I watched my first Christmas movie on TV last night (I am something of a Christmas junkie). Now I can’t wait to put up the tree and decorate! I’m even looking forward to snow. And I already started my holiday shopping. But I’m sad to put the past year behind me because it was SO much fun. I turned 50 this year. And my husband called it “the year of Jennifer.” So, who wouldn’t be bummed to have an entire birthday year come to an end? Thanks to amazing people (like my husband, kids and best friends), this year I:

  • Celebrated turning 50 with a surprise trip to the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, where I skied in the most amazing conditions ever and even skied from Switzerland to Italy for a pizza lunch one afternoon
  • Visited Downton Abbey and the set of Call The Midwife (two of my most favorite TV shows ever) in England
  • Experienced driving on the other side of the road (and dodged more sheep than I ever knew existed) on a trip through Ireland
  • Went from an ancient city to the bluest of blue lagoons in Malta
  • Renewed my wedding vows in Sicily perched on a cliff overlooking the Ionian sea, and spent the evening strolling around a small Italian town where people yelled “tanti auguri” to us (had to look that up, as I don’t speak Italian yet, it means best wishes)
  • Enjoyed the beauty and mind-altering vibe of Sedona, AZ

There still one more surprise trip before I close the books on 2018, but then it’s over. Did a bunch of crappy things happen, too? Of course. Was every minute perfect? Not even close.

But when looking back over the past year I’m choosing to remember the amazing moments, to be grateful for all the times with my husband and kids and friends. It’s one of the reasons I decided to write letters to all of the important people in my life expressing how awesome they are, how much they’re appreciated, and how they amaze me. Because every memorable moment of 2018 was shared with someone I love, and that’s what made it so special.

So, in 2019 I may not go to as many incredible places, but I still look forward to spending time with the wonderful people who make me laugh and smile.