There's so many things that make us automatically reflect back on different times in our lives. 'Memories' on Facebook that bring us back to this day five years ago, songs in our playlist that make you think about that breakup you were going through in 2011 and you had "Take Care" on repeat and became infatuated with the idea of Drake and Rihanna together (that's a personal memory for me). A certain smell that brings a memory to life.

Dates like new years and birthdays always make me think about what's changed in the past 365 days. I turn 31 tomorrow, and as I think about where I was at this time last year, I'm realizing that this has been the craziest year of my life with the most change, both good and bad.

Last year, I threw together a huge 30th birthday bash with a couple days notice and celebrated with a ton of friends and family on Alki beach with a DJ, Drake cake and confetti drop. I remember crying at the end of the night because, well I was way too drunk but also I knew that things were about to change.

I was in the midst of change after my radio station in Seattle flipped. I wasn't even looking for jobs as it was my first time not working since entering the workforce at 16 and honestly, I was living it up, traveling and enjoying the break knowing that I had severance pay coming in and a healthy savings account. I've never been a stressed out or anxious person, so I legit wasn't feeling like "where will I work next? What if I don't find what I'm looking for?" None of that even worried me. I genuinely felt in my heart that the perfect opportunity would fall in my lap when I was ready for it, and that it would be September. I kept telling people that because it's what I really believed. 

And that's literally what happened. I got a text from my prior program director asking if I'd talk to a station in Boise that had been asking about me, took the call, took the flight, met the team and everything fell into place effortlessly. I started in mid September and already had bought a house I'd never been to before I got here. It felt so perfect and meant to be, and happened exactly how I kept saying it was going to.

A lot has happened since my birthday last year. I got my dream job doing mornings and moved to Boise. I bought my first house. The day I closed on my house and got the keys, I got a call that my Grandpa was in the hospital and it looked like he could have cancer. Within a couple days, we found out it was stage 4 lung cancer. Within nine weeks, he was gone. In those nine weeks, I flew back to Seattle three times to be with him, including the day he died.

 

I was buying a house, in a new city and starting a new job while losing my Grandpa. It was the highest of highs and lowest of lows at the same time. Those weeks felt like some of the loneliest, most helpless weeks of my life. Most girls my age aren't friends with their Grandpa the way I was with mine. The two of us hung out nearly weekly before I moved. We had so much fun together, and he truly was one of my best friends and mentors. So to not be there with him every day at the end was devastating. I would call and facetime him at night while he was in the hospital and hold it together as best as I could, talk about our normal daily stuff and then sob alone the moment we hung up. I didn't want to make him sad. I wanted our conversations to be fun and hilarious like they always were. I still think at least once a week "I wish I could call Grandpa and tell him this.. he would love this story". At 30, I experienced a close death for the first time, and it was a big one.

 

I've had so many learning experiences this year! When I turned 30, I legit had not dated in 2 years. Hadn't gone on a single date or been interested in a single guy. I'd been in a seven year relationship immediately followed by a four year and then dated a bit for the next year until this guy I was crazy about moved to LA and lowkey broke my heart. I realized I wanted to be single for the first time and just focus on myself, traveling, work, and experiencing as much as possible. I did that, and had zero interest in dating for two solid years.

As I was turning 30, I told myself I needed to date. You can't be 30, single and have two cats without people looking at you sideways. When I moved to Boise, I got on dating apps for the first time. I've dated more in the past year than ever in my life! I've given way too many guys the benefit of the doubt and extra chances, gone on a few bad first dates, some dope second dates, and dated a few guys for a couple months who I ended up really liking. I won't put anyone on blast in print, but if you listen to the show, you know I've had some disastrous outcomes on some of these 'situationships'.

Is anyone still reading this? If not, I'm writing this next part for myself: what I've learned in the past year.

Taking risks is scary, but being stagnant is even scarier. I could've said no to moving to a new state by myself. I knew no one here. I still have very few friends in Boise 10 months later. It wasn't easy. But I knew I had to take this risk otherwise I would regret it.

Making friends is harder as you get older. I'm in the minority being a single 30 year old with no kids. Most people my age have families or different priorities than I do. Sure, I have a lot of friends who are married or have kids, but we became friends when our lifestyles were more similar. I'm spur of the moment and spontaneous, and that doesn't work for people with kids or families. I've met some dope people in Boise, but it's still the thing I struggle with the most here.

The only constant in life is change. I've felt this over and over and over again. Tomorrow, things will be different than they were today. Our friendships, relationships, health, jobs, financial and living situations.. these can all fall out from under us at any time. We have to appreciate and enjoy what we have today and be ready to embrace change at any moment.

You're responsible for yourself, your actions and your reactions. Yes, people can do you dirty and make you want to react in a certain way. But at the end of the day, you have to feel good about how you handle situations. I have a short temper and love to pop off immediately when someone upsets me. I'm *learning* to take a step back and not react to certain people or situations. I still have some learning to do. Okay, a lot.

There's nothing more important in life than the people you love. And that starts with you. "If you were asked to make a list of the people you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?" That's a quote I see a lot. You should love yourself above and beyond anyone or anything else. I think living in the city I grew up in for 30 years with nearly all of my family still in that same city spoiled me. I didn't know life without friends and family immediately available at all times. I hung out with my family multiple times a week. I saw my best friends daily and ran into people I love at Trader Joes or yoga or concerts. I don't have that now. I have to be intentional in trips and Facetimes and texts to stay in touch with those that I love. They're still there, but in a different capacity. I won't say that I didn't appreciate the people I love before, because I fully did, but I value the time I have with them now differently.

What I hope 31 brings me: More love, more compassion, more understanding. Less grief, less heartache, less settling. More intentional relationship, more lessons and blessings. The continued ability to bless those around me.

I like getting older. I love new experiences. I love life and everyone in mine. And I'm so grateful for this past year's challenges and changes that are shaping me into a stronger woman every day. Cheers to 31!