A Year In A Life
I know this is quite cliche, but as it is the last day of the year, its so important to not only makes goals and plans for the future, but also reflect on the previous year. I look back at 2021, and it’s amazing how many life changing events happened, even though we were (and still are) in the middle of this pandemic. In all of the crisis and sorrow, I was to be able to hold on to my positive view, my faith, and fulfill so many goals and dreams. If this pandemic and this past year has shown me anything it’s that life is never going to be perfect, and you can’t wait for it to be in order to strive for what you want. I watched as so many people I admire and love choose to use this new normal as a reason to allow themselves to put their lives, their hopes, their dreams, and their futures on the back burner because they had the perfect excuse. In the beginning I was that person too, until I figured out how to make lemonade out of all the spreading lemons. I know life isn’t easy, but we can sometimes be the reason it has so many obstacles, and once I decided to get out of my own way, I was able to see what my world could be. Although, there were many highlights during 2021, I wanted to share the GIGANTIC sized moments with you all as we walk into 2022.
One of my BIGGEST accomplishments of 2021 was finishing University. This was by far my most crippling struggle, and although I worried about the amount of time it took for me to finally complete my schooling, my friends and family showed nothing but support and happiness for such a monumental accomplishment. When I finally walked across that stage, it was like nothing I could have ever imagined. The feeling of accomplishment, and knowing that I joined a club that many don’t have the opportunity to be apart of, or even worst have the opportunity but squandered it. I graduated from Bradley University with not one but two degrees in Social Media Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
Although it took me almost a decade to finally earn both these degrees, I felt a huge weight of relief brush off of me. As a child it was always instilled in me that an education is the most important thing a man could have, it’s the one thing society can never take away from you. This made me want to fight for it, especially during such a hard time for the country and the world. Instead of allowing the pandemic to be the reason I hide in my shell and wait for the world to get better, I used it to allow me to focus on my education, and finally walk across that stage with my fellow graduates.
One of the life changing decision made by my girlfriend and I was that if/when I graduated we would move to California so that I could finally focus on being a social media mogul one day. Since the day we started dating I said that it was always my plan to move as soon as I graduated, and she was always on board with the plan. I graduated in May, and by August we had shipped all of our belongings west, and were scrambling for an apartment. Let me be the first to say that if you don’t have a plan, it’s okay to take a huge leap of faith and trust in yourself and your partner. We moved to California with no plan, but faith that when the time truly came we would figure it out. Although, there were MANY sleepless nights, flights, phone calls, emails, and a little begging, we found ourselves making our deadline. Without the support of our family, and each other I am not sure we would have been so lucky to not only have found a home, but found an amazing new life. Moving 2000 miles to chase my aspirations is the American Dream, but no one ever tells you how hard that dream can be to obtain.
The roadtrip we shared with each other as well as her sister and my cousin was a once in a lifetime experience for us all. Being able to see this beautiful country from Illinois to California was life bonding. There were things that we’d never had the opportunity to see in real life such as: mountains, craters, many of the states, and it was so humbling to really get the chance to see so much more than the flatland that is Central America. If I am being honest, one of the hardest moments I’ve ever had to deal with wasn’t moving and leaving our family. It was watching my cousin and my girlfriend’s sister leaving our home to head back to Illinois after being this tight-knit foursome for two weeks. Now that it’s been 3 months here on our own, its become a home for us. We have settled into our new normal, found amazing friends, and even more important we realized that all we needed was to be with each other to make any new situation work for us.
All of these amazing events of my year lead to probably the most important moment yet. The moment I decided to make my girlfriend my fiancé. Let’s set the stage on this engagement. October 3rd we decided that Disneyland was going to be our plan for Christmas due to it being the first Christmas that we would have been away from our families. At that moment I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to propose because I knew that there was no way I was ever going to be without this woman. Especially after she uprooted her life and moved 2000 miles away from her family to help me follow my dreams, there was no doubt in my mind. The idea was there, and the wheels were starting to turn. The next step was making sure there were no obstacles on getting the time to go, which found me at her job where she was still the new girl in town. While there, I explained that I needed her to have a few days off for Christmas because I wanted to propose, and they actually said yes. However, there was a catch, they were not to tell her they knew, they had to wait for her to actually ask for the time off. After I received the okay from her job, I called her parents to ask for her hand. I’ve loved her family since the moment I met them, and they welcomed me in as a son well before I decided to propose. They were ecstatic for me to ask their daughter to marry me! This left me with planning in secret. For 2 months I worked like no other, sometimes 12 hour days 7 days a week to make sure everything was perfect. Even though she knew about us going, I wanted to surprise her with covering all the expenses for Disneyland. This was to get her off the scent, I needed her to believe that was her Christmas gift…And it worked!
Christmas morning, I had everything set with DisneyLand and the Catal Restaurant. We sat and had breakfast, ring in my inner jacket pocket, and my heart beating 100 miles per hour, but I was still trying to play Mr. Cool. Did I think she would say no? Of course not, but I had planned literally every moment of this proposal except for the actually proposal. It got to the point that after breakfast I had to take a step back and control my nerves and ask for advice from family and friends. Finally the big moment came! I stood up in front of the entire restaurant, gave a speech, got down on one knee, and changed both of our lives forever. That morning I established that I had my forever person.
And Just Like That…
I find myself at the end of the most eventful, and beautiful year of my life. 2021 wasn’t perfect for so many people, and my heart goes out to those who weren’t as lucky and blessed as I was.The best part about everything that happened this year is that it’s made me even more eager about the year to come. If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that life is truly what you make it. As my grams always says “Yesterday is history, and tomorrow is a mystery”. I can’t wait for this new journey in California with my fiancé. I hope you all stick around to watch it unfold with me.
I’ll see you all next year! Happy New Year from my home to yours!