Oh, this year. What a year. There are good years, but are there bad years? Sure, depending on how you look at it. I won’t call this a bad year. You know why? It pushed me harder than I thought I could be pushed. It stretched muscles that I didn’t even know I had.
I’ve dealt with anything from dealing with the aftermath of probably the most horrific break up I’ll hopefully ever have to deal with to some pretty off-putting instances that I’m honestly not comfortable sharing on the internet (#metoo). This year forced me to change my expectations of myself and everything I thought my life would be before this point and molding it into some kind of kid craft that I could still manage to smile at. It made an impact that forced me to grow out of my comfort zone and untangle the knots certain situations created.
Sure, a few hard moments altered my expectations in life. But instead of harping on bad this year was, I’m going to focus this post on what good has happened.
First of all, I chose happiness. I chose to be happy, even when it was hard. I pushed myself and my personal boundaries to better myself. I grew. I learned. I changed. I still feel like I’m breakin’ in a new pair of jeans, but life should never be too comfortable, should it? I’m guessing 2019 will be an embrace of this new me. I also immersed myself back into comedy, a hobby I love, and reached new heights on my food blog. I did so much good. I traveled A LOT. I volunteered. I hope I made the people around me feel special by practicing thoughtfulness. In a way, 2018 was a great year in all of those aspects.
For me, this year was about taking my expectations about life and throwing it out of the window. Like the photo from wndr museum, “Things are not always as they seem.” If I could summarize the last year, it would fully envelope into this art piece. Lots of twists, turns, and surprises keeping me on my toes and challenging me everyday. I’m still standing. I’m still smiling. Because without all of these things, good, bad, beautiful, or ugly, I wouldn’t be the person that I am.
Now, let’s get into the good stuff. Music has always connected me further with myself. A lot of folks don’t know how passionate I am about music, because I don’t necessarily put it in the spotlight of my public life, but I need it to breathe. Anyway, every year, I publish a post with the songs that I celebrated all year long. And I bring to you…my 2018 musical year in review.
1) Hunger – Florence and the Machine
Oh this song! Florence is a religion. Her voice, her lyrics are so powerful in every aspect. I couldn’t just pick one song from her album, but alas. This one speaks to the core. It recognizes that each one of us has the same creature comforts, every one of us has drive for something. It teaches us that every one of us is different, that we all have different stories and experiences from each other. It teaches empathy for the human experience, and it drives me to go after what I am meant for and who I am meant to be. It’s about being vulnerable in who you are and never giving up on that.
2) Joanne – Lady Gaga
Last January, after the end of my last relationship, I caught myself constantly asking, “What now? What do I do now? What’s next?” I was sad, but excited because there were so many possibilities for me to move forward in. My head was spinning with thinking about all of them. And then I realized, I needed to take the time to heal. This song literally asks, “Girl, where do you think you’re going?” And one, the way she says it reminds me of something my grandpa would say. But two, I had to genuinely ask myself this. Where do I think I am going with my life, my year, my heart, my professional aspirations, my home, my everything? I realized that I had to slow down. I couldn’t expect all the things all at once. Listening to this song forces me to stay put for a bit and marinate in the life that is happening in the moments that pass.
3) Third of May/Odaigahara – Fleet Foxes
Not many people know Fleet Foxes, but they’re my favorite band. I’ve been a fan for some time, and I listened to them quite a bit this year. I joke that I only listen to them when I am going through some sort of transformational phase in life, and I guess it was appropriate that I listened to them throughout the year. This song is off of their latest album and spoke to me. For me, it’s about being in this uncomfortable flux. It’s about change and spiritual growth, meshing two ends of your life together again. It also is a reminder that, as humans, we crave togetherness. The lyric, “I can hear you loud in the center. Aren’t we made to be crowded together like leaves?” brings this visualization of this beautiful fall tree with colorful leaves, and each one represents a person in our lives. With all that is happening in the news, it’s important to be there for each other. It’s important to huddle up, comfort, discuss, confide, and just be human together. Let’s hope that 2019 brings unity among us.
4) Nice for What – Drake
When I first listened to this song, I was like, “Weird that Drake wrote a song about me, but okay.” Every lyric hit some kind of note for me, stretching over my professional ambitions to working my way around Instagram world to having a man last year to getting my girls together for a night out. I don’t want to say that this song spoke to me, but hell, it did. It also taught me to use my voice more. There’s a time and place to be polite and kiss ass, and then there are times where you need to speak up for your own self-respect and self-preservation.
5) What Are You Waiting For? – Gwen Stefani
Oh, this “oldie.” Is it an oldie now? Please say it isn’t. This song got me through my weird teen years, and what do you know? It’s getting me through this weird year of life changes and tough decisions. There’s been a few times that I’ve second guessed myself, wondered if I was making the right decisions, begging someone to give me their approval that I am doing the right thing. And then I realize, that how on earth will I ever know if I am doing what is right for me if I don’t take a chance? I love this song because it motivates me to be a better version of myself and to take those leaps of faith.
6) Slow Burn – Kacey Musgraves
This song was a later-in-the-year add, but quite possibly my current favorite. To me, this song is about rolling with the punches, and letting life happen. It’s about still having hope that the things that you want will come to you one day. You can’t necessarily sit back and be lazy about going after your goals, but it’s a tone of patience, instead. Whenever I am thinking about all of the things I want (5lbs less on my body lol, a husband, family, meaningful career), and then I listen to this song…I remember that my time will come. This year taught me a lot about having patience. Enjoy life now, be your best self, and watch it happen. Patience, patience.
7) thank u, next – Ariana Grande
I mean, this was easily one of the top songs of the year…how could I leave it off. While Ariana talks about her ex’s in this song, I take it even deeper. It’s about every weird situation, bad thing, hard conversation that has challenged you…and then taking the lessons it has to offer and moving on. I think when you have some tough moments in life, you HAVE to remember the lessons you gain from it.
8) Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
I’m going into 2019 with this mantra: Don’t Stop Me Now. I’ve always felt this connection to Freddie Mercury and have been loving that Queen’s music has been in the spotlight with the recent biopic. This song specifically reminds me of a night with friends that all just came together so perfectly. There was one moment that we felt infinite, and this song was blasting on the speakers. Well, life/universe, don’t stop me now. Because I’m ready for a new year filled with new experiences, moments, challenges, and happiness to come my way.
Check out my full 2018 Spotify playlist here: