2016 in Review

I keep hearing all over that 2016 was an awful year for like...everyone. I'm sure there are a lot of reasons behind that but I hate to look so negatively on a year. My year was full of adventure, change, and love but if I had to do it over, I would. I learned so much about myself and got to see so many amazing places, and I just love being able to look back on the past couple of years and see all that's happened.

The one thing that I will just go ahead and get out of the way is how much things changed in a weird way in 2016 but have since rebounded back. For some reason, it started around February of just being insecure and not knowing if the path that I was on was the one I was supposed to be on, anxiety ridden days, and lots of tears. It honestly was a really weird period of time and while I was doing all of these things, I was SO happy, but then in these moments I would have these waves of anxiety and sadness and I could just work up something to be upset at over NOTHING. I mean I know I'm female, but it's something that I had not struggled with before so it was new and scary and something that I had to figure out. This lasted until about October where I feel as if I'm finally on the other side.

I feel direction, purpose, and happiness without the waves. I just think that it was important enough of a thing behind the scenes to mention because as I look at 2016 in review, I'm in AWE of all that happened that was so wonderful but I also don't want it to sound like life was perfect because I know social media can always make us think that. The TRUE thing is though that every day I had a decision about whether I was going to let the emotions I was going through negatively impact my life, and I just refused. I knew that I created my own happiness, and so that is what I did.

In January, we went to Nashville and decided that I was going to see what it was like to become plant based.

In February, we went on a family vacation in the mountains with my side of the family and a marriage retreat at Lake Lure with our church.

In March, I started my first day as a pharmacist and am still of course working that job one day per week to this day, and we built a mudroom. This was a HUGE project so worth mentioning. haha! You can find the blog that shows the start of it HERE.

In April, I RAN THE BOSTON MARATHON FOR THE FIRST TIME!!! AH! It was so amazing being there!

In May, I ran an ultramarathon for the first time (Gamelands Ultra 50K) and I took home first place (that was a crazy day lol). Tanner's mamaw passed away at the age of 91 and was born in the year 1925! SO amazing! For the past 20 years, she pretty much sat in front of the same TV, wearing the same clothes, the same hair rollers, and ate the same food every.single.day. It was amazing that she lived that long.

In June, we traveled to Colorado for the first time, and I say first time because there will be MANY more. We went to Fraser, CO to a young life camp as leaders and seriously, my heart sang every day I got to look out at those mountains and spend time with those kids. It was a life changing week. I also got closer to my best friend Rachel, who I can't imagine doing life without now.

In July, I went to Utah and fell in love with the mountains there as well. I went there to become an RRCA certified run coach and I got to meet two of my favorite people, Kenzie and Tommy Barlow.

In August, we had officially been in our home for one year, and we couldn't be happier to be staying in a place and NOT moving as we had moved every year of our marriage. This is when heavy ironman training began. I put my head down, basically quit all other responsibilities and made it happen. It was stressful and it was hard, and I think it only intensified that anxiety that I was having because I was alone constantly training and having to tell everyone that I couldn't participate in whatever they were doing. But I was also loving what I was accomplishing, so it all balanced out.

My grandmother (aka Mawmaw) also passed away. It's hard to believe that it was August (although at the very end). I can't believe that we have lived 4 months without her now, and it makes me emotional to type that. I know life just happens that way, but she was a huge part of our family and we saw her and talked to her all the time, so it's just ... hard. This is a blog I wrote about her in the past and I still love reading it! :)

In September, I turned 27 and I genuinely FINALLY felt like I became an adult. Is that weird that I had to get to 27 to feel that way? But I like it. I like how people take you more seriously and that like I pay my own bills (I've been doing that since like 18 though lol) and that I own a house. It's just a cool stage of life that I'm loving.

At the beginning of October, we felt like we might move. Please see above in August. WHY? Lol! Tanner had two really great job opportunities in big cities that just popped up out of nowhere (I should write a full blog on this) but after MUCH consideration, constant deliberation on what to do, we decided that staying in our home and in our hometown was absolutely 100% the plan that God had for our life. Once the decision was made to stay, it was like I could breathe easy again. We realized that we have SUCH an amazing life here, and I'm SO glad that we went through all of that because it really made us look at our life and realize how incredible it is. We really started to appreciate the little things and recognize that even if we were going to move, the grass is not always greener and we need to grow where we are planted, and that's Shelby.

In the middle of October, I went to Chicago for the marathon and it was such an amazing weekend.

At the end of October, I did an ironman (minus a few miles)!! You can read all about my experience HERE and how incredible of a day that was. Seriously, top 10 days of my life. I loved every second of it and knew that I had accomplished something that so many would do.

In November, we went to the Dominican Republic (right after the ironman). I was supposed to come back and fly directly out to New York for the marathon, but decided that it really wasn't the best idea as I had traveled so much and just really needed some routine at home time.

At the beginning of December, we went to San Fransisco and as was typical, I fell in love. I genuinely end up loving just about every place that I go because they all have something new to offer, different people and cultures that I love to learn about, different foods to try, different attractions to go see. I ran the North Face 50K but didn't finish the entire thing. Read about that HERE.

At the end of December as of last week, we hosted the first Christmas in my home since my grandmother passed. We have been doing Christmas at her house since I was born, so it was a really different but good Christmas for the family. My house makes the most sense but I know that it didn't feel as good to everyone because it just wasn't Mawmaws.

In the midst of all the big things, there were the little things. There were the long conversations and laughs with best friends. There was a lot of really late nights and hard work. There were runs I'll never forget, and runs I didn't want to do. There were bike crashes, and date nights with the love of my life. There was small get togethers and church potlucks. There was devotions in the mornings, and cookouts with family on summer nights in the evenings. There were so many smiles, so many tears, and a renewed sense of self. There was deep passion and deep love. I wouldn't trade in 2016 for anything.

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