While attempting to come up with the right words to describe my life in 2014, the only one that came to mind again and again was transitional. A period of changing from one state to another. Sound boring? Well, it was quite the opposite. More than anything, this year has brought along with it some of the biggest changes I'd faced since graduating high school. Some were tougher to accept than others, but all of them, I'm confident, were for the better.

In no particular order: I landed my first "big girl" job with an independent oil company and, several months later, moved into a cozy apartment that I could call my own. Even though this particular career path wasn't what I expected, it gave me my first real taste of financial independence—a huge accomplishment in itself. As a result, I learned about the importance of budgeting, 401Ks, investing in stocks, and all of that financial adult stuff I never could quite grasp before. (...Still learning!)

Two thousand fourteen also saw this girl fall in love for the first time. After nine months of long-distance Skype dates and short trips across Texas to see one another, my guy was finally transferred to Houston (hallelujah!) from far far away in middle-of-nowhere Midland. (Okay, so it wasn't that far, but it sure seemed like it.) As next-door neighbors, we were able to cross a handful of things off of our twenty fourteen bucket list, including a winery tour in Fredericksburg, a Mardi Gras parade in the Cajun Country, a summer weekend or two relaxing on the lake, a Renaissance masquerade ball, and a ten-day trip to beautiful Switzerland. We celebrated our first full year together as a couple on September 20th.

Superhero flicks bombarded the box office this year, but it was Interstellar and Winter's Tale that made my list of favorites. I finally jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon, but only after committing to watch all nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother. (Currently on Season 6—please, no spoilers!) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak warmed my soul and inspired me to write more, and Taylor Swift's fifth album played on repeat in my car from October through December.

I flew to Europe with my best friend for a 21-day tour of twelve major cities, all of which I fell head-over-heels for upon arrival and vowed to one day return. (These were hands down three of the best weeks of my life. Stay tuned for more travel posts!) Closer to home, I toasted to my grandparents' 60th year of marriage, partied like there was no tomorrow at my cousin's lakeside wedding, and gave thanks together with my family for this amazing Easter miracle. When life got tough, my three soul siblings were there to encourage, laugh, feast, and dance away the unnecessary worries of the world right by my side. I turned 23 in October surrounded by loved ones and realized there was no place I'd rather be.

This year had its moments, of course, but I'm kind of glad we're onto the next chapter. I have even higher hopes for 2015: more direction, for one, and perhaps a little less uncertainty. It could be that one day I look back on this upcoming year as the beginning of the rest of my life. A life of knowing exactly what I want, and of taking it by storm.