Looking back at 2013

I usually love doing a year in review post, like I did in 2012

…but, this year has been weird!

I spent 10 weeks living under a rock (Army Basic Training), and another 12 peeking out from under that rock (Army Officer Candidate School).

“Real life” picked up again at the end of June – but the beginning of July saw me scrambling to get my job back AND find a new place to live. I feel like I finally got it all together in August, just in time to leave for family vacation.

In September, I transitioned to a new job – which has proved to be a major improvement professionally, personally, and mentally. In October my parents made their first trip to see me in Tucson and it was wonderful!!

Now, suddenly, I’m prepping for my flight home on Saturday for Christmas. I just saw the entire family three weeks ago, and I couldn’t be more excited to be heading back again.

To say that 2013 has been somewhat stressful would be an understatement, for sure.

But let’s reflect on the good for a moment, shall we?

This is my reminder that, no matter the distance, I’m loved and supported by the important people in my life. This is all of the mail I got while at Basic:

I was easily in the top three people in my platoon for mail volume. I even got letters from people I didn’t know that reached out to me via my mother. My dad’s letters always included a joke. My mom’s were insightful. My oldest sister’s included drawings from my niece. My older sister’s were short, but frequent (like 3x/week! I could spot her stationery from across the room). My little sister’s always included hilarious drawings. My brother even wrote more than once! Friends, grandparents, aunts… you name it, they wrote. Yes, I still have it all! And yes, I wrote A LOT of letters in return.

These people were my sanity. They reminded me that it was ok to strive for nothing less than excellence:

This girl taught me a lot about patience, perseverance, and determination:

This guy on the right pushed me physically, encouraged me, and challenged me mentally:

This crew helped me rediscover fun after way too much training:

This little guy bounced back strong and helped me do the same. We’re resilient:

These people (and more!) were waiting patiently for me to return to Arizona:

And these girls were strong, supportive, and fun:

And, the family:

Family has played a huge role in my happiness, sanity, and direction in 2013. They do every year! But in a year of so much change – and so many out-of-my-comfort-zone experiences – their positive effect on me is magnified. I love them all, and I’m incredibly lucky to have been born into this wonderful group of people.

I’m ready for 2013 to come to an end, and I’m looking forward to 2014 and the challenges and opportunities that come with it!

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