Exactly a year ago, on a day that looked much like this one, I drove out to Northampton, MA to ring in 2012 with Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band at the Calvin Theater. At the end of the show Josh played Auld Lang Syne on the violin and then led a crowd sing-along to “Empty Hearts,” the ultimate New Year’s anthem. It was a perfect moment of happiness, peace and togetherness. After the show those feelings followed me back to my hotel room, then to Ireland, New York City, back to Clinton and now home to Boston, where tonight I’ll celebrate the end of 2012, the best year of my life.
Now, 366 days, two semesters of college, ten countries, dozens of concerts, four festivals, several pints of Guinness, thousands of words, many sandwiches and one fake apocalypse later, it’s time to say goodbye to 2012. I started out this year in Dublin, where I found adventures unlike any I’ve ever had before. These unforgettable times were largely made possible by the awesome group of people I met over there, both American and Irish. I also had the amazing opportunity to spend time with my Irish family for the first time as an actual adult, and I was blown away by their warm, welcoming kindness. My time in Ireland taught me so much about who I am and where I’ve come from, and I’ll definitely be back for more adventures. Coming back to America was a somewhat bizarre experience, especially as I left Dublin’s Georgian charm and medieval stone and quickly found myself surrounded by the glass, steel, heat and noise of New York City. While it was intimidating at first, I immediately found so much to love in New York. Between the days at the Relix and Sirius XM offices and the nights of music and exploring, I found constant excitement in everything I did. I also found a whole new group of fascinating, like-minded people in NYC, and that made my whole experience way more fun and memorable. Like Dublin, I left New York with the full intention to return as soon as possible, and I’m excited to work towards that in 2013. After all the priceless experiences I had getting to know Dublin and New York, I was really happy to return to Hamilton to start my last year on the hill, promising to make it an epic final act in my academic career. It felt so great to be reunited with my college family, especially after being scattered all around the globe for all the preceding parts of 2012. With another unbelievable living situation ensuring the constant presence of my best friends, this past semester turned out as ridiculous, memorable, and fruitful as I could’ve hoped. I’ve also been so lucky to have a wonderful new girl bringing tons of happiness to my life, and I’ve come to really enjoy even the most labor-intensive aspects of my college experience.
Basically, I’m just really thankful for everything that has happened to me in the last twelve months, and I recognize that most of the joy that I’ve found comes from the people that I’ve encountered over this past year. I’ve had so many experiences this year that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and I have so many amazing friends to thank for them. I wish I could personally thank everybody who deserves it, but you’re scattered all over the world and it just isn’t feasible. But you know who you are. Whether you’re one of my close family members, someone I traveled with or encountered around Europe, a fellow intern or coworker from my time in New York, a classmate from Hamilton or UCD, someone I met at a festival or concert, someone I took a roadtrip with, a longtime friend or a new one, someone I talk to every day or someone I just met once, it’s because of you that 2012 was the best year of my life so far. Even if you think I don’t remember you, I probably do and I just want to say thanks. I really appreciate all of you and I hope I helped you have a great year too.
This year I learned exactly how much life experience can be packed into 12 months, and 2013 looks like its going to be another unpredictable adventure. I have one more semester at Hamilton, and after that I’ll be moving on to pursue my dreams, hopefully seeing some great music along the way. New challenges are ahead, but there are just as many exciting new prospects, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to keep this website updated with fresh content, so be sure to check back every so often. Everybody have a safe New Year’s Eve and a happy, peaceful and productive 2013!
Cambridge, MA, 12/31/12
“Don’t let me into this year with an empty heart” -Josh Ritter