Reflection: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Today’s tidbit: “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ― Albert Einstein

Happy snowy Friday!


2013 has been the year for challenges, transition and change. Change allows for growth and new experiences. Although it was very overwhelming, you can dwell on it or choose to learn from each lesson and move on. Things have a way of falling into place—you just have to let them. There will be bumps along the way, but that’s what makes us grow and become stronger. You have to stop trying to plan everything, and embrace change and what comes your way… after all, every challenge becomes an opportunity! 2013 is a year I will never forget or want to repeat. I am looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store! Happy New Year everyone. Get out there… explore, dream and discover!

happy holidays

Be sure to click below to read more and check out more pictures. Enjoy!

As I started reflecting last night I could see snow starting to fall. When I woke up this morning it was a winter wonderland. After a little fun in the snow (and of course a mini shoot), I am cozy back inside and finally closing the chapter on 2013.

Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. — Brad Paisley




Where to start?…

{Purpose Fairy} I discovered the Purpose Fairy this year and have found it a great source for inspiration and encouragement. Check it out. Below are a few of my favorite posts:

When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves. — Viktor Frankl
4 Reasons Why Change Is Good for You

A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success. — Bo Bennett
3 Truths About Rejection That Will Change the Way You Think

Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day! — Steve Maraboli
How I Turned My Wounds into Wisdom and My Difficulties into Opportunities

{Regrowth}  Contrast to today’s snow, remember my post on Day 5: SA + Cradle of Humankind? While walking along that path outside the Sterkfontein Caves we noticed a fire burning, which we saw many other times along our road trips. I learned it was controlled burning, where areas of dry land are set on fire to reduce the likelihood of serious hotter fires from happening later.

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Love is fire: it destroys but, at the same time prepares the way for regrowth and healing. Think of the beautiful regrowth after fire in Africa. All that vibrant new green plant life that sprang up after such devastation. In the aftermath something you couldn’t have imagined will be born in your life if you remain true to doing what is right. After the devastation there will be new life.

… I remember someone on our tour telling me this and I think it is perfect in describing this year as well. All the devastation and change is allowing for regrowth and new opportunities to begin!

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{So what happened?} Check out my reflection posts: ChangesJuneJuly.

I won’t call it good and bad changes because there was a reason for it all… lessons to be learned, opportunities to be discovered, challenges to be faced and occasions to be celebrated. The hardest lesson I learned this year was letting go… When it was a choice, knowing when to let go. When it was out of my control, dealing and accepting it. I am stronger and a different person because of it all!

Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go. — Hermann Hesse

{letting go + challenges} read more

  • Parents divorce – A long separation followed by an ugly divorce that I was caught in the middle of
  • TGD – Let go/left my full time design job
  • Childhood home sold – Due to the divorce, the house we grew up in was sold
  • Break up – After 6.5 years, lots of fond memories and a very hard decision, my boyfriend and I parted ways

{exciting events}

  • Graduation – My brother, David graduated with his Bachelors
  • Weddings – One of my best friends, Pamela got married in June (read more). My twin sister and other half, Allie got married in October (read more)
  • Moving – I moved out of my place in Alexandria and into a new house with my dad in Maryland (read more)
  • Turned 25 – Perhaps having a quarter life crisis but it was a great birthday (read more)


  • Freelance – I’ve been able to work with wonderful clients, like GMU (read more) and ASCD, on design projects
  • Photo shoots – I started exploring and getting into photography a lot more, doing a variety of shoots – from nature, equestrian and events to engagement, maternity and family sessions and am thoroughly enjoying it
  • Exploring– I was able to go to upstate NY (Albany, Rochester, Syracuse) + Atlantic City, NJ + Southern VA (Radford, Roanoke, Richmond, Powhatan, Charlottesville) + San Francisco, CA + Wilmington, NC
  • International travel – With some posts on it already (and lots more coming) I went to South Africa (Pretoria, Johannesburg, Soweto, Gauteng province, Swaziland–just outside SA, Durban, Coffee Bay, Port Alfred, Stellenbosch and Cape Town). It was an amazing adventure seeing much of the country. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t change me

It was definitely an eventful year! As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post, every struggle shapes who you are and even if you don’t understand it something within you is changing. I know I am not the same person I was. I truly feel everything this year has been freeing me from what I have known and is comfortable, forcing me to grow and overcome obstacles. Something bigger and better is in store and I am determined to make it happen in 2014! I have some big plans in the works that I will be sharing once things start lining up.

Every day is a new beginning, a new adventure, renewed hope and a chance to make changes in your life, but you must let go of yesterday, its the past you can’t go back, all you can do is go forward, so forget about yesterday, embrace today and envision tomorrow. — Rashida Rowe

And that was 2013. Here’s to a wonderful 2014!


What’s next? I will be continuing to share my adventures in South Africa again! Check back next week.

5 Responses to “Reflection: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014”

  1. Lindsey says:

    I think this Blog is really good for you – you are brave for sharing so much of yourself with the world… not sure I would be able to do that myself. Love the meaning behind the fire shots and love the snow shots – winter wonderland wonderful! Love you!! ASCD was lucky to work with you in 2013 and moving into 2014!

    • alyssa says:

      Thanks! The blog has become an outlet and way to organize and share my journey through personal experiences, design, photography and travel.

      It’s been a great experience working with ASCD and I am looking forward to continuing to do so in 2014!

  2. Chris says:

    Quite the year it’s been! What is ahead of us on our journey is way better than our wildest imagination. I try to live with the an open attitude and heart in order to reach out and beyond, to live ecstatically if you like. This demands change but the rewards are infinite.

    I have often thought that one’s inner journey to wholeness, to being fully alive and to personal integrity is captured analogously by the relationship between the area, the radius and the circumference of a circle. We are that circle but a circle in a world of billions with whom we share life. We must transcend our egoistical ways of living in order to enter into an ever fuller, richer experience of life which we share with billions of others. For me this journey is signified by the number pi. Radiating from the centre the ‘self’ must let go of all that hinders ‘it’ from journeying towards ‘its’ circumference and wholeness and a fuller experience of life. This journey of encountering and sharing life with all the people we meet in our lives, signified by the number pie, is infinite.

    Even if the analogy is incorrect I think it conveys the sense of ecstatic living and helps explain why change and letting go is critical to personal growth and being fully alive. You never lose what you let go of within your ‘self’ but are able to embrace ‘it’ in a new more integrated and profound way. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and share your sentiments!

    • alyssa says:

      WONDERFUL analogy! I love this and think it is very true. I agree, change and letting go is critical to personal growth and being fully alive! I have certainly done that this year and will continue to do so. I am ready to embrace, enjoy and learn from whatever comes my way.

      Thank you for sharing your insight, positive encouragement and thoughtful response!

  3. Teodora says:

    Happy New Year to you! What a year… you’ve been through a lot but remember, the best is yet to come. Love you!

    May the new year bring you lots of trips all over the world 🙂

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