The best year of my life

Cassie and John

2013 was my most life-changing year to date.

It was exciting and uncertain and adventurous and anxiety-ridden. And it was hard. While 2013 has truly been the best year of my life so far, it has also been the most challenging. Logistically, emotionally and physically challenging. Looking back? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because if it had been a piece of cake, nothing would have changed. Nothing would have been accomplished. I wouldn’t have moved across the country to pursue my life’s biggest goals and dreams.

And so, I’d like to give this year a proper goodbye with a review of its biggest highlights, featuring the best of WTH:

Nikon D3200

In January, I experimented with my new camera, launched a guest post series, applied to a handful of graduate programs, and wrote about momentum.

February, like the months to follow, was full of anxiety over my uncertain future. Writing about the worst that could happen was a much-needed dose of acceptance, perspective and catharsis.

March was exhilarating. I revealed a brand new design here at WTH, which was the result of weeks of planning, coding and perfecting. I couldn’t share the news then, but March was also when I was accepted into USC for grad school. That month, I wrote about the kind of friend I want and how I planned to change my story.

In April, I thought a lot about sisterhood, shared words of wisdom from a rock goddess girl crush, and wrote a list of things I’d like to learn how to do.

three sisters

By May, I was FINALLY able to share the news that I was moving to California with John. That’s when things kicked into high gear and the reality of it all hit me. I bought a brand new car and put in my notice at work. Shit, you might say, was getting real.

June was a whirlwind. John released his fourth album, which I sang on. I made a few confessions, realized there’s no such thing as certainty, and talked to a handful of Los Angeles transplants. The last day of the month was my last day as a full-time employee.

July 4th

In July, I celebrated my newfound independence and packed up my things. John and I said our goodbyes to family and hit the road for the biggest adventure of my life to date. We stopped in Asheville, Nashville, Memphis, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Sedona, Mt. Zion National Park and Las Vegas en route to Los Angeles.

Columbia, TN

Mt. Zion

August was the mad scramble to find an apartment before I started school. We ended up finding the perfect spot in Silver Lake, and soon after, I began working toward my graduate degree in Journalism.


In September, I developed the film from my cross-country road trip, shared the soundtrack to my summer, and reflected on how all the big changes I was going through made me stronger. I also interviewed Slash. So that was awesome.

Griffith Park

October marked my 24th year on this planet—and my first birthday spent in California. I began sharing adventures in my new city, like the secret stairs and a Brewery Art Walk. I also wrote about how to be a good person, because self-improvement, y’all.

Last month, in November, I stepped out of my comfort zone, talked about money, shared a few personal details, and celebrated Thanksgiving with you kind folks.

meeting the new baby

And now, here we are in December. This month, I wrapped up my first semester as a grad student with a final project I was really proud of. I wrote about what I learned in school and how much I was anticipating visiting home for the first time.

I got to hug my family and friends again, celebrated four Christmases and the one-year anniversary of my 5 Year Diary, and chopped off a good 10 inches of hair. There’s something about new hair in transitional times that seems to have a magical effect.

And next year? It’s only gonna get better.

2014 will be crazy and exhilarating and challenging in its own ways, and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me. And I would love to know: What do you hope 2014 has planned for you? What do you have planned for 2014? Whatever it may be for all of us, I hope it brings progress, peace and personal fulfillment.

Cheers to a New Year, y’all. It’s gonna be a good one.

Get the newsletter

Sign up to get love letters, good reads, writing deadlines & more delivered to your inbox every week!

powered by TinyLetter

And don't forget to follow WTH on Twitter, Facebook & Bloglovin'!


  1. I had never read “the worst that could happen” and was so impressed with your ability to verbalize what so many of us feel. You are awesome and I know that 2014 is going to smile on you – and you should be proud of the fact that the things that are difficult and make you stretch also make you happy. I wish you and John a complex, challenging, successful and wonderful NEW YEAR!

  2. Glad you had such a great 2013 and hopefully to a year with more growth and prosper in 2014! Have a great one Cassie! -Iva

  3. Happy New Year, Cassie! Finding your blog has been the best thing for me. It is nice to have someone who gets this whole journalism business. My friends and family, try as they might, do not really understand what I am doing and why I want to do it. While I didn’t move across country, I did make a pretty big (for me) move and am figuring out how to be an adult. I have big expectations for 2014. I definitely think it’s going to be hard, but I also think it’s going to be really good and in the end, I will be better for it.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      You always have such thoughtful, well-written comments, and that right there is why you’re doing what you do. Good luck to you in the new year! It’ll be hard for sure. But sooo worth it.

  4. Cassie, I really enjoyed reading this recap and I also enjoyed getting to follow along for a lot of it in real-time. I’m so glad that 2013 was so life-changing in an amazing, positive way and I hope 2014 is more of the same! Cheers and Happy New Year!

  5. WTH was definitely one of my favorite blogs of the year, I’m so happy I stumbled upon your website. While reading your posts I’ve smiled, become inspired, learned things about life/myself, and admired your strength. I hope 2014 is the year where I put words and thoughts into action, where I carry a newfound confidence and achieve amazing things and make lasting connections with people. I’m hopeful.

  6. Sigh, for some reason the title of you blog post got the One Direction song “Story of My Life” stuck in my head…I think I need to lay off the pop culture. Yay for this whole post! You rocked 2013 like a champ. Excited to be able to share 2014 with you in the great state of Cali-forn-i-a.

  7. Man. I loved reading this. (And remembering posts I’ve loved of yours over the course of the year!) So many huge changes! You’re a great inspiration, can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

    Oh, and that top photo – SO GREAT. You guys look like rockstars.

    Happy New Year!

  8. What an epic year! Sounds like you made the most of all the big transitions. And YES to the magical powers of chopping off lots and lots of hair. Transformative shit right there.

  9. Happy New Year, Cassie! 🙂

  10. I’ve had this blog post open in my browser for a while now – since you posted it in fact – waiting for a point where I could reply properly and meaningfully. This time has yet to arrive, so instead I want to comment and say Happy New Year! And I love this post.

  11. Happy New Year!! Great recap. Makes my year seem like a small boring particle in the universe. haha.

  12. I feel like I’ve been on the journey with you. You capture these things with such a distinct voice. That’s probably my favorite thing about your blog. When you write about your journey, I can really picture it (of course, your fantastic photography helps). Congrats on all the huge changes and steps you’ve taken. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store.

  13. sending you joy for the new year!

  14. what an incredible year! 🙂 love that top photo of you two!

  15. congratulations on such an amazing and life-changing year! i bet 2014 is even more surprising and adventurous – and maybe we’ll finally meet in person, too! 🙂

Speak Your Mind