I can’t believe this year is over already. But when I look at where I was at the beginning of 2013 and where I am now, and all that’s happened in between, it’s hard to believe it’s been only a year.
Last January, I was getting ready to finish up my last semester at Penn State, living in a crappy apartment that I was paying way too much for, applying for grad school and a plethora of jobs all over the nation, going after anything that would possibly make use of my degree.
One year ago, I also started this blog. I was terrified at first, scared to share my writing with the world. For me, sharing a good piece of writing is like sharing a piece of my soul—something I wasn’t sure I was willing to do.
So I wrote my first post and then was silent for 3 months.
But between those early days of January and sometime in March, something happened within me that began to change my perspective on things. I began examining what it is I really wanted to do, and realized that taking some desk job just because I was qualified for it and to gain some financial security wasn’t the ticket. I wanted to write, I wanted to share my love for the outdoors, I wanted to live a life that was not focused on a career or money or “getting somewhere,” but rather on enjoying and believing in what I am doing—and I wanted to do it here in Central PA.
In the early days of 2013, I also finally got to know Evan—who, at the beginning of this year, was no one more than some guy I’d known for 5 years but never really knew, someone I worked with on occasion but with whom I never had much of a conversation or connection. But a few fat bike rides last winter proved that we were wrong about each other, and we did in fact have quite a connection—a connection that, over the course of this year, became love and the shared existence we now live.
Spring progressed, then turned to summer. I ran, biked, camped, paddled, and graduated from college. I moved from the crappy apartment to a camper and then to a small room in Matsumoto, Japan, where I spent my summer splitting time between that dorm room and a tent in the Japanese Alps. In September, I happily returned to the people and places I hold so dear, and Evan and I quickly set to work on the cabin—insulating, furnishing, installing a wood stove, making it the cozy little nook and gathering place that it is today.
Fall was a whirlwind of getting outside whenever possible in between work schedules, dwindling daylight, and dropping temperatures. The local Wednesday night rides finally took off and gained a regular following. The lowering of the lake provided unique fat-biking opportunities which we took full advantage of. We settled into life together in our new home. Snow arrived, the holidays came and went, and now I find myself looking back on the past 12 months while sitting in front of the fire with a mug of coffee, the dog curled up beside me, snoring, and snow flurries drift past the window.
It has been a year full of surprises, a year full of realizations and rediscovery and great adventures. It has not been without hardship—I’ve had a lot of moments of frustration, worry, and doubt about whether I’d be able to achieve my dreams and maintain this lifestyle that I love. The hour-plus commute to and from my current job has been a drain on my energy and my paycheck. It’s not always easy to live with another person and a dog in 120 square feet of space. And it has not been without loss—several weeks ago the grandmother with whom I was always very close to passed away, leaving a void that was particularly noticeable through the holidays.
But all in all, 2013 has been so much better than I ever imagined it would be, and on this last day of December, I look forward to another year of exploration and adventure, living and loving, learning and making dreams come true.