Happy New Year

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how much 2013 sucked and how they couldn’t wait to be rid of it. But for me, it was a pretty good year. It was a year that felt like two, really: My life before moving to Chattanooga and my life after moving to Chattanooga.

I rang in 2013 with Ian and friends and then promptly came down with kidney stones that took nearly a month, two doctors and an ultrasound to diagnose. After that painful start, we realized that Evil Twin was in failing health and a trip to the vet confirmed he was in worse shape than we had thought and we made the decision to put him down.

But there were really good things that happened in 2013, too. I became an aunt again when my sister had her baby. Ian and I, along with some friends, went to The Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores and spent a relaxing week listening to music and the soothing sounds of the ocean. I started working with a personal trainer and realized that with the right motivation and healthy diet, my body is capable of a lot more than I give it credit for.

The summer brought video game music played by the Nashville Symphony, petting a hedgehog and watching Sharknado with a bunch of friends and Sharknado-themed cocktails. Gordo had a health scare in June, but after a month of special food and enzymes he was back to his normal ornery self. He’ll be 15 this year, but he’s got a lot of kick left in him so hopefully he’ll be barfing on the rugs and trying to lay on my computer for years to come.

And then July came and everything changed. Ian was offered a job with BlueCross BlueShield in Chattanooga, I stressed out about keeping my job, but everything worked out and we moved down here at the end of July. To say moving our entire lives to a new city on the other side of the state in about three weeks was stressful would be an understatement, but we did it and we’re here and we’re happy.

And honestly, I don’t think the transition would have been as easy if not for social media, at least not for me. We all give Facebook and Twitter a lot of crap, but they have allowed me to maintain friendships and stay somewhat social despite being hundreds of miles away from pretty much everyone I know. So while a lot of people are telling you to deactivate your Facebook and step away from Twitter, I’m thankful that I can get glimpses into my friends’ lives and participate in conversations as though I never moved.

In September we sold our old house on the same day we were leaving for Music Midtown in Atlanta (a process that invited stress and nostalgia in spades), and then we spent the weekend celebrating our new life with old friends. It’s been surreal to move to a city we only previously vacationed in… It seems like every day we’re finding something new here. There’s always a new adventure right around the corner. It’s been invigorating.

We had a busy, wild second half of 2013 and I have high expectations for 2014. We’re making new friends, buying a new house and have got a handful of trips planned (including a trip to Ireland my mom and I have been talking about taking forever and are finally going to do). The older I get, the more I realize that adventure doesn’t have to mean doing something dangerous. For me, it can simply be trying something new. Eating a new food or talking to a new person instead of keeping to myself. Walking around downtown alone exploring the nooks and crannies of buildings and parks. Taking the long way home, or anywhere, and not being afraid of getting lost.

In 2013 I learned that as long as I have my phone’s GPS and Ian with me, I feel pretty damn brave. I hope I can keep that up in 2014.