Epic Shit in 2017

Have you ever felt like a whole pile of random puzzle pieces just magically came together?

As if the universe was conspiring FOR YOU, effortlessly. Meeee neither.

Then 2017 happened and it was B A D A S S.

As I began to review this year’s epic list I realized the format I used for the 2016 list simply wouldn’t work. The accomplishments from last year were clear and concise. Bullet point kinda shit. But 2017 was different. Very different. There were accomplishments but more-so lessons learned and memories made. Besides that, it’s my blog and I can do what I want!

List of Epic Shit, 2017 Edition

Not all bathroom drawers are created equally.

I moved (again) the week of Christmas 2016 so January 2017 proved to be a never ending game of Jenga trying to get my belongings organized in ridiculously small bathroom drawers, and clothing arranged with unusual closet rods. It also meant learning how to live with other humans again after living alone for a few years when my dear friend and her two kids moved to Texas from Washington. She and I get along well and, perhaps more importantly, we anticipated being “empty nesters” within a few months so it seemed to make sense. As of January 2018, we’re still waiting to be “empty nesters” but that’s a blog for another day.

You really can get paid to do the things you’re good at.

In January the contract with my employer since 2014 ended, and after a bit of a scramble and some juggling I accepted a job with a highly respected and well established healthcare system. A new job is great (considering I still haven’t won the lottery, nor has and a long lost relative left me a fat inheritance) but the epic part to this job is that it was literally made for me. And BONUS, I get to wear scrubs which are basically widely acceptable pajamas! Several years ago I committed to making an impact in the lives of others. This job offers me the opportunity to do just that every day, and so much more.

You can effectively scare the shit out of yourself and be brave at the same time.

While playing bathroom-drawer-Jenga and starting a new job (with a brutal commute), January also seemed like a good time to attempt something totally terrifying exciting like offer my first-ever Vision Board workshop. Simultaneous to the “launch” of this program, my website and social media accounts were hacked – I was blacklisted and completely screwed. Many (MANY) thanks to Eric for getting me off the Google naughty list, my website & social media pages back up and running, and a few dozen really fun phone calls! On a crisp Texas January morning, I was delighted to host 10 women to bravely take a deep dive into their wishes and dreams for 2017 with me. It was epic, and exhausting. We should do it again!

It’s not the job, it’s the people.

During 2017 I was selected to be the Communications Council Vice President for Junior League of Collin County. After over a decade of Junior League membership in four different Leagues (because, you know, I move a lot) I’d finally stayed in one spot long enough to be named a leader within the organization. What an honor! This placement has taught me an extraordinary number of valuable lessons (along with the opportunity for a lot of coaching practice) but the thing I will treasure most is the deep friendships I’ve been able to form because of this “assignment”. They say find your Tribe and love them hard. I don’t really feel like I found anyone, it’s as if we all found each other exactly when we needed one another. Past my last day as the VP later this year, I’ll have friendships that last a lifetime. Sometimes it’s not about the work you do, it’s about who you’re doing it with.

I don’t know how to cook and that’s ok.

In the spring I decided I should eat a bit more healthily so I meal-prepped. Once. That seemed pretty epic at the time so I felt it should be included in this list but let’s be honest, thinking I’d do it more than once was (is) absurd! Enter Snap Kitchen with an app for mobile ordering and 15-minute pickup. Stick to your strengths! Ok, enough about that.

Don’t underestimate the power of recognition for a job well done.

March brought some exciting news. The campaign I’d poured my heart and soul into for several years was selected as a finalist for a prestigious award and I was invited to attend the awards ceremony with high (HIGH) hopes we’d bring home the gold (or in this case, the glass). I vividly remember sitting in a room filled with people I felt were all far more qualified, far more distinguished, and certainly far more impressive than I. As the category for which we were nominated drew closer the more freaked the fuck out nervous I became. There’s a good chance the people across the table could hear and possibly even FEEL my heart pounding in my chest. The moment came, they called the category and the finalists, and after an obnoxiously dramatic pause, they said our name as the winner. I may or may not have audibly gasped right then and there but collected myself long enough to walk to the stage, not trip going up the stairs or drop the award, and even smiled for a photo. It was magical confirmation that the work was worth it, and on some level, that I was worth it. I will forever be grateful for the honor to lead this campaign. While we hope to have saved some lives, it has given me far more than I can express in words. Before I cry, let’s move on.

Caramel popcorn changed my life.

Don’t lie, you’ve probably had a handful of caramel popcorn once or twice and thought “damn, this is some life changing shit” but in May of 2017 a bag of caramel popcorn, delivered by a man I’d spent over a year working with, quite literally changed my life. I vividly recall meeting this man, whom we will call “Blaze”, in the exact same spot a year earlier… but this time was different. For a year we had talked, worked, and laughed but in THAT MOMENT when he handed me a small bag of caramel popcorn (which had been a running joke for several months), then offered his kind smile and said “I’ve got something for you” my heart skipped a beat and I realized I was looking into the eyes of a man whose gentle spirit had sparked a fire, one I hope he never puts out.

Bathroom drawers suck.

Moved again. Same story, different address.

Make a list and check shit off.

After nearly 5 years in Texas I did some of the staple activities that most people do when they visit or certainly within the first year of arriving. Truthfully, ALL of these items were a result of Blaze’s planning. He took me to my first Ranger’s game. A trip to the world-famous Fort Worth Stockyards. A spur of the moment weekend road trip to Magnolia Market on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The Texas State Fair for a Fletchers Corny Dog and the obligatory pic with Big Tex. And to Fredricksburg for wine tasting and celebrating another trip around the sun for me. Yes, there are items on the list for 2018 and yes, most will likely happen because Blaze doesn’t leave projects unfinished.

That Dress (it had pockets)!

A few months back I recalled the internal struggle of shutting down The Snake who really wanted me to pass up a floral dress. Thankfully my heart won the battle! It’s funny how that dress has served as a simple reminder that making the choice that sets my soul on fire will ALWAYS be the right one. Years ago while getting a rare manicure I picked a bright pink nail color for no other reason than “I liked it”. Then worked diligently to talk myself out of it for the entire duration of the hand massage and cuticle cleaning. It seemed like a terrible idea to waste a perfectly lovely manicure on a color that “other people get” not me. Thoughts like “people will think is ridiculous” because “you’re a grown-ass-woman not a nine-year old” were running wild in my head. BUT, in the end I picked the pink paint and within 15 minutes of leaving the salon someone commented about what a great color it was! Point proven. Listen to your heart.

You’re never too old to enjoy the hell out of something new.

Last year I shared the story of my Grandfather’s epic birthday and this year it was my Grandmother’s turn for the family to join together to celebrate her 90th birthday. It was a cold day (it’s always cold when I fly home, always) but we packed the basement of the church with friends and family from near and far, along with seven cakes. SEVEN. It seemed crazy to have that much cake but it turned out to be just barely enough! We made a call via FaceTime to my cousin who could not attend; Grandma’s first video call. While it made her day she sure had a lot of questions about how we did that. Then I asked if we could take a selfie. She had no idea what that meant but as I held the phone up to capture this moment her eyes lit up as she pointed to the phone screen and she exclaimed “how did we get on there!” Best moment ever to mark this milestone day.

 

This is what blissfully happy looks like. This is what lessons learned and memories made looks like. There will always be bumps in the road, challenges and set-backs. There are an equal number of impossibly wonderful things that can happen when you least expect it. My best advice to you for a blissfully happy 2018 is to change your thoughts. It will change your world.

Seek out joy and gratitude daily. Some days it will be easy, others will seem difficult but even the smallest adjustment to your view can make a massive impact.

xo – Erika

Showing 2 comments
  • Capt. B
    Reply

    The author of this story is the most amazing person I have met. I am amazed constantly by the work you do and the heart from which these words come from. You change lives daily in more ways than I’m sure you even realize or are recognized for. Let me just go on record for saying simply “good job” and don’t lose sight of the impact you make in your work.

    • Erika Anderson
      Reply

      Thank you Captain B. Your words mean the world to me! 😉

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