The best we can

December 31st. The day that most of us stop for an extra moment to reflect on the year that’s about to end. Since i’m a naturally reflective and curious person, today has been spent doing just that.

This year seemed to go by in the blink of an eye (don’t they all). And while I could give a detailed list of the milestones that occurred, instead i’ll say this: I did the best that I could.

With everything.

I tried really, really hard at my career. And I continue to do so day in and day out. I left a job in Chicago that I absolutely adored so that I could be closer to my family, and when I started my new job in Rochester, I had to adapt to a completely new environment. It wasn’t always easy, but when it came to my career this year, I do know this: I did the best that I could.

Now that i’m closer to home, my family and my relationship with my boyfriend (and subsequently his family) are a top priority. It can be exhausting, but working to bring two families together has been one of my greatest joys in 2016. We aren’t perfect. There are arguments and inevitably stressful times. But when it came to family and love this year, I do know this: I did the best that I could.

I also put a lot of thought, time, and energy into my friendships this year, as I try to do every year. Some flourished. Others dimmed. In hindsight, I would have changed a few things. I would have stood my ground a little stronger and communicated more often. I think I could have been a better friend. I guess there’s always room to be a better friend. And i’m going to try to do so in the days, weeks, and years ahead. But when it came to friendships this year, I do know this: I did the best that I could.

Every year comes with its own set of challenges. And that’s because life is tough. It kicks you in the ass and it makes you cry and it leaves you bruised and banged up with mud on your knees and a confused look on your face. And it never stops.

It always forces you to learn, reach, grow, transform, and stretch in the direction of goodness and kindness so that you can hopefully become a better version of yourself. It does this every damn day. It’s no easy task, and there are no breaks.

But don’t forget that just being alive and well is a blessing in and of itself. And although the lessons we must learn are tough, they’re worth learning.

Whether 2016 was a joy or a nightmare for you, just remember this: we’re all just doing the best we can. And may we continue to do so in the years to come.




What they don’t tell you

I have been dating the love of my life a little less than a year, though we’ve known each other and have been close friends for over ten.

One of my best girlfriends often jokes and says, “you’re finally dating your husband!” He has the loveliest heart, the kindest soul, and my love for him only grows each day…. and with each mile.

Matt and I have been dating long distance (616 miles to be exact) the entire duration of our relationship. Although there are certainly couples who have more time and distance under their belts, the separation has the same sting to it regardless of the specifics.

With my return home to Rochester right around the corner (and the end to the miles apart from both my entire family and Matt) I’ve been reflecting on all the things they don’t tell you about long distance relationships that you’re forced to learn as you go…

They don’t tell you that movie night means watching the same movie at the same time using an online link that freezes and stalls once every 20 minutes. It means texting in between scenes instead of lounging together on the couch in your sweatpants.

They don’t tell you that life is a series of mini countdowns until the next time you can see each other, and that having a visit to look forward to is one of the only things that keeps you sane.

They don’t tell you that birthdays and holidays mean coordinating around the few weekends you’re actually able to visit, and making sure you have room in your suitcase to pack the gifts.

They don’t tell you that long distance means coming home from a long hard day and having to FaceTime instead of getting the bear hug that you really need.

It means flight delays, crammed weekends seeing two families in three days, having to plan trips months in advance, paying more for flights than you do for your rent, missing big events in addition to the daily errands that keep a relationship glued together, and countless other inconveniences that all add up to a terrible heartache from being away from the one you love, not to mention a mountain of stress.

But here’s what else they don’t tell you.

That for the right person, distance really does make the heart grow fonder. It really does make you stronger, make you appreciate your partner more, hold them tighter and love them harder.

What they don’t tell you is that it’s better to be far apart than not together at all.

And most importantly, they don’t tell you that for the right person, the juice really is worth the squeeze. And it sure tastes sweet once it finally hits your lips.

my love