Sunday, May 6, 2012

On my 23rd birthday.

Twenty-two was a huge year for me. 
We had a lot of successes, a lot of moves,
a ton of excitement and a few heartbreaks.
Twenty-two was pretty monumental, overall.
Here are a few of the memories.

In my 22nd year,
I graduated from the University of Missouri (with honors...tooting my own horn here)
with my Bachelor's in English, emphasis in Creative Writing.

Just a few weeks later, Ryan and I moved from Columbia to St. Louis for his summer internship.
We hunkered down in a little studio apartment in a gated complex
right in the middle of a fairly sketchy neighborhood. I spent the summer writing, running and learning how to drive in a "big city" (well...sort of learning). We met an amazing group of interns
and had a blast getting to know new friends.
It was my first summer being further than a half-hour drive from our hometown,
and I learned a lot about stepping out of my comfort zone.

At 22, I celebrated one year of being married to a goofy, smart, amazing engineer-man. We spent an entire weekend enjoying dinners out, trips around St. Louis and 
the most delicious cupcakes ever.

At the end of the summer, we made our first long road trip together. It was spontaneous and unplanned; we moved out of our apartment in St. Louis, dropped our boxes back in Columbia and drove 18 hours across the United States to see a friend from high school.
It was my first trip to New York City.
My first ride on the subway.
My first run in Central Park.
It was impressive, beautiful, intimidating and less frightening than I had expected,
all rolled into one.

This past fall we ran our first half-marathon. It was a race celebrating BBQ and I ran it wearing my vegetarian t-shirt. And I chased down a girl wearing a "Beef: It's what's for dinner" shirt.
And I beat her. Boo-ya.

In my 22nd year, I think I did more waiting than I'd done in the previous 21 years combined.
At the end of the summer Ryan was offered a full time position in St. Louis following his graduation in December. And he loved that job,
but it was always our dream to move to Los Angeles.
So we waited. And he made contact with managers from the same company out in California.
And we waited. Waited, waited, postponed making a decision about the job offer in St. Louis
and agonized over whether or not we were making a smart decision.
Finally, in November, Ryan was offered a job in Los Angeles
and it felt like one of the single best days of my life.

At 22, I watched my husband graduate (with honors!) with degrees in both Electrical and Computer Engineering, after years of up-all-night study sessions. Of course I knew he could do it, but I was so proud to see all of his hard work pay off
because no one deserves it more than he does.

In January, we rang in the new year in Missouri with the best group of friends.
And the weekend after, as we packed up our U-Haul to move across the country,
 I said more teary good-byes than I've ever said in my life.

As a 22 year old, I achieved one of my biggest dreams when we moved to California. It was hard to leave our family and friends, but I've always felt like a California girl at heart and I know how lucky I am that our plans unfolded exactly how we'd hoped they would.
And I love everything about living here (well...except the cost of our rent).
I know we made the right decision.

At 22, after a year away from school,
I applied to graduate programs in Creative Writing and the waiting game was on.
I experienced rejections that made me question my decision to pursue a career in writing,
and finally, I was admitted into the school where I'll start my MFA this June.

Lastly, just a month and a half ago,
Ryan's parents were in a plane crash and his dad passed away.
I never thought we would experience a heartache like that so early in our lives.
I thought I would have years and years to get to know my Father-in-law better.
At only 22 I felt ill-equipped to be the rock my husband needed, but I tried my absolute best and together we made it through as best as possible.

Twenty-two was a full year.
And I'm going to make sure twenty-three is even better.


  1. Super cute photos, you are so beautiful! :) ♥

  2. wow... what an amazing year your 22 year was. You are truly a beautiful girl inside and out. It's wonderful that you and your hubby have accomplished so much already. I'm so excited to see what exciting opportunities being 23 will bring your way. Experiencing the lost of ones' parents must be one of the most devastating things anyone can possibly go through. Your hubby is so blessed to have had you be his rock during this difficult time. I know that your marriage must be so much stronger for it. I love your writing and I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

  3. Wow you had a very eventful year.. I feel like an unaccomplished lazy bum now haha. Sorry to hear about your father in law, that is awful.

  4. What an awesome year! Here's to this one being even better! Hope you had the best birthday...week!

  5. congrats on getting thru so much in the past year! its hard to remain optimistic sometimes, but i think that looking back at all of the awesome things you did in a year is such a great idea. sorry for your loss, hope you guys are doing ok. happy sunday :)

  6. Oh my goodness..... you experienced SO MUCH in just 1 year! Definitely the most heartbreaking is losing your father in law! I am so sorry for your sweet family! But congratulations on everything else!
    And Happy Birthday!!

  7. 22 sounds like it was an amazing year. Cheers to 23 being even better :) Happy Birthday!!

  8. You really had a year full of transitions and growing up. And I'm so sorry about your father in law...that's terrible.
    But just from being a reader here for a few weeks, I know you'll make this year fantastic.

  9. Woah you did a lot in your 22nd year. I seriously teared up at the end, I'm so sorry for you and Ryan and your families. In the end, all you have is each other, and it's so hard when you are depending that strongly on one another. Aside from that tragedy, you 2 should be very proud of yourselves, you both graduated! You moved! You were accepted for graduate school! Such an accomplished couple!

  10. what a wonderful year for you. you two make a stunning couple, and i'm sure you have so many great things ahead for you in life! xo.

  11. 22 was definitely a monumental year for you! hope 23 is amazing :)

  12. Wow. Talk about experiences. Thank you for sharing. Seriously. I love your travels, hardships and life in general. It's real.

  13. what a good post idea and what a full year. My dream is to move to CA one day too, that pic of the fireworks at the arch is so cool! I am so sorry about your loss, i can't imagine how hard that must have been for both of you!

  14. You have had so many awesome accomplishments this last year. Congratulations! I'm so very sorry to hear that you and your hubby have had to suffer such a loss so early in life. But, the fact that you were there for your husband shows a lot of strength.

  15. What a great post. You have been through so much! It's interesting to look back and notice everything that has molded a person into who she/he is. I'm sorry for your difficult loss. Through reading your blog, I know that happiness always surrounds you all, and I truly admire that!

    A Southern Drawl

  16. I hope that your 23rd year has more blessings than heartaches and you learn to love yourself more each and every day! Happy Birthday!

  17. I hope that your 23rd year has more blessings than heartaches and you learn to love yourself more each and every day! Happy Birthday!

  18. This post makes me think of home {I was born in Missouri and most of my family is still there}! I loved all of your pictures- and I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father-in-law. You and your hubby have been through so much and it is going to make you that much stronger as a couple. Here's to a great 23 year!


  19. Wow! You have had such a big year!
    So glad that you ended up just where you wanted too be :)
    Happy Birthday!
    Amy xo

  20. Wow. Talk about a year full of accomplishments...

  21. I am sure next year will be full of even more amazing things, Happy B-day!!

  22. That is such a crazy and monumental year! I'm sure 23 will be amazing, but hopefully with less heartbreak.

  23. I am sooo sorry about your father-in-law, you are a strong girl to have helped your hubby through that, and I am sure that you still are...I hope that you had an amazing birthday and that you really do have an amazing year upcoming <3 xoxoxoxo

  24. Oh my gosh! That's a lot of things in your 22nd year! I loved the way you told us the story though :) I feel like I know you so much more after reading this post haha. seriously though- it hurt my heart when reading the last thing- I looked at Justin (my engineer) and started crying. I can't imagine how heartbreaking something like that would be. I'm sure you were the most supportive, helpful companion during his rough time... but, gosh that's gotta be so hard-especially when you guys are so far away from your family. Anyway, I'm just envying how strong you both are, because I wouldn't have guessed something that tragic had happened merely a month and a half ago. Yay for you guys and your cheery dispositions, and bright smiles :)

    ANYWAY. I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANDREA!! You're so beautiful and talented, and I'm so happy that you're 23 now :) I'm only a few months behind you!

    hope your day was lovely <3
    xo, Elle

  25. Hi thnks for stopping by and commenting on my blog! Love reading your posts and am now a new follower :) x

  26. wahoo for a rollercoaster of 22-ness!!! And even cooler...way to go on getting into a Masters Program for writing!!!

  27. Wonderful year, so full of many great things... except the cost of your rent, which I totally get ;)

  28. I hope your 23rd year is full of promise and happiness and blessings. Twenty three was good to me, so I hope it's wonderful for you!

  29. Ps. I love the veggie shirt in the BBQ race! Hilarious!

  30. happy 23 years! Mizzou huh?! I graduated from ksu ... my husband's family is allllll Mizzou though, so we're fans (especially if you guys are playing ku). :)

  31. Sounds like an eventful year for sure! So sorry to hear about your father in law. Wishing you all the very best and more for the upcoming year! xo

  32. Happy belated birthday!! Looks like its been a great year:) congrats on your degree especially since you graduated in honors:)


  33. Wow, you're running a half marathon? Respect! This is truly an achievement which I dream of! How often do you train? Oh by the way, I love your blog!

  34. What a wonderful recap of such a beautiful year..I am also so very sorry to hear about your husband's father. Sounds like you were just the perfect support system your husband needed.

  35. This was the best 'year of' post I have ever read, inspiring, sweet, honest, and eloquent. Good luck with everything you do and thanks for sharing it along your way!



This is the part where you tell the pups how cute they are.
...but seriously, thank you so much for stopping by and for your wonderful comment! I read them all and try to respond as often as I can. We hope you visit again soon :)