2013 was just the prologue. 2014, I’m ready.

I looked back at 2012’s New Year’s Eve post today as I sat down. The first sentence said “I have the most deliriously, deep-to-the-bone happy feeling about 2013.”

Man.

Was I ever right to feel that way?

2013 was a year of conquering. For the very first time I think I really waded into some selfishness. I wanted to really evaluate what I wanted in life. What was I going to do to get there? For the last three or so years I had been floating along with good enough; and turned out––that wasn’t good enough anymore. In that case, I think selfishness is the way to go.

The list of 25 by 25 was a huge impetus to get my butt in motion. To stop talking so much and do a lot more. I never imagined how putting a list together and reflecting on action could make so much happen.

I mean, just the cliff notes?

– Visiting NINE new states.

– Going to Canada.

Me + Soon-To-Be-Little-Did-I-Know-Now-Current Roommate

– Running a 10K.

– Really kicking butt at my old job. I was given some great new accounts and was really proud of the work Woodbine was doing.

– Sibling beach camping trip.

Me + Brother

– Running a HALF MARATHON.

– Making some amazing new best friends. Ones that came in the last half and ones in the first (looking at you, Tara).

It's amazing how you can become best friends with someone in a minute.

It’s amazing how you can become best friends with someone in a minute.

– Little brother graduated and moved to college.

Davis looks good.

– Quitting my job.

– Welcoming Evan into the world. That was a best.

He’s growing like a weed, though.

– Moving to Boston.

– New, great roommates.

– Starting graduate school.

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– Teaching myself the guitar.

– A Savannah AOII reunion.

– So many sporting events. Countless Dash. W-S Open Tennis. A Braves weekend. Red Sox. Patriots. Panthers. Whew.

– Going to probably 10 concerts.

Boots and Coozies tailgating for Brad Paisley.

Boots and Coozies tailgating for Brad Paisley.

– Being at the Macy’s Parade for Thanksgiving.

– Staying close with best friends. Even when they’re freaking far away.

Katieryn LANE! (Wright.)

B + VK + Me. ❤

Sha. ❤

Roberta and Stephanie. 🙂 Rob and Steve, you know I love you.

Denise and Briana. Derek and Brad, you know I love you too.

The B.C. to my A.D.

Linds Love.

V found me in Boston.

And of course Kait. Plus Sha. Plus Brooke.

Mushy.

Mushy.

PS, if you’re my friend and don’t have a nickname we apparently need to work on that.

– Finding a new church.

– Coming back from a rough sports injury.

–  Starting OVER with friends and coming out with a pretty amazing group.

Broadcast Family Class '14

Broadcast Family Class ’14

– Oh, and a new boyfriend. That’s a pretty big deal. Love this guy.

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I pretty much (minus a few 25s) crushed 2013. I honest-to-God do not know how it could’ve been better unless someone came out of the scenery and gave me like $100,000 or something.

Seriously. I am so freaking blessed.

And on the one hand where I am infinitely grateful to the things that God has moved in my life; I am also just so proud of myself. I know I couldn’t have done it without Him––but there was a part that required me to be brave. And there was a part that required me to have some insane trust and at the same time strength.

Moving to Boston was one of the most terrifying and gratifying things I have done. But I couldn’t see the gratifying part while I was laying in the floor of my Winston-Salem apartment crying my eyes out. Committing to a Boston apartment before I was sure that I wanted to leave? Committing to an apartment before I had let anyone know? That made it real. And that made it scary. But I took a deep breath and I went.

There have been equal forces at hand in each part of 2013.

The incredible joy of travel while facing an uncomfortable fear of flying.

The reward of returning to school with the painful goodbye and sadness of leaving an office made of my second family.

The excitement of new friends while missing the old.

The happiness of conquering change while feeling the holes of traditions and being with family.

The fresh victory of testing my body and seeing my running capabilities blossom with the regret of pushing too hard and finding its limits.

The amazing excitement of  love and then also the fear of vulnerability.

My life is amazingly balanced. And if you know me, and how Libra I really am, you know that I couldn’t be happier. On a daily basis I am amazed at the fullness of my heart and the satisfaction I have.

For the first time in a long time I don’t feel like I am settling.

2014 you have one heck of a lot to match; but I feel confident. I feel excited. And I feel like I’m going into 2014 with the best momentum I could ever dream of.

You know when you were young and adults would tell you “Just wait, these aren’t the best years of your life.” I had the scary and happy and confused and curious thought recently that . . . I think 2013 was. I think it was one of the best. And I think 2014 will be the second. This roll that 2013 started doesn’t feel like it’s settling down. Instead,  I really think God just got started. 2013 was a prologue and I damn can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in the next act.

So for my annual predictions.

Last year I called: Happy changes. Beautiful friendships (new and old). Fun celebrations. Promises followed through. Adventurous travels. Getting out of the comfort zone. Being invested. Healthy growing up. Lots of love.

And I want to keep all of that. But I’m going to add:

  •  A little growing up. 25 is young; but I can grow.
  •  A graduation.
  •  A stronger family.
  •  A running come-back story.
  •  A giving back to the city I’ve fallen in love with.
  •  Decisiveness.

Decisiveness? You might say. Yes. I think 2014 is going to challenge my confidence in the big decisions. I’m going to need to jump fast and with my whole heart. I’m going to have to know what I want, how I want it, when and where. And I’m going to have to be 100 percent in those big choices.

I want to go with my whole heart.

And if 2013 is any indication, I know I can.

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“So, build a life. Don’t live one.”

Which he follows up by saying “Find your opportunities.” And also, “Be sexy.”

I absolutely adore each of the three pieces of advice that Ashton (or Chris) Kutcher is handing out in the video below. And in fact, I kind of needed to hear them tonight.

2013, you’re halfway gone.

And with the end of June, we’re officially (months-wise) halfway through 2013. It’s pretty wild to take a tally of the first six months and see all of the adventures and stories I’ve collected this year.

From making my first travels out West to exploring Canada with Sarah.

Running. Running. And more running.

Wild new projects, clients and tasks with work.

Unexpected new friendships and relationships. Both their starts and their finishes.

Explorations with little brother. And big life moments crossed off the list. (high school graduations and half marathons.)

2013 has been, to date, as wide-eyed, open-armed and headfirst as I have wanted it to be. I have taken the chances that seemed appropriate. I have had a lot of faith. And I have felt as much alive as I have in a long time. So, this is what living is like?

But there are still six months left. And like with any client on an annual budget; halfway through you have to take stakes in––have we gotten where we hoped to at this point? Are we on track to finish and, at the minimum, meet objective?

January through June? Check. Satisfied.

June through December?

Well, according to the 25 by 25 there still needs to be a broadway show, some personal acting, some education, volunteering, learning about firearms, be published AND write a book proposal. And that’s just by October : ). Crazy remainder list, by the way.

2013 was admittedly going to be a year of change and growth; and looking back on the first six months I cannot believe how accurate my predictions have been.

The most immediate prediction list for the remainder of the year? How about just this third quarter?

– Swallow my pride and see a specialist about my leg. I need to get back to running as soon as humanly possible without forever cursing myself with an injury. (You guys, I had a dream I was running last night.)

– Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney concerts with Brooke through the rest of the summer.

– Family time over the 4th of July holiday.

– Prepping a little brother for college.

– Planning a trip to Atlanta for time with best friends (including the Braves, duh).

– Getting creative with saving money. Let’s see how many dinner parties I can have instead of going out . . .

– Busting out some 25 by 25s, stat.

Next check in will practically be my 25th birthday. Don’t mind me while I go have a freak out over how quickly this year is passing.

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Word for the Year.

Friends, I have this idea that 2013 is going to be amazing. (I think every blog post for the last week has alluded to that in some form or fashion.) And as such, I think there needs to be a word assigned to the next 363 days. A word that sums up my approach to life and my approach to 2013. A word that sums up everything that I hope 2013 is in the appendix of my life one day. I hope by assigning a word to 2013, I’m going to have a stellar time reflecting on December 31 and a great time fulfilling it every day in between. So, with that; I give you: Bold

Keep me accountable, friends. Gotta live boldly. No regrets. No second guessing. No “what if” ing. No saying “later.” More of saying “now.” More of saying “yes.” More living. More color. More follow through. More.

Day two of a fresh 13.

So, my New Years Eve was pretty amazing. It looked a little something like this. (Kind of bitter I don’t have a better photo of the great outfit I put together. I’m rarely proud of an outfit, but that one was a good one!)

 

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A dinner and concert going of ten newspaper friends that I hadn’t seen in roughly three years. Lots to talk and nerd out about. It was entirely as awesome as the concert that followed.

photo

This photo does insanely little justice to a) how fairly decent our seats were and b) the greatness of the Avett Brothers, themselves. So many songs, and yet somehow didn’t hear a handful of favorites—but, that’s OK because my insane desire to already see them again live then has (as if needed) other legitimate reasoning. Right? : )

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I’m pretty confident it was hands-down one of the best New Years Eves that I have experienced. So, freaking, cool.

And now 2013 is off to a solid start. Typically people (myself included) are posting the usual 2013 resolutions; but I think I still have my hands pretty full with wrapping up my 25 by 25 list. So, just to recap what’s left for this  year:

  1. Learn to play guitar.  – (in progress)
  2. Get a stamp in my way-too-empty passport.  – (January 2013)
  3. Write a book proposal. – (needs an action plan . . .)
  4. Run a half marathon. – (mama’s gotta start running again, stat)
  5. Break out my should-have-been-used-by-now tent. – (this spring! I need some committed tag-alongs though, so need to work through those details)
  6. Learn how to actually keep a personal budget. (the one true resolution for 2013. Hello envelope system, starting next paycheck!)
  7. Volunteer time somewhere that really counts. Find a non-profit to dedicate passion. – (Open to suggestion, need to start doing some research)
  8. Take a trip with brother. – (TBD. It’s all very secretive right now)
  9. Re-immerse in the arts: read more, listen to bands I’ve never heard of. – (Turn it up, Monday mornings? In progress. List of books to read? In progress. Seeing a lot of movies and shows? Typical.)
  10. Continue my education. Enroll in a class or make a point to find non-traditional ways to keep challenging myself and growing. – (Need to research.)
  11. Stop being afraid of commitment, Mom & Dad have set an awesome example—there’s no reason to be so antsy.
  12. Find a new church home.
  13. When you see family members are calling, answer it. When you see long-distance friends are calling your phone, answer it. When you don’t want to call, don’t underestimate the power of sending the unexpected letter. – (Need to vow to write more letters. Maybe one a month here on out? Already doing better with answering calls.)
  14. Be outrageously spontaneous at least once. Want to watch a sunrise on the coast? Go. Want to see that band that only plays on weeknights at a hole-in-the-wall in New York? Make it happen. – (I did a baby spontaneity; but need a grander gesture…)
  15. Surround myself with French. That includes you, Sarah Bennett. (Make it to Montreal.) Find a conversational friend. Read something French at least once a week. – (January 2013)
  16. Try for other acting experience. – (Wimping out on this one, someone inspire me!)
  17. Learn how to handle a firearm. Okay, and maybe shoot one too. – (Calling friends who love guns; take me to the range)
  18. Be published in a news forum that I haven’t been published in before. – (Have my eye on a publication . . .)
  19. Be vulnerable. It’s OK to tell people how I feel every so often. In fact, I should tell some people every single day. – (I think I’m going this? But need to be more proactive and attentive to specifics.)
  20. See a play on Broadway. – (Summer 2013, maybe?)
  21. Visit a state I’ve never been to. (January 2013)
  22. See what it’s like to be brunette. Even if it’s just a day.
  23. Simplify. Purge the belongings I don’t need. Space, memories and people are more important than things. (This is happening in so, so many ways. Getting this checked off by the end of the month for sure.)
  24. Be open to being in a relationship and really think about what I want.
  25. Apply for something outside of your comfort zone. Be it a mission trip, race or whatever I’ve wanted to try in the past but chickened out on.

Look at all of that that I have left to do! Did you make a resolution? Hopefully my laundry list just helped yours feel pretty accomplishable. Myself, I’m a little overwhelmed now; but still glad I’m keeping tabs. Have to keep moving!

Happy day two of the new year!

2012, you were all right–but it’s time for 2013 to do its thing.

I have the most deliriously, deep-to-the-bone happy feeling about 2013.

You know those awesome inklings you get that are so great, that you get self-conscious of how horrible it would be if you’re over zealous and something terrible ends up happening? Oy, not going to think about it.

That’s how great of a feeling I have about 2013.

I’m feeling:

– Happy changes.

– Beautiful friendships (new and old).

– Fun celebrations.

– Promises followed through.

– Adventurous travels.

– Getting out of the comfort zone.

– Being invested.

– Healthy growing up.

– Lots of love.

(And quite a few 25 by 25s are left.)

I don’t know exactly where this feeling is coming from, but I’d be willing to bet a whole lot on it coming true. After the year that I had in 2012, I’m so hopeful for a completely full year of awesome.

2012 was happy, don’t get me wrong. But it had its challenges. It started out a little rough when we had to say good-bye to family dachshund Chloe, and again later in the year a sad and too-soon good-bye to a close young cousin. There were some rough stretches of sickness, a health scare with my brother and there was of course a break-up.

But there was also a moving on. There was a legendary visit to NYC to see Linds; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with a director that I admire; fun acting classes; a great Florida family vacation; work successes; a new apartment; the forging of many new and stronger friendships; a 5k with best friends; the best birthday weekend…ever; and there were so many fun concerts.

2012, you were full of growing pains and it wasn’t always easy—but I wouldn’t change a day. Thanks to you, I’m an improved girl from December 31, 2011.

So, to that? 2013, I am so ready. You are going to be freaking fantastic, I already know.

I’ll be bringing in the New Year with a favorite band and then celebrating the first day with a traditional dinner shared with close friends. Now, if that’s not a promising start—I don’t know what is.

Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe and cheerful New Years Eve / Day!

New states? Parlez-vous Francais?

I can’t check them off yet; but plans are officially booked for a giant two-part January trip:

First Leg

Big business trip (for me) to Salt Lake City, Utah (hello No. 21 “Visit a state you’ve never been to.” on the 25 by 25 list)

This will not only be the longest flight I’ve ever been on, which will likely cause me to need some anxiety meds ha, it will also be the furthest west I’ve ever traveled. I’m stoked to go up a little early the day before I actually start work to be able to do some exploring. Plus, a little bird tells me that I’m getting a pretty cool camera for Christmas so this will be an excellent place to try it out.

Second Leg

Montreal via Boston

Instead of flying back home, next stop will be Boston, again another first, to meet up with long-time best friend from high school. Together we’ll road trip through New Hampshire and Vermont to oh’ Canada and spend a few days in Montreal. (Hello No. 2 “Get a stamp in my way-too-empty passport.” and No. 15 “Surround myself with French.”)

I will accomplish three 25 by 25‘s in just a week. How awesome? And instead of just one new state, I’ll be ticking off five (and yes, I’m counting airport layovers: Minn., Utah, Mass., N.H., V.T.). I’ll provide some photo evidence along the way, cross my heart.

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2013 hasn’t even started yet, and I can already tell that it will be one of my favorite years. Now if Avett Brothers can just start us off right in just under two weeks. So much excitement I can barely breathe.