(originally posted on 31 Dec 2017)
I got my nipples pierced, traveled to a new city with friends, worked in a new trauma hospital, and crashed my car into a fire hydrant (which I still get shit for to this day).
I passed my PT test, got promoted, went skydiving, and turned 21.
I went on my first cruise, witnessed the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen, and made my first YouTube vlog.
I went to a drive-in theater for the first time, threw a friend a surprise birthday party, got my 4th tattoo, and signed the lease on my first apartment.
I moved into my first apartment, watched Andrew graduate college, and won an award at work.
I ran my first tough mudder race, got an awful sunburn on my scalp, went home for my sisters high school graduation, made my 2nd and 3rd YouTube vlogs, went to CMA fest, got to see one of my old bestfriends from highschool in Germany, and Andrew moved down to SA.
My family came to MY house, I went boating & tubing on a lake for the first time, Tal and Darren came to town, went to a surprise party for Andrew’s grandma, went to my first painting with a twist, and said ‘yes’ to being Andrew’s girlfriend for the 2nd time.
I went hiking, took out my nipple piercings, hit the one year mark of my blog, hit my three-year mark in the Air Force, and had my first açaí bowl.
I went home for the last time this year, went to an Ed Sheeran concert, Tal and Darren came back to town, went to Rainforest Cafe in remembrance and celebration of my Aunt Dee, and cut my hair.
I started listening to and became obsessed with Hannah Montana (no shame), I bought a Cannon G7x Mark II vlogging camera that I had been wanting for over a year, went to a pumpkin patch/corn maze for the first time in years, Andrew and I started our YouTube channel, and took a mini road trip back to Wichita with Andrew.
Andrew and I went to California (we FINALLY got to fly on a plane together), I scheduled my x-ray registry exam, Andrew turned 24, and we had the worst Thanksgiving ever.
I figured out what I want to do to further my career goals, it snowed for the first time in Texas since 2010 (it had been 4 years since I’d last seen snow!!!), found out I’m gonna be an “aunt”, and my bestfriend is getting married!!!!!!!! And Andrew and I took a spontaneous last-minute trip to Fredericksburg!
I got to see my family on four separate occasions this year. I got to see Tal on five separate occasions this year. I got to see Andrew’s family on two separate occasions this year. I got to see Andrew’s grandparents on three separate occasions this year. I got to go to Nashville three times this year. I traveled outside the country, went to 8+ states, and countless cities.
I have seen this going around twitter for a while; “End of the year challenge. Upload two photos, one from the beginning of the year and one from the end of the year to see how much you’ve changed!” And I want to participate because I feel like I don’t even know the “Marisa Eihusen” who started 2017. The Marisa Eihusen who is ending 2017 is so much better because she is so much happier. Truly happier.
New Years Eve 2016
New Years Eve 2017
It probably doesn’t look like much has changed between these two photos. The picture on the left is actually the day I got my nipples pierced and I was feeling pretty spicy! The picture on the right is after I stayed out until 230am the night before and woke up at 7am to hit the gym before I had to pick a friend up from the airport. It’s after I spent 4 hours studying while doing chores around the house during my study breaks. It’s me being so tired I literally felt like a zombie; no make-up, unbrushed hair, hanging out in my bathrobe. I was happy in both pictures. But Lord only knows the internal changes that lie between the two.
2017 kidnapped me and trapped me in a place where I was extremely concerned with how my life looked on paper, how my life was perceived by others. I was constantly concerned with making sure that my life looked like “Oh wow this girl has such an awesome life, seems like she’s always doing fun things and having a great time”. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve had an incredible year! But I am so fortunate and so thankful to sit here today and confidently write that I’m no longer stuck in that unhealthy mentality. Now I focus on the quality of my life, my relationships, and my friendships. I care about truly feeling joyful, grateful, happy, and fulfilled. I’m slowly discovering my passions and my purpose and I’m trying to leave an imprint on this earth that will make a difference.
I have changed and grown an immeasurable amount this year. I’ve overcome things that knocked me down, things I was certain would keep me down. I’ve done things I’m not proud of this year and made some mistakes, hey I’m human. I’ve learned to forgive others more easily. I’ve learned to love unconditionally, even when the conditions predict storm after storm after storm. I’ve had my heart broken, healed, and broken again. And healed again. I’ve gained, lost, and regained my self-confidence. I got to refall in love with an incredible man. I’ve learned some of the toughest lessons and done some major growing. “Gratitude” became my life motto and what I tried to live my life by this year. It’s what I got tattooed on my left bicep back in April and it’s what allowed me to look at every single situation as something good, as something to gain, as something positive. And for that I will be endlessly grateful. I will most definitely carry the gratitude mindset with me into the new year but I’ve got a feeling that a new life motto will emerge. Be more intentional.
I can confidently say that 2017 was the best year of my life. And I can not freaking wait for the new year because I know it is going to blow this year out of the water. I already have so many big and exciting plans for 2018 and I can’t wait to watch the year unravel. I know it’s going to be incredible.
I want to thank those who have made such an impact on me this year. I could not have survived and overcome what I have if I didn’t have Tal. Honestly, everybody needs a Tal in their life. I’m lucky to have the very best friend that any could possibly ever ask for. Even 1,094 miles apart, you have been there for me day in and day out. I’m so glad I have you to do life with. Ellie, girl we both know what a shit show this year has been! I am so damn grateful to have someone who can relate to exactly what I have gone through this year. And I am so damn grateful we both came out on the other side, stronger than before. Everybody at work always says when we’re together we’re the “mean girls” but you have been so kind to me, I couldn’t make it through Lackland without you. Sharina and Bailey, I am SO grateful the military, in some way, brought us all back together this year. I never laugh as hard with anybody the way I laugh with you guys. Bailey, I know you’re excited to go to Japan but we sure are going to miss you, your stories, and your incredible personality here in San Antonio. I’m so glad I wanted to be your friend way back in 2011. And my family, of course. I don’t know what I’d do without yall. You guys all love me so well, even when I’m not very loveable and I’m so grateful (and proud) to be an MFE. And last, but certainly not least, Andrew. I could write a novel on what this year has done to us, what it has put us through. But I won’t write that novel today. Instead, I’ll just say this; We fought hard this year, but we’ve loved even harder. And it’s the most incredible feeling to know that there isn’t a single thing life could throw our way that we wouldn’t be able to handle. Thank you for loving me through the good, and even more so through the bad. I fall in love with you a little bit more each day, and I can’t wait to witness our love blossom over the next 365 days.
2017 was the year of growing for me, the year of firsts. I have a feeling 2018 is going to be the year of change, and damn am I ecstatic to watch it all unfold.
Happy New Year to all. If you’re looking for a sign, this is it.
And remember, be the sunshine.