Best of 2013

Right after Thanksgiving, the lists start. The year’s best EVERYTHING. Albums, movies, books, gifs involving dogs…It’s endless. I’m not complaining. I totally get it. The end of the calendar year brings with it a certain degree of nostalgia. We reflect on the past 365 days with wonder and awe; joy and regret. Some years, it’s easy to pinpoint the major moments. These are the years of births, deaths, losses and love. Other years just exist comfortably, like my favorite pair of TOMS that are literally full of holes but I refuse to throw away.


When I welcomed 2013 in with a tired smile, I would have never imagined I would end up here. Good, bad, and ugly, this has been a year full of crazy change. What better format to reflect on it all than with my own year-end list? Also, I love making lists (BuzzFeed, if you’re hiring, you know where to find me).


Without further ado: Dawn’s Major Moments of 2013.


1. I ended a relationship

Those of you who knew me from my other blog will remember Jason. We started dating in the summer of 2012. We fit well together, we were happy. He was (and is) fantastic, supporting, and loving. For reasons that exist solely between he and I, we weren’t right for each other. Thankfully, we have maintained a friendship and I know we’ll both be happier in life with only that.


2. I lost a job

            I loved managing my little café in my tiny corner of the world. I probably would have done it forever if someone had let me. That, however, was not to be the case. Due to a hell of a lot of circumstances, I left the shop. It was hard then. Sometimes it is hard now. I miss the friends I made. I miss the comfort of knowing exactly what I was doing. If I’m being completely honest, I missed the ease of being really good at my job. When it fell apart, I wasn’t entirely sure how to define myself anymore. It was an identity/self-esteem crisis of the highest order.

3. I moved

            Losing a job meant finding another one, naturally. That search brought me to Nashville. Leaving Bowling Green was hard. I’d lived there exclusively since 2006 and before that I was there the 9 months of the school year. It was home. It was safe and comfortable. But, things change and the universe pushed me into this city. I was, at once, excited and terrified. The first two months here were hard. I won’t lie and say they weren’t. I didn’t know where my place was. I had lost my community and any sense of familiarity. Relearning everything, like where the nearest grocery store is or how to get anywhere, was challenging and scary. For a bit I felt completely lost.

4. I found home

            Nashville has gotten into my bones in a way I didn’t quite expect. I knew that I’d adjust and was looking forward to being in a more urban environment. Being a big city girl at heart, I had confidence that I could learn to like it. What I didn’t plan on was loving it quite this much. Nashville is like a tiny city surrounded by towns. When you’re in downtown and on Broadway, you get the sense that she’s a proper city. But when you’re in the residential areas, in your neighborhood café, or driving to church; you see small pockets of existence. There are things I wish I could change and I know Nashville may not hold me forever, but I am happy here in a city filled to the brim with creativity and art.

5. I found my people

            My community in Bowling Green was amazing. They are some of the most loving people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. We’ve stayed friends and they continue to support me exactly how they did before. I never expected to find anything like that when I moved to Nashville. For a few months, I didn’t. Then, I found something amazing. After a few simple introductions, a new community welcomed me with open arms. They are intelligent, creative, inspiring, loving and unbelievably welcoming. Even better? We share a plethora of common interests. This has been the only group of friends I’ve ever had where we can talk equally at length about the creative process or Sherlock survival theories and Doctor Who episodes. They make me feel normal in a way that I didn’t think was possible. We are all the same brand of weird and I’m eternally grateful that they took me into the fold.

6. I found me

            When you go through this many changes in less than a year, it generates quite a bit of introspection. You think about who you are and who you want to be. Somewhere in the midst of learning a new city, a new job, and new friends; I learned about me. I found things I loved and let myself love them. I shared my quirkiness with people who weren’t expecting it. I found myself caring less and less that people thought I was weird. Know what? I am. I’m perfectly okay with that. This development may also have a bit to do that I’m 5 months away from being 30. It seems I’m finally shaking off the last vestiges of 20-something insecurity. You don’t like me? That’s alright. There are plenty of people who do.


I hope that 2013 was a banner year for each of you, in some way or another. Maybe you fell in love or had a baby. Or maybe you just passed a class you thought would kill you. Perhaps nothing extraordinary happened, but you had more smiles than tears. Whatever it was, be happy it happened. Make your own list. Then, look forward to 2014 and let’s conquer it together.