Swan song: 2016 resolutions

2016

They say some of the most stressful events in life are getting married, moving, and starting a new job. We did all three in six months.

On top of that, I lost two grandparents, started traveling for work, and adopted a puppy. It’s safe to say that 2015 kicked my ass, but it was worth the fight.

This quote from the band States can sum up my 2015:

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That’s why for this coming year my personal mantra is “back to basics.” I lost my way a little this year, but I’m going to get back on track.

I listened to the Leave Your Mark audiobook by my unofficial mentor, Aliza Licht, and one of the most important takeaways was probably something she didn’t intend: Although our culture glorifies entrepreneurism and the #girlboss, there’s a lot to be said for those who invest their extra energy into advancing in their day jobs. Her story alone is inspiring. She started as a pre-med student from Long Island, and has built an empire on her work ethic and social savvy while climbing the career ladder. That’s why my 2016 includes shutting down this little side hustle, investing in my career, and spending more time with my husband & our fur baby.

But I also have some more specific goals. Here are my three new year’s resolutions for 2016:

  1. Become debt-free: 2016 will be the year I become debt-free. Luckily we didn’t go into any debt for our wedding or our move because we paid for everything in cash, but I’m still carrying around car payments and student loans. The quicker I pay those off, the more money I can add to our savings account each month.
  2. Send more love letters: Okay, maybe not literally love letters, but I believe in the power of snail mail. This year I was also inspired by Hannah Brencher and her mission to help strangers with greeting cards and love notes. (Watch her TED talk here.) I’m taking baby steps. My goal for 2016 is to send all of my besties a physical birthday card, rather than just a text or Facebook post.
  3. Actually read the books on my shelf: I am hereby placing myself on a book ban. I cannot buy any more books until I read all of the ones I currently have. I think the perfect time to start will be on our two-week Christmas break.

Thanks for everyone’s support over the past two years – it’s been a fun trip! Please keep in touch ❤️

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Current views: November

I often forget how close we are to Thanksgiving and Christmas because I’m still able to walk Rufio wearing a light jacket. These pretty 70-degree days are definitely throwing off my internal clock. Speaking of Rufio, I feel like we’ve really turned a corner with him in terms of training – he slept through the night for the first time, he’s eating more, and we taught him how to sit and lay down 🙂 This month also marked the first time I had to leave him to go on a business trip, and I worried about my little baby. Good thing our dog walker texts photo updates every day!

This year, we’ll be staying down south for Thanksgiving and having a “Friends-giving,” and I’m looking forward to the 4-day weekend to relax and cheer on the Panthers with my two boys. However, we’re already counting down to Christmas (I may or may not have started perusing the Christmas movies on Netflix) when we’ll be heading home to New York.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this past month:

How to lose a guy in 10 days

My new nameplate at work–current theme is favorite movies. “It’s a Chinese Crested!”

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10 things every confident woman has

10 things confident women have

An article I often refer back to is 8 things every happy woman should have on Thought Catalog. Not because I’m questioning my happiness, but because it’s kind of fun to check back periodically and see if/how my answers have changed.

While the article states that “happy” women have these 8 simple things, I think that it has more to do with confidence and self-assurance. It’s describing women who know who they are and what they like. I believe that once you have this down, you exude confidence, and confidence translates to happiness and contentment.

So I decided to make my own version of this list and fill in my answers. Feel free to share your answers in the comments below!
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Redefining success

Cold Tangerines

Lately I’ve been asking for patience. Adopting a puppy was more work than I anticipated, and sometimes I forget that he’s just that – a puppy. He’s growing & learning, and when he makes a mistake, it doesn’t mean that I did anything wrong or that I’m not training him correctly. It’s just what puppies do. This took me a while to grasp, but now that I have, I notice and experience the joy in the little moments of each day.
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Current views: Month 1 of the move

It’s hard to believe we’ve been living in North Carolina for a whole month now. We even had our first DMV experience and got our NC driver’s licenses. It’s definitely strange going from being Caitlin Mooney in NY to Caitlin Ryan in NC in just five short months. I think what I’ll look most forward to is the end of paperwork for change of name and address. I’m ready to dig in.

Between working from home and MPR working nights & weekends at the restaurant, I’ll admit I’ve been a bit of a shut-in. I think it will be better once we’re on the same schedule and I start working in an office again. I’ll also welcome the Fall season with open arms. Right now it’s hard to be outside for more than 15 minutes without jumping in a pool or running back in the A/C. Thankfully, we have a beautiful [maintenance-free] pool to jump in right outside where we also grill dinner and spend most evenings together. This has also been a great month for both of us professionally (more on that soon), which confirms that we made the right choice for the both of us.

We strive to take advantage of every free afternoon/evening we have to explore our new city together. Here are some snapshots of what we’ve been up to this last month.

Kate White book

Reading poolside

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Current views: Week 1 of the move

As of Wednesday of last week, 2015 was halfway over. Let that sink in. Not only were we looking forward to 2015 for what felt like forever in anticipation of our wedding, but we then moved 12 hours away from our friends and family – all in the first six months of this year. I am now a Mrs. and a North Carolina resident. Talk about major changes in a very short period of time.

But I was never scared. It was liberating to shove off on our own little adventure, start a brand new colony of two. I felt like my life in New York was okay. It was good. And I’ll miss all of my friends and Sunday dinners with my family, but I have this feeling in my gut that my life in Charlotte is going to be great. I’m looking straight ahead with great optimism and hope for our future.

I’d love to say that our apartment is already perfected down to every last detail, but there’s still a few lingering boxes. After work I’ve been stepping outside to our pool to soak up some vitamin D in a row of lounge chairs and leaving the unpacking for another day. Once it is complete, I promise to post a full apartment tour right here. In the meantime, here’s some views from our past week, starting with our going away party:

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The trouble with settling

the trouble with settling

As grad school came to a close,  I remember desperately applying for jobs in Connecticut and New York City. I not only wanted a job, but I wanted to avoid moving back home. For 22 years I dreamed of getting out of upstate New York, and I did not want to go back.

It’s not that there was anyone or anything there I wanted to avoid, but living there was never my dream. All throughout high school and college I dreamed of moving to a big city and never looking back. Plus I felt like moving back home, masters degree in hand, meant I was a failure. The idea of unpacking all of my stuff in my childhood bedroom was too disappointing to bear.

Well, graduation day came and I had no job, no prospects, and no money. So I packed up my Jetta and headed back to Albany.

What I didn’t know then, but know now, is that moving back home resulted in a lot of wonderful things. I developed stronger relationships with my family, I reconnected with high school friends, I made an entirely new group of friends through my now sister-in-law, I got my start in a real advertising agency where I made deep, life-altering connections, and MPR and I were able to get on our feet and get married. None of those things would have happened if I didn’t end up right back where I started.

Except now that old familiar feeling is back. There’s a restless stirring inside my soul, and a quiet voice asking me, “what’s next?”

And that’s the trouble with settling. With getting comfortable. Until I achieve my dreams, I’ll always have that voice asking me, “Now what?” I’m not ready for kids and a white picket fence and a yard. I’m not satisfied with the metaphorical ceiling I’ve hit in this market. MPR can’t continue killing himself at two jobs. So, now what?

Moving to Charlotte

We’re moving to Charlotte.

In exactly two weeks.

It’s not ‘the city.’ But it’s sunnier. And there’s abundant opportunity for both of us to fulfill our career goals, while being able to save the time and money to fulfill our personal goals, too. But more than that, it’s an adventure. It’s a chance to explore a new region, and I can’t wait to document every step, bump and climb along the way. So we’re packing up, heading out, and saying goodbye to upstate New York.

This was never my dream, but it’s been one hell of a place to rest my head.