Thank you, two thousand and sixteen

Dear two thousand and sixteen, 

I’ve been thinking about you lately — thinking about how it seemed like nothing monumental happened these past 12 months, yet you were still a pretty solid year. But then I started going month by month, and I realized I was wrong. So many things happened this year, the majority of which were pretty amazing. Here are some of the highlights:


There was a lot to celebrate during this year. In May, I celebrated three years of continuous sobriety. We spent the day working on the house, which Brandon and I purchased a few weeks earlier. Yep, Brandon and I became homeowners through a bizarre and  stressful string of events. But now we have our little slice of heaven and wouldn’t have it any other way. We hosted our first Thanksgiving at our home in November, which is when I also celebrate one year of working at the Echo Press. Of course, there were other celebrations, too. The list could go on and on.


We saw a little more of the world this year, too. In March, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit two of my best friends in Washington D.C. and spent five days exploring the area. In July, I was able to share one of my favorite places in the world — Avalon, NJ — with Brandon, as well as visit Philly. We spent a week at the ocean, fishing and enjoying each other without the chaos of day-to-day life. But we missed our fur babies. In September, we took a weekend trip to St. Croix State Park to take in the fall colors and they didn’t disappoint. Two thousand and seventeen holds more adventures, starting with Mexico in February.


Even as I type this, I still can’t believe that I met SELENA FREAKING GOMEZ. Anyone who knows me knows how much I admire her. Going to her concert alone was a dream come true, so when Kate won meet and greets a few days before, my mind was blown. I’m pretty sure I walking around in a haze those few days, and didn’t believe it was happening until it did. It was everything I imagined and more. This year I was also able to get my byline in Cosmopolitan twice, which is something I had been aiming for. Both posts were on the topic of sobriety, and I’m glad I was able to spread the message a little more. Brandon and I also had our dream of owning a home come true, though it was difficult to say goodbye to our first little home together.


My side design business really took off this year, something I am so grateful for. I barely consider it a business since it’s something I so thoroughly enjoy. It feels good to know people trust me to bring their visions to life, and it’s rewarding to see the outcome. I’m looking forward to seeing where the coming year takes Branded by Beth.


I keep forgetting I did THREE triathlons this year — an indoor one, one in Monticello and one in Glenwood. They all made me nervous, but I finished each one. The Monticello one in particular was tough, as the biking was all mountain biking…WHICH I DID NOT KNOW AHEAD OF TIME. So needless to say, I learned how to mountain bike pretty quickly, in mud and rain nonetheless. Only a few wipeouts ensued. In November, I began Crossfit and the puzzle piece I’d been missing finally fell into place. It is everything I need in order to better myself, physically and mentally. Continuing Crossfit and seeing the progress I make may be the thing that excites me the most about the coming year.


One year ago, I knew NOTHING about photography. But through trial and error, I was able to teach myself a lot this year. I was even hired a few times to do photos for people, something that was scary but also rewarding. I’m so glad I discovered photography because it challenges me. I get frustrated, but then that fuels me to get better and keep learning.

THANK YOU, Two thousand and sixteen

Thank you for all you provided me with this year. Thank you for pushing me to want to be better. Thank you for letting me chase my dreams, even allowing some to come true. Thank you for teaching me there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for teaching me, period.

Here’s to the next 365. I just hope they can measure up to this year.


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