2012.

2012 will be a year I always remember, and for that, I am grateful. For so long, my life after 2011—the year I would graduate from college—was just a big question mark of uncertainty. I am grateful for the year I have had that has been full of challenges, blessings, surprises, laughter, tears, and transitions.

I began the year by vowing to make mistakes, among other resolutions. I wasn’t successful at some of those resolutions (I definitely didn’t read 52 books), but 2012 was certainly about making mistakes—lots of them. From having discipline techniques at After School at Casserly House fail miserably to setting the alarm system off at my new job on my fourth day of work, I made a lot of mistakes. From tripping over my own two feet to stumbling over my words, I was far from perfect. And I am so grateful for each of those embarrassing, painful, and awkward mistakes because they represent the chances I was brave enough to take.
As already mentioned, 2012 was overwhelmingly a year of transition: two cities and one tiny town, two and half jobs, four very different living situations, and ten “roommates.” It was a whirlwind, and I can’t believe I ended up here in many ways. A year ago, I wouldn’t have predicted 90% of what has happened in 2012. Transitions aren’t easy, but I am so grateful for God who remains with me throughout it all, understands my fear of change, encourages me to embrace the vulnerability of newness, and keeps surprising me.
2012 was a lesson in learning to trust my heart. It was applying to grad school, getting acceptance letters in the mail, and feeling… nothing. It was turning down acceptances to really good grad programs in favor of the unknown. It was the decision between staying in Boston and coming back to Missouri. It was realizing that, for now, what was pulling me back to the Midwest was stronger than what was keeping me in Boston. It was moving back home without a plan and trusting that it all would fall into place. (And it was being thrilled when everything somehow did.)
2012 was figuring out what I wanted—and then changing my mind (because that is allowed). It was caring enough to let my heart get a little broken. It was feeling so much that it was sometimes overwhelming, but knowing that embracing those feelings indicates a form of self-awareness that makes me stronger. It was saying how I felt, even though at that moment it felt like the most terrifying thing in the world. 2012 was not having regrets, being eternally grateful for the kindness of strangers, learning patience, and being continually blessed by the relationships in my life.

2012 was nights falling asleep to Mat Kearney and the sound of the commuter rail, listening to “Shake it Out” by Florence & The Machine on the morning of my 23rd birthday, a summer defined by Maggie’s mix CDs, and a fall with Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers on repeat (and okay, Taylor Swift’s new album too). It was watching the entire first season of Girls in 24 hours, not because my life resembles a cast of HBO characters, but because that whole idea of “kind of maybe getting it together” resonates.

2012 was my daily walk to Casserly House, wandering around the South End and hearing “Boston” by Augustana play at the perfect moment, eating popsicles with Mike, picnics at the Public Garden, and sleeping on the Casa Taj balcony. It was quiet drives on my favorite country roads, so much beautiful time with family, playing assistant wedding planner, endless resumes and cover letters, and the feeling I had when I stepped into my new office for the first time. It was learning a new workplace, figuring out life as an FJV, and watching the sun set over the St. Louis skyline and falling in love with this city all over again.

What is 2013 going to be about? At this rate, it’s hard to say. I have lots of hopes, but I’m still pretty into the idea of making mistakes—but I’m also intent on learning from them and putting a few of the lessons I’ve already learned into practice. I hope I keep growing. I hope I keep challenging myself. And mostly, I hope I keep being surprised by life and myself.

Thank you for a beautiful year, friends. I wish you all the best in 2013.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful. And don’t forget to make some art, write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And somewhere in the next year, I hope you surprise yourself.” –Neil Gaiman

P.S. And quite obviously, I took way too many pictures of sunsets in 2012.

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