Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014: The Year in Review

I can't believe we're approaching the end of December. I've been down here in Florida for almost five months. FIVE MONTHS! How is this even possible? I feel like I just got to the sweatiest state in the USA yesterday! Time sure does fly when you're having fun and busy as heck, right? Well, as this year comes to a close, I really feel compelled to write about what happened in 2014, the best year of my life.

Some of you reading my blog probably don't know my "story" entirely. Let me take a moment to catch you up.

Since I was a young child, Disney has been my life. I first came to Disney when I was just nine years old. I've pretty much been addicted ever since then. My life's goal has always been to work for the Disney Company. I always said I could be sweeping the streets in Magic Kingdom for free and I'd be totally content. People in school knew me as the girl that A) loves to perform, and B) loves Disney. Still following? I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Fast forward to adulthood. I got married and bought a house at just nineteen years old. I also started a job at a bank that same year. A job that brought nothing but unhappiness to me. I felt unfulfilled. I lacked passion for the job. Still, I let the contentment of the "simple life" pull me down into the abyss of normalcy. For 7 1/2 years, I lived a life that made me feel lost and yearning for more. The entire time I knew that Disney was calling my name.

In February of this year, I experienced one heck of a breakdown. Crying in my kitchen, I told my husband that I couldn't go on living with myself anymore. I couldn't be that person, living that life.

Just a few weeks after that, I took the first steps toward my Disney journey. I took my first steps toward a more fulfilling life. From March 11th on, everything was different. My life was flipped upside down. Matt and I had so many struggles getting to Florida. I mean... SO MANY STRUGGLES. Virtually nothing about this adventure was easy. Yet, here we are. Five months later. Still standing and I'm living my dream. Actually living my dream. You have no idea what that means to me.

Every day that I'm at work, I have to pinch myself. Seriously. I've been given so many amazing opportunities and created so much magic in just five months. It's so emotionally overwhelming to think about the fact that I'm doing what I always said I wanted to do. While not every day is amazing at work, I'm still thankful for being here and having the chance to make the next day better than the last.

The highlights of my job so far would definitely have to be experiencing the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show with Anna and Elsa, as well as spending a few nights with Flynn and Rapunzel at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Both events totally made me incredibly emotional. It was all so surreal. I'm lucky that I had the most wonderful partners on those days to help me, encourage me, and share in making special memories for ourselves, as well as guests. There's no possible way I could ever express to my co-workers (and now, friends) how much their kindness meant to me on those very special days.

Job stuff aside, I have had some pretty memorable life experiences as well. I lived through the craziest Michigan winter since I've been alive. Matt and I took our friends to Disney World back in February to celebrate Matt's 30th birthday. I came ridiculously close to being hit by a vehicle when a minivan drove into my bank when I was working by myself. I traveled to the amazingly perfect Roxbury Motel in the Catskills to celebrate my wedding anniversary with Matt. At the end of summer, I finally quit my job in banking and moved from Sturgis to Orlando. I finally got the chance to take Matt and my mom to New Smyrna Beach, which was amazing. Matt and I traveled to Chicago to finally see Yusuf/Cat Stevens live, after ten years of being hardcore fans. Last, but not least, I met so many incredible people here in Florida that have truly changed my life for the better.

If you missed any of my previous blog posts about my Florida adventure this year, I'll help you out and link you to some of the highlights.

One of the happiest and scariest blog posts I've ever written... right before I accepted the position with Disney. 

Three months into my Florida Life...

What I love about this new life...

Picture time? Yeah. Picture time.