Merry Christmas Eve everyone, and welcome to the final week of 2017. Every year, I usually compile a list of all the cool things that happened to me that year, and every year that I’ve done that, I felt like I would constantly be grasping at straws, desperately trying to find things groundbreaking enough to mention in a blog post. This past year was filled with so many incredible memories and growing moments, that I actually found it difficult to narrow down to just five highlights. After an hour-or-so-long stroll down memory lane, scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds and camera roll, I was able to pick out several highlights from this year that truly stood out.
1. Graduating college
Walking across the stage this past June was, by far, the biggest highlight of my year, and I still get emotional thinking about it. It took me six years to get my degree, and in those six years, there were moments where I wasn’t sure if I would ever finish my degree. But through the support of my parents, friends, and God’s unwavering grace, the day finally came, and it was absolutely worth waiting for. To make this moment even more sweet, I was able to get a job immediately after graduating – and started working literally the day after commencement.
2. Concerts and shows
I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve probably gone to more shows and concerts this year than I ever have in previous years – and a couple of them were free. Last year, my sister took me to see a show during Yellowcard’s farewell tour, and this year, we got to see their final performance in Anaheim. A few months after that, my sister and I got to see a live performance of La La Land at the Hollywood Bowl. The movie was projected onto a giant screen, and all of the musical numbers were performed live by an orchestra over the movie. Over the summer, I went to two music festivals, both of which didn’t cost anything (other than a tank of gas) to attend. The first was Switchfoot’s Bro-Am beach festival in San Diego, an annual event to celebrate the San Diego community, and to raise awareness and funds for local youth organizations. The event had surf contests, vendor booths, and a free concert with Switchfoot headlining the show. The second concert of the summer was the SoCal Harvest concert in Anaheim that featured several worship bands and a speaker to promote the Gospel. To round out the year, a group of friends and I got to see John Mulaney’s stand-up act at the Orpheum in Los Angeles.
3. Moving house
Over the past year or so, to add onto the stress of school and work, I’ve also moved house far more times than I would have liked. This past summer, my roommates and I tirelessly looked for housing together, being turned away from almost every property we were interested in. Just in the nick of time (a mere couple of days before we were supposed to move out of the house we were subleasing at the time), we found a house that we all loved in Chino Hills, and were able to move in the same weekend we found it. For me, the guys that I live with contribute to making our house feel like a home, and the community that they provide makes me look forward to coming home every single day.
This past summer, I got to attend two of my closest friends’ weddings, both being within a month of each other. I’ve been to weddings in the past, but nothing truly describes the feeling of seeing a close friend begin that new and incredible chapter in their life. With God being the foundation of both marriages, I am ecstatic to see where He takes them in their journey in the future.
5. Universal Studios trips
Last summer, my parents got Universal Studios season passes for me and my sister, and we made as much use out of them as we could. Having grown up a devoted Harry Potter fan, and being a fan of films as well, every trip to Universal Studios was a treat, no matter how many times I went.
This past year was packed with so many memories, and I’m thankful for every single one of them, whether they were good or bad. They all have left a permanent impression on me, and I’ll take them with me wherever I go. As I go through this final week of 2017, I fondly look back at everything that I’ve gone through, and look forward to all the adventures this next year will bring.