One Year Later — How Are You Doing?

I’m not quite sure how to start this. it’s been a while — and by a while, I mean a year.

Honestly, I’ve been putting off writing this post. I wanted to write something eloquent and touching, to summarize COVID and BLM and what it’s like to live through these times. But every time I started, I fell short. So I quit.

But I’ve realized I don’t have to write something meaningful and profound. I just have to write.

Life updates

I feel fortunate that this pandemic hasn’t been too hard on me. When lockdown happened, my parents were kind enough to let me move out of my tiny apartment and move into their house. I haven’t lost any friends or family. I spent most of the summer quarantining in Northern Michigan, which is the perfect place to quarantine because there’s basically no one there.

I feel bad admitting that a lot of positive things have happened to me in the past year. I finished graduate school. I got a job as a UX designer at Deloitte. I got a puppy (!) named Alfie. I fell in love with road-tripping, visiting seven national parks. And I found a place to live that I love! I now live in Austin, Texas.

My sweet puppy, Alfie

But, of course, it hasn’t been all roses. There have been weeks when I’ve doomscrolled endlessly, refreshing the New York Times’ home page an embarrassing amount of times. I’ve strengthened some friendships, but others have fallen by the wayside. Job-hunting during a pandemic was grueling — it took me six months to land a job after I graduated. And don’t even get me started on being single during a pandemic.

But all in all, I know how lucky I am. In the grand scheme of things, I can’t complain.

A year away from blogging has taught me that I really do miss it. I miss writing. I miss sharing book recommendations (you guys always have the best ones). I miss having a space that is all mine.

I’m not sure I’ll ever blog as regularly as I used to, but I still want to check in from time to time.

Which leads me to the question: How are you, really? What has this year been like for you? Are you feeling hopeful or worn out, or both?

Sending you love, wherever and however you are.

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

5 thoughts on “One Year Later — How Are You Doing?”

  1. Congrats on graduation & moving to Austin & your puppy. I remember when you lived in CO and Africa, you wrote some fun posts. Amazing adventures. Maybe you can write about your new adventures in TX or the many books you recently read and enjoyed? How was your graduate school experiences? Was it worth it? All the best.

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  2. I may be biased, but you picked a pretty good spot to call your new home with Austin! I think it’s amazing how much you accomplished in and “used” the pandemic. I also struggled a bit feeling guilty with certain moments during the pandemic like promotions, knowing others are struggling with unemployment. However if this year has taught me anything it’s they time doesn’t stop, so it’s ok to be proud of yourself! Especially noting that we all have our own struggles during this time

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  3. Hi Ashley, wow, these are quite some life changes! The job sounds challenging but it’s probably keeping you busy, which is good at this time. And that puppy? So adorable!! I thought about getting one myself too, but sadly no one in my family is keen on watching a dog when I travel (in the future). Anyway, life’s been okay for me too, I’m also among the more fortunate and feeling very grateful for that.

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