2016 – A Look Back

Twenty sixteen, what a year, am I right? For us thankfully, and I hope for many more, “what a year” has some positive tone attached! I wanted to take a moment and jot down some sort of documentation on what has been an incredible year for Ben and me.

Unfortunately between the many internet memes and long list of notable deaths, the daily media broadcasts and the impending January inauguration there have been many ominous dark clouds, that are leaving people to feel like 2016 is one of the worst years on record. I don’t intend to take away from that, but I do want to reflect on and share what was a monumental year in our lives.

For the start of 2016, Ben and I rang in the new year in a remote and peaceful cabin in the mountains of Virginia. It was amazing, my favorite new years celebration to date! Though it might teeter back and forth with 2014’s celebration, when we rang in the new year and my 30th birthday at Disney World. That was definitely cool in a slightly crazed “we are in freakin Disney World” kind of way.

The cabin, however, was the complete opposite of Disney World. Just the two of us with a fireplace, hot tub, a beautiful view, and no neighbors in sight! On new years day we took a walk in the woods and let the stillness of the winter air really soak in. We discussed nothing in particular about resolutions or plans, we simply entered into 2016 ready for wherever it was going to take us. In fact, I posted an Instagram photo of the two if us with this caption, “From the mountains of Virginia to where ever else we discover, we’re ready for ya 2016”. I will always cherish this mountain get away and more so I intend to cherish this past year as a major one for Ben and me filled with positivity and happiness.

I would have never predicted where 2016 would take us, just like we have no glass ball outlook on the next year and the year after that. I will, however, look back on 2016 with fond memory in light of the major milestones we encountered. Enjoy.

  1. Hello Etsy – About a month after our idilic new years celebration, Ben received some heartbreaking news that the company he had been working with for 7 1/2 years was downsizing some positions and Ben’s spot was on the chopping block. After a brief quarter-life crisis, Ben and I got right to work. No time to waste or mope, we sprung into action! Ben updated his resume and got to work on applying for new jobs. I am the most proudest wife in excicstence because everywhere Ben applied, he was contacted for a interview. Like seriously the man is smart, amazing, and talented so it makes total sense. Ben interviewed with small tech companies located in California to bigger names such as twitter in Colorado. The decision came down to another position with his old company or a brand new adventure with Etsy in Brooklyn New York. After some discussion we were preparing to pack our bags and head up north to the big apple! Crazy!
  2. New York, New York – Obviously with this new career opportunity for Ben came a wide variety of excitement and adventure for us. We landed in a really great apartment in an amazing neighborhood in Park Slope, Brooklyn. What a life! City living is really incredible. We fully embraced our newfound surroundings and have explored all over. From enjoying multiple broadway plays to amazing eats, and simple treasures like parks and the library, we are still exploring and look forward to everything else we can get our hands on. We haven’t even started on the museums yet!
  3. Finding the positive – Not only are we having fun traipsing all over the city but more importantly Ben is loving his new job! I know many of us can attest to the immense benefits of loving your job and company. So Ben is extremely grateful that taking this leap into a major life change had a seriously positive outcome. Speaking of loving your job,  I experienced some sadness leaving my job with the Howard County Public school system, but one thing I have learned and really practiced this year is looking at the positive in situations. My job working with the ESOL department was finally an answer to a career I had always been searching for. For the first time in my two decades of working, I had a job that I loved. It was a tough decision to leave but one that I know had to be made. So my positive take away is a new opportunity for me, the discovery of work that I find fulfilling, an adventure in a city I never expected to live in and a fabulous career opportunity for my husband.
  4. Our loved ones – Family and friends have loved on us strong this year, like many years before, but this year just seemed extra special. We had an amazing farewell party and have since enjoyed visits from aunts and uncles, college friends, cousins, and parents. And we know many more visits are to come and that makes us super excited! I know that New York has a certain romance attached to a visit and a stroll down busy city streets but I also know it can also be a totally chaotic and overwhelming experience at the same time! Here is where I think we have found the answer, in Brooklyn! Seriously, Manhattan may be nuts but many visitors have been surprised by the charms that Brooklyn has to offer. We love being sandwiched in between the largest park in Brooklyn -Prospect Park- and one of the most historic cemeteries on the East coast, Green-Wood Cemetery. We also have become very familiar with DUMBO and the beautiful waterfront views it has to offer of the Manhattan skyline. It’s a frequent stop on tours of our new home so please feel free to visit, we are ready to be your tour guides.
  5. Parental approval – Speaking of family love, Ben’s parents came to visit for a July 4th celebration and we took full advantage of our roof top deck for the fireworks. We had a great time showing them around our new digs. My dad and stepmother have also been up to visit, two times already! One of which was Thanksgiving. People, that is huge if you do not know my dad! Not a city man at all and honestly I think he is downright charmed by our location. He fondly talks about his visits to come and that makes us incredibly happy!
  6. Vacation – Not only have we adventured with New York in 2016 we also took a destination vacation to the tropics of Belize. It was a beautiful place full of friendly people and it was great to get away for some fun in the sun.
  7. SOLD – We sold our house in Baltimore! This was huge, for us. We were so overwhelmed in the beginning of this transition with decision making and adjusting to changes, we thought at first we would just keep the house to avoid the stress we expected to come with selling. But after a few months and an easy transition to Brooklyn we decided to let go and say goodbye to our first home…and our brand spanking new kitchen (which Ben built from his own two hands)! Good luck seriously poured on to us and with the help of my aunt as our realtor, we had the house on the market, showed it ONCE to one person, and accepted a contract in less than 48 hours! All was said and done by the time we got back from Belize in August. What a relief.
  8. My work life – There was some confusion attached to my initial job opportunities here in New York, but again the positive pulled through and all worked out in the end. Back in February when Ben was interviewing for his job at Etsy, I was also interviewing at a high school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. For months I assumed I had a job set up with the school but unfortunately with some lack of communication and paperwork issues I would not be working with them in the fall of 2016. I was pretty bummed but again I wasted no time and within a day of finding out I did not have the job I was expecting, I lined up substituting positions with school here in our neighborhood. I must say substituting has been wonderful. I get major flexibility in my schedule and work on my own terms. I also get to walk to work thanks to the many neighborhood schools in the area. I have also had to make some tough decisions regarding job opportunities and have ended up turning down two positions within the school system, but I know that eventually I will find something that fits with me. Or I will continue on with my new found love of substituting.
  9. Friendship – In the fall I was honored to assist my best friend with her wedding. After eleven years of friendship I was able to witness her marry a wonderful man that loves her and have a beautiful wedding to celebrate. I hosted a lovely shower for her in Rehoboth, Delaware and a super fun bachelorette party for her here in NY. Her wedding was simply breathtaking. I also reconnected with a long lost family friend thanks to being in the right place and the right time.
  10. Our feline children – Ben and I got so lucky with the moving transition for our cats. The drive up with all three was actually pain free and they really adjusted fast! I think that having Ben move up to the apartment in April which allowed for our place to get a home like feel before the cats arrived in June. No stress with unpacking for them and our scent was already spread around. Also we have enjoyed making many more memories with our old buddy Newman. A few times in the past two years we have expected the worst but thankfully he has stuck around for us to soak up even more love with his 16 year old self.
  11. CUBS fly the W – Enough said! :)

So although there are plenty of other little mentions I could give about 2016 I will leave you with this. Create your own happiness. Manifest your goals and strive for accomplishing them. Positivity begets positivity. We love you all and here is hoping that 2017 is not only another great year for us but also a great year for YOU!

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