2018: A Year in Review

 

I sat down to write this, started reflecting on my past year, my choices, my life, and I stopped. I stopped because I have spent too much of my life living in the past. When my ex-boyfriend went to boot camp, infantry school, and finally Iraq, I spent so much of my time wishing for time to pass by faster. It like my life was on hold while he was gone; I was frozen, stuck, and, when he returned, I was too broken from not moving to join the present. I broke up with him 2 years later when I moved for pharmacy school. Luckily I was able to fully immerse myself in graduate school. But it didn’t mean, for that first year, that I didn’t struggle. I can still remember sitting in my car, crying, and calling him months after we broke up. Over the next 4 years, even fully immersed in school, I was always looking to the future, focusing on where I was going to go after graduation and what my life would look like when I finally reached my goal!

Bri Sul's top 9 Instagram photos of 2018.

My resolutions for 2015 2016 2017 2018

The last year of pharmacy school is spent outside of the classroom. So I packed up all my stuff, said goodbye to my friends, and I moved back home to Bozeman. There, I spent 99.9% of my time feeling sad and miserable over the loss of my close friends. We no longer saw each other daily or got together for weekly trivia; we were spread out across the state and it was depressing. Yet again, I spent a lot of my time wishing time would go faster so I could get a residency, move, and find a new home.

During pharmacy school I had a lot of plans for the future. I was relatively broke and obviously busy with school. So things like hobbies and travels, well I promised myself I would do more of that once I was done and had more time. During residency in Boise I was so busy working 60-80 hours a week, 12 days in a row sometimes. I tried to have a life outside of work but that mostly entailed going out maybe once or twice a month. It was difficult, and at this time, I was too depressed to really want anything.

Bri Sul - things to do at the Flathead Lake!

After residency I moved to Reno and tried to make a life for myself. But at this point I was broken and the people I trusted were rotten. I tried to travel as much as I could and buy myself all the things I thought I lacking all those years but nothing could make my toxic work environment worth it so with a heavy heart I quit and moved back to Montana.

In Montana, I was lost. I had no idea where to go. So I spent most of my days filling my time with God knows what - working on my blog, trying to find a job, stalking photographers I love and trying to figure out why I love them. I wouldn’t say all of those 9 months were wasted, I was able to do quite a lot and lived off savings the whole time, but a lot of my time could have been spent doing other things.

So as I sit down to write my year in review, I stop myself. A large part of my life I’ve been living in the past or daydreaming of the future. I finally realize the past is in the past and I need to look forward, towards the future. So I will quickly talk about a few of my favorites from the year, along with some lessons I learned, and in another post, which I am calling “The Year of Bri” I will talk about my plans for the future.

Bri Sul at the Boiling River outside of Yellowstone National Park

2018 favorites

As I sit here saying I don’t want to look back, I still find myself wanting to share some of my great accomplishment/moments from this year. All links are clickable and will open in a new window. First and foremost I started spending more and more time outside and realized how much I love being outside. I did my first big solo hike in January. I thought it would be a lot scarier than it was but it was quite peaceful. My best friend and I went to the Boiling River in Yellowstone and I made my very first vlog which is doing quite well on YouTube. It’s so fun to go back and watch a video over looking at photos and I hope to create more videos in the future! My girlfriends and I went up to Hyalite Reservoir and did a photo shoot for Live Montanably and Valo Cellars and I modeled for The Montana Scene. I went to Wenatchee, Washington to visit on my best friends and did some fun solo-adventuring/photography. One of my other best friends came to Bozeman and we went for a hike up to Fairy Lake. The road was closed so we had to park and walk; it started snowing and I’m pretty sure we were being stalked by a mountain lion. I visited Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park, both of which I want to try to visit multiple times next year. And finally I went on a really long hike with 3 dogs and 3 children to Lava Lake which was beautiful.

Bri Sul - Life is better it in the mountains tee-shirt from the Montana Scene

me

Life, overall, has changed a lot for me. I’ve continued with my vegetarian lifestyle, I keep my house cleaner which is huge for me, and maybe the biggest two accomplishments - I am treating myself better and I am choosing better friends. When I moved to Reno I was so desperate for friends, finding my tribe and getting a life after so much schooling, that I hung out with anyone, and that caused so many problems. Now I am choosing people whose lifestyles and ideals align with mine. And I have almost completely cut toxic people out. I am treating myself better, eating better, working out, not being so hard on myself. I forgive myself when I have a slip up and I focus on how far I’ve come and the things I continue to accomplish daily. I try not to eat too many sweets or have too much to drink; I don’t stay up late and I value my time.

I was broken inside, as I think we all are somewhat, so I bought and read so many self-help books. I read books about how your childhood and parents, how your personality type, how society, all affect you. I read about being creative, finding your way out of a rut, and finding your why. I read books on how to interact and win over people, how to be successful, and so much more. I have listened to countless Podcasts and Ted Talks. This year I went to therapy h*ll and back working through my whole life. And I am forever changed. I have placed myself first and will continue to work on growing as a person.

Bri Sul and her friend modeling for Live Montanably and Valo Cellar at Hyalite Reservoir near Bozeman, Montana

work

I quit my job last December and spent 6 months looking for a job. I finally applied for, and found one, in Billings. I am all settled and things have been beyond amazing. I am slowly getting more and more comfortable and getting to know my co-workers better I feel more comfortable with the computer system and processes. And my managers are great at scheduling me in areas that I love; I am going to spend more and more time in the ER & ICU. I am still cautious what I say and to whom, and I really don’t talk about my personal life much, but every day I feel more and more like my old self. I also going down in hours, from 40 hours per week to 30, and I am so excited to start pursuing blogging and my side business more, along with just living my life! #hobbies I’ve decided I am going to reach out to as many people as I can and see what sticks! I can’t wait to spend more time doing what I love.

home

I finally found a home, ironically, back in Montana. And I can tell you that after 7 years, honestly 11 years, of being a nomad I am beyond excited to finally have a "home". For the first time ever I hate leaving and I am sad when I am gone traveling - a good and bad thing I guess. This next year I hope to spend more and more of my time exploring Montana, making memories, and finding friends that fit my lifestyle.

Like I said , I realized I want to spend every second I can outside and I feel I am in a good place for this. Within an hour I have Red Lodge and the Beartooths. Within 2 hours I have numerous hiking opportunities in Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park.  One of the great things about Billings is the city like environment and the lack of exploration. The area is under photographed which gives me a HUGE advantage. I love my little apartment and I am starting to feel at home and inspired. My neighborhood is amazing and I am starting to become really good friends with a lot of my neighbors.

Bri Sul - ideas for hiking in the winter!

photography/blog

I have been blogging like crazy this year, at least in comparison to all my other years… 56 posts in fact! I finally LOVE the layout of my blog (I’ve changed it quite a bit over the years) and I hope it’s easy to navigate. I’m trying to tell more stories with my photographs and posts. I’ve changed from more of a lifestyle (home+fashion) blog to an outdoor adventure blog (#bridoesmontana) as I have found myself spending less inside and more time in nature. However, I did go through some uninspired times this year; I stopped taking photos I loved and started taking photos based on other recommendations… and I filtered them - yuk! Nowadays I am rediscovering my old bright, colorful, fun style and trying to be more “myself”. I’ve grown so much this year, in every aspect of my life, and I believe I am finally at a healthy and happy place. I so much more room for growth in the future and I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store!