Elizabeth Bastian (Managing Editor)
Elizabeth Bastian (Managing Editor)

By ELIZABETH BASTIAN, Managing Editor

It’s the last paper of 2012, and my last column of the year.

Last year, a friend expressed sentiments that if the world does end later this month, they will be extremely unhappy with leaving the potentiality of what they could have done behind. I took that to heart. Of course, I could not complete an entire bucket list in one year with 8 months of school and a waitress’s salary. But I did make a conscious effort to take more risks, be more conscious of the impact I was making, and to do things that I would be proud of.

When 2012 began, I was in a very different place than I am now. Since January, I have done so much that I never would have thought was possible, and some things that I simply had never done before. I went camping. I baked vegan desserts. I saw Florence Welch in concert (and may or may not have cried…). I rushed the field at the Big House. I jumped out of a plane 2 miles above sea level!

There are too many numerous events that have occurred and goals I have accomplished in these past twelve months, but there are a select few I am exceptionally proud of.

In mid-April, I road-tripped it down to Ohio (I know, GROSS) with six close friends to compete in what is labeled the “toughest event on the planet”: Tough Mudder. 11.5 miles with 27 military-style obstacles, including a greased quarter pipe, electric wires, and a 30 foot jump off a platform into freezing water. Oh, and mud. Lots of mud. Did I mention it was 40 degrees and raining?

It wasn’t just the fact that I finished the race. It was the fact that I had somehow found the discipline to train for eight months, working through injuries both major and minor in order to be ready for this event. Even more life-changing was the journey my friends and I took together as we trained and then ran the course together. I could not have completed Tough Mudder without them. We pulled each other up and over obstacles, we lifted each other, we caught each other, we cheered each other on. It was absolutely miserable, and I have never been so sore in my life. But I immediately signed up for another Tough Mudder this summer after I finished.

Why?

Because it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Something else happened this past year that I had always dreamed about, but never actually thought would happen. As those of you who followed my blog this past summer know, I spent six weeks in June and July living in the heart of Rome and digging up an ancient Roman town.

Every kid dreams of digging up bones, of just grabbing a shovel and finding something never discovered buried underneath the dirt. I never thought my dream would become a reality, much less that I would make it a reality. While the trip itself was, hands down, the greatest thing I have ever done in my life, it happened because of me. I found the field school, I applied, I saved the money, I booked the plane ticket. This may sound trivial, even selfish; but I guess I am just proud because it was one of the first truly “adult” things I felt like I have done.

I honestly still cannot believe I was there. Remembering the kiss of the midday Italian sun while curled under a fleece blanket in December is definitely helping me get through the winter.

Last week I talked about my failures, those goals I set that I just didn’t have the motivation or time dedication to get around to. But I did have motivation to do some things that I always wanted, or that I had never thought was possible. I made these things happen.

Pride may goeth before the fall, but hey, I least I had some fun before I go. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having some pride in what you do, or in what you have done.

I said 2012 was going to be my year, and it was. If the world does end in nine days, I will be content with what I accomplished in my short time on earth.

On that note, I hope you all enjoy a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, a great Festivus, or whatever kind of cheerfulness you celebrate this time of year in the inevitable post-Apocalyptic world. See you in 2013, if we’re lucky?