17 things I loved in 2017

In no particular order…

1. Becoming an aunt

At the beginning of 2017, we knew there was a nephew on the way. Oscar joined the party in May and has been nothing but cute and easy-going since. Possibly the most chill baby of all time. Around that time, my sister shared she was expecting. In August, she added a foster baby to our family- our first niece who was a year old. She’s hilarious, loving and reminds us all of the importance of snacks and that family is family- blood or not. On Christmas, my sister gave birth early to another nephew- Duke. He’s our tiny little Christmas baby who decided to come in 2017 instead of 2018.

Before this year both of our families were full on adults. I loved the excitement of waiting for the little people to show up and the pure joy of rolling around on the floor reading kids books.

2. Staring at art I’ve studied IRL in Italy

I’ve always dreamed of Italy and Josh and I went this August. We sweat through our shirts, ate gelato and rode trains through the countryside. The art museums delivered in a big way! Thank you, Josh, for all your patience. When I see a movie or book set in Italy, I’m re-immersed in the magic. The delicious food and rich history are calling me back. Maybe someday.

3. Buying a house

I’m still waiting for someone to say, “No, nope, no. You’re not old enough to own a house. Give back the keys.” Somehow, we are homeowners as of the last week of 2017. It’s perfect and in a neighborhood we’re really excited to join. There’s a lot of work, but we also get to live in the (never) finished product, which seems like a pretty sweet deal. Every time I’m over there I feel like my chest is swelling with nervous excitement- or maybe that’s just all the projects on our to do list? Hard to tell.

4. Wishing Texas goodbye

We relocated to the Show-Me State this fall. Josh came back in September and I followed in November. Living apart and packing and physically moving was not joyful. Our friends who became family while in Dallas made us feel so loved. It was hard to leave our people (and the warmer weather) behind, but I’m so grateful for all that Texas was for us. So many goodbye hugs and lunches that will never be forgotten. Leaving our jobs and our community was bittersweet.

5. Carrying a sign in the women’s march

Courtney, Josh and I marched in Dallas the day after the inauguration to show our support of women and women’s issues in the face of a leader who didn’t make them a priority on the campaign trail (or really since then). Being surrounded by thousands of people who care was emotional and powerful. Did that march accomplish anything? Not directly, but it energized us all to get involved or at least get educated. Staying “woke” in the face of the news has not been a favorite part of 2017, but I’m glad I did it. I also know way more about health care policy than I did in 2016, so that’s handy.

6. Driving through Cuba in a car from the 50s

We went with two other couples for a whirlwind trip to Havana in March. It was fast and full of mojitos. It was incredible to see a country that’s operated as a time capsule from the 1950s. I’m not a car person in the least, but the cars were a highlight. While I wish we would have had more time, we met and learned from a few local people about life in Cuba and how it’s changing.

7. The warmth of female friendships

I hope this makes the list every year for the rest of my life. I spent quality time with some of my favorite ladies. I’m not listing them because it would be an annoying to read, but I loved every group text, late-night conversation, bachelorette party, hike, weekend get away, card, lunch, etc. etc. etc. Seriously, I love/need you.

8. Blogs, podcasts, newsletters, books, Instagram feeds

Should I be proud of all the crap I consume when I should be making things of my own, or at the very least, enjoying the outdoors? Look, I don’t know. Sometimes I listen to podcasts as I run outside. I’ve read and heard some deep thoughts. I like to think I continued learning last year.

9. Sleeping in without an alarm

It’s the ultimate adult luxury and I did it sometimes this past year, though never enough. Considering how unproductive sleep is, I just love it so.

10. Stomping all over London

My parents and I went to London for a week last fall. It was their first time to Europe, so we did it BIG. Honestly, Whitneys are incapable of vacationing any other way. We saw a million sights and walked just as many miles. I always have fun traveling with mom and dad. London is a marvelous city full of history and beer.

11. Singing loudly to Reputation, Melodrama and Hamilton

Josh and I are always listening to something. Taylor Swift’s Reputation was big for me this year, as was Lorde’s Melodrama. We discovered Johnny Swim and cooked often to the Counting Crows and Bleachers. Sometimes Hamilton was the only thing that could make me muster a single patriotic thought. Shout out to Despacito, my song of 2017.

12. Not traveling for the holidays

This was the first time I’ve lived in St. Louis since high school. I highly recommend not going to the airport, not packing a bag and not rushing to see everyone you know in three days. Thanksgiving and Christmas were especially special this year because we had more time in the same city as our people. For the past four years I was stressed about my work schedule and getting a plane ticket around those days. Eliminating that stress brought loads of holiday cheer.

13. My library

And all libraries in general. I borrowed a load of books this year. Shout out to my favorite librarian and our all-business transactions. While I was sad to leave, I’m excited to get reacquainted with the musty smell of old paper here.

14. Hiking to the Sun Gate with my siblings at Machu Picchu

The whole day was crazy, but standing up there fortified a connection with the ancient people who built it, the explorers and pilgrims who came before us and to my family. We laughed that whole week in Peru and I’m so glad all five of us went together. Traveling with adult siblings is way cool.

15. Gmail, Google Drive and Gcal

My life lives online and I realize that’s probably not safe. Hey hackers, there’s nothing good, unless you’re into emails between me and my dad, fiery half-finished think pieces, my personal appointments and newsletters. I made more of an effort to minimize digital clutter this year, and not to brag, but I killed it.

16. My legs when I walked or ran

2017 was full of steps. I hiked, ran and high-tailed in circles around the building with my lunch crew. I’m grateful for my healthy legs (and whole body). Staying active is important to me, and I don’t thank my legs often enough.

17. La Croix

This year I drank a lot of it. They brag about having no chemicals, so I’m not sure what type of witchcraft makes it taste so good. When I was working 6-2:30pm I looked forward to a can of it, poured over ice, of course, as my after school treat. It’s the little things, people. Every other week I’d haul a 12-pack back on my walk home from the grocery store, allowing my habit to double as strength training. I’ve really cut back since moving to St. Louis, but every once in a while, I need a little fizz water. This last year will definitely be marked in my mind as The La Croix Year.

Bring it, 2018.

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Shannon

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