what a mighty fine year.

This is a pretty sentimental time of year for most folks. It’s when you start contemplating on 365 days of accomplishments, failures, goals, triumphs, and vacancies. People remember that they promised themselves–or maybe someone else–that there would be a change in the days that flew by. “This is my year!” numerous hashtags, Instagram selfies, and Facebook statuses announced on January 1st, only to be replaced with “Eating stale tortiilla chips and watching Netflix with the cat. Again.” by February.

As a culture we have decided that every year needs to top the one before, and while in itself this isn’t problematic, we shouldn’t trivalize that a year is a lot of time for things to go well and for things to go wrong. Just because you didn’t travel abroad or meet the right someone, or you ate more potato chips than you had planned or forgot you had a gym membership, doesn’t mean that the promises you made yourself (possibly [most definitely] in an emotioal and/or drunken state) in the cold depths of winter were for nothing.

The most incredible thing to me about being a young adult is that we are constantly changing, and the kicker is–we’re supposed to be. It’s the only time in our lives where we can use the excuse that we are “finding ourselves”–because pretty soon, we are gonna have to find some sort of version of ourselves and hope that version doesn’t totally suck. People look at young adults and say “This is the time of your life for adventure, to find out what you really want”, and that is pretty rad.

So if we are allowed to spend this time to find our what we really want, why are we so hard on ourselves that we didn’t keep dumb resolutions? Maybe you thought what you really wanted was to lose 20 pounds, but then you started a fulfilling hobby that made that extra weight feel a little less signifcant? Does that mean you didn’t fulfill your yearly resolution, or that you got to experience something that you really wanted, not just an idea of what you maybe thought you wanted for the new year?

New Year’s is awesome in so many ways. It’s a time for reflection and an opportunity to be grateful, and both are vital when deciding what needs to happen in your life to help you grow and prosper with each year. Every day I am reminded that I am so fortunate, and when I think about those things that make me happy to enter each day, it helps me focus and take into account what is important, what needs to become important, and what shit needs to be thrown to the curb. This shouldn’t just happen the last week of December–it should be a constant evolution of that we strive for daily. It all goes back to taking time each day to be grateful, which is something we should all do. When you take this energy to think about what makes you feel fulfilled or happy each day, those yearly resolutions aren’t necessary–every day you can resolve to be a better version of yourself than you were the day before. In this, you will be satisfied, and you will only worry about how much champagne is available at the event you’re attending on New Year’s.

So, what am I reflecting on this year? I’m reflecting on the grace and experience that I have been given–so many opportunities and lessons have filled my heart in the past year. I am so happy with 2014 and the joy and growth it has brought me in my relationships, career, emotions, and overall health. So, with that, I’d like to share a few of this year’s highlights, and invite you all to take 2015 with all the gumption and excitement you can. You are awesome, you are important, and you are allowed to be flawed. Embrace it and evolve–it’s the only way we cantruly grow.

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I got a new car in February! Here name is Matilda & she’s awesome.

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Bywater times are always sweet with these darlings. My favorite bar in Asheville!

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For my 26th birthday, my best friends in Asheville surprised me with dinner at my favorite restaurant and a drink named after me–“The Great Grasty”. It was incredible.

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Pancake 5K with my Laura!

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This was a spring and summer of races! We conquered the Earthfare 5K in June.

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Father’s Day was spent with my awesome Dadoo at Dollywood!

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I made it to Greensboro in June for a sweet reunion with my freckled favorites.

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Craig and I took an amazing, dream vacation to Edisto Island in July

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The Gay 5K tradiition continued this summer–this time, with my Shuckaby!

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My second time running a 5K with my best friend!

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I got to go to Charlotte to see my boyfriend/stand-up comedian Aziz with my Kitty Lane

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10418409_956558517704059_5604782929156133601_n Top pic: My favorite event of the summer–the Battle of the Burgers! Delicious, fun, awesome. Bottom pic: My first dance performance in 9 years! I joined a dance troupe and we had our first show, “Hot Summer Nights”, in August!

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My best friend Alice and her amazing boyfriend Duncan came to support my performance and be overall amazing people.

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Lots of nice hikes this year

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We took a big trip to Colorado to see my soul mate, Paige, get married. It was an amazing adventure and we had an incredible time.

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Breaking it down at the wedding

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Friendships truly flourished this year, but unfortunately, we had to say good-bye to our beloved Sarah Wall. The most incredible thing about these girls is that no matter the distance, the love is always there!

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A sweet trip to the Royster lake house ended summer

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10721191_10101362771956168_263329024_n Top picture: The three of us are reunited in the same city, and it warms my heart more than I could fully express. The Sara(h)s & Michelle: best friends from high school to being cool adults. Bottom picture: My favorite event in Asheville–Oktoberfest–was made even sweeter with some of our best friends and perfect weather

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Halloween! My favorite! Linda Belcher, angsty pre-teen from Legends of the Hidden Temple, Mary Poppins, and Deer De Los Muertos!

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Another performance this year–I was a nurse-turned-dancing zombie for a fundraising event for Anam Cara Theater–the theater I proudly serve on the advisory board for.

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Time to get mushy–this man has been such an incredible beacon of strength for me this year. He has shown me what the capacity of the human heart can do for another person, and has shown me exactly what a partner should be. 2015 will start our 3rd year together, and I can’t wait for the million more years to come.

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That time Sara convinced me we could be acrobats, and then I was sore for a week after.

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Probably my favorite picture of 2014.

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From our book club Christmas party–what joy I have received from this group of women! Smart, creative, and hilarious ladies who inspire me and keep my brain juices flowin’. Thank goodness for my book club!

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Our final dance performance of 2014–our “A Holiday Affair” show sold out the Grey Eagle and was an incredible accomplishment! An amazing way to end a great dance season.

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A family portrait on Christmas Day

Happy 2015, darlings. 

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