2011 was a year of major changes for me, although certain things remained the same (as tends to happen). I grew up a lot over the course of the year - I learned to be OK on my own (really on my own, not just living alone) and I developed a love of bleu cheese, über-peaty scotch, brussels sprouts, and full-bodied red wines. I let go of certain rules, though I developed some new ones. I let new people into my life and I kicked others out. The latter part of 2011 will likely be the most memorable though.
It wasn’t until mid-2011 that I really began to feel like an adult - and it wasn’t the financial independence, increased responsibilities at work, or general lifestyle in Manhattan that made me feel this way. Rather, it was shaking some of the negative influences from my youth and college days and associating more with a whole host of new and diverse people. I’ve been exposed to a new side of life, New York, and myself through the people I met and got to know in 2011. And, by better defining my social life and friend group this past year as compared to years prior - when I would let rules, obligations, and social pressures dictate my life - I felt more mature and in control. I’ve also discovered a lot more about human nature, interpersonal relationships, and what it is that I want and need.
Some of the people that indirectly taught me these lessons are still in my life, others are not, and others are being or will likely be phased out - but regardless of these individuals’ roles in my life come next New Year’s Eve, they will always be an integral part of that “coming of age” period of my life - you know, that year or so we see portrayed in movies like Good Will Hunting, The Graduate, and Almost Famous, the period of your life that you one day talk to your kids about as they are finally embarking on their adult journeys.
I’m excited for what 2012 holds, and I feel like I’m in a much better place to begin a new year of my life - more confident, happier, and self-assured - than I was last New Year’s Eve. So, to 2011, goodbye. It’s time for you to go, like each year before you, but I certainly won’t forget you.