This year has been one for the books. I can sit and think about it all, but, while writing this, I can't quite find the words to say. The past 12 months have been months of change and growth in ways I couldn't have thought possible. Of course, this year was big for everyone my age: we turned 18, graduated high school, and some of us went off of college. But, let me share with you some of the details of why I am toasting to 2018.

This year did not start out in my favor. For the first couple months I found myself surrounded by a toxic period of time in which I was stuck going through the motions of my life, but I didn't feel truly there. A blessing in disguise was thrown my way, however, when times changed and people left. I didn't see it at the time, but, as it often happens, when it seemed that things I cared about were falling apart, I was actually allowed space to change everything for the better.

Shortly after, Easter followed, and I turned 18. I've always thought that it was a fun fact that I was born on April Fool's Day. This year it was nice that a more considerably important day fell on Easter. A neater fun fact, I suppose.

The day after my birthday, I spent in Disney World's Animal Kingdom, and my 18-year-old butt put on a Simba tank top and wore my hair in pigtails. Between my outfit, the pigtails, and my brace-filled, ear-to-ear smile, I probably looked like a 12-year-old; but, I will tell you I was the happiest 12-year-old there. My favorite Disney movie has always been "The Lion King", and I got to see their Festival of the Lion King. I adored every minute of it.

I know peers that went to the beach and had a crazy spring break that you really only hear stories about, but I couldn't be happier spending mine with my family in Orlando because I got to reconnect with myself. For the first time in a long time I didn't care what I looked like or what people could be thinking of me, I was remembering how much I loved being childish.

At the end of April I went to my senior prom. I went dateless, with friends, in a dress that I felt amazing in. We all went to a steak dinner in town, danced at prom, and then spent time at your friendly neighborhood Waffle House. We ended the night with a midnight showing of "Infinity War." No one could tear us down or ruin that night.

May 29th, we graduated. There isn't much else to say other than that. Four years of our life came to a conclusion in two hours and it was unbelievable, indescribable.

Over the summer, I worked two jobs. That was a lot of my summer, aside from a week I spent with my four closest friends at our senior trip in Myrtle Beach. We drove down, stayed in a house, cooked our own food when we weren't going out, went to the beach, and adventured around the city. A week well spent with all of us before we all went away to school. I think this week was my favorite in this entire year.

Then it came time to move into a school that I was never certain I wanted to go to. It was a hard transition for me, I'll admit that. I didn't really know what I wanted to do so I didn't understand why I was coming to WVU, yet, it isn't far from my hometown and they have some of the best programs in the country. But, I came, moved in, and, to my pleasant surprise, I found a place. I found old friends and new friends, I've gone on adventures, and I've found new inspiration on possible paths for my future. I found a new home.

In this past year I have struggled with letting go of people I thought would be in my life much longer. I have struggled with feeling like I was watching parts of my world fall apart. But, I am saying cheers for this year because for the first time in a very long time, this year is not ending with me wondering when something is going to change. This may have been a year of pain but it was also a year of growth. I am rid of toxic influences, I reconnected with parts of myself that I never realized had been lost, and I have grown into a happy, confident young adult.

Cheers to 2018! And, thank you for not being another year of involuntary motions.