2016 was probably the worst year of my life. It was also the best year of my life. I made a valiant effort to write an in-depth reflection that turned into exactly what you’d expect: a sad, incomprehensible ramble that largely ignored 11 months out of the year. There’s enough of that coming up, so I scrapped it in favor of a new idea.

I really can’t explain all of the ways in which 2016 changed me, so I decided to sift through the photos on my phone and computer to find some to represent my year.

A few self-imposed rules:

  • I couldn’t choose photos that had already been posted on social media.
  • I could only choose photos that have me in them (otherwise this would have ended up being a gallery of wildlife. And also this is all about personal growth or whatever.)
  • I had to include photos from each month (turns out, this was impossible, but I tried. Stupid June.)

I’m going in backwards chronological order, for reasons.

Dec. 22 – Matagalpa, Nicaragua: Reading in my room while Holmaris is her usual sneaky self.
Dec. 5 – Matagalpa, Nicaragua: Do you ever look at a photo and just remember how genuinely happy you were in that moment? This is one of those photos for me.
Nov. 10 – Managua, Nicaragua: I know this looks almost exactly like some other pictures I’ve posted, but I swear it’s different, and I love these guys too much not to share their faces more.
Nov. 4? – Catarina ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฎ : Penultimate batido of training with the best squad a girl could ask for. Also I kind of cheated and stole this off the batido place’s Facebook page, but it doesn’t exist on mine so I’m callin’ it fair.
Oct. 30 – Niquinohomo: Sliced my finger open trying to cut my hair with a razor blade. Also, no joke, this is the only photo of myself that I have from October.
Sept. 30 – Managua: Walking that fine line between confident and cocky with the only person I’ve found who’s on my level.

Sept. 28 – Estelรญ: Practicum week was crazy in so many ways, but I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to work with a teacher as wonderful as Mariela.
Aug 19 – Niquinohomo: Squeezing 4 people in the back of a moto taxi like it ain’t no thang.
Aug. 9 – Springfield, MO: One last selfie with my momma at the airport. Neither of us cried.
Aug. 4 – Springfield, MO: Best big sister in the whole damn galaxy.
Aug. 4 – Springfield, MO: Miss him and his shenanigans.
Aug. 4 – Springfield, MO: Forever thankful for this friendship.
Aug. 4 – Springfield, MO: Missing our walks and talks.
Jul. 18 – Missouri: Sweet baby snuggles make everything better.
Jul. 15 – Ohio: Who won this game? I feel like maybe it just devolved into Conner family madness?
Jul. 13 – Ohio: Y’ALL. This. Cake.
Jul. 13 – Ohio: AND HOMEMADE ICE CREAM. With my favorite almost-5-year-old.
Jul. 5 – Denali National Park, Alaska: Barefoot and crazy in the Teklanika River.

Ok, I don’t know what happened, but I literally took no photos in June. Oops. That’s okay, because May and July are awesome, right?

May 14 – St. Louis, MO: Fancy sisters at a wedding.
May 14 – St. Louis, MO: Their vows almost had me in tears.

May 12 – New York, NY: This sweet innocent soul has no idea she’s about to run almost 2 miles in that outfit.
May 9 – Dallas, TX: It may look like we’re about to escort some gentlemen to an underground card game, but really we’re going to a Beyoncรฉ concert.
May 9 – Dallas, TX: ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ‹
May 8 – Springfield, MO: Best friends, at least for that day.
Apr. 23 – Chicago, IL: ๐Ÿท ๐ŸŽจ ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝโ€๐ŸŽจ
Apr. 23 – Chicago, IL: ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ
Apr. 17 – Home: Dad’s birthday, Dad’s shirt, Dad’s favorite dessert.
Apr. 2 – South Bend, IN: There’s no workout quite like dancing for hours in 5 inch heels ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿฝ
Mar. 26 – Roaring River, MO: Riley caught his first fish ๐ŸŽฃ
Mar. 10 – Chuck E. Cheese: #aunthood
Mar. 6 – Home: “Music’s the only thing that makes sense anymore. Play it loud enough, it keeps the demons at bay.”
Feb. 27 – Kansas City, MO: Sangria and shopping with big sister.
Feb. 20 – Home: Sewing a button on my favorite Dad shirt.
Feb. ? – Home: Testing out the new porch swing. On the ground. In the house.
Jan. 3 – Kansas City, MO: Freezing my buns off with my faves at the game.

Okay, so I think I’m about to get…sentimental?

When I decided to do this photo recap for 2016, I didn’t really know what I wanted to achieve. After spending a day compiling and posting these photos, one thing was abundantly clear: I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by this many people who love and support me.

This year started off shitty. 2016 will always, first and foremost, be the year I lost my dad. January was by far the hardest month of my life, but 2016 still managed to bring me joy.

It was a year when I was able to bounce all around the country (Indiana, Illinois, Texas, New York, Alaska, Ohio) and then move to Nicaragua.

It was the year I swore in as a Peace Corps volunteer.

The year when I saw Beyoncรฉ and Hamilton in the same week.

Looking through these photos and thinking about the many unphotographed or unrepresented moments throughout the year, I feel incredibly lucky. I have a huge extended family who loves me. I have friends from school and work who dropped everything to be there when I needed them. I have Peace Corps friends who continue to help me through the hard moments, no questions asked.

People who listen when I need it. Who repeatedly tell me they’re here for me. Who feed my sweet tooth. Who give good hugs. Who make me laugh even when I think it’s impossible.

I would be completely and utterly lost here without them.

In a year of loss and change, I’m grateful to have the best of the best standing by my side.

Besos & abrazos, y’all.

14 thoughts on “2016

  1. Gramps January 5, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€โ›„๏ธโ›„๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคก๐Ÿคก๐Ÿคก๐Ÿคก๐Ÿคก๐Ÿคก๐Ÿคกknow what????your pretty special!!!!


  2. Michelle Conner January 6, 2017 / 6:21 am

    That was really nice!! Happy New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jackie January 6, 2017 / 7:25 am

    This is beautiful and made me weirdly emotional.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jade January 6, 2017 / 8:20 am

      Thought of you specifically as I wrote it. Even after years of living far away from each other, you continue to be an incredible friend. Love you ๐Ÿ˜˜


      • Jackie January 6, 2017 / 8:27 am

        Love you too โค wouldn’t have survived this far without you!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Anna January 6, 2017 / 9:10 am

    I lost it at the the crates of albums all over the room and the Across the Universe quote. Also the Dad’s Birthday, Dad’s Shirt, Dad’s fave dessert.

    I miss you incredibly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jade January 6, 2017 / 9:17 am

      Love you, darling. I went in backwards chronological order mostly because I was worried that starting with January would set a sad tone for the whole post, which was for the best because by the time I got to the beginning of the year, there’s just this massive gap in my photos. They’re all like screenshots of WebMD (because I felt like I was having panic attacks) and screenshots of Bible verses about death. I’m so glad I dug up ONE picture for January. And it’s a cute one of us eeeeeeeeeee ๐Ÿ˜Š


      • Anna January 6, 2017 / 9:25 am

        Love you too. โค I love the backwards order. The perceptions and meaning in "time" can change dramatically when manipulating time itself. We see events as sad and tragic as we move linearly, but maybe not so much if we look in a different way. Omg I look like Smรฉagol in that pic, but I still love it. THAT DAY WAS SO COLD. Remember that obnoxious guy who was spilling beer everywhere? I TOTALLY REPORTED HIM but no one wanted to walk up that high to yell at him cause it was subzero. Worth it anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nicole January 6, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    Even far away, you’re always there when I need someone to talk to. This is a beautiful recap of your very difficult and adventurous year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jade January 6, 2017 / 1:46 pm

      Thanks for always being there when I needed you! You helped me so much.


  6. Kay Sublett January 7, 2017 / 9:04 am

    Well, I’ve said it before, I am so very proud of you. You’ve had a good background of love and interest in your life growing up. I love keeping up with you and your achievements. You just continue having faith in yourself and keep up the good work. Love you bunches. Hugs.


    • Jade January 7, 2017 / 7:24 pm

      Love you too, Grandma!


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