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Hi. 

I'm Sarah.

World traveling writer, finance nerd and cappuccino addict. 

2017: A Year in Review

2017: A Year in Review

Was it my goal to write a series of year-in-review posts that recapped 2017 in the week leading up to 2018, with a plans-for-the-new-year post to kick off new year? Absolutely. Did that series of posts happen?

Absolutely not.

Instead, I spent my time in the week leading up to New Years’ Eve getting my fifties fixer upper inhabitable once and for all, so I could close the chapter on house renovation limbo and open a much-needed new chapter in the new year.

I officially moved in on December 29th.

And hosted a party for some of my close friends, complete with exposed drywall and a half grouted bathroom floor, on December 30th.

So even though I’m writing this year-in-review post a bit after the end of 2017, at least I’m writing it… from the comfort of my own couch in my own living room in my own home, which also has a working toilet, sink and shower in the bathroom.

Finally.

Reflecting on 2017

Fun fact you may not have known about me: New Years’ is my favorite holiday. July 4th comes in a close second because I love fireworks, but since NYE has both fireworks and champagne, it takes the top spot.

On a more serious note, the reason I really love New Years’ the most is that I love to review how the past year has gone and set goals for the next year. I also like to talk to all my friends about how their goals for the prior year went, and what they are planning for the coming year. In my opinion, it’s just nice to table the conversations about work and houses and apartments and family and boys and even travels for a day to talk to the people in your life that you love the most about what it is that they want the most.

So how did I do on my 2017 goals?

Wow, 2017: what an insane year. If you had told me at the beginning that I’d end the year having just managed to pull off a bathroom renovation on a fifties fixer upper that I BOUGHT in NASHVILLE of all places, I probably would have told you that you were crazy. But sometimes (read: more often than I care to admit), even I can’t plan what is going to happen next. And this was one of those years.

At the beginning of 2017, I set 5 primary New Years’ Resolutions. Here’s how they went:

1. Visit one new city and one new country: Achieved.

This has been an annual resolution of mine for the past few years. (Note: I interpret one new city as a city I haven’t been to in a country I’ve already been to, so that could mean a city I haven’t been to in the U.S. or somewhere else.) In 2017, I visited two new countries - Germany and Hungary - and two new cities - Austin, TX and Innsbruck, Austria. While I achieved this resolution as written, this happens to be my only travel resolution… and I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to in 2017. Therefore, I’m thinking about a way to rewrite this travel goal for 2018 (stay tuned).

2. Love myself: Progress.

Last year I interpreted the “get healthier/ lose weight/ get more fit” type of goal into this one broader category for a few reasons. Primarily, setting numerical weight or diet goals doesn’t tend to work for me, and one of the reasons it doesn’t work is that if I feel like I’m failing at some strict arbitrary number on the scale or number of calories in a day then I’m likely to just give up (read: marathon watch Netflix, eat all the M&Ms and think, “Guess I’ll try that next year”). For me, this goal was about focusing on the positive aspects of overall health as opposed to failure and negativity. While diet and exercise are certainly components of being healthy, the need for positivity, patience and cutting yourself some slack can’t be overstated when it comes to achieving a health, weight or fitness goal. If you get that feeling that you “failed” at something, you’ll quit trying. But in my opinion, this isn’t a goal you can fail at: as long as you are making healthier choices for yourself on a regular basis and gaining confidence, then you are succeeding at this one no matter what the scale says. I’m happy with my progress in this category in 2017.

3. Be intentional about how I use my time: Progress.

This was my 2017 productivity goal, and I’d say that my results were mixed. While I watched significantly less TV than in prior years, which gave me time to work towards other goals on this list, I wouldn’t say that I’m out of the woods yet on wasting time. In particular, I wrote at the beginning of this year that I wanted to "learn as much as I can about the topics that interest me, work on personal projects and focus on the relationships in my life that matter". I did learn quite a bit, particularly while working towards goal #5 on this list, but I wouldn’t say that my personal projects are where I really want them to be at this point. I also spent a good amount of time focusing on relationships throughout most of this year, but unfortunately fell off the face of the earth a bit during the last three months of 2017 while I was working on the house pretty aggressively. Overall, I’ll call it progress.

4. Build a blog and web presence that makes me proud: Needs Improvement.

Specifically, I wanted to focus on building my social media presence in 2017 and creating content more consistently. While I did create much more content this year than last year (I shared 40 blog posts this year, up from 13 total in 2016), I was very inconsistent when it comes to posting on this blog. In fact, the post I wrote before this one was written 45 days ago… yikes. While I saw SOME growth on social media in 2017, I didn’t really focus on growth, so it didn’t really happen for me this year. In a nutshell, this category needs a lot more work in 2018.

5. Read 50 books: Achieved.

Honestly, I still can’t believe I pulled this one off… but as of December 31st, 2017, I’d read exactly 50 books. This goal also taught me an unfortunate lesson: some people will tear you down for being successful at things that don’t affect them at all, for no reason at all. I just remember one good friend of mine scoffing at this goal, saying that books shouldn’t really count if I listened to them on Audible instead of reading them in a physical copy. Other people immediately commented on the fact that I didn’t have nonfiction/fiction restrictions… like since I could read whatever I wanted, achieving a goal of reading 50 books in a year wasn’t really that big of a deal or something?

Well, I’ll be honest: this goal was a big deal for me. There are 52 weeks in a year, so this goal effectively meant completing a book a week every single week of 2017 except for two. Whether you are reading fiction, nonfiction, Audible, physical copies, or whatever, that is a LOT of books. And I’m not the fastest reader. Achieving this goal meant choosing reading over watching TV, over listening to music and over listening to podcasts on a pretty regular basis. It also meant choosing reading over writing at times, which is one potential issue with reading such a large quantity of books in a year and the primary reason while I’ll probably knock the number down a bit in 2018. However, this is the goal I’m most proud of achieving in the year 2017, and it meant a lot to me to be able to do it, so I do want to thank everyone who was supportive and encouraging about this one!

My Biggest Challenge in 2017

If I had to sum up my biggest struggle over the past year in one word, that word would be prioritization. If the fact that I’ve been MIA from this blog for the past 45 days isn’t enough of an indication, I didn’t do a great job of balancing my priorities this year. As soon as my fifties fixer upper came onto the scene in September 2017, everything else in my life fell to the background for three months. But even before buying the house, I somehow found ways to spend my time on everything else in the world except the one thing in the world I love the most: writing. In 2018, I want to focus on making sure that the way I spend my time better aligns with my priorities.

A Look Ahead at 2018: Coming Soon

Not that I’ve ever been one to care about my blog posts getting too long (let’s be honest, I write novellas on here on a regular basis), this one has already covered quite a bit of ground, and I also need a bit more time to finalize my top five resolutions for the coming year. Luckily, I’m off work this week, so you’ll probably be hearing from me much sooner than you normally would. As soon as I get my 2018 goals finalized, I’ll share them here. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you about how you did on your goals in 2017. Did you achieve the things you wanted to achieve over the past year?

Last but certainly not least….HAPPY NEW YEAR!

And as always, thank you for reading :)

Lessons from a DIY Renovation: Self Care, Priorities and Balance

Lessons from a DIY Renovation: Self Care, Priorities and Balance

Choose Adventure

Choose Adventure