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  • Writer's pictureAmanda

2023: Year in Review

December 31st. You know how that goes.

Today I'm in Des Moines. I'm sleeping in my high school bedroom, and I'm typing a blog post as my dad comes through the back door to show me the Tostitos queso dip he bought for our New Year's Eve party. (That's a Frito Lay product. "Hey Amanda! Making you proud!")

Tonight will be spent with my high school and family friends. We'll probably go to that one local bar that seems to attract anyone I've ever possibly met. One big portal of my favorite people in one place.

Tomorrow I fly back. And then I am an island in Boston again.

I'm content with it. I think that there's an interesting margin of utility with hometowns: you sleep in a bit, you hug your family and go see your favorite places again. Hopefully you leave before you feel the restlessness come back in. I always feel that at the very end- the need to work on your own time. To come home without having to clarify curfew or worry that your late night Doordash will wake up your parents.

But before that happens, or maybe simultaneously, you feel overwhelming gratefulness.

I've learned over this visit more than ever that if I could choose to live this life over again, I would send myself back to this suburb in Iowa. I would choose this high school and this city and this family. It's mine, and there is so much love here.

So, anyway: on 2023.

Let's wrap up all of the year's themes in a pretty bow and move on to the next.

Every year I do this, usually writing it down by hand and going into the kind of detail that doesn't need to be shared online. "This is what served me, this is what didn't," etcetera.

So hey, maybe I'll try to distill it all a bit and shove it into one blog post.

This year- and not to be dramatic- has felt like five years condensed into one. It's the type of year that would compel you to time travel back to January and say, "Hey, buckle up."

This year had a few of those life lessons that sound super cliche on paper and then wind up feeling more profound than anything else you've learned before. We'll get into those.

In 2023 I graduated from college, moved across the country, and started my new job. Creatively, I built this blog, tried my modeling and fashion design chops, and joined my awesome book club.

I'm thinking this one's going to go down as one of my toughest but most rewarding years yet. So here's my "Hey, buckle up" message that I would've sent Amanda from January.

Life Lessons: Cliche Learnings from a 5 in 1 Year.

Sounds like a Head & Shoulders Ad.

  1. January will start with losing a friend. Life isn't guaranteed and death isn't poetic. It feels empty, and you go on. You have to keep going on.

  2. Do something you usually wouldn't. If that freaks you out, do it as a joke. Apply to a fashion show for the hell of it and wind up walking in front of 2000 people. It's really fun.

  3. Find the friend that will be your partner in crime. I'm talking the kind of friend who would drop everything and road trip to Utah with you. Easily some of the best memories- the adventure of a lifetime.

  4. If you plan to move around, (Amanda, you do) you'll have to accept that the movement will accelerate who stays and who goes in your life. It's beautiful and it's hard.

  5. Anger is a secondary emotion. It feels more powerful than expressing hurt. Be patient with that in yourself and with other people.

  6. Surprise! You have ADHD. Stop trying to fight it and begin to accommodate yourself. Everything gets easier.

  7. Embrace the Barbie movie and the Taylor Swift listening parties. Talking to women about shared girlhood is more powerful than you know.

  8. It's going to be tough to transition from going out nightly in school to days spent relaxing after work. You're going to catch yourself pouring a glass of wine alone after a 9 to 5. You're becoming your mom and you find the humor in it.

  9. The New England stereotypes can be scarily accurate. You're going to have to learn how to cut people off on the road and soon you'll find it rolling off your back as someone yells at you about how shitty you are in their eyes. Absurdity in the best way.

  10. Your whole life, you've felt the need to water down your interests for the sake of people that wouldn't really enjoy them in their full form. Why do that? Post the poems and collect the crystals. Corniness be damned!

  11. Perception isn't always reality. It's human to misjudge each other. Accept that the world views say more about the person creating them than the way they paint you.

  12. Your close friends are some of the most magical people you've ever met. Hold them close. The depth of those friendships are so rare.

  13. Ego, man. Ego is a wild thing.

  14. Keep creating. It sets you on fire. Do it because you have to. Fuck making it look good.

I think that's about all I have to say.

Retrospect makes a lot of the turbulence look funny as I write it down.

It's not that serious. We are kids with some years on us trying to embrace life and learn the same lessons over and over again.

I love this life.

I hope to continue that perspective into 2024.

I'm thankful. All my love.

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