I am beginning 2013 with equal parts wonder and fear, expectation and anxiety. After all, 2012 was, without a doubt, the best year of my life so far—and it came right on the heels of a year that was, perhaps, the hardest (though not quantitatively “worst,” if there could be such a thing) year of my life.
I’ll be honest: 2012 also was so hard. But because it was difficult, I grew so much. I was forced to examine myself—to see the parts where I am still raw and hurting—and to change when necessary.
So if 2012 was hard, why was this year also so good? The short answer is that a lot of amazing stuff happened (like, I got a sloth for my birthday). But I also think that, in some sense, I discovered a fearlessness that I never knew I had within myself. I’m excited to take go into 2013 with memories of 2012 still in mind; even though I have no idea where I’ll be when I’m writing this same post in January 2014, I know I’ll be looking back on another full year.
But don’t let me get too mushy and philosophical. The point is that I loved 2012 because it was a fantastic year in which the best things happened. I can remember entire days as if they just happened, like the first day of ASP; a Saturday in Georgetown; Good Friday with my mom in D.C.; a lazy Sunday spent in a blanket fort; graduation day; my first days at CT.
I want to remember 2012 for those reasons. I’m sharing 12 of my favorite memories, the ones that come to mind when I think about who I loved, the adventures we had, and the things we did together.
- Baked a batch of s’mores bars on a whim—and found a recipe that turned out to be the siren song for some new best friends, people I honestly cannot believe I have known for less than a year. (You might say that I baked my way through 2012. I wouldn’t deny that.)
- Gave up wearing makeup for Lent—and started to see a face in the mirror that I actually began to love. (Oh, yeah, since I never mentioned that anywhere on this blog/online: I gave up makeup for all 40 days of Lent. It was one of the best decisions/challenges. I had never done Lent before and I was skeptical at first, but I will never regret that test of my faith.)
Rescued an abandoned food processor from the side of the road—and to this day I still consider it a miracle. Ilovedthatfoodprocessorlike itwasmychild…oratleastasifitwereasloth.
- Left my heart in a little log cabin with shag carpet in West Virginia—and learned that “home is wherever I’m with you.” Also, that West Virginia country roads take you home to the place you belong.
- Graduated college, finished my honors project, and took my last college class—in that order. Because summer school is what all the cool kids do.
- Hiked a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado—and realized the importance of finding the people who will be friends will you before 5 a.m. (and the importance of being friends with someone in spite of the fact that her car’s air conditioning failed in the heat of summer).
- Drove across the country and moved in with Kim in Carol Stream, Illinois—and found out that true friendship isn’t bothered with things like age. Also, her dog is the best (I dare anyone to raise competition; Kane will take your dog down).
- Saw my name on top of articles I reported and wrote for Christianity Today—and I still get the same “byline thrill” every single time. It never gets old.
- Made good on promises to see ASP friends again—one word: #BusDay4
- Ran a 15-kilometer race—and overcame my secret, unspoken fear of long-distance running.
- Celebrated one of the best Christmases with my family—complete with family traditions, a perfectly cooked Dutch baby, new family quotes, a workout, Starbucks, an afternoon spent in the kitchen with my mom, a Thanksgiving dinner, more than 75 family photobooth pictures, and a family movie night. (If you wonder how we fit all of that in between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., I’ll tell you: We. Are. Awesome.)
- Visited or traveled through nearly half of the country (23 states, by my rough count) in 12 months—Washington, Oregon, Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. BOOM.