Leave it to millennials to come up with a way to round up some of the best memories of the year… and the most instagram-able moments. Following a trend that began a few years ago, my timeline has been flooded with #2017BestNine – collections of my followers’ 9 most liked instagram posts in 2017. Being the true millennial that I am? I love it.
I love seeing all of the big moments of my friends and family’s lives boiled down what (appeared) to be the biggest moments.
I looked up mine (of course) and while some of my most liked photos certainly were those “big” moments for me… I couldn’t help but notice the disconnect between what sticks out in my mind when I look back at 2017, and what got the most “likes.” Don’t get me wrong. That 2003-2017 glow up is pretty impressive if you do ask me – but I think we all knew I didn’t peak in third grade. Thank god. That school photo does make for a good laugh.
But it got me thinking about what I would choose as my “top 9” moments of 2017, if it wasn’t based on how many likes each photo received. So, that’s exactly what I have to share today.
2017 has been full of some scream it from the mountain top highs… And it has been full of small victories that were a little more personal and small in size. I’ve rounded up my “top 9” – a combination of both, and a little background on each!
In January, we got the first snow storm that I’ve had since moving to the Deep South. Being a couple of Damn Yankees, we pulled out the Carhartt overalls, fired up the four-wheeler, and spent the weekend chasing the dogs around in the snow. For me, it was the perfect storm – snow on Monday and 60° again by Friday. In my perfect world, that’s how long ALL snow lasts.
Even before I moved to South Carolina, I was in love with Pretty Place Chapel. It is one of those places you see photos of and think, “that can’t be nearly as pretty in real life.” Trust me when I say… it is even better in person. I was struggling with direction and what I wanted in life, when I decided to get in the car and just go. The white knuckles I had on the switchbacks were worth it tenfold when I stepped out of the car and soaked in the view. I’ve never heard a louder silence, or felt a stronger sense of peace.
Oh yeah.. I moved to South Carolina! This photo was taken before I “officially” moved, but was taken on the day I really fell in love with Sparkle City. It’s a budding and growing city, and it has definitely experienced its growing pains, but there is so much potential. Spartanburg truly embodies the idea of “grit and grace” – and I love it even more for that.
In April, LJ and I took our first vacation together and flew to Houston his childhood friend’s wedding. They say you truly learn about a person, and how you fit together, when you travel – and I’m happy to report that it brought us a hundred times closer. From cancelled flights and a first-class ticket, to exploring Houston and Bay City, a pitstop at Buccees, and driving halfway to Dallas to grab lunch with one of his fraternity brothers, it’s a trip we’ll never forget.
Speaking of trips we’ll never forget, in May I took LJ for his very first trip to Kentucky, to Louisville, and to the Kentucky Derby! Showing him around the city, introducing him to my friends, and experiencing the best 2 minutes in sports with him – my heart almost burst with happiness. Louisville is such a huge part of who I am, and it was incredible to share that part of me with him.
This was the year I turned that age where no one likes you… 23. (No, I’m not just twenty-something, I do have a real age!) It’s a weird age because there’s not really anything to look forward to. Car insurance is still expensive, can’t rent one, but can already legally drink – but I was excited. 22 was a growing year, and I felt like 23 would be a year for me to really dig my boots in the dirt. I’m almost 6 months in, and while it has been full of growth, I’ve dug my boots in in ways I never imagined. And it’s going really, really great.
In October I made it back to Louisville for homecoming, this time on my own. It was such a high to see my friends and be back home – but it hit me harder than I expected. Life doesn’t stop when you’re gone, and it was a lesson I learned the hard way. But I would still consider it one of my “top 9” because, while it’s hard to miss out on those big moments… I know that I have a place to come home to that is full of the people who love me, with outstretched arms. And you can’t put a price tag on that.
We moved in together!!! There’s actually a funny story behind this photo (I can laugh about it now). We were having our ADT system installed, and before my mom and I left for Lowes I wanted to take the photo – I’d been asking all weekend – but the technician was standing on the porch, and I felt bad asking him to move. So we made a flying trip to the store, trying to beat the sunset and I was bitching right up until we got back took the picture. Buying a house is stressful, okay?
i could have chosen the perfect, photoshopped, filtered photo in honor of our one year.. but it wouldn’t have been right. it’s been a year filled to the brim of laughing ‘til our bellies hurt, building a strong foundation, holding each other tight – and it’s been beyond my wildest dreams. i love you unbelievably, boy. here’s to the beginning of our next trip around the sun. 💛
In November, we celebrated our first anniversary. It was a year full of love and laughter, big moves and quiet nights at home. We’re on our second wrestling season together, and moved in together to our first home. It was a year full of learning about each other, and learning about ourselves. Cleo Wade put it the best when she said, “Love is the thing that is always having the last word – even when those words are ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘forgive me’ or ‘I love you no matter what.'” It was a year that taught me what a love that isn’t settling feels like… And that it feels pretty damn good.
There you have it, if it were up to me. Maybe they weren’t the most liked photos on my instagram – but they were some of the most liked moments in my heart. They were the moments I was truly, genuinely, authentically at my best.
Here’s to hoping 2018 is filled to the brim with “best” moments, big and small. Because life isn’t the mountain tops, it’s the walking in between. It’s making the most of the hustle that gets you to that “top 9” highlight reel.