I've become fond of referring to 2013 as the unluckiest and luckiest year of my entire life. Sure, I've only lived a little more than 28 whole years — and I hope to live many more — but I doubt (or maybe hope?) that 2013 will not have much competition for a long time.
I started the new year out much like I had the previous five: in Ohio with my man, in the home we shared with our two cats. By January 11th, I was with my dad, in his truck, headed to New York City. I subletted an apartment near Columbia University for two months, still working (remotely) for 427 Design while I test-drove a life for myself in New York. On March 11th, I was once again in my dad's truck, headed back to my home in Ohio. I was reunited with Mozart and threw myself into work, designing and planning 427's annual Open House.
I had planned to move back to New York as soon as possible, but the universe stepped in and gave me a medical issue that, by the time it had resolved itself in mid-May, put me through a level of stress and worry that I had never experienced in my healthy life thus far. On July 1st, I was headed to New York again, this time with a one-way airline ticket, without job or place to live and far more baggage than the two suitcases I was carrying. On the day I started my first New York job (August 5th), I also signed the lease papers for my first New York apartment.
So now, twelve months later, I sit in that apartment, with Mozart by my side. I've survived losing (or moving on from) my relationship, a very dear friend, my potential health, my home and my job — and in turn, moved to the city of my dreams, started a new job, found a new home, met new friends and strengthened ties with old ones. I'm not one to dwell on the bad, and I try to revel in the good, however small. I'm constantly Instagramming and blogging about my city adventures, but there's another side to life that keeps everything in balance. Breakdowns, crying fits, packing up 27 years of possessions, entire days when I don't get out of bed, long, painful conversations and equally painful personal realizations aren't particularly easy to capture in a photo, but they matter too.
I've been making a habit of reviewing my months here in New York, but I thought I'd pay equal attention the the six months of this year and all the moments big and small that led up to me finally booking that one-way ticket:
I moved to New York and set up an office in my room | I tried Magnolia Bakery's famous (and amazing) banana pudding for the first time | I bought a hat that changed my life | Trent and I explored Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens | I warmed up with City Bakery's hot chocolate | I paid off one (of my minor) student loans.
We got nearly a foot a of snow and I took a snowy tour of three parks | Trent and I braved the cold (and Chinatown) to see the Chinese New Year Firecracker Festival | I had my first (and second, and third...) macaron | I walked the Manhattan Bridge | I explored Roosevelt Island for the first time | Trent and I searched for Meryl and ate cupcakes during the Oscars.
I had my best restaurant experience ever at Tom's, which ended with a (free) egg cream (my first!) | My uncle came to visit and took me to the MET Opera for the first time (and we took a backstage tour) | We went to the gorgeous Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden | I said "goodbye for now" to New York and headed back to Ohio over the George Washington Bridge | I tried to settle back into my Ohio life with a little help from lattes and Martha | Reunited and it felt so good.
I had my third, and final Blue Carrot Shop sale on Fab.com | I designed materials for the 427 Design Open House | I enjoyed outside lunches with Swenson's (oh Swenson's, I do miss you) and Jessica Mitford | We silkscreened (and glittered!) some posters | I packed a lot of packages as I liquidated Blue Carrot Shop in preparation of moving | Hung out with this beauty.
I managed to stick to a gluten-free, (mostly) dairy-free diet for a few months and made a LOT of smoothies | Tried to get outside once in a while and appreciate spring | Took a lot of contemplative nature walks | Had a massive garage sale and sold most of my earthly possessions including a surprising amount of Reagan campaign buttons | I tried to sneak in extra snug time with the other one | I made intimidating lists and began the process of changing my whole life, one thing at a time.
My mom and I visited New York to scout apartments and I had my first Nathan's hot dog at Coney Island | Trent, Alisha and I waited nearly three hours to see the Rain Room at MOMA | I took my first trip to Governors Island | I explored George Washington Bridge park and the Little Red Lighthouse | I said "goodbye for now" to my best furry friend | I left my home, my family and job to follow my dreams.
The second half: July | August | September | October | November | December
So, tonight we all say goodbye to 2013, the year I found out that I was stronger than I ever could have imagined, more fragile than I ever want to admit, that real friends have a way of revealing themselves to you when you least expect, that my family's unconditional love and support is unparalleled, that I really don't care for papaya juice and that the right hat can make all the difference. I could have done without the really terrible things, but I'm grateful for every second of it.
Happy New Year, indeed.