First, January. Bringing in the New Year with family friends, tossing sparklers through warm, muggy South Carolina air. Then back to Boone, freezing cold in the snow, new classes and freelancing and warm, ridiculous, snowed-in nights. Feeling more and more social, realizing that even when my life was a mess my friends were just…there. Uncomplicated.

Then, February. Happiness. Changing my major to Public Relations, staring at those words on a piece of paper and feeling thrilled and scared. Possibility. Valentine’s Day, unattached, perfectly content. Cold air and a quiet, comfortable heart.

March and “No, I’m not applying for Ed Board.” Letting Associate applications slip by. Picking up Lifestyles on a whim, realizing I wanted it more than anything else in the world. Walking into my interview nervous and out of it completely calm. “It was weird, it was more like a conversation. I could see us being really good friends someday, almost.” Waiting for a week unable to sleep, breathe, stop talking. Then an 8 p.m. phone call and there it was – I got the job.

April and the first Ed Board meetings and production nights. Starting to drink coffee. Watching my time with friends dwindle and become something precious; Chili’s 4-for-20 feeling like the best thing in the world. Surprise visit from my parents, busy, stressed, yelling, ready to get back to the office. Newspaper picnic. Gifts. Endings.

May and the usual last-minute rush to repair the damage and pass my classes. Exams. As and Bs. Moving home and finding out my old summer job wouldn’t be taking me back, after all. Turning 21. Beginnings, endings. Worrying constantly about finding a job.

June and finding a job and hating it and then loving it. Getting attached to the kids. Watching my little brother graduate from high school, realizing how long it’d been since I’d done the same. Vacation Bible School. Minor-league baseball with my family.

July and endless field trips. Falling head-over-heels for the kids I was taking care of. Two weeks subbing in the baby room, taking care of five kids under a year old by myself, feeling proud of how capable I am with kids. Starting a new medicine. Feeling anxious and sort of happy, all at the same time, but most of all feeling stuck.

August and saying goodbye to my kids and feeling my heart break. Going back to Boone with every part of me on board, not a single piece of my heart wanting to stay. Workshops. Unpacking. Getting to know Ed Board. A desk full of writers. Crazy, crazy production nights. The beginning of a semester of straying from God.

September and Savannah and seafood outside on Tybee Island and the blur of downtown. Roommate moving out and the birth of the sleepover bed. A called-into-the-office, shut-the-door conversation and suddenly, Associate Editor. A week or so of hating my life and then all of a sudden, I loved it. I loved it more than anything.

October and friendship. Looking back on “I could see us being really good friends” and realizing how right I was. Long talks after editing nights and “We’re the same person, aren’t we?” Realizing my best friend is even more wonderful than I thought she was. Fall Break. New friends. Halloween and running the paper for a week.

November and long talks. Getting even more attached to everyone at the newspaper. Staff dinner. More new friends, more relationships getting closer. Spiraling. The end of any hope I had of graduating in May. Needing my friends and there they were. Realizing how much my parents want to understand. Feeling scared and feeling loved.

December and exams and more academic disasters. Sleeping. Not quite keeping in touch. Thinking. Praying. Reading books. God, back in my life and my heart. Taking my medicine again. Starting to see where things went wrong. Making lists.

And I’m ready, so ready, for 2012. I have everything I need.

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