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Each new year brings generally the same things: new resolutions, the end of winter break, and for some, a fresh start. When I was younger, New Year’s didn’t have much significance to me other than a different number I would be writing on assignments at school. The holiday season goes from the madness of Christmas shopping to family gatherings where food is eaten and gifts are opened to New Year’s Eve, where most people go out and celebrate the transition from one year to the next. 

This year, I didn’t really celebrate too much, thanks to the snowstorm that lasted all evening on December 31st and then all melted away in the days that followed. I thought about what my resolutions would be for the year, and then realized that I never follow through with them, anyway (does anyone actually follow through with their resolutions?), so what’s the point in making them? Besides, my resolution at the beginning of 2011 was to make last year better than 2010, and that didn’t happen. In fact, 2011 was one of my worst years ever, for many reasons. Very few good things came out of 2011 for me. I don’t really want to go in-depth about every bad thing that happened, because a lot of it’s personal and it would take way too much time. So I’ll just focus on the good things that happened and hope that karma makes 2012 a very good year. Besides, dwelling on the bad things that happened is pointless.

So, what are some good things that happened in 2011? Well, last January, I met Sam, my boyfriend. And really, if that were the only good thing to happen last year, I would be O.K. with it. I couldn’t be happier with him, and although we’ve gone through some rough times, we’ve always been there for each other and somehow things always work out. 

I got to see one of my favorite bands, My Chemical Romance, for the first time last April. When I was in seventh grade, my dad forbid me from listening to them. I refused, though, and finally convinced him that they were actually a good band; he even likes some of their new music. It was April 12th, a warm spring day, and one of my best friends Taylor and I waited in line for about four hours before they even opened the doors. That’s what I love about Taylor — she’s not the most patient person in the world, but when it comes to things like concerts, she could wait for days just to see one. The venue was First Avenue, and I had never been there, though I’d heard nothing but good things about it. That night was one of the best nights of my life. There’s just something so exhilarating about seeing a band that you love play live. I had been waiting almost six years for that day, and it’ll always be a memorable one for me.

Last year was also the first time I went to prom. The first was in Waterville, the second in New Richland. Anyone who really knows me also knows that during my sophomore and junior years of high school, I spent more free time in Waterville than at home. So, needless to say, I loved going to prom in Waterville. Just like any other girl, I love being able to dress up nice for a day and spend time dancing with friends. They were both great nights that I’ll never forget.

The biggest thing that happened in 2011, though, was moving away from home. I’ve already written about this, so I don’t really need to explain it all that much, but it was a huge step for me.

All in all, 2011 was a year full of first experiences for me. Looking back at it, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. There were a lot of good things that happened last year that I kind of forgot about. 

It’s so easy to complain about all the bad things that have happened in our lives. It’s not as easy to say, “You know, that really wasn’t that bad,” and move on. If you think about positive things instead of wasting energy thinking about negative things, you’ll find that you’ll be a lot happier. So, even though I don’t have any real “resolutions” for this year, I do plan on looking more at the bright side of things. Smiling more, laughing more, taking more time to realize all of the good things I have in my life and not focusing on all of the bad. 

After all, if all you do is think about how terrible your life is and how many problems you have, it can seem like too much to bear. You have the power to change your mood and your life, you just need to realize it and actually do something about it. So, I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year, and let’s make this year a great one. 

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