This past Wednesday I turned 22 and I feel like I am well and truly in my 20s, which has made me have mixed feelings. On the one hand your twenties are some of the most exciting and fun years, but its also the decade full of very extreme change and tough future-oriented decisions. 21 definitely gave me a taste of a lot of the negative and positive aspects of being a 20-something and while it was not always the easiest year, it was one of the most rewarding on a personal, academic, and professional level.
Turning 21 ~ My 21st birthday was definitely a night that I will remember forever. Where I go to college there is a tradition to do a bar crawl on your 21st birthday, and while I would never ever want to do the bar crawl again (no one needs to consume that much alcohol on two separate occasions lol) it was easily one of funnest and most quintessentially "college" nights with my friends.
Spending More Time with Friends ~ Over the summer my life went through a pretty massive shift, which I have discussed before but it made me realize how amazing and important my friends are to me and my happiness. For the first time in awhile I made a concerted effort to see my friends consistently and go out and truly be a 21 year old. I learned this summer that even though I don't have a giant friend group, the friends I have are my rock and if shit hits the fan they will always be there.
Outside Lands 2016 ~ In August I went to my third Outside Lands, and much to my surprise, one of my friends was able to get us media passes, which meant that we could go backstage and even be onstage for several performances. It was easily one of the most incredible experiences and while going to three-day-long festivals are never a completely smooth experience, it was the most fun I had had in awhile. I have never danced or laughed harder than I did at OSL 2016.
Starting My Last Year of College ~ September marked the beginning of my final year in college. It's definitely been a bitter-sweet experience and I'm sure I will be bawling during my graduation. If anything, knowing this is my final year has made me take advantage of everything my college town has to offer because I won't be staying here after I graduate. It's made me spend a lot more time with my friends at school too because chances are we will all be going in different directions after college and these are the last moments for us to all be together.
Practicing Self-Care ~ Whether it's lighting my favorite candle, watching an old movie, or doing a face mask, this year has taught me to just take a pause and treat myself every once and awhile when things get stressful.
Returning to Photography ~ I've been really into photography since I was a teenager and I took two photography classes when I was in high school. However, because my schedule was so crazy for a good five months in the middle of the year, going out and taking pictures got put on the back burner. As a challenge to myself, I've been trying to post one Instagram per week and to shoot one roll of film per month. So far it's going pretty well and I will definitely be sharing my film photos in an upcoming content series!
Doing Yoga ~ Following along the whole self-care theme of this year, I have gotten really into doing yoga. I have spoken about doing yoga before on this blog but I really came to appreciate it this year especially since I have never been busier or more stressed than I was at certain points this year. I just love yoga because it allows me to be calm and centered while getting a good workout in.
Finishing Senior Thesis ~ Part of the reason why I've been so absentee from this blog is because I was in the process of finishing up my senior thesis in order to graduate from undergrad. I finished my thesis in March and I have never worked harder or been more dedicated to a project in my life. While it was one of the most demanding projects I have ever worked on, it is something that I will forever be proud of and it felt amazing to have a project that I can point to as the culmination of my academic career as an undergraduate.
Traveling ~ I also got to travel a lot more as a 21 year old and it's something that I become more and more comfortable with and excited about as time goes on. I've always loved traveling but its nice to be able to do it as an adult with my friends and boyfriend. This past March I went to New York and Chicago and while they were both cities I had been to before, it was a whole new experience since I was with different people and I was able to do and see so much more.
Spending Time with Family ~ With all of the massive changes that have happened this year, I have learned to appreciate my time with family that much more. I love my family and am very close to them and I think I had a real turnaround moment this year when I realized that once I graduate I probably won't have as much time to see them as I have in the past. Some of the best memories over the past year have been with my family and I think as you reach adulthood, you begin to see your family in a whole new light and appreciate them for different reasons.
Truly Being Challenged ~ Between thesis, starting my last year of college, planning for the future, and all of the changes in my personal life I really have been challenged this year both in terms of what I want out of life and who I want to surround myself with. It sounds really cheesy but I think I have found a good balance of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and surrounding myself with people who make me want to leave my comfort zone, without being pushed to my limits. If there's anything I've learned this year, it's that balance is key and not being challenged at all whether its at school or in a relationship, is never good. Being challenged is the only thing that keeps you moving forward.