Dare you to look back on 2018 [Free Template]

Too long didn’t read? K. Get the free template to look back on 2018 so you come into the New Year with something more than a hangover.

They say never look back. I don’t believe that.

If I don’t take the time to reminisce about the past—where I’ve been and who I was *cringes*—than I would become complacent and oblivious to a life I am so lucky to have. Like, I really believe I’d become an ungrateful s.o.b. if I didn’t take a walk down memory lane every once and awhile to remind myself things haven’t always been this way.  Nothing is permanent, nothing is deserved, and change is always right around the corner. And it’s always for the better. Better believe that.

I get it, though. Sometimes our past is a scary place because it’s where hurt hides. We’d rather just push forward year after year with the whole “new year, new me” cliche and act like nothing ever happened. I totally understand why you’d rather not be reminded of rejection, failure, loss, or your weird emo phase. If you decide to buck up and get brave though, you’ll find out that your past is actually where a whole lot of love lives.

If you had to summarize 2018—and you treated it like a last minute presentation due for an elective course you wish you didn’t sign up for—I’m sensing most would chalk 2018 up as a loss. You’ll get em next year, right?  But, I’m going to ask you to look at the last year with honest eyes. A brand spanking new perspective. I promise if you dig deep into the little details, you’ll find there were plenty of times where you laughed your ass off, felt loved like no other, and lived like there was no tomorrow (and got a hangover because of it).

This year has left me craving one big nap, but I took the time to tell myself that it wasn’t all exhaustion: It was travel, it was friends, it was surprises, it was actually one hell of a time. And if I didn’t take a moment to honor that, I would’ve left all those insanely priceless memories in a box labeled “2018 Do NOT Open” never to be remembered again. Yikes.

So, I’m asking you to do the same with my free daring to look back template. Make a copy, hell print it out if you want, or maybe just stare at it and think about your answers. Whatever it takes to come into the New Year with a grateful heart. Not just a bloated belly. Plus, to make you more comfortable (and to share my own memories) I’ve given an example below to show you how it’s done.

They say never look back. Don’t believe that.

Look at 2018 with honest eyes.
Honor the hell out of the moments life treated you right.

Oh, the places I’ve been

  • While in Barcelona for a two-week work trip, I booked a last minute flight to Holland to spend the weekend with a work friend I hadn’t yet met in person. (BTW once you’re in Europe, flights are very affordable). I discovered what authentic chocolate tastes like (omg), found out Amsterdam 100% smells like pure pot, and made a really great friend along the way. Take a risk. Book a flight. Get in your car. Just friggin go. No ragrets.
  • For summer vacation this year, instead of doing our average trip to the shore in Jersey, my boyfriend and I booked a trip to Cape Cod. So many people said to us “Why Cape Cod? What’s worth that drive? Watch out for sharks!” It turned out to be a week to remember thanks to our cute airbnb, listening to our gut and changing things up.  Just because everyone goes to the same place for vacations, trips, etc. doesn’t mean you have to. Do you boo boo.
  • We also were fortunate enough to take a vacation in Autumn where we visited Rome and Sorrento in Italy, something we’ve dreamed of doing together.  I was a sucker for Sorrento and the Mediterranean Sea. Rome was remarkable, we went to mass at the Vatican (I literally cried about how blessed that made me feel),  and we were so lucky to stay right around the corner from the Coliseum and all the best tourist stops. Save your money, pull strings, and fulfill a dream.

Oh, the times I’ve had

  • My apartment is really small, although friggin adorable. I also live pretty far from the majority of my family of friends. Because of this, I always feel bad about having people over. I pushed through that insecurity to indulge in my love for entertaining and threw a successful ugly sweater party this year and the size of our apartment actually made it so intimate and fun.  If you have the right people in your life, they’ll show up for you no matter the circumstances to celebrate.
  • Speaking of parties, this was pretty much the year to throw them for us. With the help of a lot of people, I also threw my boyfriend his first ever surprise party with our close friends and family. I planned an entire week around him and his birthday, all leading  up to the final big surprise. When we arrived at the bar there was no doubt he was completely floored. Go the extra mile to celebrate someone else. Making memories isn’t always about you.
  • I’ve always been into music, but rarely made time for concerts when I was younger. Since dating my boyfriend, that’s changed entirely. We took a day trip to an adorable town called Asbury Park, NJ  (It’s like the Fishtown of the shore) for the 10 year anniversary of the Avalon Album by Anthony Green. After the show, even though we had work the next morning, we sat on the beach by the boardwalk until late into the night. Take a day trip. Even on a Sunday.

Oh the things I’ve conquered

  • Managing to get past having minor acne scars was huge for me. I used to never be able to go to work, the gym, or leave the house without makeup on. Yikes, I know.  Now, I actually take a couples days out of the week to be makeup-free in order for my skin to breathe or to moisturize and treat my scars rather than hide them. Shout out to Mederma for helping treat my scars, too.  Try to embrace one of your flaws this year. Love yo self.
  • I mentioned before that I went to Barcelona for work. I was very fortunate to travel many places during my time at my last job over the last year. Because of that, I had to become very comfortable with traveling alone, eating alone, and just generally being by myself. I’ve learned how to be confident in experiencing a city without company, sitting at a coffee shop solo, and taking the time to get to know a stranger two. Get to know yourself by yourself.
  • I conquered my fear of my birthday. I would be lying if I said I hated my birthday solely because my best friend passed away on that day in 2017. That was just the nail in the coffin. For a very long time I  didn’t feel worthy of celebrating my birthday, having a huge fear that no one would show up for me. This year something shifted. All of my friends and close family, thanks largely to my boyfriend, were able to show up for me to make sure I felt loved the week of my birthday. I cannot thank any of them enough for reminding me that I matter. If you can relate at all let me tell you this: You deserve a special day that is all about of you. Your birthday encompasses your existence, your purpose, and your value of being here on this earth. So celebrate your life unapologetically on your birthday. You are worth it.

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