What a difference a year makes in the life of Southern Charm's Ashley Jacobs. Over the past 12 months, she began a relationship with Thomas Ravenel, moved from Santa Barbara, California to Charleston, South Carolina, and ruffled more than a few feathers during this season of Southern Charm. Now Ashley is looking back on the past year, as well as what's ahead for the future.
Ashley recently marked the first anniversary of her move to Charleston with a post reflecting on the highs and lows of the past year on Instagram. "August 3, 2017 I moved away from Santa Barbara, California. A year ago I was living a safe, quiet, private life. Though there wasn't really anything wrong with my life, I just knew I wasn't on the right track," she began the lengthy note. "Today, I am living in Charleston, South Carolina. I had met a man, and not too long after, I hopped on a plane and flew 2,300 miles to Charleston with the intention of starting a new life. I left behind my family, friends, my home and basically everything that has made me who I am. I went on a reality show (we all know how that went) and this past March I started working as a nurse."
Even though Ashley seemed to have everything anyone could want out of life, she said that she still wanted more. "A year ago, I basically had all my ducks in a row, but something was still missing. So I said, 'Screw the ducks!' and created chaos. And a chaotic life it is," she wrote. "It is messy, lonely, adventurous, funny, happy, emotional and scary, but it’s all mine."
Ashley went on to say that the reactions to her story have ranged from "praise and shock to doubt and judgment over my motives." "Not a day goes by where I am not met with moments of overwhelming doubt. But the decisions I made became mine and mine alone," she said. "I’ve had to learn to embrace the freedom of not knowing. It’s a life that forces me to trust myself because there is no one else around on whom to fall back. If I had never left home, I know exactly where I would be right now and where my life would be going. Now, I couldn't even tell you where I’ll be tomorrow."
Ashley shared that over the past year, she has become "the rawest version" of herself, opening up to a "world of deep emotions" and learning "to embrace those moments of doubt and fear." Now she is focused on listening to her voice and her voice alone as she figures out what's next. "I only get one shot at living, so I’m living for myself without the influences of other people getting in the way of who I am," she said. "Thank you to all those who have loved me and supported me through this tough journey. I am humbled. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. I am beyond words of gratitude."
The Southern Charm nurse posted another motivational message on Instagram Monday. "Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations," she captioned a photo taken in South Carolina.
When The Daily Dish caught up with Ashley in July, she was still working as a registered nurse in Charleston. She also shared that her relationship with Thomas was still "going great," and the possibility of marriage was "definitely on the table."
Looking back on all of the changes in her life over the past year, Ashley told The Daily Dish that she didn't have any regrets because she took away so much from the experience. "This was definitely a learning experience for me, and I definitely would have done it over knowing I was so hated because I definitely learned a lot about myself. Even [when] I [am] on my deathbed, I won't regret [it]. 'I should have done it. What if I did it?' I never want to [wonder], 'What if?' That's why I moved to Charleston. If I didn't do it, I always would have wondered, 'What if?'" she shared. "Everything happens for a reason, like the choices you make in your life shape your future, they do, they shape the person you are today, and I think I am a lot stronger today because of it. I have no regrets, of course, and sometimes I do have to learn to be a better person. In order to be better, you have to do better, so I have learned a lot."
Watch Ashley react to this season's Southern Charm reunion, below.