Lessons learned with the help of horses:

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Maybe every young girl doesn’t need a pony for Christmas. There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t have a horse, money and time being two of the biggest, but I want to talk about some amazing things that my favorite hobby has gifted me, and why I’m kind of glad I got a horse for Christmas all those years ago:

  • How to manage money: The old joke is that you should buy your children horses because they’ll never have money for drugs, it’s true, but all jokes aside the horse taught me financial literacy and responsibility from a young age. They’re expensive pets, especially if something goes wrong or if you’re showing them. I’ve always been a bigger money saver than a lot of my friends, and that really started when I was 15. My parents told me that I was responsible for D’Artagnan’s vet bills. Which would have been fine if he didn’t get seriously hurt, but of course he did, and I emptied my savings account. My parents stepped in then, but it taught me that that savings account needed more in it in case of emergencies, and not just the equine kind.
  • How to be patient: Bad habits take a long time to work out, riding ones are no different. Learning to deconstruct your riding, find the bad part, then put everything back together again without it is no easy task. It takes a long time and a lot of work. It gives you patience. So does dealing with an animal that is just as stubborn as you are. Horses get set in their ways too, and getting their bad habits fixed takes time and energy as well. There is a lot of slow work that needs to get done before you can move on to the exciting parts. Any trainer will tell you just how important slow work is.
  • How to handle competition: It’s funny, but I became less competitive when I was racing as a child. It became more about competing with myself, my past times, my past rankings, and less about competing with my peers. This might not be true for everyone, some people are just competitive to their core, but what is true is that horseback is a game of give and take. If you want to place better, you have to give a lot of time and energy, and you know that all the other rides are giving it too. It gives you perspective on how to gauge your success and what to keep in mind when you’re going for the gold.

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Life update: I’m engaged!!

Yesterday the love of my life asked me to be his wife. I’ve been in a daze all day, and I mean that in the best way. I’m so overjoyed that my body is having problems processing it. I’ve wanted this since I was little, and Chris, somehow managed to be everything I didn’t know I needed. He’s my match, he’s so good to me, and I’ve never felt more at home with a person. To say I said yes would be a giant understatement, though I’m pretty sure that was the only word out of my mouth. I was caught off guard. It wasn’t how I saw my Thursday night going. I actually didn’t cry till later that night because it hadn’t fully hit me. It’s still hitting me in phases if I being honest. I’m just now wrapping my head around the fact that we have to plan a wedding now. I’m going to be Mrs. Smith!! I’m so beyond excited.

I’ll let you know how it happened:

Chris proposed right after my horseback lesson, which was perfect because the farm has always been one of my favorite places on earth. I saw my parents and I was confused then it hit me and I went “is what I think is happening happening?” I stumbled off the horse, my foot getting stuck in the stirrup. He asked me I said yes, we hug, everyone cheers. It was magical in more ways than one, and I’ve been watching the video all day smiling.

The ring was custom made with my moms help. It is from the same jeweler that my dad bought my mom’s ring from. It’s absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It’s stunning. Chris was planning to propose this weekend, but once he got the ring in his hand yesterday he decided that he couldn’t wait. I’m glad he didn’t, I wouldn’t change a thing, though some natural light would have made for better pictures.

I’m so overjoyed, I’m so beside myself. Congratulations keep pouring in and I keep pinching myself to prove that this is all real and happening.

The date is to come, but let me tell you, it can’t come soon enough.

It’s June and I’m 23. Here’s to bad years closing and lessons learned.

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Happy June! My birthday was yesterday, and I am now officially twenty-three. Let’s just say that twenty-two just wasn’t what Taylor Swift made it out to be. I made a post about my year lost to lyme and mono and I meant it in the most literal way possible. I don’t feel like I was ever really twenty-two. The entire year was lost to pain and I didn’t really move from the couch. I feel like I’m behind now, because I know that if I hadn’t of gotten sick I would be so much farther ahead. I know that I’m not, there are a lot of twenty-three year old’s still trying to figure it out, I just thought by now I’d be farther along.

So when I say I want twenty-three to be a better year for me I’m not setting the bar crazy high, in fact the bar is rather low. I know life moves in phases and no matter what we think those phases aren’t marked in years or semesters. They’re random. God and the forces on this earth aren’t really working with our calendar. So, I don’t expect it to get better right away, but I hope that this age is more giving. I hope that it has a little more mercy.

That’s not to say that twenty-two didn’t come with some valuable lessons. Here is what I learned while I was too sick to get off the couch.  Continue reading

6.29.16: Life Updates

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Life has been a little crazy lately- not that I really expected anything different. Graduating college and being thrown into the real world can jolt anyone. It feels like I’ve been out longer than a month and a half. I can’t tell if that’s because it has been so good or so stressful, because as it turns out, stress and goodness can come at once.

I’m not exactly working a full time job, and by that, I mean I’m not. I’m currently working two part time jobs. One of these is in the field I want to be in (social media and PR- go figure) and I’m really loving the opportunity and I feel so blessed to have been offered it. There also might be a possibility of a full time job coming out of one of these part times, which would be a dream.

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The Dream Schemes: How Future Dreams Change

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© Anna Katherine Oates, 2015, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We’ve all experienced that time where were standing with the thing that we wanted within reach and we pull back and say “but I don’t really want it.”

It’s normal, and it’s hard to wrap our heads around in the aftermath. We’re logical beings, we know that what we want changes, but there are some dreams which we are sure won’t, and when they do we’re struck by them and unsettled.

Dreams develop. We might think we want to be a big named published author and then a few years down the road realize that, no, self publishing and just having the work out there would be more than enough to make us happy, because we don’t have the time or the money for the rest of it, and to be honest, other things are more important (can you tell that this one is a personal one?) And that’s okay.

There isn’t a problem with lowering your bar, because normally when you do it’s because you’ve raised something else up. If you’re lowering it only because you don’t think you can make it, that’s a different story, but the balancing act between dreams is normal. Your priorities change, and guess what? They will keep changing, because you’re still changing. As long as you’re keeping dreams and goals, then the rest doesn’t matter.

Sky High

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My senior year of high school I remember thinking “what if I’m never this happy again.” I was honestly terrified of that. I had great friends, a boyfriend, and felt carefree. Freshman year of college struck and I lost my boyfriend to a break up and almost all my friends to school. It was not an awesome time, definitely not the “great college life” that everyone talked about. I spent all of sophomore year repairing it, and I mean all of it, the last half of it, I could feel full happiness on the horizon. I made friends, I found old ones, I kick started back into my hobbies.

This semester I found full happiness, honest to God every part of me bloomed. There are still a few things that could improve, but honestly I couldn’t be happier with where I am. My self confidence completely morphed. My friendships are so much more meaningful. I’m doing well in my studies, career plans, and hobbies. It’s beautiful in my soul.

And the beautiful thing is: I’m not afraid of losing it. Because a lot of the things I gained, can’t be taken from me. Life will surely try to sink me again, and I’m sure there are times that it’ll be far from sunny outside, but nothing can kill the sunshine I’ve got in my soul.

My Life As of Recent

recentNot many of my photos have been from this week (sorry to all) but they’ll get back to that really soon! My last exam is on Thursday. But recently all that’ really been going on is a lot of studying, trumping across my beautiful campus that always has the best sunsets (and in new boots I might add) and writing a butt load of Christmas cards for families and love ones. So hold on guys, my posts will be more exciting soon!