{Instagram} Best of 2018: Year in Review

Greetings beloved friends and followers,

Believe it or not, 2018 is almost over y’all! I thank God for those of you who have traveled with me this year, whether you have been following me for a while through my social media platforms or in real life, or even if you just joined the journey this year or with the launch of my new blog.

Either way I am grateful for you. 2018 was not a “glamorous year” for me, but by far one of the most stressful and trying years of my life however, at the same time it also became a very triumphant year in many ways.

Professionally, finding myself spending 2018 working in, what I soon deemed, the worst RN position I’ve ever held in my entire thirteen year nursing career. I deemed it so for a number of reasons. Namely the system itself is broken in so many ways from top down, that it becomes utterly abusive, so much so that I had to join a nurses union to survive my first year of employment, but I digress.

Yet, ironically it is the highest paying employer of my career. Ha! Things that make you go hmmmm! I guess it’s how the system traps you.

Nevertheless, my self-care skills have never been more challenged, but also of ultimate necessity because of the above. As the high-demand work stress and leadership abuse I encountered on a daily broke me mentally, physically and even spiritually this year.

Physically I gained close to 30 pounds from the point I began the position a year ago to now, a stubborn 30 that has refused to leave no matter how hard I worked at maintaining some remnant of my self care habits my efforts and the desired progress were always eluding me.

The stresses of work honestly kept me extremely busy and void of the free time I desired to have for the activities I used to enjoy doing outside of work, that most of you who have been following me for a while know about.

Those that knew or followed me, especially on my social media platforms prior to 2018, knew me as a #fitgirl. An athlete, fitness model, figure-bikini bodybuilding competitor, personal trainer/yoga teacher and health and fitness lifestyle motivator. So, to watch my personal health and fitness life circle the drain brought on a number of emotions and anguish for me in 2018.

I battled depression, anxiety, anger, pain, and regret all at once. My outlook on life changed, and the desire to develop a sincere plan to change careers completely, and truly follow my passions versus what I felt that I was expected to do or be never became more real.

I spent more time this year alone in and out of doctor’s appointments and therapy for chronic joint pain than any 30 something adult would have cared to ever imagine. Much of which was brought on by the high amounts of work-related stress and weight gain, compounded atop previous athletic injuries and the prior wear and tear on my joints from musculoskeletal misalignment related to a condition called FAI (femoroacetabular impingement) syndrome that my body has had unknowingly to any of my doctors or my own family since my youth, that awaited my adulthood years to rear its painfully ugly head.

Needless to say, the above photo highlights the brighter side of my 2018. The moments when all was well in my world despite how much I was falling apart day in and day out on the inside and behind closed doors. The moments where I was surrounded by those who knew me best and loved me for the person I am today and have always been on the inside, and the woman that I am still becoming inside and out:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

~ Hebrews 12:1~

So not to make this a pity party post or anything, on a happier side of life, I will talk about the triumphant side of my 2018 with a review of some of my Top Nine Instagram posts that received the most love from YOU in 2018:

In 2018, thank you for traveling along sI took my oath of office as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force Air Guard/Reserve. A benchmark moment for my military career, as by the time I finally made it up in my mind in 2015 to join the military and serve my country, I was in my early thirties. Late Bloomer! At that time, I had initially enlisted into the Air Force Reserve, and when I think back on my short-term enlisted years and the training experiences I had, I can honestly say that those experiences prepared me well for the battles I encountered professionally in my civilian career life in 2018. Citizen Airman for life!

In 2018, another highlight of my year was the moments I spent with my church family at Church of the Highlands. Whether it’s going fishing, working out together, or simply praying together and doing life alongside one another. One of my favorite moments, that my Instagram fam seemed to also enjoy was my opportunity to {Be} Princess Tiana from the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog for a day and play dress up for the Highlands Kids version of our At the Movies Sermon Series. Sounds silly, but I am a natural creative spirit, with a love of everything related to performing arts, so getting a chance to get into character or play dress up is fun for me. Most importantly it was for a great cause, to support the kids ministry at my church as part of their version of the At the Movies Sermon Series. The excitement on the children’s faces as they saw each one of their favorite children’s movie characters was priceless and life-giving beyond measure.

Another special moment of for me in 2018, that my Instagram followers seemed to have truly enjoyed was my visit with my past church family in Atlanta, during the send off of a dear friend, on her next short-term missions trip to Beirut, Lebanon. A journey I know all to well myself, and an experience that I will cherish to the grave. I still remember the two years my friend and I made that journey together back in 2011 and 2012.

While most of my 2018 may not have seemed like so, I can truly say by the time my 36th birthday rolled around I was Flying High! 2018 or any year is just not complete without a bucket list item checked off the list and my Instagram followers seemed to really enjoy sharing that moment with me as well. As I celebrated the start of Chapter 36 of my life, I spent the day taking a discovery flight and learned the basics of how to fly an airplane. 

Learning how to fly an small aircraft and even obtaining a private pilot’s license has always been a fascination of mine. Flying period is a passion of mine. It’s something about defying gravity, even for just a while that is simply heavenly to me. Plus, I have always loved the adventure of travel. It’s a wonder, at many points in my civilian nursing career I worked as a travel nurse, and later became a member of the Air Force Guard/Reserve and currently in the process of becoming a Flight Nurse. I obviously just love aviation and everything related to it in some capacity. I cannot say that I have mastered my knowledge of everything aviation and aerodynamics, and Lord knows I am no physicists. Just the mere act of flying a plane is a skill I have always admired and enjoy learning about.

Saving the best part of my 2018 for last. Best of all, last but not at all the least: {Being} Candice Maria: FAITH + LIFE + STYLE, my current faith and lifestyle blog/website launch/relaunch + photo shoot during the Christmas holidays was another favorite post among my Instagram fam. Thank you all for the support and love on this new journey of transition for me into the life and work of becoming a faith-based writer and author on a co-authorship journey with God. Something that has been a long time coming to the forefront of my life, as it was a gift and calling I held under a bushel for many years prior to now.

So, thanks again for traveling with me on this whirlwind of a year in 2018! Looking forward to the journey to come in 2019 with an expectant hope and an unspeakable joy in my heart!

Until Next Time….

Write from the Heart

{Just Being} Candice Maria

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