2017 Accomplishments

An overview of an outstanding year.
2017 Accomplishments - Ashlee Craft's World
It’s that time of year again! The time for me to look back + reflect upon the previous year. But it’s also time to look ahead with deep enthusiasm towards the upcoming year. (You can find my yearly poetry-prose article review of the year here).
2017 was, without a doubt, the most amazing year of my life so far. It feels so good for me to be able to say that. At the beginning of 2017, I was so hopeful that 2017 would be great. But I was also terrified that it WOULD NOT live up to my expectations & that it would be disappointing. I was much too busy at the beginning of the year & burnt-out from stress. I didn’t want the rest of the year to be like that.
But I’d also never actually had an outstanding year before. I can’t think of any other year where I GENUINELY felt like I’d made an incredible level of progress & grew as a person. Especially not a year where I felt those as much as I did by the end of 2017. For me to be able to say that 2017 was an outstanding year is incredible & amazing & wonderful for me. Being able to say that is something I’m very proud of. The year didn’t just turn out awesome on its own. Almost EVERYTHING good that happened to me last year was a direct result of my own decisions. So I’m also proud of myself for being the one making these things happen. I’m proud of myself for gaining the necessary momentum to make 2018 even more amazing.
That’s my real goal for 2018. Take everything good & amazing about 2017, & 10X those results to make 2018 the new best year of my life. Considering how 2017 turned out as great as it did, I have a lot of faith that 2018 is going to be that much better.
Here’s what I achieved in 2017:


  • Went to an AMAZING selection of concerts. I saw 18 (!!!!!) musicians in concert, & went to my FIRST REAL CONCERT EVER:
    • Daryl Hall & John Oates (My first real concert ever! It was such an immensely positive experience that it changed my life.)
    • Tears for Fears (with Daryl Hall & John Oates)
    • Allen Stone (With Daryl Hall & John Oates)
    • Queen + Adam Lambert
    • Styx (As part of their United We Rock tour)
    • REO Speedwagon (As part of their United We Rock tour)
    • Don Felder (As part of their United We Rock tour)
    • Walk the Moon (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • Portugal. The Man. (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • Paramore (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • Vance Joy (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • X Ambassadors (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • The Lumineers (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • MisterWives (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • Bleachers (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • Saint Motel (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • Andrew McMahon & The Wilderness (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
    • Magic Giant (At the 97X Next Big Thing festival)
  • FOODS:

    • Ate rambutans for the first time.
    • Grew my own wheatgrass!

    • Bought my dream guitar – a beautiful Fender 72′ Series Telecaster Thinline!
    • Bought my first Fender amp.
    • Bought a saxophone.
    • Got a sweet potato ocarina
    • Got a stylophone.
    • Bought a Cry Baby wah-wah pedal for my guitar.
  • PETS:

    • Got pet White Cloud Mountain Minnows, more Corydoras Catfish, & guppies for my aquarium. Also got Neon Tetras, which sadly did not work out.

    • Started investing in the stock market.
    • Completed my first-ever 5k! (Barktoberfest in New Port Richey, FL).
    • Became a monthly donor to the Humane Society of the United States.
    • Got a massage for the first time by Donna Joyce Foxwell.
    • Went to my first yoga class at Flow Yoga in Port Richey, FL.
    • Began learning to speak Spanish with the wonderful Duolingo app, which I highly recommend.
    • Became more of a minimalist. Got rid of my old dresser & got a great dresser alternative (article coming soon!)
    • Attended the free Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Mastery event.
    • Went to a Daymond John’s Success Formula Event.
    • Started coloring my hair red, & coloring the ends of my hair bright colors like yellow & orange.
    • Signed up for the 52 Weeks of Momentum course from Benjamin Hardy.

    • Read 57 books, up from only a sad, small handful in 2016.

    • Went on my EPIC FLORIDA ROAD TRIP (which I wrote a book about – & that book will be out later this year!). My Epic Florida Road Trip was the first time I’ve EVER traveled by myself & the first time in my life I’ve gone on vacation. It was one of the best things I have EVER DONE. It changed me forever in the best way, & it gave me incredible confidence in my ability to take care of myself.
    • Traveled on a plane for the first time when I flew to Houston to see Queen + Adam Lambert in concert. That trip also included other firsts such as “first time renting a car” & “first time traveling outside the state of Florida by myself”.
    • Key Places I Traveled: Miami (FL), The Florida Keys, St. Augustine (FL), The Everglades, all around the state of Florida, Orlando (FL), & Houston (TX).
    • Went parasailing in Key West at Sebago Watersports.
    • Went to Zoo Miami (BEST ZOO EVER!) & saw amazing animals like tapirs, koalas, giraffes, giant tortoises, elephants, rhinoceroses, anteaters, otters, & flamingos. The zoo is 280 acres & is HUGE. It’s filled with so many amazing things.
    • Went camping for the first time! Going camping is something I always wanted to do since I was a Girl Scout (but I never got to when I was one).
    • Petted sting rays & nurse sharks (which were adorable) at Florida Keys Marine Encounters. Helped train the baby sting rays! Petted emus & a silky chicken at the Everglades Alligator Farm. Got to pet baby alligators at both places & held a baby alligator at the Everglades Alligator Farm. Held a pet skunk at the a booth at Barktoberfest.
    • Fed giraffes, a black rhinoceros, & parrots at the Miami Zoo; fed emus, Silkie Chickens, & koi at the Everglades Alligator Farm; fed sting rays, nurse sharks, tortoises, turtles, tarpon, & parrotfish at Florida Keys Marine Encounters.
    • Went snorkeling in a coral reef at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, FL. While I was snorkeling, I saw a Caribbean Reef Shark, which was awesome but it freaked me out.
    • Stayed in a hotel by myself for the first time! (Comfort Inn, in Naples, FL).
    • Camped in the Everglades! (Read my Epic Florida Road Trip article if you want to hear about how mosquitoes taught me perseverance). Went on a 15-mile bike ride in the Everglades, which was amazing.
    • Went on an airboat ride in the Everglades at the Everglades Alligator Farm!
    • Walked down Duval Street in Key West.
    • Visited the Southernmost Point of the United States (in Key West).
    • Visited an Alligator Farm (The Everglades Alligator Farm! I got to fulfill my desire to see gators there).
    • Went to two BEAUTIFUL botanical gardens in Houston (Mercer Botanic Garden & Houston Arboretum & Nature Center).
    • Went on a “canopy walk” in Naples at Myakka Springs State Park.
    • Visited the amazing art museum, The Menil Collection, in Houston, TX. Saw art by Andy Warhol & René Magritte.
    • Visited the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, an outdoor sculptural water fountain in uptown Houston.
    • Visited The Galleria mall in Houston. The Galleria is the 7th largest mall in America!
    • Went to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.
    • Went to the Smallest Post Office, which is in Ochopee, FL (near the Everglades).
    • Saw baby armadillos foraging for food in the wild. They were one of the most precious things I’ve ever seen, & I saw them at Fort Matanzas Park in St. Augustine, FL.
    • Toured a lighthouse (The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum).
    • Toured an ancient building (Castillo de San Marco in St. Augustine, FL).
    • Visited the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach, FL.
    • Rode on a miniature train, an airplane, & monorail for the first time; rode on a boat for the first time since I was a kid.
2017 had some challenges, but it had way more triumphs than challenges. I finally traveled for the very first time. I finally started going to concerts & saw some amazing bands live. I accomplished an incredible amount. I felt myself grow as a person each time I faced a challenge or setback, & each time I broke out of my comfort zone. I far exceeded my own expectations for myself in 2017. I pushed myself creativity & in my business. I finally have a clearer image of where I want to go & what I want my life to look like. I started believing all the things I desire ARE possible & out there for me. Most of all, I started trusting that I have the ability to make those things happen.
Stay posted for my 2018 goals article, which will be out soon!

2017 In Review: I’m On My Way

2017 in Review: I'm On My Way

At the beginning, I was terrified. Stressed more than anything, but still terrified. The world around me was closing in, claustrophobic. There was no space, no time, no energy to breathe. “If I can just get through this…” I kept telling myself. I made myself trudge there every day even when I didn’t want to. I had to. I kept counting off the days until I would be free again. I felt like breaking down was as imminent as a heartbeat.


The dams were open. I had just come out of the whirlpool with the new knowledge that what I had been seeking HAD NOT BEEN THERE. I had searched for it, implored that it show up, talked to them, tried to open up, felt at home, lost it, had to remain there. For years & years, the thing that haunted me had been my own deep isolation, & through trying to find that connection I learned it had never been what I’d been looking for. I finally had the experience, but it was worth much less than the price of admission.


I watched as people around me changed. I drew back, quiet, the recluse in the hall. I watched them branch out & make new connections. Their connections made me jealous, sad, outcast at first. “WHY NOT ME?” I cried to the broken windowpanes. But through the months & the journey, I realized I liked solitude & connection, but only if connection was genuine, & if it was authentically valuable to me. I would hate to have friends like she has. What a change from before, when even the most deadbeat of friends would have been welcomed with open arms!


But I connected with things differently. I saw them differently, felt them differently. I felt the visceral satisfaction in the lighting when it was just the right way. In the photographs I saw. In the music that played over crackling speakers on vinyl. In the way it smelled in the car when the sky was just clearing from rain & that song came on the radio & I plugged into beautiful, indescribable things. I still embraced the Alien I had discovered last December, but it stopped being so self-loathing, & I learned to love it & trust it.


I realized I didn’t have to be like anybody else.


& despite my terror that 2017 was going to be bland & meaningless, mixed with my hope that it would be the year things finally began, I started finding my way.


I stopped doubting the way I felt about the inherent things inside me, feelings I’d carried since birth. I stopped putting on their brown-lensed goggles that made the world look dark & muddy & hopeless. My real eyes saw colors other people could not understand, & different things had meaning to me than what they found valuable. I got my sustenance from the images inside & outside of my mind, & from the specific feelings those images evoked. I stopped looking at her life like I was falling behind, like I was the late-bloomer, like there was something wrong with me. Because perhaps I was, had been blooming, but my flowers were much different than hers.


I let the weird, wonderful authenticity of my real self finally show through. I loved the things I loved with childlike abandon. I stopped apologizing so much for the things I should never have apologized for in the first place. I opened up to the things worth letting into my life, & finally said no to the things that stopped serving me, or never had in the first place. I stopped feeling so guilty about doing what I needed to do, especially when I saw people weren’t as disappointed by my lack of participation as I’d always thought they would be. I learned that happiness was my choice alone, & that it was separate from my circumstances.


Most of all, I opened up & let the Universe change me, I let it show me beauty, I let it show me awe, I let it show me pure joy. & I let myself feel those things, finally, deeply, lovingly. The Universe always had my back. It was always sitting there, hidden in the back row but cheering the loudest of all. It was always rooting for me even when I was afraid that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. Just when I thought all the lights had gone out, the Universe always showed up holding candles, slipping a crumpled piece of paper into my hand which contained a clue for what I should do next.


I was never alone in this.


& when I set out on adventures that months before I never could have began to fathom, I found myself. I found myself on the pier at sunset. I found myself in the deep night of the Everglades. I found myself in the ocean swimming with the loose shark. I found myself in the photo of pure joy I saw in my own face as I reached out to touch the animals. I found myself in the perseverance it took to push past my comfort zone & repeatedly triumph. I found myself in drive along the bridge trying to get to where I would sleep, & in the arms of beaches, quiet Atlantic waves lapping my feet at sunset. I found myself in hotel rooms, sleeping in cars, hiking the trails; in the explorations, the tribulations, the challenges, the pain, the fear, the uncertainty, the moments of sacred profoundness. I found myself in a room of people who believed they deserved better, & in the seats of concert halls as familiar music played. I found myself on the airplane, in the music I heard there, in the jazz night in the city, in the gardens, in my own courage of getting myself there, somewhere new, & back home safe. & I found myself on the hill watching the headlights go by on the highway at night, under the full moon while people skipped in time with pure, alive radiance contained in music.


2017 in Review: I'm On My Way


& I finally learned to be happy. Alone on that dark sacred highway at night, as I drove under the warm yellow streetlights illuminating the smooth dark highway, with the jazz playing deep & quiet & ineffable in the background. & the feeling bubbled up inside me, it frightened me because it was so strong & so sudden, the pure vibrating eternal radiance of the sincerest relieved joy. In that moment I learned a new emotion; spontaneous laughter sung out from my lungs in euphoria; I could not help but laugh at how beautiful everything around me was. I found myself on that drive home on the pitch-dark highway as I trusted in the golden radiance & recorded the exact color of moonlight on my arm. The moon shone down around me on the sacred fields & the tiny farmhouse & the sleeping cattle, quiet & smiling & deeply nurturing in the pale blue sacred light.


2017 ended up being the year of OPPORTUNITIES. Where I learned how to see opportunities where I only saw dust before; to have the courage to pursue them when I found them; to open myself up to the vulnerable faith that everything really was going to be okay & let the magic change me.


At the end of 2016, I summarized the year with the phrase,


“I did my best.”


But 2017 was bookended by a much more optimistic phrase:


“I am on my way.”


Because I truly feel like now, I am.


2018, I know you’re going to be amazing. The seeds I have sown in 2017 are going to blossom into things that will nurture me. They will blossom into big beautiful trees & the brightest neon flowers. Now I know how to make, to design, to build, to manifest an amazing year, & now I know who I am & who I’m going to be, I know that all good things are available to me.


& so 2018, I say this deep & from the bottom of my heart:


I trust you.