Make Beautiful With the Art of Our Lives

It would probably be better to give it another few days before I started to type up a ‘year in review’ post but I have this quaint holiday night to myself and it feels like a night for writing and reflection. It’s been…a unique year to say the least. In most cases it is a lot of mundane tasks; eat, work, sleep, but at the same time I’ve had some memorable moments and challenges that make it far from a boring year. Regardless it’s been another year of my life I am thankful for.

Some highlights? I for the first time in my life made some structural resolutions and stuck to the majority of  them (more on that later), I chopped off ten inches of hair and donated it to Locks of Love, I turned 23, I traveled to Kansas City to see Kinsey in her new element and have a vacation, I lost my grandma, I got a new tattoo, I attended a friends bachelorette party and wedding, I applied for grad school (still waiting to hear back), I got to go back to Lincoln & attend a game with Ma, I committed to going to LeakyCon in July, I participated in and won NaNoWriMo, and I found an uncanny amount of inspiration and determination.

Losing my grandma probably sticks out as a weird highlight but for me highlights have never been limited to joyous events, they are just monumental; leaving a big impact on oneself. And while I never got along with my grandma all too well I knew that within her I had this gigantic and overwhelming supporter, and to know that someone emanates that amount of love in your direction without question is heavy. Plus she is the first person in my life who really lit the fire in me to have such a connection and passion for words and writing, so I’ll always be indebted to her for that. I’ve written before how it’s a weird thing to acknowledge she, and my grandpa, are gone now and we have to go on living and even months later it will hit me that it isn’t all that much less weird yet.

But the rest are all great and thinking about them makes me smile insanely wide, and those are just the bold, big picture things. Little moments and details skitter from my immediate memory but I know I’ve had tons of them through out that last year that make me mentally take a step pack and maybe just pin those moments into my brain cork board to remind me the little moments are equally as important.

Something I want to point out specifically though (Not NaNoWriMo I promise, I know y’all are still winding down from that incessant commentary ;) ) is the uncanny amount of inspiration and determination I found. Especially because I found it within myself and did something with it. I’ve always been great at thinking up these grand ideas that I think would be fabulous to put into motion, and I usually do this at about two in the morning when I am trying to fall asleep, but rarely do I then take the initiative and next step. Sometime this summer I decided instead of continuing on this wash, rinse, repeat system I was living, just hoping something would fall into my lap and make a change happen, I needed be proactive about installing a fork in my road.

That’s when I spent a week or two really considering graduate school, the pros, the cons, the enormous fears, etc. Up until my last semester in undergraduate I would sing it from the roof tops how I was not a grad school person, that I was done once I got my undergrad degree. But at some point in those last five months I started picturing myself coming back, writing a thesis, maybe teaching some courses, and I was enjoying it. I didn’t do anything immediately because I figured it was nerves about graduation and facing the real world, but the longer I was away from the college life the more I would return to those day dreams and wondered what would happen if I took that route. I had to work really hard to shove the nagging of financials away while I thought seriously on the topic but I did it and I came to the realization that it wouldn’t hurt to apply. The worst that happens is I get rejected and I either move on, reapply, or find a different school to apply to. So now as I wait to hear back I am anxious and nervous and wondering what the hell I might have done. But either way allowing myself to finally take a step outside my usual perimeters was refreshing and I think what started my chain of taking some action.

The remaining “taking action” story is about me and my reintroduction to “I want to be a writer, let’s hone those writing skills” of October and November so just see the archive for those entries and remember you’re maybe a little fond of me so you won’t imagine slapping me after you wade through it all. :)

But all joking aside I do feel more confident and less pathetic about a lot of things in my life, not all obviously but I’ll take what I can get. I really enjoy the feeling that I might maybe, just possibly be on the right path or somewhat close to it after I fell off somewhere between May 5, 2012 and recently. I boost a lot about positive thinking and believing in yourself so it’s nice that I can return to that state of mind for myself and not fee like such a hypocrite. So yay for inner development!

Last but certainly not least I want to return to those resolutions I wrote just shy of a year ago. If you need a refresher here they are;

Resolutions for 2013

  1. Write more. –> At least 3 times a week.
  2. Read more. –> Just do it!
  3. Make healthier choices. –> portion control/better options/a little exercising
  4. Get out of my own head more. –> Share inner thoughts with people more often.
  5. Be less scared, or at least willing to admit I am scared. And to understand that it is okay, normal, and doesn’t make me weak.

Personally I think I did pretty dang good, but let’s address them individually so I can make my case and you don’t just have to take my word on it.

1. Write more. Obviously I did, 50,000 plus more. But actually I started writing a lot earlier than October/November, like January through early March I was pretty heavily writing. Most of it was fanfiction stuff that will never see the light of day but hey, it was writing and it was good for me. I filled a notebook I’ve been carrying around since 2010 with that writing, prompting me to finally get a new pretty one. I also wrote blogs and in a journal a fair amount over the year, so yeah safe to say I crushed this one.

2. Read more. I did. Like a lot more. And not just fanfiction either (although there was a decent amount of that too). I don’t have like a factual number of books I read this year but it is at least 10 and I think that’s pretty good considering I have two jobs, enjoy sleep more than is probably normal, and have somewhat of a social life. I even read one book twice, (coughcough Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell which is stellar, go read that ish asap! coughcough) so yeah, another resolution met with abandon.

3. Make healthier choices. Yeah….see the thing is…I suck at this. I have tried so many times I’ve lost count to do this, not even like full diets or exercise regimens, just simple everyday things, and I suck it up every time. Granted I did okay in spurts, like I drank mostly water for a few months at one point and actively avoided pop and sugary liquids. On occasion I would pick healthier versions of meals, but it was not the higher number in a ratio figure. And forget exercising, I mean I downloaded some apps and put them on a main screen of my phone but I still haven’t used them. Luckily I am still not in any position where I hate my body or feel super uncomfortable (apart from the days I am bloated thanks to my period but those days don’t count) so I am not overly upset or disappointed with myself. I could definitely have done better or tried harder but it’s not anything to beat myself up about. Chances are you’ll see this one again though on 2014’s list.

4. Get out of my own head more. Honestly, I think pretty good here. And I mean there really is no standard I have to compare my efforts to, no grading scale at hand, but given my happier state of mind I think I did fairly decent. I use the blog and Tumblr to get out some thoughts and feels more often than I might have before, and talked a little more to people in my life too. This one is something only I can properly judge, I can’t really provide hard evidence of it for you but in knowing I can be a pretty unbiased person I’d say I would pass this if it were a class.

5. Be less scared, or at least willing to admit I am scared. And to understand that it is okay, normal, and doesn’t make me weak. Like the one above this is an internal one, a severely personal goal that I made public in order to push myself. And like the one above I’d give myself credit, full credit. I think things like applying for grad school, requesting help in pushing my writing, breaking down in front of a church full of people when I had to speak at my grandma’s wake, doing these blogs are my assignments complete. I am scared of a lot, most of which I still keep filed in the way back of my brain but through my experiences and the people I’ve interacted with frequently this year, and all my life, I understand I’m not the only one and it’s normal.

So the overall consensus is that I did good. No where near perfect but that’s a location I’ve been in all my life and am comfortable there. I really enjoyed this year and am looking forward to the next with equal excitement. I plan on doing a resolution post again, but I need to narrow down a set list of things and their outlines so keep a look out for that. On top of that I have a couple of ideas for things I am going to try out in 2014 and I am super enthusiastic to share them but they are time sensitive and need more research so you’ll have to wait in anticipation.

I hope that your experience with 2013 was on some level of equally enjoyable, that you had some highlights you’ll hold dear for years to come, and that it leaves you as excited for what 2014 has to offer. New Years and Birthdays are some of my favorites because of the fresh start feeling they give, that they roll out this great big blank canvas for us to make beautiful with the art of our lives. So wishing for you to have a blast these remaining days, maybe indulging in the holiday gifts you have received, and looking forward to continuing this adventure and discourse with you as long as you’ll have me.


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