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.

USC

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.