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  • Jessica Stough

Goodbye 2022 and Hello 2023 – Ready for Another Year of Adventures!

“Plant seeds every single day that you know who you are, you know what you’re about and you know what goals you’ve set for yourself.”Stephen Curry, athlete


Here’s to another year, right? We’ve made it. We are all collectively about to say peace out to 2022 and hello to the year 2023. Much like every other year, 2022 has certainly had its share of ups and downs (or at least it has for me, but I’m sure the same is true for everyone else too).


Last New Year’s was the first year that I really sat down and thought through the past year (Reminiscing 2021 and Looking Toward 2022 Goals). It was never a New Year’s thing for me to reflect on the prior year, but I really enjoyed looking at everything I had done or accomplished – as well as anything that I wanted to make sure to change for the year ahead.


I truly enjoyed looking back like I did last year – so, of course, I decided to do it again.



Travel Highlights

  1. The Big Island, Hawaii

  2. Colorado

  3. Cancun, Mexico


The Big Island, Hawaii


Hawaii was an incredible experience. After having been there once before, we still had more islands to cross off our bucket list (and still do, for that matter). With that, we were able to explore the big island on this trip. I was even able to come back home with a permanent souvenir. My eel bite led me to later get an eel tattoo to commemorate the trip and prove as a constant reminder that I did, in fact, get bit by an eel in Hawaii.

We were not able to hike nearly as many of the trails as I wanted to while there, so I would love to eventually go back and visit again. The mountain hikes will definitely be the highest priority – and the ocean will be the lowest priority.


Full Hawaii blog posts can be found here (days 1, 2, and 3), here (days 4, 5, and 6), and here (days 7 and 8).


Colorado


Colorado, as it always is, was absolutely amazing. This year, we upgraded our camping style to a rooftop tent for the truck. It worked perfectly, allowing us tons of space in the cab and bed of the truck, while also minimizing our set up and tear down times for our campsites. Moving forward, we will be utilizing the rooftop tent for the trip out there (when we stop somewhere in Nebraska) and for the trip back as well (if we don’t drive straight through).

We ventured out into some new areas of Colorado on this trip. The most notable thing that we did, though, was definitely hiking the Mt. of the Holy Cross. As a fun fact, for Christmas, I received a Colorado Fourteener guidebook. The Mt. of the Holy Cross is the only fourteener in the entire guide that says, “Mileage is x, but feels like x.” The actual distance was 12 miles roundtrip, but according to the guide, it feels closer to 20. No wonder Buzz’s whittle weggies were so worn out by the end of the hike!

Another awesome part of the trip was getting a chance to not only visit our incredible uncle, but also a chance to visit a good friend that had recently moved to the Denver area. Spending time in Colorado just the two of us (and Buzz!) is amazing on its own, but getting a chance to spend time there with good people makes it even better.


Full Colorado blog posts can be found here (part 1), here (part 2), and here (Mt. of the Holy Cross hike).


Cancun, Mexico


Cancun was much later in the season than we typically vacation (right after Thanksgiving), so it was a really recent trip. We had such a blast while we were there, despite some hiccups here and there with the travels.


I will absolutely never forget swimming with the dolphins, ziplining upside down, or visiting the first (for us) of the Seven New Wonders of the World. We are hopeful and expect to actually cross another off of our bucket lists soon – more to come on that at a later time, though, and in a later blog post!

Full Cancun blog posts can be found here (part 1) and here (part 2).

 

Race Highlights

  1. Alternate Chili Ten Mile Trail Run

  2. Relay Iowa

  3. The Second Annual Buzz Run + Downtown Dog Walk

  4. Market to Market

  5. Tails ‘N Trails

Just like last year, I did not list the race highlights in any particular order. I can assure everyone reading that the race I created myself (The Buzz Run) did not get just a bronze medal in my book of races for 2022. I also feel it is necessary to note that if I could count the Knoxville Cancer Relay as a race highlight, I definitely would – but it was much less a race than just a good time with a bunch of people who love to run and raise money for a good cause.

Another notable “race” was being a running buddy again for Girls on the Run – but this year, I got to be a running buddy for a girl who got her love of running from watching me. She watched me for months as I coached others through their running journey, ran my own runs, and even brought her along for other runs. When I suggested Girls on the Run to her, she was beside herself with excitement. Being able to help her cross that finish line was an amazing opportunity.

As far as life goes for 2022, our worlds were completely flipped upside down when we became licensed foster parents early in the year. By April, we had our first full-time placement. By June, we were empty nesting again. Then, to make things even more interesting, before the end of July we had accepted another full-time placement.


The road has been rocky at best – it’s probably been more like an unmaintained level B road – but we’ve managed. Although difficult and trying at times (a lot of times), it has been a great experience to know the difference we are making in these childrens’ lives. Plus, as Zac mentioned, “It’s been hard, but can you imagine how boring things would have been this year without all of this?” Touché, Zac, boring indeed.

 

Now, 2022 was also the first year I ever sat down and created a vision board. I didn’t by any means expect that vision board to remain my work computer background throughout all of 2022, but it did. I loved looking at it and rereading the reminders, goals, and intentions I had set for myself throughout the entire year. I felt like seeing it every day reminded me to stick with my goals – as silly as that may sound. There may have still been days I didn’t eat as healthy, and there were certainly days where I wasn’t grounded and mindful. That’s what is so awesome about goals, though – we can continue to strive for them (which is also why I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, I do goals).


With that, I decided to continue on with the new tradition I started last year and make a 2023 vision board. My vision board is filled with all of the things that are huge parts of my life – travel, dogs, running, and general health. It also includes things I want to focus more on or continue to focus on – reading, yoga, mindfulness, self care, and overall general positivity.

Family, of course, is also a part of my 2023 vision, but not necessarily pictured on the board. Why would I leave off something so important? Well, I didn’t. Family is between the lines. Family is traveling with Zac, my absolute favorite person, on adventures to unknown places. It’s walking the dogs in the evenings together. It’s reading books about being a foster mama, and growing in my role as a provider to kiddos who need me.


Maybe most importantly, though, family is the self care, yoga, mindfulness, and positivity. As we all know, we can’t fill someone else’s cup if ours is empty – so family is making sure that I’m taking care of me so I can be the best version of myself for Zac and the rest of the family. It’s continuing to “do me” so I can be the positive influence that I need to be for the kiddos around me.

 

Past my goals and intentions, I don’t entirely know what 2023 will bring. All I know is that I’m going to give it my all, and I hope you all do as well. Whether it be more adventures, more happiness, more calm, or more experiences, may 2023 bring each and every one of you reading this anything and everything you need it to bring.


With that, I’ll leave you all with a quote from the wise G-Eazy, “Yeah, my whole squad up. We never gon' give up. Rich as [****]. I can't never hear, diamonds in my ear. Say this clear, I can't never feel. This gon' be my year. This my year. This 'gon be my year. This 'gon be my year. This my year.”

Happy, happy New Year – bring on 2023!

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