Typically, I could start this out by saying something along the lines of, “I can’t believe it’s already been a year” or “my how time flies”. Truth is, I completely believe it’s been a year, it almost feels like it’s been longer. There have been an abnormally high amount of changes in our lives this last year, more than most people see in a lifetime. Ryan not only graduated with his master’s but he has changed jobs, twice. The adjustment of him going into his last year as a student, would have been enough. Adding his student schedule into a few lifestyle changes we made (working out more and eating better) on top of just being settled in a new job and then moving twice into new positions made for some trying times. No lessons lost, we have successfully survived and are once again settling into a new normal, if there ever will be such a thing.
One thing that remained just as consistent in our relationship as our mutual passion for nachos, has been our love to travel. The numerous out of town stays and California road trips have all been our way of rewarding ourselves and maintaining the right balance of work and play. Every step we have taken, photo we have captured, meal we have shared, some documented and some held privately for only us to remember, have all contributed to the best year yet. Since I turned thirty-one, we have celebrated almost anything we could use as an excuse to celebrate. We have seen parts of the earth that we never knew existed, in our own backyard. Most importantly, we have created moments and memories so exceptional that some may never be told.
As I work on completing the third and final installment of our trip to Monterey, I think about the intention I had a year ago when writing my first post. I was unclear then as to just what my intention really was. I knew I wanted to write because it was my favorite part of school and a part of myself I have missed. I knew I wanted to showcase our photography, have an outlet to feature something we genuinely enjoy doing and constantly grow in. I knew I wanted to talk about local businesses and promote the benefits of supporting local community, wherever that “local” might be. I knew I wanted to be authentic. What I didn’t know was, what is my point? Sometimes I will be in the middle of writing about some meal we loved or a view we shot and I can hear the voice in the back of my head that usually sounds just like my dad saying, but what is the point? For the most part, I still don’t know. What I do know is the process of figuring that out has been one of the healthiest outlets I have ever put into my life. For the first time in my life I have a project that I have total control over and can do whatever I want to with and the freedom has been therapeutic.
I know that I would probably keep this up even if no one was listening. For my own selfish reasons, the documentation of my most treasured moments is something I would most likely want to have regardless. I mean, I am from the generation that birthed social media. However, the level of effort I put into making this as enjoyable for someone to read as it was for me to experience is extremely dependent on having an audience. The one thing I have heard myself say more this last year than I have in my entire life is, “I can’t believe people are reading.”
My gratitude is immense. It is larger than my vocabulary so I struggle with delivering the thanks I feel you deserve. Just know, anytime someone tells me they have read something I have put into the universe, I am humbled. LA-normal started as something for Ryan and I to share that my mom and her immediate group of girlfriends occasionally read. It has become something that has received positive feedback from the most unlikely of sources. To our family, friends, colleagues, local businesses, wineries and even a handful of strangers, I thank you. We thank you.
Cheers, to LA-normal turning one. Cheers, to whatever year number two has ahead.
Most importantly, cheers, to you!
*Noodle Note: In honor of a word I despise and the phenomenon that I am shamelessly guilty of, our last 365 days summed up in a collection of selfies. Because, a little vanity and whole lot of humor never hurt nobody. xoLA