When one year ends and another begins, I feel filled to the brim with excitement, with the promise of the future on my mind. 2019 is even more so that way for me, as it brings about something I have been waiting almost 23 years for - the start of my veterinary school education! I have so many goals I want to achieve this year. Not only in my education, but in my day-t0-day life, for Gallon, and for myself as an equestrian and human-being.
I believe that we should all be passionate about something that comes naturally us - ourselves. In order to put our proverbial 'best foot forward', we need to focus on personal growth. I think the first (and arguably most important) step of personal growth is reflection. If we can reflect on the path we have already taken, we can determine which path to take going forward. By doing so, we can choose our best path - And by 'our best path', I mean whatever path it may be that is right for you.
Naturally then, a reflection of 2018 is in order before I list a few of my goals for 2019. 2018 is a year that deserves a gracious "thank you" from me. It was hugely influencing in my life's path, more so than other years have been. I believe that I became better than I was before, in so many ways, in ways I was not sure were possible after saying goodbye to my beloved Dante December 26th, 2017.
Here are six of my greatest highlights of 2018:
Soul Healing in Hawaii (January 2018): I began the year in Maui, Hawaii with my family, a tradition we began a few years back. I had never once truly appreciated the quiet, relaxing days in Hawaii, but for the first time, I learned to. I sat with my mom and told her with tears in my eyes, "Being able to rest and just shut-off for a week is so nice". She laughed and gave me a hug. I had never once slowed down since the day I was born. I have always wanted to take the world by storm, and did not understand the need to rest and rejuvenate until this trip, which I left for the day after I said goodbye to Dante. It was a spirit-healing trip, and something I will never take for granted again.
Becoming a Donkey Lady (January-June 2018): For six months I had the extreme pleasure of working as a stallion manager at the UC Davis Horse Barn. I learned an incredible amount about equine reproduction - including management of the stallion and broodmare, how to rectally palpate and ultrasound a mare, how to collect a stallion and evaluate semen, and how to artificially inseminate a mare. I was assigned to UCD Action's Protege, a mammoth jack donkey stud, to manage for the 6-month span. I had never worked with a donkey previously, and fell in love with his wit, intelligence, and sense of humor. I will forever be a fan of the equine who gets far less attention than the horse or zebra, and I hope to work them into my future career (and beyond).
Adopting Gallon (April 2018): An obvious highlight was accepting Gallon into my life in April as my horse and adopting him from CANTER California in April. After being his volunteer from October 2017 to April 2018, I already loved him as my own, but knowing I had just lost a once-in-a-lifetime partner and would be hopefully attending vet school in fall 2019, I had to put a lot of consideration into my decision. Although I have loved him from the beginning, opening my heart to love him and be vulnerable to loving another horse was a huge step forward for me and my stubborn self. I cried a lot while I was trying to make a decision - to love him enough to let him go, or love him enough to make him mine forever. I am so thankful I chose the latter.
European Travels (June-September 2018): I got to experience life outside of the United States (outside of California, really, since I have never lived anywhere else!) for the first time in my life. I traveled to England, France, Portugal, Holland, and Poland and learned about more than I could have ever imagined. I met family members whom I had never met and got to see where my 3x great-grandfather worked in South Shields, England, and where my 4x great-grandfather preached his sermons in the woods of Poitou, France. These experiences ignited in my heart a love of travel and of the people of the world. A love I never even knew I had until I was given an opportunity to travel. I am so thankful.
Acceptance to Veterinary School (November 2018): After interviewing at Midwestern University's College of Veterinary Medicine in October, I received my official offer into the MWU College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2023. There are not words for how grateful I am for the opportunity, and how excited I am to be a part of something greater than myself, the veterinary profession.
Finishing Undergraduate at UC Davis (December 2018): I officially completed all of my undergraduate classes at UCD in December, and now have my Bachelor of Science in Animal Science (with an Equine Emphasis!). Life in Davis itself has been a very influential part of my life, and I am heartbroken, yet elated, that this chapter of my life has come to a bittersweet ending.
2018 gave me a couple of other things too - Invaluable time with my family, incredible new friends and opportunities that I was able to make in school and through my blog/Instagram, a deeper love than ever with my boyfriend, Ian, who moved in with me in September (a huge step!), and a greater understanding of people different from myself.
Also in 2018, the world lost 2 of the most special people I have known - one to leukemia, and the other to a brain injury - But in my personal grief have found inspiration from both of these ladies. They both lived their lives with passion, an understanding of others, and vivaciously fierce spirits.
So as we leave 2018 in the past, in pictures and memories that we can no longer experience, I am taking a moment to be thankful for all that the year taught me.
2019, wow. Hello. First, let me just say that 19 is my lucky number, so I have huge hopes for what this year will bring. Not only for me, but for everyone. I hope it's a year of success, love, prosperity, growth - a really long list of great things.
I am beginning this year with an understanding that it is going to be a huge year. In August I will be moving to Arizona to start my first year of veterinary school. That in itself, even if I did nothing else exciting this year, would make 2019 a big year for me. I will be 23 when I move, and in my 23 years I have only lived in Roseville, Lincoln, and Davis, California. I was born in Sacramento, California... So, all within a 1-hour drive of each other. Moving to Phoenix-area will put me a 13-hour drive from my family and friends, and potentially have me leaving my boyfriend Ian behind so he can continue pursuing his engineering career in the Silicon Valley.
I have a lot of hopes and goals for the year, many of which I hope I can achieve prior to moving to Arizona in August, but a few of which will have to take place in Arizona! Here they are, separated into a few personal goals and a few Gallon goals (which I also take very personally).
1. A typical and usual one - Be healthier! I have realized how lucky I am to live on this planet and have a body to carry me through it - So I need to take care of it. Undergraduate was not good for me health-wise. I am starting by eating better and exercising more. I am already an avid water drinker, so if I could just get my butt outside to exercise a bit more and eat less (with more greens!) I would be a happy camper.
2. Try a new riding discipline - I am hoping either mounted archery or polo. Updates to come when it happens!
3. Be brave when I move to Arizona. This is a kinda ridiculous one, but I am completely and totally a habitual person, and I do not do well with an initial change. After a bit, I usually can propagate and flourish wherever I am, but leaving Davis behind initially is going to be hard for me - I may cry the whole was to AZ! Especially if I am driving away from my family, Ian, and Gallon. Change is scary for me, so I want to try to embrace it, come August.
4. Ride in a horse show before leaving for veterinary school - It has been way too long since the last time I showed!
1. Take Gallon to a horse show. I don't care if we actually show or not, but I would love to take him on a field trip and get dressed up for it, just so we can play the part if only for a day
2. Get Gallon over a crossbar with me on board
3. Find Gallon a great facility in AZ and move him to Arizona as soon as possible after I move, once the weather cools down. (I do not want him traveling in the Arizona heat since I head down there in August!)
4. Keep him happy and healthy and continue improving our relationship in all aspects
Aside from my listed goals, I also have some vague ones - Like being better in general. I want to be a better daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, and overall citizen of the Earth. I hope to share my passions with others and make a difference in any way that I can. And in doing that, I hope to discover some new passions.
I also have a continued goal of traveling to at least one new place each year - This year it will be Seattle, WA in February, and hopefully a few other places, too.
I don't know what this year will bring or what other goals I will unveil on the way to 2020, but I have huge hopes, for me and for you. Cheers to 2019!
Some highlights from 2018