Happy 2019! I started off 2018 with a trip to the ER because of a gallbladder issue, so my fingers are crossed that 2019 starts off on a slightly better note.
2018 was one of my best years yet, I think. It feels kind of weird to talk about how amazing my year was when I know things in the world were a little more turbulent, but I think it’s okay for both to be true. I thought it’d be fun to revisit some of the highlights of my life in 2018. I can only hope that in 2019, I keep building on my successes from this year.
ONE – Being crowned Ms. Wheelchair USA
Obviously, participating in and winning the Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant was one of the biggest things to happen to me this year! Not only was the experience itself really fun, but it’s helped open doors for me and my work, and also helped lend some legitimacy to my voice. While I feel really passionate about my platform, sometimes I still feel like I don’t have the expertise to really be a leader. Winning the pageant helped to make me feel like I do know what I’m talking about, and that people are interested in hearing what I have to say, too.
TWO – My one year “blogiversary”
I started blogging a little bit on a whim. I had thought about it for a while – I really love writing, and I was looking for something creative to do – but kind of just decided to start one day. While I hoped that it would stick, I definitely didn’t have a one year plan, or five year plan, or anything like that. Hitting the one year mark started to make things feel a little more “real,” and also made me feel confident that I can keep going! That’s not to say that I’m an expert by any means, but I feel like I have things down just a little more smoothly.
THREE – Turning 30
I know some people dread turning 30 – it’s a new decade, it sounds like a really adult number – but I was really excited. I don’t know that I have an exact reason for it, but it was just something that I was really looking forward to. I’m excited for the rest of my 30s, and to see what lies ahead for me. I’m definitely someone that focuses on looking forward, not looking bad, and I feel really hopeful about this new decade.
FOUR – Starting Accessible YOUniverse
I’ve kept this one a little quiet, because things are moving ahead slowly and I don’t want to talk about it too much without anything real to share. But I did get fiscal sponsorship for the organization I started, Accessible YOUniverse, earlier this year. This means that I can collect tax-deductible donation just like any other nonprofit. The website is coming, hopefully in early 2019, so that’s something to be on the lookout for!
FIVE – Speaking at Thrival
Getting the invitation to speak on a panel during the Thrival conference was incredibly exciting. It was my first real invitation to be on a panel to talk about my work, and it was at an event that went out of their way to be inclusive and make sure that people with disabilities could fully participate. They even built us a “platform” at the music festival so that we could see the stage just as well as anyone else could who was standing.