with my 24th this past week and the end of 2002 coming quickly in a few short weeks, I cannot help but to be in a rather reflective mood for this year. This has been one of the, if not *the*, best years in my life. I've grown the most, accomplished the most and become more than I thought.

If you know me, then you know that 2001 started off with a bang! NYE with AGR and Carbon Leaf at Alley Katz was an awesome way to start off this year. And the start of this year allowed some of my closest friends in, took away others and introduced countless other amazing people. It's kinda funny looking back now. I would never have expected my 23rd year of living to be so up and down. I wouldn't change a thing from this year, but I would never have expected what has happened to me.

When I moved to NOVa in August of 2001, I wasn't sure what was about to happen in my life, but I was definitely looking forward to it. The end of 2001 saw a very important person exiting my life and me heading down to Charleston, SC to let go with the tide. While there I recieved a phone call from Matias to head up to Richmond for the AGR show. I didn't know anyone that was going besides him, but he assured me that it wouldn't matter. Just show up. So I did and knocked on a hotel door, the number of which I have long forgotten. When that door opened, LeNelle, Heide, Bridget, Jen, Joanna, LM and so many others stepped into this world of mine. At the show, I came face to face with music that not only touched me but made me want to get up and dance. I wasn't until later that night that I walked up to the most amazing and talented people I have ever met and introduced myself - and Jordan stepped quietly into my life with his hand in the small of my back and his music ringing in my ears.

And the craziness started from there.

I lost a very close friend of mine while my heart was splitting. Waking up each morning was a chore, but I still got out of bed. I went on the road as much as I could, meeting new people along the way and started new friendships. Everyday I came face to face with the highs and lows of being alive. Emotions and thoughts running rampant in my head. It wasn't just a matter of saying goodbye to people that hurt so much. It was the small slivers of memories that would pop into my head, causing tears to well in my eyes and only hoping that no one saw.

But in the end I learned a very important lesson. People will choose. When they have to, they will choose. People come into your life and others will leave. It's not the fact that it hurts when they leave, but that you had the chance to laugh with them while they were there.

I've learned a lot this year. I know that I can be faced with the most difficult situations and be able to face them with a smile and grace. To be able to walk into a room and still enjoy myself. To host a group of friends and know that one is counting the hours before they can escape. To be in a job where you can outgrow your position and be forced, in the end, out of something you have grown to love - regardless of how tough and stressing it was day in and day out. To finally come to terms with those demons hiding under your bed, entering your dreams at night and playing tricks on your head during the day.

This has been my year of confrontations, but more importantly knowledge.

I have looked pain and loss in the face and still been able to laugh.
I know that friends are a gift
- but that I cannot keep each and every one.
I know that opportunities are always there
- you just have to be open enough to see them when they arrive, regardless of their size.
I know that opening myself to new possibilities can open so many more doors.
I know that communication can be the best thing when I miss someone
- tell them, just tell them.
I know that life can forever be altered in a split second
- but the ones that popped into my head first, are the ones I truly love the most.
I know that life is only worth the time and effort that I put into it
- it *is* my life.

But my most valuable lesson that I've learned this year is this:
Above all else, I still believe in love and more importantly, I can still love.

It's been an amazing year. Thanks to all of you guys who have been in it. It's been one filled with great music, amazing people, love, tears, joy, laughter and lots of fun.

I wouldn't change it for the world.

"pig me"
O - H - I - O
road trips - NYC, Atlanta, Athens, Columbus, Cleveland, Charlotte, Snowshoe, Camden, Chapel Hill
07.28.01 - Luaus in the rain, trains in the night, volleyball with scores of 357 to 92
"riiiight riiiight riiiight"
"laura from seattle!!"
CL, Howie, John Mayer, Regan, AGR, DMB, Bluestring, Live Honey, Jennifer Marks, Majahkamo and the list goes on...
"giggle away, giggle away"
new roommates
"Lucy" and "George"
Hotel rooms with el-em, john, howie, dela, jamie and scotty - tv, guitars and 80's tunes
more tickets than I can remember
camping in the rain - twice
9:30 Club, Alley Katz, Elbow Room, Georgia Theatre, Mercury Lounge, Wild Wing Cafe, JewMom, Birchmere, etc
Forever 21
Murphy and Ryder
The Gorge 2001 - almost
Colony South Inn singing DMB songs with the USAF
007's at Garrets
Georgetown - Coffeeshops, Galleries with my favorite sculpture, pea coats, chinese food, Mon Cheri
Krispy Kreme Donuts, Airplanes and "X's" painted on the ground
poetry and journals

thanks you guys for a great 2001 - you know who you are! :)