Did you ever play a song one last time, just for the memories? I remember going to bed on the eve of my 16th birthday, playing Taylor Swift’s ‘Fifteen’ one last time while I could still relate to it. So, just for the sake of tradition, I blasted 22 on the way home from work this evening before my 23rd birthday.
I don’t know about you, but 22 was one crazy year of my life. It’s been both the most challenging and most adventurous year to date, and while it’s been full of a lot of tears and doubts, it’s also been full of new friends, new places and new discoveries. So, as an ode to the year that was ’22’, here are 22 things that have happened in the past year.
- We settled into our first home together. Technically we moved into our own place after getting married when I was 21, but it took a while to settle in. I enjoyed buying rugs and candles and bed sheets to make our little apartment cosy and homey. Our first place was little, our neighbours were noisy and lots of weird creepy crawlies seemed to get in between the gaps in the floorboards, but none of that mattered to me. It was a beautiful thing to call it ‘ours’.
- We road-tripped to Melbourne. Our first non-honeymoon holiday was a whirlwind trip to Melbourne. We packed up the car, drove nine hours and settled into the first Airbnb we had ever rented. Peter attended an interview, we visited cafes, bought coffee beans, and went to our favourite restaurant for the first time. This is when we started seriously thinking that a move to Melbourne might just be on the horizon.
- I travelled on my own. Not far… just back to Melbourne. I boarded a plane to trial for my first publishing job, and spent a week working with the company. Somehow, I managed to get to Melbourne, hire a car and find my way to a family friend’s house over an hour away without getting lost once. I also had a complete break down in the middle of the week about moving to Melbourne and spent an hour on the phone to Peter one evening saying ‘I can’t do this’. I guess it turns out I can.
- I got my first publishing job. As a result of the above work trial trip, I landed my first job in publishing. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. It’s been great experience, and one I’m sure I’ll always be glad I’ve had.
- Peter got into his course. This moment was both the most excited and the most scared I’ve been. After waiting for almost a year, and talking about it for much longer, he got the email. He looked at me. He yelled ‘MELBOURNE BABY!’, picked me up and spun me around the room. We cried and laughed and celebrated with champagne.
- We hosted a New Years Eve party for 25 people. In our tiny apartment. For years we’ve organised parties, but always at our parents’ houses. It was wonderful squishing into such a tiny space with people we love so much. The whole place smelled of home-cooked fried chicken and slow baked pulled pork, I spent a whole day perfecting lemon meringue pie, and everyone crashed on beanbags (which covered the whole floor) before lighting sparklers at midnight.
- We packed our bags. The very next day, we started the dreaded task of packing everything we own into cardboard boxes. It was long and emotional, but we felt so showered with love as our friends and family gathered around us and pitched in to help us pack our boxes and fill the truck.
- We moved. My lovely parents drove all of our stuff to Melbourne in a rented truck (in high-vis gear I might add!) and we left the following day. We drove to a lookout, said goodbye to the city we fell in love in, and drove all the way to Melbourne.
- We settled into a new city. I say settled, but I’m still in the process. Moving interstate after living in the same city for 22 years is a big deal – at least it has been for me. Slowly but surely, we’ve settled into a bustling city rhythm in a great little suburb where everything we could ever want (except a beach) is within a 10 minute walk. It’s certainly a new way of life, but it’s slowly and surely becoming our way of life. We love our unit (which is probably twice the size of our old one) and our guest room is getting an awesome work out with visits from beautiful friends and family.
- We joined a great new church. Laneway Church has become our Melbourne family. The day we moved, our pastor (who we had only ever spoken to on the phone) rocked up at our unit and helped us unload the truck. His amazing wife had cooked us a meal, and we immediately felt like we had friends in Melbourne. I can’t even explain the difference that this has made in my life this year. We’ve found a place where we’re challenged, encouraged and are growing in every which way. We’ve made lifelong friends, and I’m so grateful that this was part of God’s plan for us.
- I broke my own record for flights. This year is a record air-travel year for me. Yay! Thankfully I love travel, and while exploratory travel is great, there’s nothing like flying home to loved ones. The Melbourne to Sydney trip has become a very familiar one (12 flights by the year’s end), and we’ve been very blessed to have lots of weddings to fly home for, amongst other excuses. One of the funnest things we’ve been able to do was to surprise my parents in law, who knew I was back in town, but had no idea that we had flown Peter back on a later flight.
- My first car was written off. This is one of those not-so-great events. In a messy incident with a big delivery van that broke the law, crossed a double white line and rammed into my driver-side door while I was in the car, my beloved silver Getz (fondly named ‘Silvester’) was written off completely. Nobody was hurt, which is the main thing… but it sure was sad to see my first ever car being towed away, never to be driven again.
- We bought our first ‘together’ car. Saying goodbye was sad, but buying a car with Peter was exciting. We only had one car, which had previously been mine, so to have something that we had chosen together was fantastic. We chose a bright green Mazda 2, which Peter has affectionately named ‘The Snot Rocket’. The name is still in contention.
- We were a bridesmaid and best man for the first time. You know what’s almost as good as getting married? Watching your best friends get married, and standing by their side while they promise their lives to each other. Our friends Richard and Georgia got married in May – it was such a joyous day, and we felt so blessed to be a part of it.
- We became an aunty and uncle. Nothing could have prepared me for how much love a big person can have for a little one. I spent eight months knitting a tiny little blanket, praying for this little person that God was creating, and waiting for him to arrive. Holding him for the first time was wonderful, but even more wonderful was seeing Peter scoop him up and cuddle him close.
- We started our own traditions. I’m a big fan of family traditions, and it’s been fun to see some of our own little family traditions developing. We might be a family of two, but we’re loving doing life together. Saturdays are often spent walking the 15 minutes to our favourite cafe for a coffee, or the local lebanese bakery for some of the cheapest and yummiest food we’ve experienced in Melbourne. We’ve figured out our own way to do birthdays and Christmases, and I have to admit, I love it.
- We celebrated one year of marriage. I can’t believe we’ve been married for well over a year now. It feels like yesterday that I was stepping into that white dress and promising my life to the man of my prayers. Marriage has been incredible. I didn’t think I could know Peter any better than I did, yet I learn something new about him every week. It’s been a hard year for us in many ways, with a big move, unanswered questions, some heartache and home-sickness (mostly on my part). But through it all, there’s a great sense of togetherness that comes through tackling things together. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner, and I’m so glad that the first year was only the start of the adventure.
- We’ve been blessed with surprises. We’ve felt so loved by so many people. I won’t go into detail, but we have been constantly surprised by people looking out for us and loving us in unexpected ways. It’s made us cry many happy tears, and we are so thankful.
- I freelanced. My eyes were opened to the world of freelancing this year, and it’s been a lot of fun. I got an ABN earlier in the year, and have had a great time writing articles for magazines both at work and from home. While I can’t see it ever becoming a full-time job, freelancing has allowed me to write about my interests… and actually get paid for it!
- We started a collaborative blog. Winsome has been a fun project! Along with a good friend, and with design and tech help from Peter, we’ve put together a website that I’m really proud of. It’s full of articles aimed at young women, and I’m excited to see it grow and develop with time and with extra contributors!
- I realised how much I love hosting. Peter and I have always loved a full house. I’ve always felt like I sit somewhere in between introvert and extrovert, and this year has really cemented that for me. I thrive off having people in our home, feeding them, making a comfy bed for them, and leaving chocolates on pillows. It’s also helped me to relish my alone time, make the most of ‘us’ time, and forced me to learn how to cook new things and get creative with folding towels. It’s the little things.
- I’ve become a full-fledged foodie. I regret to say it… but I blame Melbourne. It’s no secret that Melbourne is home to some of the world’s finest cuisine, and it’s no myth either. Melbourne has everything you could imagine eating (ok, maybe not everything), and we’re loving the opportunity to discover our favourite places. We’ve had a couple of misses, but a lot of hits. If you need a restaurant to visit, flick us a message… we can point you in a few right directions.
It’s been an emotional roller-coaster. Honestly, some days I wake up and feel like a completely different person, living a different person’s life – but I’m excited about life, and excited about what God has in store for chapter 23.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.