1) I graduated college. I think it's obvious why this is the first one. My college experience was...not the best. Well it was awesome when it started, but around my sixth quarter (we were on the quarter system) things went bad. I was in an incredibly abusive relationship, and the grip of an eating disorder was at its peak. I was in a world of darkness. I failed so many classes. I wanted to drop out. But, something inside me kept pushing. Despite the abuse and depression, there was still light inside me. Eventually, that light overcame the darkness. I didn't drop out. I brought my chin up and pushed the bad things out of my life. Two years later, I have a degree that I am so incredibly proud of, I'm healthy, and in an amazing relationship (see #2).
2) I met Justin. I met my boyfriend, Justin, this year. This could end up being very long so I'll keep it as short as possible. Justin is amazing. He is borderline a genius, an inventor, an aspiring homesteader, and a wine connoisseur. He makes me feel like my flaws are okay, that it's okay to not be perfect. Sometimes I want to put a bucket on his head and kick him around the yard, but I think that happens in every relationship. Meeting him and deciding to be with him was one of the best changes I made.
3) I travelled alone for the first time. Okay, so technically it wasn't the first time. But it was the first time I travelled alone and either a) had to take confusing trains to get to where I needed to be all by myself or b) was meeting no one at all and had to take taxis and spend a night alone in a hotel room. I visited my sister in Chicago in November, and had to figure out the trains and such before her fiance could meet me in the middle. Also, figuring out O'hare airport is a feat alone. Early this December, I got a job interview at the Art Institute of Nashville. I did this one completely by myself. I got on the plane, got off the plane, got a taxi, got to the hotel, got another taxi to the interview and back, and then went back to the airport the next day. I spent a night alone in a hotel room. I ordered a sandwich to my hotel room. I did it all by myself and I realized I LOVE travel.
4) I got a dog. When I got my Australian Shepherd (Bodhi), I was terrified. I wasn't sure I was ready for a dog. I thought he was going to end up being a burden and not a joy. Lord, was I wrong. Bodhi is incredible. We have him completely trained, he's quiet (until he sees other dogs or someone comes to the door), he's loyal, and he's friggin adorable. As I type this he's staring at me with his cute doggie eyes.
5) I started a novel. I have been an aspiring author my entire life. I usually get only so far and then give up because I feel it's not good enough. This novel, however, I have been working on for months. I am so excited about it. I get so wrapped up in my characters and plot, I sometimes forget where I am. It happened this way: One night, I admittedly had a few glasses of wine. Suddenly, I opened my laptop and began typing. I typed and typed until I ran out of words. The next day I read what I wrote and decided not to give up. It's nowhere near done, but it's further than I've ever gotten. Those who have read it said they loved it. I'm inspired and motivated, finally.
6) I went to go see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I know this does not seem like a change or whatever, but the night we went to go see them was amazing. We had bought tickets, but the night they played we were scouring change to get the gas money to go. At the last minute we had just enough. We got to the venue and met some people there, who kindly bought us a beer and then generously spent 40 dollars on us to buy us tamborines that had been hand painted by the band! When the show actually started, the energy was amazing. There was so much love and happiness, everyone was on the same level of living. I experienced the same when I went to see Iron & Wine. Music is the most amazing thing on this planet, I swear.
7) I beat Myst. Once again, not really a change. But I watched my dad play Myst as a young girl, and the game always enthralled me. I had started playing it in high school, but couldn't concentrate on it with schoolwork and NHS and a social life. When I was done with school back in September, I realized I finally had the time. So I set it up on Justin's desktop, slapped on some headphones, and started my journey. I played nonstop for three days and beat the game. It felt awesome to accomplish something I had wanted to accomplish for so long. I started playing Riven, the sequel to Myst, but it's 10000% percent harder. Still determined.
8) I stood up to someone who was harassing me. I had met a certain person, we'll call him Joe, in 2011 and became friends. Joe grew to like me a lot and when I didn't return his advances, things got bad. For a long time I would get what seemed like hundreds of texts a day from him, threatening suicide, saying it was my fault, etc. If I fell asleep, he'd text me nasty things about how I was an awful person for not texting him back. It brought me to tears one day, in front of one of my teachers. I would try to stand up to him but then he would apologize, saying I was the only person he had to talk to. And me being a very caring person would forgive. Finally one night I just stopped. I stood up for myself and haven't spoken with him since. A weight has been taken off my shoulders. Don't ever be afraid to cut someone out of your life who is bringing you down.
9) I began cross stitching. I had this odd urge to begin cross stitch. The night I graduated, we had to stop at WalMart on the way home. Though I can't stand WalMart and wish it never existed, the one near me does sell pretty decent sewing supplies. I meandered over while Justin did what he needed to do, and found a very pretty, simple cross stitch kit. I knew the gist of it, having made a baby bib when I was younger. My mom taught me. The next day I began, and I haven't been able to stop. My mind just kind of wanders and I get lost in thought, in a good way. When I finished the first letter, I felt very proud. I've made a few mistakes but that's okay.
10) I climbed a mountain. I'm not a very active person. I should be, but I'm not. I'm terrified of heights. But, I climbed King's Pinnacle anyway. And this was my reward:
I hope everyone had a seriously rewarding, awesome, life changing year. And if you didn't, then take 2013 by the horns! Climb a mountain. Make your life better. Confront a fear, stand up for yourself, do something that makes you happy, find a new hobby...allow yourself to love and be loved.
Always remember, you are in control of your own life. Don't let anyone ever tell you you CAN'T do something. And if they do, prove them wrong. Be your own person. And always remember, you're beautiful and I love you.