A Look Back at a Life Changing 2017

Those who know me, and perhaps those who read this blog regularly will probably know that I consider myself pretty darn liberal in my opinions and beliefs.  It was because of this that as 2016 came to a close and 2017 sat on the shelf, next in line on the to-do list, I was filled with a fair bit of apprehension.  For all I knew, the world was going to blow up and I felt fairly negative about where things were headed.  Perhaps it was a subconscious reaction to this that I, not always on purpose, found myself having a fantastic year, full of surprises, new challenges and lifestyle changes.  That being said, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what a year it’s been and I’d like to invite you to come down this little stroll of introspection as I remember my 10 favorite things that happened this year, presented in no particular order!

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Relocating to Orlando Florida

Our year started off with a bang.  In January we packed up everything and drove South, relocating our lives once firmly planted in New York City all the way to sunny Florida.  At the time of packing up, I will be completely candid in saying that I was miserable.  We lived with horrible housemates and my work life was a total mess.  Let’s face it, NYC is the best in a lot of things, but customer kindness is not one of them.  Given the opportunity to leave and start somewhere new couldn’t come soon enough.  While we loved all our friends and we still miss them dearly, this was the beginning of what would turn out to be a life changing year from start to finish.

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Completely exhausted, we approached our new home the following day after our departure.

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Opening A New Store In Disney Springs

The main reason for this move was to open a new store in Disney Springs.  I work for a really wonderful company called Kiehl’s which specializes in skincare for all skin types.  I’d been offered a position as Store Manager in the new store and, while terrified, I jumped in head first.  My risk paid off as the store is not only gorgeous but it also gave me the chance to work with some of the most amazing people.  With the opening of the store, I’ve been forced to learn A LOT this year, and while I will always be my own worst critic, I’m proud to say that I’ve grown this year and learned all new ways to manage people and business.

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Rediscovering a Love of Reading

Unlike the two mentions above, which were big momentous dog ears on this years book, this one was more of a slow burn which built to something truly amazing.  When I was younger, I used to read constantly.  You’d have to pry me out of my current book.  But as time became more limited, I allowed this pastime to fall to the way side.  Well, no more.  This year I jumped back into reading and I have been so happy that I did.  I feel that I am now consuming books the way a lawn mower consumes grass.  I can’t get enough!  Reading has become a soothing, educational and wonderful part of every single day of my life.  Have a great book I should read?  Let me know in the comments!  I’m always looking for recommendations!

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Writing a New Book

Speaking of books, I wrote one this year!  If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that Longtails: The Storms of Spring will be out April 24.  But this one feels even more like a big accomplishment than some of the other moments on this list.  After moving to Florida, I hit a very stale period of not being able to write anything I liked.  In fact, it got so bad that the book I was supposed to release in 2017 was cancelled.  At the end of the day, I simply couldn’t get it to work out.  Then, along came this story about Mice in a post-apocalyptic world.  And suddenly everything fell into place.  I wrote the book cover to cover faster than I’d written anything ever before.  It felt like a mad frenzy.  I am thrilled to share it with the world in 2018.  Sometimes we have to fail miserably and get a little lost to find our way to something even better.

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Going to Gen Con for the First Time

Not everything I did this year was some big noteworthy accomplishment.  Some things were just flat out fun and made my life better for having experienced them.  One such event was our very first visit to Gen Con, a huge board gaming convention in Indianapolis. My husband Carl and I LOVE board games.  It is easily our favorite hobby and getting to experience this convention together was fantastic.  We played lots of games and went way overboard on buying new ones but we both agreed that it was the most fun we’d ever had at ANY convention.

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Here is Carl carrying our haul from the first day.  He looks a bit like a pack animal at this point.

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Spending a Ton of Time at Theme Parks

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know we sort of love Theme Parks.  This year we got to go to them A LOT.  From Disney World to Universal Studios to SeaWorld, you could usually find us riding rides and snapping photos on our days off.  I absolutely love Disney and being able to go whenever we wanted was a big part of me taking the job in Florida, and our theme park trips continue to be some of our best and happiest memories.

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Seeing Two Amazing People (Finally) Get Married

This one involved a journey back to New York to see two of our good friends finally tie the knot.  It may seem strange to put someone else’s wedding on this list, but seeing these two get married after watching them fall in love so many years ago was absolutely one of the highlights of the year.  Jessie and Stefan are two of the most talented, gifted, inspirational people I know and seeing them make it official in the beautiful Catskill Mountains was a memory I won’t soon forget.  Congratulations again you two!

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My Health Journey

I’ve talked about this over the past year, but it is EASILY the thing I am the most proud of in 2017.  Of course, I can’t talk about MY health journey without first mentioning that of my mother.  In April, Mom experienced some intense health issues and was diagnosed as diabetic.  All of this was something of a wake-up call.  Wanting her to win at fitness this time around, I agreed to undergo the same health and wellness restrictions as her.  The results were truly amazing.

To date, Mom has already lost over 100 lbs!!!

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And since April, I have lost 75 lbs.  All of it was thanks to watching my diet, exercise and lots of self love.  And the best part is that my health journey has only just begun.  I can’t wait to see what my progress looks like by the end of 2018!

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Facing My Fear of Water

One of my greatest fears has always been the fear of being submerged in water.  Because of this, I avoided pools and water parks like the plague.  Knowing that I was going to be working towards being my best self by my 30th birthday, coming next month, I decided to face the music and get into a pool for the first time since I was a child.  While it was absolutely nerve racking, I did it!  And now, jumping in the pool has also become a part of my workout regime!

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Celebrating One Year of Marriage with my Husband

Last but not least, I ended 2017 by celebrating my one year of marriage to my amazing husband.  I left this one for last because, let’s face it, none of this would have been possible without his love, support and patience.  Carl picks me up when I am at my lowest and supports my endeavors even when they seem impossible to me.  I am happy to have been married to him for a whole year, and I’m looking forward to many more!

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It has been an awesome year, full of big changes, self improvement and tons of fun.  What was the best thing that happened to you this year?  Let me know in the comments.  Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane!  Now let’s kick off 2018, which I’m sure will be even more amazing than this past year!!!

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12 thoughts on “A Look Back at a Life Changing 2017

  1. Whitney Bacon says:

    What an absolutely amazing year you have had. Praying 2018 will be even more amazing!! Thank you for sharing your life and inspiring me to go out and be the best me I can possibly be. Your a blessing!

  2. Cynthia B Goehring says:

    Congrats on an amazing year! I am using you and your mom as my motivation for 2018. Well done! Wishing you nothing but the best in 2018.

  3. katecoug says:

    Congrats on all of it, Jaysen! I can’t believe how svelte you are now. Don’t lose any more weight — you’ll disappear!! 🙂 So glad you’ve had such success and happiness in 2017. Don’t fear 2018 — it’ll be okay. It will.

    Have you read ‘Ready Player One’? It’s far from high literature — and kind of an obvious suggestion, since it’ll be a Steven Spielberg-directed movie in the new year — but it’s one of the most addictive books I’ve ever read. It’s chock full of 80s references, so maybe more fun for a Gen-Xer like me, but I bet you’d still love it. (I do suggest you give that author’s second book a hard pass, though. He got it best the first time around.) Also, I’m inspired by that goal! I can totally relate to the ‘used to be obsessed with reading; have let it fall by the wayside in recent years’ problem. I’m now putting that on my list of goals in 2018. 😉

  4. nlauwen1975 says:

    You look amazing Jaysen! So happy for you that you’ve had a great year.
    The best things that happened to me this year were finding a job and finding a house after my divorce. 2017 wasn’t the best year for me, but I’m sure great things will lie ahead in 2018! And I’ve loved reading your blog. You’ve made me laugh so much, so Thank you for that.

  5. Kim says:

    Jaysen, congratulations on a wonderful 2017. Look forward to seeing what 2018 brings you. We have some big changes planned for our family this year and while it is scary, all signs lead to us making the change.

  6. jesslbear says:

    HOW AM I JUST SEEING THIS!!??????
    I can’t believe we made the list!! I love you so much and am already scheming ways to visit again. Soon.

  7. Jonathan says:

    It has been a true joy reading about your experiences over the past year. I am so happy for all of your successes and accomplishments, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for you!

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