Friends do silly, wonderful things sometimes. Like give you an entire year. My friends let me take 2014. I changed my twitter handle, bought a web domain, even entertained the idea of this self-help blog.

But before it was a joke, the ‘year of dan’ was a goal. See, for 2014 I had big plans. I wanted to tackle my fears, anxieties. I thought about all the changes that happened in 2013: moving to Chicago, new job, new friends, same old friends; but it all felt hindered. I could count too many times where I was too afraid to do something, and felt like I was holding myself back, and maybe too embarrassed to talk about it. In the year of dan, I wanted to explore the things that terrified me most, armed with the power of my mantra, and see if they really are that bad.

Instead, I spent an entire year making jokes with friends about my year, but never took the time to write any resolutions down. This didn’t mean my year wasn’t without accomplishments. But without the accountability of a written record, I didn’t do that much. I did what was easy, when it was easy. Just enough to tell myself I was changing.

But what did I accomplish?

  • So I started taking public transportation to work (which for the record is terrifying). And this only after a fender bender and the biggest snowfall in my lifetime made driving miserable. Through car troubles, 2 flat tires, 4 new tires, 2 tows, parking problems, fender benders, rain, and cold I switched between car and CTA until I finally caved and lent my car to the family. 6 months later, I still haven’t figure out how to get the monthly pass pre-tax off my paycheck, but I’m working on it.
  • Rainy day. Front row on the catbus.

    A photo posted by Daniel Rowell (@mustlovemustlovedogs) on

    Fall is here.

    A photo posted by Daniel Rowell (@mustlovemustlovedogs) on

  • I went back to school. A statistics course. This one was actually kind of tough. I had to apply for a post-graduate certificate program at my alma mater, email the professor for permission, ask my boss for permission, and pay for it (tax refund and a loan from my parents). But when fall semester and a planned linear algebra class approached, I discountinued.
  • Celebrating end of Stat class with dollar shake.

    A photo posted by Daniel Rowell (@mustlovemustlovedogs) on

  • I ate at a restaurant by myself for the first time. It wasn’t terrible. And now I am a sometimes regular at the diner around the corner. But is that really a good thing?
  • I joined a gym. YMCA. They had a special offer for twenty-somethings lingering on my facebook that I caved on and purchased in mid-February. But the gym was too far for the winter, and the weather was too nice in the summer. So I never went. In fact, the closest I got to a YMCA treadmill was the locker room on the floor below. I couldn’t find the door to the stairs, and was intimidated by the dudes showering and changing, so I left without finishing the tour.
  • I flew on a plane. This is just always terrifying and I have done it before. I still hate doing it, but maybe just a little bit less than the megabus.

So what didn’t I do?

  • Well I never applied to graduate school,
  • never took the GRE,
  • never finished a book (see the stack of 10 novels on my bed stand),
  • never went to a movie theater alone (how do people do this one? pretend your friend is in the bathroom?),
  • never figured out how to budget for a savings account,
  • never submitted a tax amendment form (no seriously state and local governments subpoenaed my mom),
  • never went on a OKC date (but planned quite a few),
  • never quite figured out hope to cope with anxiety and stress.

And these are just the ones I’m willing to confess too.

Still, I have no regrets.

2014 was a year of highs and lows that finally felt a bit like being grown-up.

But all this is just to say…

2014 was a lot of things and it was a lot of fun. I could try to analyze these lists for some meaning for my year, maybe a theme. Gun to my head… I’d say the year of dan was about “letting me do me”; trying to be happy with who I am, right now. And I think I was successful. I feel confident, I feel happy, I feel loved, and I love myself.

But a _year_in_review_ is a bit too simple sometimes. There are a lot of things that happen in 365 days, and they don’t always look the same at the end as they do in the beggining. I let 2014 happen to me, and in many ways I needed it that way. But now, it is 2015 and I want to do things a bit differently, I’ll try to write about it… here.