2018 Year In Review | Sarah Wyland
From Sarah | Life

2018 In Review – What A Year

2018 Year In Review | Sarah Wyland

I saw a meme the other day that said something along the lines of “we all forgot an Olympics happened in 2018” and it blew my mind. I had forgotten all about Pyeongchang and the hours I spent on my couch watching people hurdle down mountains and fly into the air on skates. Pyeongchang gave us Adam Rippon and for that, I am grateful.

2018 truly did fly by. I don’t particularly like that whole “where did the time go?” mentality, but it’s applicable to the last 365 days. While 2017 was a “meh” year full of the word “no,” 2018 will be a year I remember for a long time to come. In what light remains to be seen, but 2018 brought about a lot of changes, a lot of challenges, and a lot of growth. I chose the word “brave” to represent 2018, and I choose wisely. There was a lot of putting on a brave face and stepping into the unknown in 2018.  

Iceland Blue Lagoon
Visiting the Blue Lagoon hours before our flight home.

January had me on a flight to Iceland. I spent four days trekking through a land you truly have to see to believe with one of my best friends. It was the coldest I’ve ever been, but there was a moment, standing in a wide open field in snow up to my knees, watching the Northern Lights, in which I just knew. I knew God was real and that if I surrender my will to His, everything will be just fine. That moment was worth every dollar spent on that particular adventure, and a moment I’ve gone back to in my mind many times since.  

While in Iceland, I was waiting for a phone call or an email that would determine my next move. I was back in the U.S. when that email came, offering me a position at UNC. It meant a move to a new town, a substantial raise, and leaving everything I knew behind. I said yes without hesitation and cried when I told my boss I was leaving WorldStrides. After three years in the same position, I knew there was no room for growth, and that it was time to move on, but it was tough to leave my co-workers and the safety net of a job I knew front and back.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

On St. Patrick’s Day, I loaded up a moving truck (well, my stepdad, brother, cousin, and uncle did…) and moved three hours south to Chapel Hill. It was time for a new start in a new city, too. I’ve been trying to find the words to explain why I was ready to leave Charlottesville for a long time, but they aren’t quite coming, not in the way I need them to to share them here. Maybe one day.

I always let my Word of the Year come to me naturally, and God sure knew what He was doing when he whispered “Brave” to me. I had to be brave when my family left me in Chapel Hill and I realized I had no idea where the grocery store was. There was no one to call in case of an emergency. I didn’t even know my zip code.

But, I figured it out. Day by day, step by step. I bravely showed up at work two days after moving to Chapel Hill. It’s a shock, to walk into a building and not know where your desk is, where the coffee maker is, where the bathrooms are. I knew where the bones were buried at WorldStrides, but I got lost driving to work that morning.

Post “Huckapalooza” WOD

I had to draw on that bravery again that very same day to walk into CrossFit Local. I was very comfortable at The Gym in Charlottesville. I knew the programming, the coaches, had my group of people I worked out with. I was confident in my ability as a strength athlete and pseudo coach. It may sound odd, but leaving The Gym community was one of the very hardest parts of leaving Charlottesville. They came out in droves for my going away party, chipped in to give me a sweet gift and signed canvases with messages that will still make me cry if I take the time to read them. At first glance, those big masses of muscle and beards may look scary, but their soft, kind hearts are hard to find.

First weightlifting meet

There was a period of feeling out of place at Local. I could squat and deadlift almost twice my body weight, but my cleans were a disaster and I’d never snatched a barbell a day in my life. And the gymnastics stuff? The idea of kicking up into a handstand was petrifying. But I kept showing up, kept trying, and as the year ends, I know I’ve found my people. I can kick up into a handstand and hang out there for a while, maybe even do a handstand push up on a good day, and I’ve found a love of weightlifting that still surprises me, and even competed for the first time in October.

barre.[d] studio Chapel Hill | Sarah Wyland

And, of course, the big thing – as if a new job in a new town isn’t a big enough thing for one year, I opened barre.[d] studio Chapel Hill in October. My first three months as a business owner has had some high highs and some low lows. To say small business ownership has been a learning experience is a vast understatement. I’ve lost countless hours of sleep, shed a fair amount of tears, and questioned my decisions on a daily basis. But it’s an experience I’m learning and growing from, and as the calendar turns to 2019, I’m looking forward to what’s ahead for the studio and the community I’m trying to build.

Big Reputations at Taylor Swift in D.C.

2018 also had trip to Washington, D.C., for Taylor Swift’s Reputation Tour and to Nashville for Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. Both of those excursions also involved Liz – she’s my adventure-ready friend and I love her for it. I launched my remote Personal Training business as well as my first downloadable program, Strong By Sarah. I read a lot of books, listened to a lot of music, and wrote countless pages in my journal. The twins graduated from high school and started college. I also watched my mom go through life-altering medical hurdles and have been amazed by her every day as she learns to adjust to life as an amputee. I know she’s already stronger for what she’s been through.

Family pic at the twins’ graduation


Recapping 2018 has reminded me of just how big of a year it was in my world. In reviewing my goals for the year, I’m happy with where I landed. I wanted to dig into my nutrition and while I could have done a lot better, I did improve. I renewed my relationship with God through His word, did a decent job of being present and intentional, and most certainly launched my own business.

And I was brave.

I was braver than I maybe realized.

In the years to come, I’m curious as to how the events of 2018 will fit into the bigger picture. I can’t say I’m altogether sad to see the year come to a close, especially after a stressful last quarter. I joked about saging my house for the New Year, but I ordered a sage stick from Amazon and fully intend to sage any and all negative vibes right out of this place on New Year’s Day.

As for my word for 2019, I’m still waiting for it to come to me. I know it will, in its own time, and it will be perfect. I’ll share it when I have it – and I’ll share my goals for the year as well.

In the meantime, I’m going to show up for the last moments of 2018 – and prepare to step into the possibilities of 2019.

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