I’m thankful for being able to be intentional about change. I am grateful for all the memories that life has afforded me and look forward to being inspired by my surroundings, whatever they may be. I wasn’t always able to live intentionally; it took a good deal of growing up to get here.

Moves are hard. Changes are hard. When I finally moved back to Houston four years ago to open Oxheart, I wanted to make this city my home. For the past ten years, I’ve had more addresses than I need in a lifetime and was unknowingly desperate in need of feeling settled. There is something special about moving and collecting memories and new thoughts; but, like anything else, even that can be too much of the same thing. I didn’t have time to process all the new ideas that presented themselves. I wasn’t aware enough to record it in a journal or blog so I could look back and relive them through a different lens. As awesome as it seems from the outside, I missed out on a lot of experiencing because I was too serious about planning than living in the moment.

Our bodies prefer routine. Habits were once conscious decisions until the decisions became less of a thought and more like muscle memory. It’s scary to think of leaving most things that give us regularity in life whether they be good or bad. An athlete doesn’t miss a workout in fear of falling behind. We stay in bad relationships because a warm body is sometimes better than being alone. We hold onto jobs that create unhappiness or boredom because we fear how to fill the hours in a day. I wondered if I should keep the same photo collage in my new home or if a new home was enough to spark inspiration. (I opted for changing out most of the photos.)

Should is like the journey that everyone else in this world wants me to take. It’s the “safer” route, with smaller risks. Must is who I am, what I believe, and what I do when I think no one is looking. To break out of a routine meant changing up everything I knew in the past and to start some things new. I needed to live every experience like it was my last. Must is redefining how I want to live my life and it must be filled with much purpose.

2015 has been a year of breaking out of routine. It started by leaving the two things that meant the most to me for as long as I know. I mourned and fought the separation long before it became official, but those who love me would hold my hand and encourage me as I ventured into new spaces. They gave me the confidence I needed to walk on my own.

My good friend Jill told me to pick a random day to start fresh and then fill the next few days with things you love doing so you won’t miss the past. So, I watched my sister’s third ironman, watched “Pitch Perfect 2,” hosted a dinner party on my roof, and completed a motorcycle certification course. Then, I planned to be out of town every other weekend for the entire summer. I would work furiously to get ready for my weekends away. At times, I felt like a wanderer with no idea of where I’ll end up—sometimes lucky enough to cross a few things off my bucket list. I learned how to be impulsive.

Over the summer, spanning into the fall, I have: practiced loving with my whole heart; practiced the art of vulnerability; learned how to let go of shame; learned how to get back up when I fall hard; held my tongue with much discipline; let my sister see me cry and be a wuss when she’s scrubbing my road rash; master the art of working furiously on a plane; watched my not-yet-winning Longhorns beat the heck out of OU; participated in my first collaborative bakesale at Fluff Bake Bar filled with all things rainbows and unicorns; celebrated a birthday filled with sidewalk chalk, kareoke, Killens BBQ, bouncy water slide, handmade unicorn pinata, moments captured on a polaroid, and amazing friends; participated in first kisses; woken up not in my own bed; wrote poetry; read poetry; started a blog; tell my sister over and over I love her without it feeling awkward.

To the past year:

You have been so incredibly epic on both ends of the spectrum. Thank you for not being boring. Thank you for the newest and oldest friends. Thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to mourn. Thank you for teaching me that I love to write and paint. Thank you for teaching me how to ask for something. Thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to fluctuate in weight and love every part of me. Thank you for teaching me how to love. Thank you for teaching me be okay with the unknown.  Thank you for teaching me how to love my family. Thank you for teaching me how to be impulsive. Thank you for the scars that I will wear proudly. Thank you for letting me not take life so seriously.

I live to experience the experience. Sometimes it’s great; sometimes it’s shitty. I would rather love hard for one day than to never have loved that person at all. Do things that evoke passion. Find new things to be passionate about. Find friends to be passionate with.

Here’s to a new year of active thanks and giving!