stadium tour twice (such an experience, and it's streaming on Netflix now!), experiencing the Museum of Ice Cream with my two NY Rachels, popping into The Darkest Legacy event at Books of Wonder, seeing Shoshana Bean live (including a bonus performance of I Did Something Bad with Cynthia Erivo) and having my parents-in-law arrive for a visit.


August is one of my favorite months of this year, and not just because it was my birthday month! I definitely celebrated another year of my life beginning with people I love. But this was also the month The Darkest Minds film premiered (and I saw it early!), To All the Boys I've Loved Before premiered (I saw it early as well, and then watched it twice more), and Crazy Rich Asians premiered (it was soooooo good). The highlights of this month, however, were definitely getting the opportunity to interview Jenny Han for Facebook Live (I'm still not over this) and going up to Boston for the day to attend Boston Comic Con and meet Catherine Tate!


September was so busy, but in the best possible way. Here's a quick rundown of everything that happened: seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (so brilliant and magical), visiting Jodi in Virginia to hang out and attend the As She Ascends launch event at One More Page (so much fun!), attending the Escaping from Houdini event at Books of Wonder (Kerri is lovely, as always), attending the Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating event at the Strand (I love Christina Lauren and I still can't believe I only started reading their stuff  this year), having an "anime" day to watch Your Name (still love this movie), attending Boston Teen Author Festival with Rachel and seeing DJ there, and ending the month by embarking on a belated anniversary trip to Walt Disney World with Macky (which is always a fun experience, especially with the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot).


Macky and I were still at Walt Disney World when the month started, enjoying all of the parks and food and just being away from New York. But a few days after we came back, we popped into New York Comic Con for three very specific reasons: Alex Kingston, Matt Smith and David (freakin') Tennant. I'm still not over the fact that we have a photo with all three of them! The History of Magic exhibit opened this month, so I went with Macky, Ian and Pat and just basked in all the HP fandom feels it gave me. I also got the opportunity to attend two book events: Muse of Nightmares at Books of Wonder (Laini is just so wonderful!) and Kingdom of Ash at Symphony Space (I just have so much love for Sarah and this series!).


While Macky was away in the Philippines for a little under two weeks in adventure, I had a couple of adventures of my own. The first weekend, I joined my sisters on a road trip down to Virginia-DC-Maryland to visit Rachel's friend Rose; the second weekend, we went on a mini road trip up to Albany to see Jo Koy's Break the Mold tour. My brother-in-law Kahlil arrived in New York shortly after Macky's return for his vacation, and it was lovely to spend Thanksgiving with all of my siblings. There were also a couple of bookish events on my calendar: the Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix event at Books of Wonder (Julie is a sweetheart), The Darkest Star event at the Strand (Jen is such an inspiration) and a special morning event at the New York Public Library before it opened.


December was flat out intense in terms of all of the activities on my roster! There was a lot of exploring the city to see all the festive decorations and experience a ton of festive desserts. There were multiple Christmas celebrations with all the folks I adore. I also had the special bonus of seeing Lifespan of a Fact with my best friend Pat (a clever show and Daniel Radcliffe was great in it), and have been spending the latter half of the month just winding down the new year by cleaning, relaxing at home and planning what comes next.


Honestly, just looking back at the past twelve months brings me so much delight. I've been so blessed with such wonderful experiences and incredible people to share them with, and I cannot be more grateful for every single one. Here's to hoping that 2019 is going to be just as filled with adventures (in the city, out of the state, out of the country), events (musical, theatrical, bookish), food (desserts, coffee and brunch, that's mainly what I'm after), new things to love (books, games, anime, music, movies, or whatever comes onto my radar) and moments with the people who matter most! Oh, and, most importantly, here's to pursuing the life I was meant to lead, the path that has been ordained for me by God himself. 

If you feel so inclined, share links to your recap or your favorite moments of 2018 in the comments - I'd love to hear all about it! Wishing you a wonderful 2019, friends!

1 comment

  1. I absolutely loved this walk down memory lane<3 I can't even tell you how thankful I am to have you in my life and I love that we've made so many memories together this year! You're one of the best friends I've ever had and I look forward to wherever 2019 will take us!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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