25 things about my 25th year

my 26th birthday happened to be last saturday. and of course, that means I've been feeling reflective again. looking back on the past year, I have changed so much as a person. not all of it was enjoyable or easy... but change rarely is. I thought I'd make a list of 25 things that happened during my 25th year that really had an impact on my life. because we all know how I love lists :)

1. I got married. it was, literally, the best day of my life. [so far] I stressed a lot beforehand, but all my planning paid off in the end. I never thought I would have so much fun at my own wedding. but I did! I have the most amazing people in my life, and being able to celebrate with them is a memory I will cherish forever. [not to mention the amazing Husband I got out of the whole deal!]

2. I started another 52 weeks project. because my last one drowned in work and wedding and that stubborn Austin in me can't give up. I desperately need to get out and shoot more, but by allowing myself to bend the "rules" a little, and thanks to my iPhone, I'm keeping up. it's also helping me come to terms with allowing myself to rule-bend.

3. losing my grandmother really unhinged me emotionally. due to work circumstances and the approaching Holidays, I didn't really have time to properly deal with it. I tried to hide it and carry on with a smile, but by the time we went home for Christmas I was in a really bad place. truly, I was a mess. there are days I still struggle to keep it together, but lucky for me I have people who love me unconditionally and support me despite the messiness.

4. I had a thunderbolt moment that made me realize that most of my problems in life come from the fact that I get so easily emotionally involved in things. problems that are not my responsibility, things that are beyond my control, people who shouldn't matter. I said I was "emotionally slutty." Luke said I just have a big heart. that being said, I've also realized a lot of the good things in my life come from having "such a big heart" and caring so much about... everything. I'm an extremely compassionate person and I put my all into anything I do.

5. I acquired a french press, and my morning coffee will never be the same again.

6. I took the plunge and signed up for a half marathon. I've had really good running days, and really bad ones. [including a recent run-in with a pothole the size of a VW bus] I haven't been the most faithful to my training plan, but I know that I'll be ok. I'm really excited to accomplish this, because there was a long time when I didn't think I ever could. but I will. and Luke will be there, and so will my Dad. I know they will both be so proud, and that keeps me going. less than one month 'til I cross the finish line!

7. I've realized it's time to give up on some people. that may sound sad, or cruel even. but it's the truth. I hang on to things for far too long, and it's time to get rid of what doesn't do me any good anymore. [it's also time I applied this thinking to my closet.]

8. I got promoted and with that came a flood of new responsibilities and added stress. I've put in a lot of hard work, and had a lot of disappointments. it wears on you to spend all day fixing other people's mistakes because they cant take enough pride to do things right and hold themselves accountable. but it's been teaching me not to be so emotionally involved [see #4] and also making me stronger. and I'm learning a hell of a lot.

9. I took a photography class. even though I had to miss a few sessions due to work. it was helpful, but not so much in camera knowledge. the class showed me that my brain does not work like most creative people's... and it is actually to my extreme advantage. I am both a very rational and a very emotional person. I have both the mind for business and the eye for art. and if I ever start my own photography business, I know I would be successful.and it feels really great to know that.

10. I discovered foodgawker and created a Facebook page, and the baking blog was launched into infamy. it never ceases to amaze me how so many people can connect through the internet over a shared love of butter, flour, and photography.

11. I ate fried chicken at Paula Deen's Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah. if that isn't life-changing, I don't know what is!

12. I swam in both the Atlantic and the Pacific, and dipped my toes in the Gulf as well. maybe it's growing up near the Great Lakes, but large bodies of water have always calmed me. I feel like my visits to them always clear my mind and mark some important moments in my life.

13. I made a new best friend here on the East Coast. I've made some good friends here, but this one was really what my life out here had been missing. Every girl needs someone to share passions of MSU football, margaritas, and shoe shopping with. I'm so thankful to have my "wifey" in my life.

14. the plagiarism outbreak. ugh. what more can I say about that except I've been doing some serious blog thinking. and came to the conclusion I need to stop taking it so seriously. I will bake when I want to bake, photograph when I want to photograph, and blog when I want to blog.

15. I took a vacation with just my parents. it just reconfirms that the older I get, the more I realize how like them I really am. and how lucky I was to be raised by parents who cared so much, worked so hard, and instilled all the right things in me.

16. speaking of being like my parents...  my obsessive planning and meticulous attention to detail saved the day not once but several times. both at work and during our wedding festivities. I still maintain the opinion that these qualities are some of my best.

17. instagram. it's the perfect solution for the photographer that doesn't have time to be a photographer. slowly but surely I've accepted the fact that art is art, whether you use a camera phone or a $5,000 body and lens combo.

18. and of course I wouldn't have instagram if I didn't have an iPhone. this amazing little device has changed my life in so many ways. I'm organized, synchronized, connected... and yet I can get in and get out and not waste hours on a computer if I don't want to.

19. I've learned to revel in the typical. embrace the routine. the sweet, comfortable familiarity of the known and the commonplace. adventures are wonderful, but you need something solid to come home to..

20. I discovered the perfect sports bra. I don't care if this sounds ridiculous. running is so much easier now that I can both breathe and be fully supported at the same time. I should have known Nike would provide the solution. [I'm obsessed with their gear and their new "make yourself" campaign.]

21. I cried in a Toyota dealership. it was combination of things that led to that moment... impending news of Luke's likely unemployment, troubles with his car [yet again], candle fiascoes at my office, our landlord asking if we wanted to buy our condo, and the fact we were Michiganders considering leasing a Japanese vehicle. and one extremely pushy and completely unscrupulous car salesman who mentioned the tsunami to pressure us. jerk.

22. Starbucks released cake pops to the masses, lighting another fire under the never-ending debate on what to do with my life. I know mine are better. but would people buy them from me? if they could just walk to the nearest Starbucks- would the convenience have a higher value than the actual product? given what I've seen of America lately, I'd believe they would chose convenience over quality.

23. great things are on the horizon. I can't be specific. I wish I could. but the cat has to stay in the bag for a while longer. I've talked about my good intentions and my fear of commitment.  but I know I'm going to something big with my life. I'm not destined to be ordinary. the change is coming soon. and I can't wait for that part of my journey to begin!

24. I have become a beer snob. I'm currently involved in a torrid love affair with IPA's. my two favorite breweries are Southern Tier and Dogfish Head, though I like to branch out sometimes.

25. I've firmly entrenched myself in the belief that love is everything. and I know in my bones that will never change. my life is not neat or put together, but I have the most important thing figured out. and so, it will all be ok.

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