Seven Years of Blogging!

November 21st, 2020 marked 7 years of Life of Hayley! I’ve told the story of how this blog started many times before but basically I turned 20 and had a life crisis where I didn’t feel like I had accomplished enough in the previous 19 years. I wanted to use this space to document all of the things that I would do in my twenties. I’m an introvert so sharing my story can be difficult for me so this was also a way to push me outside of my comfort zone.

Fast forward 7 years and I’ve accomplished quite a bit. Over 800 people subscribe to this blog and read what I write. I didn’t do this for followers but I have really enjoyed sharing my life and making blogging friends. I’ve taken quite a few breaks from blogging and learned that it was okay to need a break.

I don’t know what this next year of blogging will bring. I can’t tell you how much I’ll post or share. But I do hope to be around for the foreseeable future.

So much has changed in the past 7 years. I’m now 27 and I’m married, with a dog and cat, working a full time job in finance, and I own a cute little house in a cute little neighborhood. My life isn’t perfect but I hope that 20 year old Hayley would be happy with how far I’ve come.

Even though so many things have changed, one thing remains the same. This blog has been my safe space and you’ve been my friends. I’ve shared my health journey and hopefully spread awareness about invisible illnesses. I’ve opened up about struggling with being an introvert. I’ve shared my wedding, anniversaries, funerals, and everything in between.

Thank you for an incredible 7 years! I am looking forward to many, many more to come.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

2020: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This will be my third year writing this type of post but this time feels so much different. 2020 can be accurately descripted as a dumpster fire and it’s much easier to find the ugly moments instead of the good moments. I’m going to attempt to document a variety of 2020 memories in this post.

As always, this isn’t a post to brag about my life or to show off. This is simply something that I enjoy writing to look back on in future years. I love looking back on 2018 and 2019.

In 2020 I…..

  • Traveled to New Hampshire to be my sister’s Matron of Honor for her wedding
  • Switched roles at work in February and cried a lot over it
  • Packed up all my stuff and started working from home in March
  • Started a job search and am still undecided about what I want to do
  • Saved money to start a new house project in 2021
  • Weaned off of my migraine medication to *hopefully* prepare to have a baby in the future
  • Broke my rebound headache cycle which I never could have done if I hadn’t been working from home. This is by far my most proud accomplishment of 2020 because I was so sick and I didn’t give up.
  • Flew to New Hampshire in July to drive back to Michigan with my sister for a few weeks. I enjoyed so much quality sister time.
  • Celebrated 3 years of marriage and 9 total years with Brett in August.
  • Found out that my sister was pregnant in September! Looking forward to adding another niece or nephew to the cousin crew in May 2021.
  • Spent more quality time with Brett than I have in years. Our monthly date nights are a 2020 highlight.
  • Started training two new hires in August on the role that I really don’t enjoy doing. Training has been slow moving since we are doing it virtually and it has been very hard on me. I’ve been working 50+ hours per week trying to keep up.
  • Took a break from blogging because I was overwhelmed with life.
  • Completed year 1 of a 3 year certification course for work.
  • Spent a lot of social distanced time with at my Grandparent’s lake house
  • Turned 27 in quarantine
  • Celebrated 7 years of blogging in November
  • Finally got promoted in December
  • Worked from home for 9 months and can’t imagine going back to the office full time ever again.

2020 was challenging in many different ways. My biggest challenge this year in my personal life was going from loving my job to hating it. Because work has been so hard I’ve struggled with everything else since I am so unmotivated. I don’t have an answer or solution for this yet so I will just keep chugging along.

I’m looking forward to the new year. I’m looking forward to a fresh start and hopefully leaving all of these negative feelings behind me.

What will you remember about 2020?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

2020: Fourth Quarter Goals Recap

Happy New Year, friends! I’m sure that we are all hoping that 2021 treats us better than 2020.

It’s time for me to wrap up my 2020 quarterly goals! I loved doing quarterly goals again this year and look forward to setting new ones in January. Setting these shorter term goals helps me stay motivated and get things done! My 2020 goals looked much different than I originally anticipated but I’m still happy with the progress I was able to make.

Here’s a quick look back at Q4.

  1. Be intentional about spending time with family. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years it was important to find ways to spend time with family while social distancing. My sister and her husband were able to come home for Christmas which was amazing and we had a bonfire to celebrate Christmas with my mom’s family.
  2. Create a new holiday tradition with Brett. This was our 10th Christmas together and we decided to open presents with just each other this year. Usually we open presents at my parent’s house Christmas morning or with Brett’s family later that afternoon. This year we opened presents Christmas night with just the two of us and it felt really special.
  3. Schedule my remaining annual and semi-annual health appointments. I wasn’t able to get into the dentist but I went to the Neurologist, eye doctor, and my PCP. I’ll go to the dentist in Q1 of 2021 and have some other appointments scheduled which is always fun.
  4. Save 50% of my holiday bonus for 2021 house projects. I am so grateful that my company was able to pay a bonus this year after all of the uncertainty of 2020. We put aside 50% of my bonus already to use for house projects and I’m really excited! I also made sure to make an additional 401k contribution which is something that I try to do every year.
  5. Stick to my current health/wellness routine. I did pretty good with meal prepping and drinking water. I spent less time outside as it got colder and work got busier. I did get an elliptical so I was able to do some at home workouts.

2020 wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for but I learned a lot and was really able to grow.

Here’s a look back at my 2020 goals: Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

Were you able to complete any of your 2020 goals/resolutions? Are you setting any for 2021?

Photo by Adam Chang on Unsplash

Surviving the Busy Season

I haven’t even thought about blogging in a couple of weeks. Year-end is pretty rough for me at work and I’ve been training two new hires on a job that I do not enjoy at all. It’s hard to find the motivation to do the job I’m being paid to do let alone this side blogging gig that I do just for fun.

I’m sure that every job has a “busy season” where the employees have to work long hours and the work-life balance isn’t so great. The 2020 “busy season” has basically been all year it seems. Work has been nonstop and I haven’t caught up for a second.

I don’t want to complain because I am so thankful for my job but it’s tough. I think I’m not at that stage of adulthood where the holiday season is more stressful than magical because I’m so busy that I can’t really stop to enjoy it anymore.

I guess I just wanted to pop in and say hi. I’m still alive just busy and tired. Hopefully 2021 will be better.

Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

Stop Telling Me To “Toughen Up”

I was recently told that I needed to “toughen up” which is all fine and dandy but that’s just not who I am. I am sensitive, empathetic, and emotional. I care deeply and I want to put my best foot forward each and everyday. I will never be tough and that’s okay.

Instead of trying to cram myself into a box with other people’s expectations I’ve decided to spend some more time exploring who I am as a person. I’ve been feeling really down and unmotivated lately so I want to find something that makes me feel alive again.

My whole life I have felt like something was wrong with me because I’m sensitive. This is who I am and I can’t change it. I’ve tried to toughen up for years by taking anti-depressants and seeing therapists but I can’t change my personality.

I used to wish that I could turn all of my feelings off. I wanted to have no emotions at all. I want to stop feeling this way. I want to just be okay with who I am.

This world will always be too harsh for me but I’m willing to continue to fight for my place in it.

Have you ever been told to “toughen up”?

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

2020: Fourth Quarter Goals

At the beginning of 2020 I was super motivated to make some lifestyle changes. I wanted to use this year to prepare myself for the next chapter of my life which might include motherhood. COVID forced me to slow down and spend some much needed time working on my mental health and my relationship with my husband. This year might not have gone according to plan but it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

To finish the year strong, here are my 4th quarter goals:

  1. Be intentional about spending time with family. We’ve had to be creative in order to spend time with family and friends this year due to social distancing. I’ve still been able to spend quality time with the people that I love and I don’t want that to change because of the colder weather.
  2. Create a new holiday tradition with Brett. We love the Christmas season but this year many of our normal traditions most likely won’t be happening so we will have to create a new tradition together.
  3. Schedule my remaining annual and semi-annual health appointments. Dentist, PCP, and Neurologist. It’s going to be a busy 3 months with all these appointments but I will be glad to have them checked off my list for awhile.
  4. Save 50% of my holiday bonus for 2021 house projects. My company is super generous and always has a year-end bonus for employees. If we have one this year I want to save at least 50% of it for future house projects!
  5. Stick to my current health/wellness routine. This includes past quarterly goals of spending time outside, meal planning/prepping, and monitoring my water intake.

We are almost done with this crazy, unpredicatable year. Who knows what 2021 will be like but let’s finish this year strong!

Do you have any goals you want to complete before the end of the year?

Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash

2020: Third Quarter Goals Recap

I honestly don’t even know what to say about these goals. I still love writing them because it’s great motivation to not sit on the coach and watch Law & Order SVU every night (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Setting goals just doesn’t feel the same in 2020 for some reason.

Here’s a quick recap of my third quarter goals:

  1. Monthly date night. Yes! Brett and I are making alone time a priority even as things have started to open back up and he’s switched schedules at work (again). I hope monthly date night is something we continue forever.
  2. Spend at least 30 minutes outside per day. I haven’t been great at this. I still enjoy walking the dog and sitting on our back deck but I haven’t made it as much of a priority the past month or so.
  3. Start meal planning again. I have gotten much better at meal planning! I’m mostly using Pinterest to find new recipes. The biggest reason why I’m able to meal plan easily now is because I’m home most days and I love easy crockpot recipes.
  4. Find a new outlet for my anxiety. This didn’t really happen. I’m feeling good most days and am trying to cope the best I can. I’ll continue working on trying to find an outlet to help.
  5. Write down some professional goals. I still have no idea what I’m doing or what I want to do when it comes to my career. I’m trying not to stress about it and am just going with the flow. Our team is working through some major transitions right now and I’m just trying to be as supportive to my teammates as possible.

I’ve already written my final 2020 goals and am ready to take action. This year hasn’t gone the way I originally thought it would but I’m determined to not waste a minute.

Do you have any goals for the rest of 2020?

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

Loving Where You Are

I’m the type of person who is always planning ahead. I see the whole staircase, not just the next step and sometimes that’s a problem. I’m so busy looking forward to the future that I forget to enjoy the moment I’m in right now.

It’s good to be able to live in the moment and be able to love where you are right now. We all have goals but goals take time and we can’t be so focused on them that we don’t enjoy our current situations.

I’m trying my hardest to love where I am right now. To love all of the uncertainty and questions. To wonder if I’m making the right decisions in the short-term to meet my goals in the long-term.

2020 has been eye-opening in terms of forcing me to slow down and appreciate where I am in life. I’ll always look forward to what’s ahead in life but I also know that I need to stop and enjoy my current situation.

Do you mind yourself living in the moment or looking ahead to the future?

August 2020 According to my iPhone

I always look forward to August. It feels like the perfect summer month. This August was pretty perfect. I’m trying really hard to set boundaries and enjoy life outside of work. This month I was able to take 3 days off to celebrate my anniversary with Brett with a little Michigan roadtrip. It was so nice!

How was your month? Do you have any fun plans for September?

Change Is Uncomfortable

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I’ve never been good with change. I get comfortable and then I want things to stay comfortable forever. I’ve learned that I grow the most in these periods of changes, in the uncomfortable moments when I’m forced to learn.

2020 has probably been uncomfortable for the vast majority of people. We’ve had to change where and how we are working and learning. We have had to adapt to the uncertainties that this pandemic has thrown at us. We have had to work together to stop the spread of a virus that we were learning more about every day.

To say that 2020 has just been “uncomfortable” would be an understatement.

All of these changes this year has given me whiplash. I’m tired, burnt-out, and wanting to quit most days. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat and it’s easy to forget that we are all feeling a level of anxiety that is probably higher than we are used to.

I don’t think that anyone can say for sure when this will be over. I’ve heard so many mixed messages from different sources and I’ve honestly just stopped listening to most of them.

If you are feeling uncomfortable, anxious, or burnt-out know that you aren’t alone. One day we will look back at this and be able to see how much change occurred in 2020.

How are you doing? Honestly.

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Photo by Priscilla Gyamfi on Unsplash