Looking Back: A Review of 2019

Last updated December 27, 2019

Can you believe 2019 is almost over? I sure can’t. With the year quickly coming to an end, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past 365 days. It’s been a year full of exciting changes and we’ve set in motion many things, but it’s also been a year of hard work and plenty of frustrations. With such a full year, a review of 2019 is a great way to reflect honestly on not only all the awesomeness but also the sucky. 

This is my first year ever doing an annual review and it’s a much more personal article than usual. I hope you enjoy it!

A review of 2019

Review of 2019: The Good

Overall, I’ve had a great year. I’ve traveled, spent lots of time with family, and made some major, life-changing decisions. It’s been a full year that went, mostly, according to plan. And I’m all about plans.

Ringing in 2019

We rang in 2019 halfway across the world in Nafplio, Greece. Every time I think back, I feel blessed to have been able to spend two weeks exploring Greece with my parents, grandparents, sister and her boyfriend (and their little bean), and of course, Jacob.

It took hard work, sacrifice, and planning to get there, but it was a trip of a lifetime. I don’t want to call it a once-in-a-lifetime trip because I want to do it again, but as we all get older and have changing responsibilities, we do have to face the possibility that it may never happen again. It’s one of those experiences that you know you’ll treasure forever, even as it’s happening.

Family selfie in front of an ancient ruin in Greece. After reviewing 2019, this is a cherished memory.

Northern BC Road Trip

I was also lucky enough to take another trip with my parents this year. We hopped on the back of their motorcycles and explored northern BC for almost two weeks. It was just me, my mom and dad, and the open road. It was a brand new style of travel for me and I loved learning from their experience.

Although I ultimately decided I’d rather explore with a van than a motorcycle, I’d change nothing about the trip. Every time I look back on it, I’m filled with memories of love and laughter — and concern over our diet of gas station chips and cheese.

Exploring with Jacob

Despite the two amazing trips I took this year, I do wish I’d been able to spend more time exploring with Jacob. We usually take a road trip in the summer, but because he didn’t have any vacation time from his new job we weren’t able to.

In past years, though, we’ve always been good at exploring local and taking advantage of our weekends and evenings. I’m not entirely sure what happened this year, but we didn’t go camping once and barely went hiking. We did do a few things like exploring Ellison, Pincushion, Mill Creek, and the occasional walk at Mission Creek, but it was all pretty tame. We’re very disappointed with that and it’s something we’ll be correcting in 2020.

Living Arrangements

One of the reasons we originally took to hiking lots was because we had roommates; even when we loved them, we needed alone time so that they didn’t drive us crazy. Nature was the perfect escape. But 2019 was the first year that we didn’t have roommates and after five years of living together, it was absolutely wonderful to have our own space. 

But it was also a year of uprooting. I’d lived in the same apartment since leaving home seven years ago; in 2015, my sister and I bought it from our parents and in 2017, I became the sole owner. Jacob and I grew our relationship there, we learned about renos and land-lording, and we transitioned from clueless teenagers to slightly less clueless adults. And this year, I sold it. The sale of my apartment marked a new chapter in our lives, one we’d been dreaming about for years. It was emotionally hard to sell, but it was a necessary stepping stone towards our bigger goals. Can you guess what came next?

We bought a house. A full-fledged, f-ing house! We still pinch ourselves, it sometimes seems so unreal. Real estate in Kelowna is absolutely ridiculous, though, so we did wrangle the help of my parents. All four of us own the home, but hopefully, within a few years, Jacob and I can buy my parents out. For now, they’re enjoying the benefits of an investment house! Our home is a split-level from the ’70s and we’re renting the top floor out so that we can continue to save for and make our dreams a reality. One step at a time!

One of our ultimate dreams is to travel the world. I’ll admit that after I’d sold the apartment, I was very tempted to take that money, buy a van, and take off. My eternal struggle seems to be between long term goals and quick payoffs. In the end, I did put that money towards the house because we want to have both rental income and equity when we decide to travel the world full-time.

Wedding Plans

Jacob and I also enjoyed 2019 as a newly engaged couple. We’ve set a date in 2021, so we’ve been slowly planning our wedding and so far it’s been very enjoyable. I thought planning a wedding would be very overwhelming, but so far it’s been quite easy. Maybe that’s because I absolutely love planning things. Or maybe it’s because I’m not too far into it yet.

We’ve already booked our venue and photographer and asked friends and family to help with our flowers, makeup, and cake. We won our engagement photos that we had taken in Yoho National Park and Kristina did an amazing job. I even have my wedding dress! We haven’t decided on a honeymoon destination yet, though, and we’d love to hear your suggestions!

Family

Besides gaining a future son-in-law, this was a big year for my family. Earlier in the year, we welcomed my nephew into the world! He’s brought so much joy to our family. It’s wonderful watching him grow and explore the world. He absolutely loves the Christmas lights and wanted to be involved in all the holiday games. One of my childhood best friends also welcomed her daughter to the world, but I haven’t been able to visit them as much as I’d like.

On a more difficult note, a very important member of my family was diagnosed with cancer; it was particularly shocking because she’s otherwise extremely healthy and active. Thankfully, though, it was a very treatable form and she’s doing very well. We also had to say goodbye to a long-time family pet.

On a happier note, Jacob and I are finally in a situation where we can welcome pets into our little family and we can’t wait to get some kitties this year!

Review of 2019: The Ugly

Like I said earlier, it’s overall been a great year. But until I sat down and reflected on the year, my initial review of 2019 was frustration and disappointment. There’s definitely been a lot of good in my life this year, but there are also things I want to change in 2020 that I wasn’t able to in 2019. After so much self-reflection, I’m going to be making some big changes in the coming year.

My Job

Without a doubt, my biggest source of disappointment in 2019 was my job. I’ve worked at the same place for almost six years and for a multitude of reasons I’ve become quite unhappy with it. I knew 2019 wasn’t going to be the year I finally left and it wore on my happiness. I experienced a lot of internalized sadness and frustration which affected other aspects of my life.

At the end of 2019, I applied for a different job and although I didn’t get it, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders because I was finally making a move. I’ve worked as a professional graphic and web designer my entire career and I ultimately want to run my own freelance design business along with my blog, so I’ve been making plans to finally transition into that in 2020.

Close up of a girl near a turqouise blue lake.

The Blog

I’ve also been extremely lax on my blog this year and I’m very frustrated with myself. But upon reflecting over what went wrong, I’ve realized a few things. First, I’ve spent way too much time fiddling over the little things — changing colours, fonts, and spacing — and not enough time planning and executing actual content. I’ve as good as ignored my newsletter and social media. This year, I’m going to hit the ground running because I’ve already planned out an entire year’s worth of articles and have made specific goals. No more half-assed blogging for me. If I want to turn this into my career, I need to kick my ass into gear.

However, it wasn’t an entire year of failure on the blog. I landed my first brand partnership and hit my highest number of pageviews ever in July — 19,757! I also doubled my newsletter list without really trying, so I’m excited to see what I can do when I put my nose to the ground.

Throwing a pumpkin between two people at a pumpkin patch.

Not Getting Outside

And finally, the last source of my frustration and disappointment comes from my lack of getting outside. As I mentioned earlier, with the exception of my BC road trip, I barely hiked and didn’t camp at all in 2019. And it was such a beautiful, mild summer, too!

This was an aspect of my life that my job seriously affected. I was mentally exhausted after work almost every day. We began ordering excessive take-out and using excuses like being “too busy” or “too tired” to get outside or make healthy food. The ironic thing is, if we had just stepped outside we would have felt so much better. I also felt like a poser on the blog, writing about being outside when I wasn’t.

Final Review of 2019

It’s been a busy year full of both successes and disappointments. 2019 has given me lots of happiness, but it’s also forced me to come face to face with myself and the realization that things need to change. This review of 2019 has been a wonderful exercise in realizing what’s important to me and how I can make a positive impact going forward.

I’m excited to ring in the new year, crush some goals, and do all that I can to have a happier, more fulfilling year. What’s 2019 been like for you? Have you experienced any major wins or even failures that you’ve learned from?

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