h a p p i e r

I sat down on December 30th and tried to write my blog about how great a year 2018 was, and how excited I was to start fresh in 2019. Like the two years prior, my “New Years” blog has always been a favorite of mine, where I got to reflect on my personal growth and adventures from the past 365 days and then make some resolutions for the year to come. Instead, I looked at the blank page on my Mac screen and felt no inspiration to write anything wonderful about 2018.


Now, that’s not exactly fair to 2018. It did have its moments, and those moments were some of the best of my entire life. Last February, my thirty best friends and family members came together in Disney to celebrate my 21st birthday, I travelled around the world to Mexico, Greece, Paris, and Rome, brought my little sister home to Alpha Delta Pi, spent time with some good people, and lastly, watched my perfect niece, Emerson Hope, make her way into the world.

I know what you’re thinking – how could that make for a bad year? I wouldn’t necessarily jump to saying I had a bad year in 2018, but it definitely ranks at the bottom when compared to the 20 that came before it.


2018 was a year of change. Change is a word I’ve never been exactly fond of, but this past year I learned the true definition of change and the wave of impact that tends to come along with it. There’s good change, and then there’s the not so good change that makes you feel like the sun might not come up tomorrow. After many (like many) days of going to sleep with that mindset, I have some news for you. It does. The sun comes up, and we try to move on as if a major change didn’t rock our worlds and change our lives forever. You look at the future in a different way than you did before; it looks less laid out and shiny. More prone to break and fall away at any moment. 2018 taught me that everything isn’t always the way it seems, and there are some situations where you have no control over the outcome. – This was a hard lesson to learn, as someone who likes to be in control of EVERYTHING, this was one of God’s lessons that took a while for me to make sense of.


I entered my senior year of college at UF on cloud 9, I had an amazing summer, a pretty great junior spring, and I was so excited to have my little sister in my town again. I was promised good change was to come, not the bad kind. I had that same optimistic outlook I always did on how my year would pan out, and true – that is partly due to how blessed I have been thus far in life. God has truly blessed me and never left me wanting or needing. Either way, I was ready to start out on senior year and felt I’d honestly be ready to enter the real world soon enough and start out on life. Boy, was I wrong. My classes were hard, and life was harder.


If I did anything in 2018, I learned. I learned that sometimes life feels unfair, and things happen out of nowhere, but we grow from those things and we eventually learn the purpose behind them. I learned how important family is, and not just in the way we say it casually on a day to day basis. Having my sister with me when I needed her the most was a gift I didn’t know I needed. Having siblings that actually check on you and care is so valuable and something I deeply treasure. I learned that maybe I’m not as good at expressing my emotions as I once believed I was, especially when it feels like no words match up with how you’re feeling. I learned that people lie. I learned that I am strong. I learned that life isn’t always the way we plan it. And most importantly, I learned that God most definitely will not give me anything I can’t handle and eventually overcome.


So, for a few months toward the end of 2018, I felt vacant. Like I was just existing instead of living. Like I couldn’t really see the point in things I used to enjoy, anymore. I was in a funk and I wasn’t writing, wasn’t being active, wasn’t feeling like me. I would wake up and go through my day in a fog, then do it all over again. Then one day I saw a quote while flipping through my phone that really stuck with me. It read “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” I know everyone deals with their own personal struggles and hard times, but for me this was it. This was my hardest time and my struggle, nothing had compared thus far in my life. These few words made me stop feeling sorry for myself and want to move forward. I chose to lift myself back up and spend each day trying to get better than I was the day before. I took December as a break to relax at home, travel with my family, and spend time with my friends. I worked out, I read, I lived better and fuller than I felt I had been living in months. Then New Year’s came, and I had no words to sum up my ill feelings toward a very confusing 2018, filled with a bunch of the ups and the downs. Yes 2018 did have its extremely sucky moments, but this isn’t about them. This is about moving forward, and that previously mentioned change for good.



So, instead of listing the best things that happened to me in 2018, or the highlight events and moments of growth that made up my year – I’m dragging 2018 to the trash bin and focusing on 2019. Not to having the perfect year in 2019, but just to being happier in 2019.


I was riding in the car yesterday morning and heard one of my current favorite songs called Happier, and that was it. Inspiration kinda just hit me and understanding finally dawned. This year instead of setting a bunch of resolutions for myself that I may or may not follow through with, I have one resolution and ultimate goal for 2019: To be happier.


My focus for this year is to wake up each day with the goal of being happy, or at least happier than I was the day before. No, this probably won’t happen every day, sucky things will still happen, but at least we’ll wake up each day and try again. We won’t lose, we’ll learn. We’ll be us and we’ll be happier for it.

So, yes of course I challenge all of you with the same goal that I am taking on this year. Don’t worry about losing weight, getting perfect grades, or getting organized (those are boring resolutions anyways). Set your sights on something bigger, something that impacts all of you and all those that surround you. Be happier.


For me – I’ve decided what that really means & how I’ll actually achieve this in my upcoming year. In 2019 I’m going to try to:


  • read & write more
  • make extra time to play with and walk my dogs
  • express my feelings
  • take even more trips to places I’ve never seen before
  • spend time with my boyfriend doing absolutely nothing – just being together.
  • get in as many cuddles as possible with Emerson Hope
  • enjoy every last minute of my Senior Year at the greatest school with the greatest people
  • eat better & hit the gym more
  • avoid meaningless arguments
  • send little texts/notes/surprises to the people I love and let them know how much I love them
  • really appreciate my family
  • enter the “real world” head on & excited for what’s to come


To those who have shown me endless support and love this year. Thank you.

To my family that was always by my side. Thank you for being a phone call away when I needed to talk and open arms when I needed a hug.

To my mom who deserves the world and more. Thank you for showing me what a strong woman looks like with never-ending grace.

To my friends who never made me feel like a burden and were always there for me. Thank you thank you thank you (& yes you know who you are).

To my boyfriend who can always make me smile and laugh. Thank you for being my strength and my go-to shoulder to cry on.

To my perfect Emerson who has brought our smiles back. Thank you for reminding of us of the good in this world.

To my  truly amazing God. Thank you for every minute, every chance, and every blessing.


I hope you all are happier in 2019.

xx Hails


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