Well, 2017 is coming to a close. This year did not turn out how I had expected it to, but isn’t that true for most of us most years?

I started 2017 by moving to a new job. I was really excited about this position as it seemed like a step up in my career. I had been at the same organization for almost 10 years previously and was looking forward to a change. It soon became apparent that this wasn’t the right position for me. It took its toll on me. My health suffered. I spent more time with colds this year than I have in memory. My blood pressure was consistently high, I was anxious and my eating habits were worse than they normally are (I’ve always been a comfort eater).

On top of the health issues, this new job brought with it a new commute. I’ve been pretty lucky in that I’ve always lived within 15 miles of where I worked. This new commute averaged 30-40 minutes each way. We went from being a one-car family for over 15 years to needing two cars. Where I had always commuted with my husband as we first dropped the kids off at school and then dropped me off (reverse on the way home), now I was spending my morning commute solo. It was tough not spending that drive time decompressing with my sweet husband.

Creatively, the job wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. As someone in a creative field, that makes everything so much harder. Sometimes my drive home would take upwards of an hour. By the time I got home at the end of the day, I was exhausted both physically and emotionally.

The result of all of this was less energy to pursue my hobbies. I read less (18 books, though I did listen to a few audio books during the long commute). I knit less (five completed projects this year). I blogged less.

Looking back, I might almost write 2017 off and just move on. Except some pretty awesome things came out of this year.

First, when I started the new job, we got a free, hand-me-down car. Which worked well for a little while. And then, the engine started acting up and it wasn’t going to be a cheap fix. We decided to buy a second car. Like I said, we’ve been a one-car family for over 15 years. I have never, ever purchased a brand-new car. Over a couple of weekends, my husband and I test drove. I led the process. I checked out three different models but fell in love with my first test-drive (2017 Ford Escape in RED!) But even more, I fell in love with my sales guy. He is so funny and generous and genuine. Fidgety Husband and I have been welcomed into Fidgety Car Guy’s inner circle (I have even claimed one of Fidgety Car Guy’s best friends as a new knitting group member).

Though the job was not the right one for me, I made a whole bunch of friends at work. They are hilarious and kind and helped make a challenging situation better. These are such good people and I’m lucky to have them in my life now.

I also tried to get more involved in my professional organization. I’ve started attending meetings that I don’t have to so I can get a better understanding of what my local chapter is doing. This year, the national conference was held in Minneapolis so I volunteered. It was exhausting work, but I made so many new friends and contacts from around the country. I’ve usually been a solo designer so the opportunity to meet and befriend designers from all over the US was amazing.

I also had the opportunity to join a new knitting group this year (my second, yes).  Between the two groups I attend, I have become really close to eight amazing women. You know, the kind of friend who would help you hide a body.

And with great conversation and consideration with the Fidgety Family, I decided to leave my job and purse my dream of going freelance. I’m terrified. I’m excited. I’m ready for this new adventure. Especially since 2017 brought so much love and friendship into my life.

So that was 2017. It was hard. It was stressful. And it was full of love. I’m ready to face whatever 2018 has in store. And if you’re looking for a graphic designer, check out my website. I’d love to work with you no matter the size of the project!

How was your 2017? What are you looking forward to in 2018? Let me know in the comments!