Things that changed me in 2018-
2018 was my first full year as an “adult’”. Boy, what a year it was! I started the year out engaged and looking to find rest. Somehow 2018 had some of my favorite moments of my life but also the worst season of my life. I found rest at rock bottom.
Below are the 10 most important things that happened in my 2018 year of living!
- 100% commission-based job
March 7th I will hit my official one year with America Family Life Assurance Company, also known as AFLAC! God made it so clear and still makes it clear that this is the line of work He wants me to do. But it’s is 100% commission. I am an independent agent. I love it, but it is risky. Working on commission has grown my faith more than I could have ever imagined. I have to trust that the Lord will provide. It has grown my relationship with Adam in our first year of marriage starting with nothing and only having one consistent pay check. I have an awesome mentor/boss who has guided me through every stage of this process. Even though it was extremely difficult, I managed to be in the top four rookies in the state in Annualized Premium and second rookie in the state for most opened accounts with AFLAC!
- Getting Married (duh)
In 2018 I got to marry my best friend. It was the best day of my life. Having my family and close friends around me was so beautiful. The wedding was awesome, and the marriage has been such a learning experience. I honestly thought that we would rock marriage. Which we have, but I found out quickly that being married only means that I spend more time figuring myself out than I ever have in my life. We have had an awesome year of marriage. Adam saw me at rock bottom. He loved me through my worst. We built a strong foundation of communication, hobbies, finances and diets.
- EverlyWell food sensitivity test
I have always loved Shark Tank! I love it so much I wrote over 20+ pages about it for one of my senior classes. I love it even more now because it introduced me to a product that literally changed my life! What I ate in 2018 effected my whole day. I had no clue what was making me feel so drained. After doing my at-home blood work I got quick results back explaining that I was sensitive to so many things I had no idea about. This test helped me cut out foods that don’t make me feel my best. It tested my blood for sensitivity to over 90 foods and the results where shocking. For example, I am sensitive to all dairy, glutens or wheats, pear, basil, coffee …and the list goes on. That week I cut ALL these things out of my diet and I INSTANTLY felt like a new person!
- The Minimalist Challenge
I had heard of the Minimalist through their Netflix documentary. After watching half way through I was ready to start digging through my things. I spent each day of September getting rid of stuff! The challenge was to get rid of however many items that it was that day. For example, on the first day I got rid of one item I did not need. On the second day I got rid of two things I no longer needed, and so on till the 30th day of the month I got rid of 30 items that day. It was really hard but so re-refreshing! This changed my life in the way that it helped me not have a desire to go buy stuff. It has made me enjoy what I have and want what I have.
- Going to the doctor (monthly b-12 shots)
A little was stated about my health while talking about Everlywell. But a time came in 2018 where I could not get off the couch. I would wake up, work out, get dressed and fall straight back to sleep. I lacked all motivation and drive to do anything. I couldn’t work, house chores would be exhausting for me and I had no desire to make plans, let alone leave the house. It finally got to a point where I knew I needed to go to the doctor. After numerous tests I found out that my body had almost no B-12. The PA was shocked and gave me a Rx of b-12 shots to re-load my system. After three weeks I could tell a full 180 on how I felt. I was able to stay awake for a full day and work with joy! If I could do things differently, I would have gone to the doctor sooner. But I learned a lot about myself and will not let myself get to such a bad point again.
While I was in college it was extremely hard to excel in school work and read for fun. In my first year of ‘adulthood’ I knew I wanted to focus on reading for fun but still learning and growing! I was able to finally finish reading a few books I had already started and read so many great new books. This changed my year in a way that gave me peace and excitement I had not had in a long time. I was able to relate to authors and their stories and learn so many good life lessons.
- Starting a blog
The Lord had it on my heart for a very long time to start writing. I felt called to put ideas and stories on paper to share how good God is. 2018 was the right time to start a blog and strengthen my writing! I procrastinated the calling until October when I was just so sick of thinking about it and not making it happen. Within just a few months of writing, I learned a lot about myself, my relationship, community and so much more. Having a focus on writing just an hour a day has made me more scheduled and disciplined to make doing things I enjoy a priority in my life. It has not been an easy addition to my life, but it has been worth it.
- No-Spend Days
I am a minimalist that was raised on Dave Ramsey’s principles! this makes an interesting combo. I have been well trained on best money practices but also live in a culture where people spend and post on social media about it constantly. Adam and I have had very good conversations about money habits. We both agree we want to set good spending and saving habits to set us up for success. One of the habits I found out about was tracking No-Spend Days. Proven over and over again, the best way to save money is to not spend money! I am so goal-focused I thought this would be awesome for me to do. I tracked the first month of my No-Spend Days in October and it was a game changer! Tracking No-Spend Days has driven me to plan better with spending but also eliminate a lot of little purchases. For example, I use to be out working and want a small fry from Chick-fil-A. Harmless right? Just a few dollars and I am happy. But I don’t need the fries and saying no to spending those few bucks strengthens my mindset and spending habits to say no for other unneeded purchases. This practice has helped me to be more disciplined with planning the days I will be spending money. As well as strengthen my ability to say no to things I don’t need.
- The Shoreline Church
After graduating college, getting married and starting college I realized I had a lot of free time on my hands. Free time for a super type-A, highly motivated person like myself can be painful. I was so lucky to have a church that was willing to let me help out by creating social media content. It allowed me to add purpose to my life. I looked forward to Sundays and the community that was being built in my new season of life. In 2018 we were connected to so many incredible families that make us feel so loved and connected to Valdosta. We have been loved on so well and can love others the same. I saw God work in unbelievable ways in so many lives of people because of the community that God fostered through The Shoreline Church. Being a part of this community has been such a great change on my year!
- Dry Shampoo
Dry Shampoo has saved me so much time in 2018. I finally got so fed up with HAVING to wash and blow dry my hair EVERY day and then not being able to style it because I just spend so much time cleaning and drying my hair. I finally gave dry shampoo a try and OMG. I went from washing my hair every day to washing my hair once a week. From only styling my hair for special occasions to being able to style it and still save time every day. 2018 I only bought three or four sets of shampoo and conditioner and for sure saved some money on the grocery bill! My hair feels healthier, grows faster and I am able to have a quick and smooth morning routine. No more are the days taking forty-five minutes just to shower, wash and blow dry hair.
2018 was a roller-coaster of a year but these 10 things stick out to me the most about the things I will remember as I look back on 2018. Thank you to all the love, support, encouragement, friendship and community that supported me through this past year. I am so grateful for each one of you who had any part of my life in 2018.
Keep your head up high and your words filled with love,
Your friend, Colleen Howard!