Friday, December 20, 2013

Let's Be Proud of 2013

There's a lot of lists going around this time of year. Best TV shows of 2013. Most viral youtube videos of 2013. Top ten singles of 2013. Even Facebook and Tumblr have hopped on board; you can view your "Year in Review", your top moments of 2013.

Which would be great if I had had many top moments this year. But I didn't. Because I'm twenty-one and in college and pretty boring. So no thank you to my year in review; let's not linger on how mediocre I am.

But then I got around to thinking that a year - twelve whole months - have gone by and I'm not the same person I was in January. Not even close. So, inevitably some things have happened, even if they weren't spectacular and amazing. Here's my 2013 list:

Reasons why I'm proud of 2013:

  • I finished the novel I was working on and though I say this every time, it's my favorite thing I've done so far. No, really, it is.
  • Lots of people who know me know that I've struggled with my weight and self-image problems since I was young. Well, not anymore! Starting in January, I went on this wonderful and tortuous journey to getting fit which involved a lot of miles on the treadmill, a lot of blisters, and a lot of quinoa. And no pasta. But I'm glad I finally did it because it changed my perspective on life and taught me that the saying "confidence is beautiful" is a real thing.
  • Which means when I ran my third 5k race a couple weeks ago, I finished in under thirty minutes. Remember when I couldn't run a mile in high school? Yeah, let's all try to forget that. 
  • I continued volunteering at the Cantalician Center, a school for mentally and physically handicapped children (you can read the blog post about my work at the Center here), which has been the most transformative experience of my life . I wouldn't give up the those kids' smiles for anything.
  • Still continuing to write and research disability studies, an interest that I didn't know I had until a professor I had last semester set me on the path to it. It's still exciting to me to be passionate about something.
  • Pretty proud of the fact I added a history minor to my already full schedule. But I love history, I really do, and so I figured there's no time like the present. And then I laughed a little maniacally as I tacked more classes to my senior year schedule.
  • I got accepted into a study abroad program in Ireland, where I'll be living for six months. I know what you're thinking, I know. I couldn't believe I did it either. I'm still not sure what I've gotten myself into. Only that it's nothing I've ever done before and I'm both terrified and eager to start this new chapter of my life.
  • Even though I swore I would never ever write for a newspaper, I ended up writing weekly book reviews for my school newspaper, The Griffin. Which was fun but stressful. I like reading but a book a week on top of all my other work was…let's say I'm relieved I'm not doing it next semester. But I got the chance to read a lot of books I wouldn't normally read and also got better at writing reviews.
  • I learned how to do my nail polish a lot better. Like, a lot, a lot. Thanks to my two best friends who have some weird obsession with doing their nails. Pretty sure I learned how just from watching them. It was that or die from the fumes of the nail polish remover that's always around.
  • My cooking has gotten a great deal more edible. I mean, I'm still pretty bad at it, but I'm getting better. I've been cooking all my meals for myself for over a year and I'm still surprised (in a good way) when something comes out tasting reasonably good. But my roommates can vouch that I haven't killed anyone yet.
  • I bought a lot of new shoes.
  • And a lot of new books.
Okay, looking at those last two I think I better stop this list. Otherwise you're going to end up reading things like: "I'm proud of the fact that I can finish an entire season of Supernatural on Netflix in a week. Maybe less if it's a really good one."

Really though, 2013 was a great year. I climbed a few mountains (figuratively and literally!), slid down a few slippery slopes, but always found my way back to level ground in the end. It was a year surrounded by all the best family and friends I could ask for and frankly, I don't think I'd do it any other way.