When counting down the days until my 21st birthday, I had the most ridiculous high-hopes. I thought fo SHO that the big 2-1 was going to be my best birthday yet, and that the year ahead had nothing but crazy awesome memories waiting for me (read: tons of candy, Dr. Pepper, hanging out with friends, and obviously owning the world).
Unfortunately, 21 not only failed to meet my expectations, but didn’t even come close. It was one of the most trying years of my life, and I can easily say one of the unhappiest as well. After a few years of staying in an insanely unhealthy relationship, I had isolated myself from my friends, my family, and my dreams of rising #girlboss.
How had this become who I was? Just sitting back and letting things happen to me that I didn’t ever remember being okay with, let alone that I would be okay with happening to a friend of mine. When did I stop living life for the one and only Julia Jean Kennedy?
22 was not only a better year, but MY FREAKIN’ YEAR. I grew my boobs back (lady version of balls, obviously), proudly demonstrated my sass more often, and became (again) unapologetically myself. I ended the unhealthy relationship, mended connections with my friends and family, and most important of all, starting treating myself with the respect I knew I deserved.
It’s insane to think about where I was last year at this time, and I know I couldn’t be more proud of myself. I think 22 started a couple months early for me – in July 2013, to be exact – but I was so fresh-eyed, ambitious, and rearin’ to go and take back everything in my life.
april 2014: a snap of my pub crawl team spring 2014: BEERIO KART (from left: the beautiful katie, “yoshi” sarah, “luigi” kelsey, “princess daisy” slaine, “princess peach” natalie, “maria (mario)” me, and “diddy kong” mitch)
What did I get in return? The single best year of my life in every way possible – add in the fact that it was my senior year of college, AKA the most prime time to have the most epic year. In celebration of turning 23 on Sept 29, 2014, here are my most proud moments from the past year of my life:
- lived in NYC for ten weeks and developed an entirely new sense of independence
- ended an unhealthy relationship that lasted much too long
- rekindled / strengthened friendships that fed a positive image of myself
- gained entirely new best friends AND welcomed anyone and everyone as a new best friend
- threw FOMO out the window
- fell in love (again and again) with my university during my senior year
- moved across the country to Connecticut
- started to become the athlete I used to be again
- spent the summer traveling in Peru with 18 crazy adolescents and one awesome co-leader
- went an entire month without instagram or facebook
- danced my FACE off
- learned to live simply and be happy
- lived without apology or regret
- and so many countless other things that I couldn’t possibly list them all
And here are some of my favorite moments caught on camera. Thanks for an amazing year, 22 – here’s to a sweet 23!
may 2014: graduation day with the bros: older bro Nick & younger bro Mitchell
basketball season this last winter at university of portland: being a part of the team as their social media manager! loved these boys and watching them have a killer season, beating Gonzaga for the first time in 20 years on home court and BYU in triple overtime.
winning not one, not two, but THREE intramural championships: 5v5 girls basketball, 6v6 volleyball, and 4v4 coed basketball, champs pictured here, “Pippen Ain’t Easy.”
spring 2014: spending some much needed time in the san juan islands with family and these kick ass sunsets.
may 2014: hawaii for a week with these babes. sun, sand, and sassy ladies – it’s all you need.
july 2013: meeting Matt Bomer of White Collar with co-intern Alex while interning in new york city. UM YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
september 2013 / february 2014: working two New York Fashion Weeks and casually getting photographed with Margarita Levieva, star of ABC’s Revenge. #canteven
june / july / august 2014: PERU! and working for my favorite company of all time, Bold Earth.