If any of the thousands of pictures I took this year could sum up 2019, it'd be this one.
I loved 2019. It was a year of incredible growth, adventures, and friendships. I spent a lot of time working on my daily life: I feel like I was finally able to implement a lot of healthy habits I've been aiming for, and start really living as myself.
2019 was me being spontaneous. It was me getting stranded on the side of a highway in Scotland for an afternoon, hitchhiking across an island, visiting 39 different cities across 6 different countries.
2019 was me getting comfortable with myself. It was beginning to understand who I am and being okay with it. It was learning from others, and spending a lot of time alone.
2019 was me exploring. It was hiking an extinct volcano at noon, at sunrise, at sunset, and then at midnight. It was me walking out of my house, putting on "Home" by Dotan in my headphones, and choosing whether to turn left or right.
2019 was up and down. It was a lot of emotions, but also learning how to handle them. It was me facing things I've been scared of for a long time. It was so, so much progress.
2019 was losing a close friend. Someone who spread so much love and brought sunshine into a room. We are so grateful for the time we had with him. I still don't understand how to comprehend this new reality, this world without him.
2019 was me connecting with the earth. It was learning more about climate change and feeling sad and anxious about the future, but also empowered by the efforts around me. It was taking most meat out of my diet and paying more attention to the space I take up in the world. It was me appreciating my food and resources all the more because of it.
2019 was me finding contentment. It was looking around and realizing that I'm doing so much better than I was two years ago, and being intensely grateful for that. It was me learning how to thrive - understanding what hurts or helps me, what makes me feel alive.
2 0 1 9 I N A N U T S H E L L
reading goal: 45 books // actually read: 27 books!
favorite book read: "Riding the Earthboy 40" by James Welch. I didn't expect to pick a poetry book assigned for a class as my top book of 2019, but this one was simply gorgeous. It's influenced me long past the day I read it in one sitting, aloud to myself, on my porch, and I keep it as an example of absolutely stellar writing.
places travelled: [US] Grand Lake, CO; Chicago, IL
[UK] Scotland (Edinburgh, Iona, North Berwick, Balloch, Isle of Skye, Glasgow, Fort William, Loch Shiel, Glen Coe, Inverness, Linlithgow, the Pentlands); England (London, Manchester, York)
[EU] Ireland (Cork, Dublin, Howth), Portugal (Faro, Lagoa, Porto, Lisbon), Netherlands (Amsterdam)
hours of music listened to: 847
A large handful of my favorites artists from this year: Maggie Rogers, Bear Attack!, Corey Kilgannon, Grouplove, The Head and the Heart, Phoebe Bridgers, Novo Amor, Seafret, Julien Baker, Taylor Swift, Vance Joy, Bright Eyes, Better Oblivion Community Center, Ben Platt, The National Parks, Beck, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Hippo Campus, Lucy Dacus, Said the Sky, Noah Kahan, Gabriel Kahane, Billie Marten, Jack Johnson, Fenne Lily, Wild Rivers, dodie, Daughter, Bug Hunter, Alex G, Aquilo, Dotan, gray, Charlie Burg, and King Princess.
If you want a running list of indie/folk music recommendations, follow my "artists" playlist on Spotify (@cdmeek)!
this year in writing: I've been working on some poetry and journaling a lot. I'm currently a poetry editor for earthwords at the University of Iowa.
words for the year: spontaneity. growth. challenge. love. new. freedom.
L O O K I N G T O W A R D S 2 0 2 0
reading goal: 35 books
writing: journal daily, keep writing/editing poetry,
attempt a daily creative writing routine!
mind: meditation several times a week
movement: yoga/run/gym several times a week
1 0 - Y E A R B L O G A N N I V E R S A R Y
Finally, happy TENTH BIRTHDAY to this blog! January 1, 2020 marked an entire decade since smol Caroline sat down on her Gramma's old Mac computer to write her first blog post. Thanks to my wonderful dad for encouraging me to start it and helping me set it all up.
This blog post is getting pretty long, but we've been here for a whole decade! That's just under half of my life. What in the world happened during those ten, incredibly formative years of my life? Here are a few highlights...
D E C A D E I N A N U T S H E L L
In no particular order...
- I got through middle school, graduated high school, and completed two and a half years of college.
- I started a blog.
- I built a lot of blanket forts, and climbed a lot of trees.
- I published 3 collections of poetry, 4 anthologies, was published in several poetry journals.
- I lived in the US, Costa Rica, and Scotland, and visited four other countries.
- I jumped off a 20-foot cliff into the Colorado river.
- I hitchhiked across a Scottish island with an awesome travel buddy.
- I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, and started taking medication for it. That, as well as working on a healthy daily routine, has made a huge difference!
- I practiced and learned about, with varying degrees of dedication, four different languages (Spanish, Nepali, Scottish Gaelic, & French)
- I was hit by a car while in a crosswalk, on the way home from a final (this happened three weeks ago, and I'm okay, just bruised)
- I played two sports competitively (volleyball in high school, and ultimate frisbee in college)
- I read approximately 350 books? 400? This is a wild estimate.
- I moved into a house in my college town with two of my best friends.
- I finished two first drafts of fiction novels, one at 90k words (2012) and the other at 70k (2017)!
- I generally could not be kept indoors, and skipped classes to stay in my hammock.
I did a lot of other things, but those are the ones you get to hear about today :)
To everyone who I've met, adventured with, said goodbye to, grown with, and loved: thank you for letting me in. I'm so thankful our paths crossed.