thank you, 2014.

I don’t know how to start this. That’s the best thing I’ve come up with so far. I’ve written and re-written what I hoped to be a memorable introduction to a maybe goodbye, but none of them worked. I tried starting with a joke about sparkly tights, unisex spectacles that arrive by mail and all the girls in the world who have ever used Pinterest and then quit. I tried something about the dog sandwich I’m currently cuddled up in. I tried to reference the last episode of the Colbert Report but I never even watched it. And so, here we are.

When I started writing unofficially on the internet for all the world (or twelve people) to see, I labeled this place as “one girl creating art, adventures, and finding happiness.” I found an oasis for my thoughts and projects. I used it as a justification of what I was doing. It ended up being a guiding map for a girl who was a little broken and lost. I didn’t know I needed it, but I’m really glad I found it.

I’m still doing it. I’m doing it more now than maybe ever. I’m just not writing about it anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to write. It’s not that I don’t miss it. It’s just that I’m too busy creating art, adventures, and finding happiness.

So instead of trying to capture almost a year’s worth of time in one story short enough for people to read without needing an intermission, bathroom break or food voucher, here is a list of things I’ve learned followed by some art that shows my adventures on my eternal path to finding happiness. It’s been a fucking good year.

What 2014 has taught this knobby-kneed, rosy cheeked girl:

– 19,341 feet is high. Like really high. But it’s manageable. It’s beautiful. It’s life changing. It’s unbelievably, unexplainably good.

– Giraffes move in herds and elephants hide in forests. Also, there are no elephants in Africa.

– People are generally good and kind. No matter what language they speak or climate they live in, most of us just want respect and understanding.

– With that said, people are chumps.

– Forgiveness is important and doesn’t happen often enough. It’s going to be okay.

– Just because people live in a different way than we do does not make them wrong. It does not make them unhappy. People with less are often more grateful and giving than those with more.

– The best way to travel is by train. Especially when it’s a surprise.

– New Mexico does not have the reputation it deserves. It is magical.

– Let your guard down and let yourself be vulnerable. Don’t let love go because you’re scared.

– Australia is really far away from Colorado. But it’s worth it.

– Plant a tree at Christmas instead of cutting one down. Just try it next year.

– Say “thank you” often and to everyone.

– Taking a hot air balloon ride is the best way to find out your first niece was born.

– There are always more mountains to climb.

– Friendships are best grown and mended when pho is involved.

– Do not eat all the meat options at a Korean barbeque in Vietnam. You will get sick and regret it.

– Family is not an obligation. Surround yourself with those who love you and support you no matter what.

– Use the F word sometimes just because it feels good.

– Do as they say and dance like no one’s watching. People are probably watching, but it is the most fun.

– Find and keep jobs that support your passion directly or indirectly. It is possible.

– Media is bullshit. The best we can do is be good and kind to everyone we meet and turn off all the other noise. These days trying to get educated is impossible and just makes you an asshole.

– Time does not heal everything. Certain things will always be sad. Acceptance is the only way to move forward.

– Happiness is a choice. It’s YOUR choice.

I don’t know when I will write again. It might be tomorrow or next week or not for another year. So I want to thank every person who has been in my life the last year, in flesh or in memory. It has been disgustingly good and I always say good gets better. I’m forever grateful and I hope I find a way to give it back someday.

The truth is my life is not about one girl creating art, adventures and finding happiness. It is a rich mixture of people and places who give me strength, guidance, laughter, love, and a little bit of fear to help me go the distance, wherever that may be.

2015 is the year of the mountain goat/sheep so yeah, it’s going to be a good one. Let’s climb some mountains together, pantless of course.

THANK YOU.

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