22 things I learned in Year 22

Today is my 23rd birthday! To celebrate, I decided that I would get my booty into gear and WRITE… something that I haven’t done in quite a while! In a series of rather unfortunate events, both Cody and my cars were broken into and had thousands of dollars worth of items stolen (on separate occasions, in a span of less than two weeks), my Macbook Pro broke (and has been estimated to cost $1000 in repairs), and then the iPad Pro that I was going to use to write, with a bluetooth keyboard, decided to stop working as well! It’s actually been pretty comical, once I got over the frustration aspect of it all. Needless to say, writing kind of slid to the backburner, though thankfully I have been able to rest in the knowledge that my (176 paged) book was miraculously (unintentionally) saved to my Apple iCloud account, so when I decide to get back into the swing of working on it, I can pick up where I left off.

Right now, I’m typing this on a borrowed computer, though I did the majority of the writing by hand, with pen and paper. It actually felt kind of nice to go back to the way I used to write in my journal, versus typing while staring at a screen. I decided that just for the heck of it, I’d write down the top things I’ve learned over this past year, because it was undoubtedly the greatest year of growth and change I’ve experienced thus far. My last name changed, my home address changed (three times!), my job changed (also three times…), my title of “fiance” became “wife,” and I learned So. Dang. Much. While I know there are still an innumerable list of things that I will continue to learn, and ways I will continue to grow, I couldn’t be more at peace with where I am right now. The goals I have for myself are many – I want to go back to school, I seek to continue to grow in my relationship with Jesus, I hope for greater community and stronger relationships with individuals in our new church, I desire for Cody and myself to continue moving forward in ways tangible and not, being smart financially, and preparing to start a family someday (and before that happens, buying a house and a puppy!).

But overall, I am so, incredibly content. I feel blessed beyond measure each morning as I wake up next to a man who loves me so well, in an apartment with a double-locking front door (remember, we live in a pretty sketchy area), fresh produce and meat in the refrigerator, and lace up my shoes to head to our gym that is no doubt, nicer than most in the Portland area. Upon arrival, I am greeted by the staff and other early rising gym-goers (us “regulars,” who are crazy enough to arrive before the clock reads 5:00 a.m.), get a great workout in, and return home to shower and make a nice cup of coffee in our Nespresso. My back hasn’t bothered me in over three months, which I consider a miracle in itself.

I could go on, and on, and on, but you get the gist of it. Cody and I are settling into our new normal, and I couldn’t love it (or him!) any more. Life is good.

Okay, so the real reason you’re here: The list.

Below are the best lessons that came to my mind as I reflected back on this past year. Some are funny, and some are serious, but they all have been made clear to me, at some point or another, over the past 365 days. Here goes…

  1. If you’re going to fall asleep with self-tanner on, be prepared to wake up to some nice, orange sheets.
  2. Being in an intimate relationship with another human will teach you things about yourself that years of therapy cannot.
  3. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
  4. You only have ONE body! Treat it with love and respect.
  5. Fortnite actually requires a great deal of strategy, and contrary to my prior thoughts, will not turn one’s brain “to mush.”
  6. You often learn a lot more from the times you’re wrong, than when you’re right.
  7. If you find a “steal” of an apartment, there’s probably a caveat. (As in, you may be moving to the ghetto.) Location IS EVERYTHING.
  8. Whole Foods > New Seasons. Seriously, why does NS mark things up 150% ??? (And why do people still shop there?)
  9. Slowing down does not equate to moving backwards, or even to staying stagnant. You can be moving forward without actually moving.
  10. Don’t leave anything in your car that you would not readily hand to an individual on the street.
  11. Saving money is important, but it can also come at a cost. What works for someone else financially may not work for you, and that’s okay! (I’ll probably end up writing later on this one, but Cody and I ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth it to eat beans and rice and be miserable. We’ve found a compromise of still saving and spending wisely, but also splurging once in a while, and living comfortably.)
  12. There are parts of you that others don’t see, but there are also parts of you that you don’t see. Humbling yourself and listening to constructive criticism can be really beneficial (to you!) in the long run, even though it can suck in the moment.
  13. T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s are where it’s at. Kind of going back to #8, but like, WHY would you even spend full-price on anything??!
  14. Comparison really is the thief of joy. It’s also cyclical in nature, so if you can break yourself of the habit, you lose the inclination to take part in it.
  15. If your partner tells you that they don’t like country music, playing it for them over and over (and over) will likely not change their mind. I really thought I could change Cody on this one, but gave up a couple of months ago. I guess it’s just not for everyone! It’s okay though, there’s some of his music I just don’t care for, either.
  16. Your taste buds really do change. I can’t believe I didn’t like guacamole a year ago! Now, I practically consider it a food group.
  17. Sometimes things have to go VERY wrong, in order for them to go very right. It’s still crazy to me that if I had transferred to nursing school the way I’d hoped to (but which my treatment team did not give me clearance to do), prior to my senior year at O.S.U., I wouldn’t have begun dating my (now) husband. Just because you can’t see the good in something, doesn’t mean good won’t come from it!
  18. Some jobs are really just a job, and that’s okay. You might not be fulfilling what you feel is your God-given purpose in every role you fill, but you can still be purposeful in it, and learn something from that season. This has been a really interesting concept for me to grasp this year, as I’m in this “interim” period before going back to school.
  19. Mind over matter isn’t just something that’s applicable to sports. You get to determine the mindset you enter into each day with, and setting an intention to have a good day in the morning really sets you up for success. I’m pretty rigid with my morning routine now, and for good reason: It consistently sets me up to make each day a great one, even if some not-so-great stuff happens. Find something that works for you, and stick to it.
  20. Always do glute-activation exercises prior to leg day, unless you want absolutely dead quads the following day. (You’re welcome in advance.)
  21. Every piece of knowledge you could ever hope for, is available, for free, somewhere on the internet. Seriously, there’s no excuse to not know something that you really want to know.
  22. Have fun. Life is too short to stress about the small stuff.

Well, there you go! Those are the best things I learned in Year 22. Check back this time next year for the second installment, plus one more!

Here’s to another great year.

🙂 Bridgette

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