On the cusp of being 24, I look back to where I was a year ago, and at everything that had changed since then. The last year was far more adventurous, dangerous, risky, and exhilarating. Last year was a year of making changes, taking steps forward, and improvement. It was also a year of set-backs, repeating the same mistakes, and falling for douche bags. Luckily, the positives outweigh the negatives by far.
A year ago, I was in love. I fell for his advances and let his sweep me off my feet with elegant dinners and glitzy late night martinis. I let him pay for everything and I convinced myself that he was the most wonderful man in the world.
A year ago minus 3 weeks, I had my heart broken and I felt the pain I had never felt before that moment. I must admit I was messed up and confused for a brief moment, trying to figure out what happened. However, I walked away with dignity. He never found out just how deeply he hurt me. He never will.
Eleven months ago, I moved out of my apartment to briefly set my residence at my parents' house. The comfort of a childhood home was soothing. For just a few weeks, it felt nice to be cooked for and cleaned after. It was my brief regression to an earlier stage.
Ten months ago, I was at the Jersey shore, laying out on a beach and listening to the ocean waves crash against the sandy shore.
Nine months ago was my last day at my old job as an architectural staff member at a historical preservation firm in Philadelphia. The goodbyes were bittersweet - it was the best job I have had to date, but I knew that I had to leave in order to pursue bigger and better things.
Eight months ago I moved to Cincinnati with nothing but a car full of clothes. I knew no one and the city felt so small the minute I moved here. I knew it wasn't the city I was going to love, but I didn't know that just in a few days I would meet the most fabulous people who would slowly evolve to be my new family.
Seven months ago, I was busy settling down and exploring the new city. I began getting a hang of a demanding curriculum of my school that was "trying to be like Harvard", in the words of one of my classmates, who eventually decided to drop out of the program.
Six months ago, I had an interview with a firm that two weeks later would offer me a co-op job in their hospitality department.
Five months ago, I drove back to Philadelphia for a Christmas break and spent an amazing three weeks, visiting my old friends whom I haven't seen since that summer and spending quality time with my family.
Four months ago, I began my job at the fabulous firm and started dating a new guy. I visited Nashville, and, surprisingly enough, loved its country-music charm.
Three months ago, I got my first architectural review approved for being featured in a magazine. I was now officially a published writer. I also went to Vegas for the very first time, fell in love with the city and vowed to come back for a visit again.
Two months ago, the guy I had dated for 2.5 months abruptly decided that he didn't want to pursue things with me any more. And to think, I was the one who initially doubted if I should pursue a relationship with him. I also faced rejection from an acquaintance of mine, who I could have sworn liked me at least half as much as I liked him. It was a bad month in my personal life.
One month ago, the fabulous firm notified me that they would like me to come back and work for them this summer. I gladly accepted. I also went to Boston for the very first time to a Harvard leadership conference.
Today, I am on a cusp of being 24. I don't feel a day older and maybe just a tad wiser than I had a year ago. I am still clueless when it comes to men and dating, but I am gaining more and more knowledge and confidence in my profession. I still see my future as an open book, but I have clear direction to where I want to go from here. I am no longer wishing on stars, I am taking steps to making my dreams come true. I am still afraid, but I am hopeful. Above all, I am still me and no one can take that away.