2013 was kind of a mess for me, I would like to think. This whole being an adult thing about life is way harder than anyone can ever tell you and not in the ways that you would think. We all know that as we age we are expected to pay bills, move out of our parents' houses, and get big-person jobs. Our childhoods are all about preparing for that part of life - we all know it's coming.
What we don't expect are the changes in relationships, the small adjustments in how you express yourself and the way that you make decisions. I've realized that not only does the relationship you hold with your parents change with the coming of new years, but also the ones you have with your siblings. As children you protect each other from bullies, bicker about who gets to sit in the front seat of the car, pout when one of them won't share their new toy, etc, etc. And in growing up, you go from fighting over the last chicken nugget to living in completely different states.
This next year is going to be full of so many more changes for me that I can't even begin to tell you all of them. Some of them I have no idea are coming (because who can see into the future, amiright?) and some of them I am already planning on how to deal with.
Daniel is going to graduate high school this year. He's going to move to Arizona to go to a trade school and become a certified mechanic. I can't even believe it, you guys. This boy! He is probably one of my favorite people on the planet - so caring and nice. Helpful and sweet and he has the heart of a servant. He's also incredibly mischievous and a wee bit evil sometimes, which just makes me love him even more although I sometimes kind of hate him too. Brothers, you know?
And in July, Jimmy and Rylie are tying the knot. These two are so perfect for each other it's not even funny. I'm so happy that they are going to be together forever, let me just tell you. When Jimmy and I were little, he was my adventure buddy. He was my partner in crime. We would do everything together from climbing trees and hay bails, to riding our bikes without holding the handlebars, to jumping out of second story windows.
I was excited for him to go off to college and begin growing up, but I was unprepared for the way that we would change. We are still definitely brother and sister and it really shows when we're together and still hold conversations solely in movie quotes, but we also interact a lot differently now too. I suppose that is to be expected, but it still catches me off guard. This little blonde headed chubby baby brother of mine is now a man with the most precious fiancé. Instead of me and him against the world, it's him and her. And she is just perfect for the job too, I couldn't have found someone better suited to keeping my mouthy brother in line if I had tried.
2014 is also the year that I will finish up my first year of teaching and start my second. Student teaching is all good and fine and things, but being the actual teacher is so much more work than you are ever going to be prepared for. It's a constant battle to keep my head above the water and I'm always on my tip toes. I hear the water level goes down with the more experience you gain, so I'm looking forward to that I suppose.
I have been blessed with some amazing students and I've formed some good working relationships with a few of my co-workers. It's still tough being the baby and the newby but life goes on. It always goes on.
Nathan will graduate from the university in May and I have no idea what's going to happen after that. Which, admittedly, is both terrifying and exhilarating to me. When we first started dating I feel like it was very surface level attraction. I liked him, he liked me, but I moved and I didn't know how long we would keep up the long distance. And then in January my suspicions were answered when he pulled the plug on our little relationship.
What exceeded my expectations though, was the fact that he came back around in March and worked very hard to fix what he had broken. I am seriously the luckiest girl in the world to be able to call him mine. Sometimes I just look at him from across the room and it's hard to believe that we are where we are. Together. Us against the world. We have climbed mountains with each other. We've come so far, and our journey is not over yet. I can't wait to see what this new year holds for us. As individuals and as a couple.
And in other news, no new year's resolutions for this girl again this year. But instead, I have a word. Two years ago I picked the word "explore" (which was awesome) and last year I picked "courage" (which was decidedly not awesome). This year my word is authentic.
Your 20s are about defining who you are, and so that is my goal. This year I will turn 24 (a fact that I can hardly believe) and so I'm learning to make my way in this world as a grown woman. I want to be authentic to myself, no extra smoke and mirrors, nothing to get in the way of who I am. I want to be able to let the stress go and just take life one day at a time as myself - whoever that is. I want to discover authenticity in relationships and my job and all over my life. It's important to be true to who you are and to who God is calling you to be. I know this year will have its ups and downs and I'm not about to go making promises that 2014 is going to be the best year ever. But I do believe that 2014 is going to be a good one, or at least I hope so.
So, new year, let's do this. Hit me with your best shot.