Day 365.

So it's been over a month since I've posted, and although I feel terrible, I must admit: I have been having the absolute time of my life. Holiday parties, time home with family, exploring the city, NYE2011, and the list goes on...Life is grand. I just wish I was more committed to sharing it with you all. I suck.

Well, today marks my 1-year anniversary with NYC. As I reflect on this past year, I remember the times that I've smiled the widest and cried the hardest. I wouldn't trade any moment for the world. I look back on the moments that I cherish the most, and I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.

A friend once said, "The experience is everything." I don't know where I'll end up, and I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that as I build this home, this home being my life, I'll take my time, dedicating myself to laying each brick perfectly. Soon, I'll have a house. In each brick lies a lesson, and I'd be a fool to focus so much on the house that I hope to one day build that I completely neglect to pull every lesson possible from those bricks. Looking at the person I am today versus the person I was on this day in 2011, I must say: I've done a pretty solid job at steady improvement in the whole "lay each brick perfectly" thing. I'm still growing, though. I'm still improving, learning, crying, smiling. My house is nowhere near finished, but 2011 certainly has helped me build a solid foundation. So, a bit of a recap on my first year in NYC.

Books I've Read since 1/15/2011:

The Alchemist by Paulo Cuelho
And Yet They Were Happy by Helen Phillips
The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Couric
Decoded by Jay-Z
9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Life and Love by Henry Cloud
The Gospel According to CoCo Chanel by Karen Karbo
Creep by Darnell Lamont Walker

Music I Couldn't Get Enough of since 1/15/2011:

"Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele
Adele's whole "21" album, really.
Watch the Throne
"1+1" by Beyonce
Beyonce's "4" (especially "I Miss You")
"Kiss" by Prince
"The Glamourous Life" by Shelia E.
"So Ambitious" by Jay-Z featuring Pharrell
"No One Will" by Cody Chesnutt
"She" by Eric Roberson
"Till It Happens to You" by Corinne Bailey Rae
"Sure Thing" by Miguel
"Black and Gold" by Sam Sparrow (also, Adele)
Common's "The Dreamer/The Believer" album
Ray LaMontagne
Joe Robinson's cover of "Black and Gold"
"Electric Feel" by MGMT
"Pumped Up Kicks and Call it What You Want" by Foster the People
"Tonight" by Lykke Li

way too many more to name...

Books and music, conversations about books and music with people who appreciate art and the importance of Socratic exchanges have shaped me as a person most in this year. And of course, spending time exploring in the greatest city in the world. I've found great restaurants, great bars, and great hangout spots, but most importantly, in my search for great things, I found the greatest thing of all: myself.

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