For many people, 2016 was a horrible, no good, very bad year. So many celebrities died. Brexit happened. A very strange US election happened. All among other things.
But for me? 2016 was honestly amazing.
It feels almost like a bad thing for me to be saying that because so many people around me had such a terrible year, but it’s true. 2016 was great in so many ways for me.
In January, Allen and I traveled to a city we had never been to before, San Francisco, to photograph the wedding of a friend who I had known for over 12 years but had never met in person until then. We had some of the most amazing experiences – the touristy stuff was good, getting to be with my friend Elizabeth and her friends and family was amazing and my love for the entire state of California is even stronger than ever.
Later in January, we made the difficult decision to leave our church. At the time, it felt like one of the hardest, craziest decisions we have ever made – being ostracized isn’t easy to handle. We struggled to be true to ourselves and not let outsiders influence our decisions during a difficult transition. However, every day gets easier and further solidifies my belief that leaving was the right decision for us, spiritually, emotionally, and for our relationship.
In March, I was sent to Wisconsin for work. I used this trip to finally start to come out of my shell to my work friends and let them see the Abby that I had been hiding under an exterior for years.
In March I also started to spend more time with my aunt and her family. I got to watch my cousin’s little boy excel in his first year of wrestling. Rowan’s a natural and he’s going to go far in any sport he decides to pursue (which is currently all of them).
At the end of March, I cut my hair for the first time in 7 1/2 years (because I wasn’t allowed to because of the church we were attending). Eighteen inches suddenly gone. It was refreshing and wonderful and I’m so happy I did it. Super long hair just isn’t ME.
In May, Allen and my friend Dorothy invited me to “Adult Prom”. Allen and I were able to get dressed up and dance the night away, giving us the Prom we never had (because we weren’t allowed to go to Prom or any dances while he was in high school – the church forbade it).
In May Allen and I also road tripped to Wisconsin to spend the weekend with my Twinner, Alli, and her husband and baby girl, since they had just moved there from Alaska. Alli and I finally went together and got our ears pierced. I got to spend so much time loving on Tessa.
In May I also got to shoot engagement photos for my friend Adrienne right before she moved with her fiancé to Texas! We’ve only seen each other in person TWICE since 2009 so it was so special to spend time with her and Joey before their big move!
In June, Allen’s work had their annual Summit where reps from all over the world come to headquarters for a week. Allen is essential in making sure the week goes smoothly, and I always get to hang out with some of the coolest people! The variety of languages and cultures I get to experience during that week is always so incredible. This years entertainment was Snapchat and Polaroid Snap.
Later in June, Allen and I did a product shoot with Dorothy for Fiori da Capo which is a flower crown boutique, a wedding for an elementary school friend, and wedding videography for a coworker.
In July, we photographed another wedding along with a couple family sessions for some coworkers of mine. Even though we don’t do families anymore, I’ll take them on occasionally for friends, and I ended up having a lot of fun.
I also played a LOT of Pokémon Go starting in July. I even dressed the part a few times.
In August, I began to prepare to be part of the telecommuting pilot program at my work, and at the end of the month, I began working from home full-time.
Allen and I celebrated 6 years of marriage and 8 total years together in August with a Chicago getaway weekend. We were even able to get a good deal on a pet-friendly hotel, so Taz came with us.
We also traveled up to Wisconsin again in August, but this time to celebrate Tessa’s first birthday! It’s been amazing to be part of her life and watch her grow. I don’t want kids of my own, but being part of T’s life is so special and meaningful to me.
In September, my work team for the local softball tournament kicked into high gear. We played all the way through the end of October, and although we only won one game EVER, it was such a blast.
After a month of the telecommute pilot, I was called into work – and offered a promotion to Team Leader. Unfortunately it meant I had to go back to work at the office and would be ineligible to telecommute (for now, hopefully). I accepted the promotion at the end of September and stepped into a new role. Of course, it wasn’t an easy decision, considering how much I LOVED working from home, and I had turned down the same opportunity last year because I didn’t feel like I was ready to lead. I’ve grown though, so I was ready for the challenge this time around.
In September also went back into the chair and went a little shorter on my hair, as well as had a “bronde” balayage done. I’m in love with it!
In September, we photographed the wedding of strangers who turned into friends in the process. One of my most favorite weddings to date! Everything was so perfect, they were so easygoing and TRUSTING of my skills and abilities, and it all paid off.
I hung out with my best friends, Katie and Carmen, throughout the summer. We had some crazy adventures and made amazing memories together. These two make me a better person and I admire them both so much. I’m lucky to have them in my life!
In October, I got to rock TWO Halloween costumes. Making up lost time I suppose, since Allen has NEVER celebrated Halloween in his life and I haven’t celebrated in the last decade. I went to work as Twiggy, and when we threw our own (late) Halloween party at home, I was a leopard.
In October, Allen and I photographed 3 weddings and 3 seniors. 1 wedding and 1 senior were in North Carolina, which is a state neither of us had been to previously! Check another one off the list.
While in North Carolina, Allen and I experienced all sorts of new things – Cheerwine, Bojangles, Piggly Wiggly, the accents.. it is always so humbling to visit another state and see all the similarities and the differences, too.
In November, I had my 27th birthday. It’s an age I honestly never thought I’d see when I was fifteen and in the depths of self-harm. I’m glad to be here. My amazing coworkers certainly help, as does my husband taking me to one of my favorite restaurants for banana creme pie!
In November, we hosted Thanksgiving at our apartment, since it is finally big enough to have more than 5 people over. It was really crammed with 18 but we made it work. I had to leave early to wait in a Black Friday line for Allen’s Christmas present but it was a fun experience. Allen and I do Black Friday with his family every year. We all canvas the store together and it’s entertaining to try to hide presents from people you’re walking around the store with.
I also had Thanksgiving with my aunt’s family, as well as with my dad, his girlfriend and my brother too. I’m thankful for a job where I get time off on the holidays and can see the important people in my life!
In December, Allen and I went with his parents to our 3rd ever Red Wings game, and what will be our last at Joe Louis Arena. They lost, but it was still a great game! Unfortunately there was a huge snowstorm and it took 6 hours to get home from Detroit.
We did an ugly sweater contest at work (I got 3rd place!) and a white elephant gift exchange. My job is so challenging but SO rewarding. I love where I work, the people I work with, and what I do!
Notice how I haven’t mentioned diabetes even ONCE until now in this post. It is still there. I am still diabetic and it still affects every moment of every day. However I often times find myself living above my diabetes – as in, it’s still there but it’s in the distant background, white noise on the tv in the other room. My 2016 was fine, diabetes wise. I kept my A1C under target all year, I didn’t have any instances of DKA, I was able to afford my supplies even with a ridiculous deductible, and I never had to go to the hospital because of my disease. That’s a successful year in my book.
I’m not sure what 2017 will hold for me. I don’t have any major travel plans yet, my job is going well and there aren’t any big milestone anniversaries next year either.
I do know that I want to keep working on myself – I’ve had a hard time remembering to put myself first at times when I need to. Some of my diabetes-related goals for 2017 are to keep my A1C right where it is at, use my Dexcom more, invest in more cute medical ID bracelets, and look into #OpenAPS.
I think 2017 will be a good year, full of continued growth and happiness. Thanks to everyone who helped make 2016 one for the books.