Friday, December 30, 2016

Best of the Year {2016}

This week I've been doing my favorite or bests of 2016. Monday was books, Wednesday was travel, and today I thought it would be fitting to do a year in reflection/what I've learned type post. What a year it's been! I remember ringing in the New Year and couldn't believe it was already 2016 and here we are a year later and I'm thinking where did 2016 go!? As I'm sure everyone can relate to, my year has had highs and lows and a lot in between. So I thought it was fitting for what I wanted to talk about to head each section with The Good, The Bad, or The we go.

The Good
Oh, the Places You'll Go...
For the most part my year has been great. I've traveled a great deal both outside and in the US and I couldn't be more grateful! I went to the UK not once but twice and I still can't even wrap my own head around that fortunate twist of fate. England and Scotland are so special to me that if I was able to pick up and move tomorrow I don't think I'd ever look back. I think we all have soul mate cities or places that feel like home even if we've been only once and the UK is that place for me. It fits me and while it should embarrass me that every trip I want to take is there but I have embraced that love this year and make no apologies. I don't care if it's cliche or common, that place is my home away from home and if I can take a yearly trek there to do further small town exploring, I will.

Where is the Love?
Speaking of cliche, this next part might make you eyeroll a tinch but it doesn't make it less true to me. I've spend almost the entirety of my life that I have in memory looking for love. Without going into detail I have been quite unlucky in this aspect of my life. I feel so completely fulfilled with everything that this pesky little bugger known as romantic love is the one thing you can force. With 30 just a few months away, I spent a lot of this past year stressing about when, how, if ever will I find a man to spend my life with and, sadly, that still hasn't happened.

But with most of my year spent traveling alone or travel nursing (and living in the bumfuck middle of nowhere), I truly learned that I love myself. I love my own company, I enjoy being alone, and I think this is something we all need to learn before settling down. I know my worth and I'm not going to settle with anybody in order to have somebody. This was a big thing I came to realize this year and I couldn't be happier about it. It also helps I've been praying about it a lot and feel like a proverbial weight has been lifted, have felt less stressed about it, and have stopped thinking I'm racing against a time clock. Que sera, sera...

There's No Place Like Home
I'll talk a little more about this below in 'The Bad' section but some of you know I did not get on well with my contract in New Hampshire. However I believe everything happens for a reason and it took me hating this job to realize that it was time to go home...for good. Not to say I'm completely done travel nursing but I am for the foreseeable future. I never thought I would see this day and I had no idea when it would come but come it did and I'm really happy about it. I thought that when I moved back home it would feel like a failure or I was settling back into old routines but it feels nothing like that. It feels familiar and comfortable but in the way it should. It feels amazing to be back home to start carving out a familiar but slightly different routine and life here.

Blogging Changes
I've had a complicated relationship with blogging this year but I've learned a lot more about myself with a new and improved way of blogging, I realized I needed a new way of posting and felt motivated by this change since summer. While I did fall off the wagon for a bit I feel like I'm finally getting back into being consistent and I love what I've been doing. If you're newer here my schedule of posting has been a book review on Monday, Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere travel post on Wednesday, and a lifestyle, personal post on Friday. I LOVE being inspired to talk about more than just books and I love the freedom to do anything I feel excited to write about on Fridays. I feel like this blog has truly become a reflection of me and I couldn't be more excited to stay on track with this. Let's hope this motivation continues, am I right?

The Bad

The positive parts of the bad times :)
Work Life Imbalance
While 2016 has overall been a pretty great year, my only real complaint was my job I took in New Hampshire. It was definitely a balance of scales in that I loved the area and living in New England but I loathed my job. I became that angry person at work who didn't want to be there and basically felt like a cynical, self-deprecating black cloud. I dreaded going into work every day. I started counting down when I had about 32 shifts left when my total shifts I had to work was 39 if that gives you any indication. But there's a silver lining in every cloud and this awful job made me realize my travel nursing was coming to a close, it brought me back home AND brought me closer to my dear friends in Boston and allowed me to see other East Coast friends while I was there. AND I got to go see some wicked cool places like Portland and Quebec City. So again, everything happens for a reason.

Getting Rid of Irrelevant People
With travel nursing coming to an end I'm forced to face people who used to be friends and haven't talked to me since I left, or very sporadically since I left. It was a hard reality to face that friendships I used to cherish and care about no longer became a priority to friends still at home. I wasn't worth their thought or effort to keep in touch with and that's ok. They're irrelevant people as the wonderful book Who's That Girl? helped me realize. It was something I was thinking for awhile but felt like an asshole voicing but it's okay not to click with everybody or realize you have different life goals than they do. It was a bit of a harsh reality check but oh so good to not worry about irrelevant people or go out of my way to stay in touch with them.

The Ugly

The Underbelly of Book Blogging
I debated writing this but I honestly have felt this lump of negativity on my chest for awhile now and feel like I need to let it out. If you're a casual reader of this blog you won't have any idea what I'm talking about but if you're a blogger you will. Apologies to non-blogger readers, just skip this part if you want. I have seen this year, moreso than years past, such an ugliness--pun intended--to the book blogging world. You may or may not have noticed, most likely not let's be real, that I've taken a step back from Twitter and haven't been as interactive. This is intentional. I just cannot stomach the constant negativity I see on this social media platform. The incessant bitching, the complaining, the bullying, the vague tweets, I just can't take it anymore.  There's so much rose-colored glasses statements about how inclusive this community it and that's just bullshit. It's all rainbows and butterflies when people agree with each other but heaven forbid somebody has a different opinion. Then it's not so cool.

Not only have I been a victim of this myself this year (who can forget my love triangle post where my profession as a nurse was called into question as well as being called a cunt which was super cute) but I've seen it happen to other people numerous times. The witch hunts and ganging up on people over book plots or romances is out of control. As somebody who likes to build people up and encourage them, the blatant disrespect for other people's opinions and point of views is not cool. And it's not nice. It's so easy to be cruel behind a phone screen or computer but would somebody act like this if that person was standing in front of them? That's a probable hard no. I love books more than the average bear but at the end of the days, they're still just books.

However, again, silver lining? I found out true friends stick by you and I truly appreciated the good side of blogging as well.  The negative made the positive aspects stand out in stark contrast. The friends I have made through blogging have become some of the closest friends I have. I have become even closer to several others and talking with them over the last year are the connections I've needed. But I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about stopping several times over the past year...but then I remember I blog for me, myself, and I and I'm not done with this outlet of expression and writing about books I love, places I've been, and life in general. And like I said before, I am forever grateful for the friends I have made through blogging so, of course, it's not all bad! But I still feel like I needed to get that off my chest and cut the shit. And when have I ever not said what I wanted to say? That'd be never.

The Great
Squad Goals
Because I cannot end this post on an ugly note, I wanted to talk about the thing that I have come to most love and appreciate this year. My friends. As somebody who has always struggled with interpersonal female connections, this year was another great one with friends. I reconnected with an old friend I knew in high school and we've become super close, he's become one of my best friends. My two high school friends and I have been better at staying in touch. I have continued to be in constant contact with my faraway friends and text them almost every day. And since moving home my college best friends and I have been getting together constantly! It's been extra amazing as one of them had a baby this past year so actually being around to watch her grow and learn is absolutely beautiful and truly what life is all about.

I am eternally grateful for these people I have in my life and have been there the last few years. They have been my rock, my anchor, my voices of reason, my comfort, my everything. My friends are like family. Loyalty means so much to me and I know that I've been there for them as much as they've been there for me. It's been a tough year for a lot of my friends as well with changes and low moments and that feeling of connectivity in times of hardship is what friendship is all about. As with any year it's had its highs and lows and I cannot wait to see was 2017 has in store for me.

Well! There you have it! The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of my 2016!
What have the highlights been of your year?!
What are you looking forward to in 2017?!


  1. Thank you for sharing your heart in this post, Kelly. I, too, have backed off from tweeting, especially when it comes to talking about...books/blogging (which is sad), for the same reasons you have. So glad things are better at home and that you are renewing some great friendships! <3

    1. Thank you, Anna! It's a total cesspool of trolls and anger and I don't need that negativity in my life! And yes! It's been so great at home :)

  2. will respond to more of this later... i'm stuck on the fact that someone called you a *whispers* c-u-n-t over a blog post. whaaaat eveeeen.

    1. Girl, right. People seriously need to get a life and a hobby.

  3. Thank you for sharing so much of this with us! 2016 definitely had its good, bad and ugly moments... but thankfully there were some great ones, too. I'm so grateful to the book community for so many things — including a large number of my friendships — but I, too, have pulled back A LOT from it over the last year. I'm convinced Twitter is the devil. Half the time I sign in and promptly leave because I can't take the drama. It's ridiculous. Can't we just enjoy the books, recognize others have their own opinions and leave the bullshit behind? I know how you feel about the way you were attacked over the love triangle post. A couple years ago, I wrote a review and some other bloggers didn't appreciate it — it was a positive review for a book they didn't approve of, apparently. I ended up just blocking all the culprits because I don't have time for that shit, but holy crap. It was ridiculous.

    1. LOL Twitter IS the devil!! Everybody can have an opinion as long as its the same opinion as the troll masses, I guess *Eyeroll* Good for you, block the trolls and miserable people who have nothing better to do than preach acceptance and in the same sentence bully somebody over a different opinion. Girl, bye.

  4. I love this post so, so much! The sheer honesty with which you shared the ups and downs of your year is truly inspiring, and I'm so glad for all the good you had (but boo to the bad). So glad for our friendship too <3

    1. Aw, thanks, Lex! That means so much to me!!! xoxoxoxoxo


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