exploration

Goodbye, Year of Exploration. Hello, Year of Ambition.

For the last three years, I’ve rejected the idea of explicit resolutions and instead made a habit of declaring a single word to embody each new year. There was the year of discovery (2012), the year of dedication (2013), and even the year of exploration (2014). Each year lived up to its name, albeit sometimes in surprising ways that pushed me to my limits and then a bit beyond.

In 2012, I discovered who I was away from my friends, outside of my hometown, and apart from everything that I’d always thought was certain, as well as who I was when I came back. In 2013, I dedicated myself to whatever felt important, including finishing my bachelors degree in English and refining my art. And, in 2014, I explored whatever struck my fancy, even as that led me to travel from coast to coast for months on end and begin a master’s degree in criminal justice. No two years were the same, yet no year was more or less enthralling than any other.

All of that being said, 2014 was pretty intriguing. I spent three months in California, Oregon, and Washington. Then I spent three months in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. That’s not to mention all the states and shores I visited on the way to and from those places. I turned 21 and wasted my newest privilege by drinking a pitifully small volume of alcohol (say “no” to big kablue-nas). I began graduate school and discovered that sometimes the student teaches the professor. I baked foods and treats I couldn’t even pronounce and used ingredients I’d never heard of before.

In short, I explored.

Now it’s time to put all of that behind me, to close the door on 2014’s wild exploration, and step into the year 2015, which already seems daunting and intoxicating.

Over the next 365 days, I’ll be traveling back to South Carolina, the state I know only through my family tree.  I’ll be completing my Masters of Criminal Justice degree, complete with nerve-wracking comprehensive exams. I’ll be leaving my friends and the only place I have ever truly regarded as “home.” I’ll be taking control of my health and defying my genetics. I’ll be taking important steps in my personal and professional lives, striving to achieve success through desire and determination.

All in all, 2015 can and will be nothing less than wild and engrossing, fast-paced and sublime. Thus, in the same vein of thought, I’ve decided to call 2015 the year of ambition. I chose the word ambition to embody or headline this year mostly because I have a strong desire to achieve multiple things this year. I have an end-game in mind and nothing will stop me from reaching it. In addition, I’ve come to realize that being ambitious is just in my nature and that is something to use to my advantage, to accept as a benefit. So, this year will be a journey in accepting ambition as a facet of my nature.

Keeping with tradition, as I jumpstart the New Year, I won’t write down any particular resolutions because, well, it just feels awful when a perfectly composed resolution isn’t fulfilled precisely as it was written. I prefer to stick with matters of certainty, like the inevitable graduation and move, and variety, like the generality of being ambitious in all my endeavors. Along the way, I simply hope that at least 15 marvelous things will happen.

Here’s to a year of purpose and cheers to everyone reading this. I hope that you find precisely what you are looking for in the exciting days ahead. Happy New Year!

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Goodbye, Year of Dedication. Hello, Year of Exploration.

Exactly one year ago, I said goodbye to the “Year of Discovery” and hello to the “Year of Dedication.” Now it’s time to say hello to the “Year of Exploration” and all the wonderful things that it will inevitably bring.

This time last year I was having trouble dedicating myself to one thing and it was a big concern. I knew that my interests were broad and, in a definitive way, I wanted to do, be, and see a million things, people, and places. But, I also thought that having diversified interests was a fault that would hold me back in life, that desiring anything and everything was equivalent to a failing grade on the transcript of my life.

I was obviously very wrong. Actually, no, that’s an understatement.

I was wrong to the nth degree.

You see, they say that variety is the spice of life…and apparently that’s not just an idealistic idiom used to dress up and explain away chronic indecisiveness. I know, I know: duh. Cut me some slack though, I’m generally a contradictory mix of a realist and pessimist frequently operating under the pretty guise of an optimist–easy acceptance of social proverbs isn’t exactly my thing.

Essentially, what this means is that, at 20 years old and with a bachelor’s degree in English, it’s just now occurring to me that a turn of a phrase can be (gasp) more than regurgitated words. My year-long goal of being dedicated to one thing was inherently flawed because it is perfectly alright to be dedicated to a myriad of things. Interests can and do coexist, so it is effectively unnatural to choose just one.

Since I didn’t pick one thing and stick to it over these past 365 days, I suppose you could say that I failed in my New Year’s resolution, technically speaking. However, if I’m being optimistic, I suppose I subconsciously realized how absolutely unachievable my goal was and refused to attempt to complete it. Yeah, we’re going to go with that; it sounds better than admitting my own stupidity. 

I stand by half of my resolution though because, in it, I invited “thirteen tremendous things” to happen and, wouldn’t you know it, at least thirteen wonderful things did happen. Life is stressful and crazy, but is there anything to truly complain about when, in the past 365 days, I’ve graduated from college, developed a new love for classic literature, and learned to cook?

So, as we all say

goodbye-2013-welcome2014

I’ll also be saying hello to a year of exploration and embracing diversity in my experiences, interests, people, and places. And, hopefully, along the way, at least fourteen wonderful things will happen. I mean, wouldn’t it be delightful if, as the years counted up, so too did the wonderful happenings within them? (Hmm, maybe this optimism thing isn’t just a guise…)

Here’s to a year of exploring whatever there is to be found and dedicating myself to anything that strikes my fancy. I’m sure there will be lots to experience with an upcoming cross-country move, starting my master’s degree, writing a young adult novel, and so many more little projects in the works, and I honestly cannot wait.

Happy New Year, everyone, I hope that each and every one of you have a sublime 2014.

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