A few weeks ago marked my one-year anniversary of finishing grad school, and in just a few weeks, I will mark my one-year anniversary in DC. I think this has been the fastest year yet. Standing on that mountaintop a year ago really did change everything. It's been quite a year. This is the first time I have lived in a city on my own, without my parents less than six hours away by car. And thus, the first time I have really, truly felt like an adult. It only took 29 years to get there.
I rode a motorcycle for the first time, despite my secret fantasy life as a biker babe. It was really scary at first, and now I can't wait to do it again.
I watched my younger brother marry the love of his life and start his own family and career.
In November I danced on my fire escape in the nation's capital when our first African-American president was elected. In January I huddled in the freezing cold on the National Mall to see him sworn in. And in May, I stood on the other side of the fence as he wished my mom a happy Mother's Day. Only having a conversation with him would be cooler.
I was active outdoors all winter long, unlike every winter past that was too hard and bitter to walk four blocks to the gym. Granted, DC winters are not like Chicago winters, but I definitely learned the value of fleece tops and wool socks.
This spring, I made my own yogurt, grew my own veggies, and roasted my own chicken. Cheers to being even more self-sufficient. I also joined the 21st century with a flat-screen HD LCD television and a brand new laptop computer.
I embraced a challenge at work and came away feeling much more prepared, capable, and confident. I learned to stop pushing pushing pushing for world change, opting instead to focus on creating a meaningful life for myself and seeking out the little ways that I can make a difference. I changed my diet, upped my weights at the gym, and lost six pounds, and for the first time that I can remember, I actually like my knees.
For the first time since high school, I fell in love. Real love, requited, reciprocated, gut-wrenching love. Who just happens to live 1,700 miles away. He inspires me to try even harder to be the best I can be, to let go of fear and embrace opportunity. He is my better half.
All of these things are wonderful. They bring me closer to the person I really want to be. Aside from the first real vacation I have ever taken without any family, I can't begin to guess what the next year will hold. All I know is that life seems to get better as I get older. I wish that life could be so good for others. I know so many people who feel such pain, and I wish that the warm rays of the sun would shine on them more often. I feel so blessed, so thankful for the life I have been given the opportunity to lead. Most days, I can hardly believe it, and that is definitely a first.