2017 was a strange year. It was largely filled with new experiences and total life adjustments. I discovered more about myself in 365 days than I have in probably ten years. The year pretty much steamrolled by, which I found to be both positive and negative. Overall though, I wouldn’t trade my experiences in 2017 for anything.
I started the year focusing on moving back to Saint Louis. This was really set up in 2016, but as soon and January 1 hit, the final leg of my Minnesota life began. It was a stressful and exciting time. I learned a lot about who I had become while living in Minnesota while packing up. This was most evident while trying to get rid of all the crap I had accumulated living with disposable income. I knew I had a lot of stuff, but when the Half Price Books sell bags started to fill up, and kept filling up, I knew I had spiraled in accumulation and spending over the last seven years.
Thanks to my lovely fiancée and her trips up to see me, we were able to whittle down my apartment to a somewhat manageable level, though I have to say it continued to stress me out up until everything was on the truck in late April.
Moving Home and Readjusting
The move went really well. We didn’t have any issues with the drive. I could feel the weight of the last year or so slipping away as we drove further and further south.
It’s taken quite a few months for memories of Minnesota to start filtering back into my head. This is probably due to winter creeping in. I’m so glad I’m not up there for another winter. I wouldn’t say I’m finally starting to miss the Cities, but I’m definitely having a few pangs of fond sadness as I remember the places I used to go and some of the people I used to hang out with.
The first few weeks back were weird. I could suddenly go wherever I wanted and visit with my friends at any given time. I wasn’t used to that level of freedom in Saint Louis. It eventually sank in that I was back though, which made me incredibly happy.
Working From Home
Working from home has probably been the biggest adjustment. I was used to getting my social interaction at work during the day, which led me to free and open nights to do whatever I wanted. Now that I’m alone in the house, I don’t get that same level of interaction. It’s been hard to focus at times, but I’m making it work.
Spending Time With the People I Love
The biggest and most exciting part of my life since moving back has been the ability to spend my free time with friends and family, namely M. No more month-long waits in between visits of her coming up to Minnesota or me coming down to Saint Louis. We see each other almost daily, and I can’t wait for April so we can really get our lives started together as newlyweds.
My interaction with friends has been a little less than I had hoped for in 2017. This is something I want to correct in 2018. Being bale to spend time with my parents has also been a blessing. I no longer feel helpless in Minnesota when something happens. Now I’m a 25 minute drive away.
Owning a House
We own a house! I never thought I’d say that (one of many things I never thought I’d say). M and I bought a house in early July and I’ve been living here since. It’s been a lot of fun planning out the rooms and making it our own. We haven’t done much with it yet, painting rooms mostly, but all of that will come in time.
While doing the little things is fun, actually owning and being responsible for the upkeep of the house is daunting to me. I think I have a little too much house at the moment, especially without M staying here until the wedding. I’m learning little by little though, so hopefully it’s just first year owner jitters. I think I’ll feel a lot better once M is here full time and we can tackle projects better as they come.
My new obsession. You’ve seen the posts already. The idea of painting in plein air came right around early summer. M got me an oil painting class as a birthday present. It was during those classes that the idea of actually going out somewhere and waiting became interesting.
It took a few months to get my oil kit ready, but I started painting on location with acrylics around late September and early October. I absolutely love it, though I’m still a novice at painting in general. It’s been interesting to work through the struggle, rather than giving up on it when I feel like it’s just not coming together.
While the practical side of the wedding has been more or less wrapped up for a few months now, M and I are currently going through our marriage prep classes. I didn’t know how much I liked the idea of them before we started taking them, but I quickly realized the significance they hold. We’ve learned quite a bit about each other just in the short time we’ve been taking the classes. I always come away from them excited for our future and the Big Day itself. April can’t come soon enough.
So this one is a little more recent than many of the others. It’s another thing I hadn’t given a lot of thought to in the past, mainly because I was getting older and didn’t have much hope of getting married let alone have kids.
Yep, kids. I was at Walmart with my parents the other day and we were looking through the young kids section for other family members. I was hanging out while they shopped, so I started looking at the designs on boys t-shirts. I casually thought to myself, man, I should really buy some of these now so we’ll have them when the time comes. That’s when it hit me: I didn’t even question the thought of it. The idea of having kids is so natural in my head now. I actually got a little misty at the thought and it brought with it a crazy sense of love for M and where we’re heading together in the near future.
While the timeline for 2018 is maybe a little out of reach (let’s not get ahead of ourselves), 2019 may prove to be an even crazier year than next, and we’re still seventeen days away from 2018.