Diary: 2016 In The Big Apple

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One more year, one more tally mark on the chalkboard.

No, I’m not going to the Times Square Ball Drop, just like every other sane-minded New Yorker. If I wanted to stand around in the cold for six hours with people who don’t understand the concept of hygiene, I would be back at Disney World. (hi-yo!)

In fact, I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing tonight. (Pretty sure I’ll be doing something, though, so don’t worry – I’m not a loner. Yet, anyways. Check back when I’m 75.)

A year ago, I never would’ve imagined that my life would turn out the way it did. 365 days ago, on December 31, 2014, I was busy packing for my internship at Disney World, and my visions for the future firmly revolved making a life out of it in Florida, possibly extending my stay in Orlando indefinitely and going to work for the Mouse.

Obviously, life throws curveballs every now and then, and I didn’t stay in Florida. Instead, I’m working one of my dream jobs in New York City, the greatest city in the world by pretty much any metric (no, seriously, this is an objective fact), so I guess you could say that things turned out pretty okay.

I’m not a big subscriber to the idea of new year’s resolutions. I find that whenever I try to get around to making some, I end up beating myself over everything I did wrong over the last year, and my resolutions generally turn out to be some form of ‘I won’t make the same mistakes I did this year’.

So I don’t do new year’s resolutions. Not my thing.

What I do do, though, is make a list of everything good that happened in 2015. So here goes:

I got a job (make that two jobs) that I love.

No, really.

In early November, I started working for IBT Media as a Social Media Editor.

It combines a couple of the things that I love most: the Internet, games, journalism and graphic design. There’s no resting on my laurels; every day brings with it a promise of a fresh challenge, something new to try, or the satisfaction that comes from you being good at your job. (Well, I hope.)

If I went back ten years and told a young me that I would be spending my weekdays in a cubicle, staring at computer screens and going to meetings and planning “mass influencer reach practices”, he would have slapped me across the face so hard, probably yelling something about becoming a National Geographic photographer or an Olympic swimmer. But that’s the thing about aging: you get perspective. And just because you’re not on the news for winning nine Olympic gold medals and breaking Michael Phelps’ record (which I totally could’ve done) doesn’t mean that you’re a failure.

For about eight months before November, from approximately January to October, I worked for Disney World.

But that’s a different story entirely…

I spent eight months with some of the best friends I will ever make.

 

I am talking about, of course, the Disney College Program; that mythical internship shrouded in pixie dust and imagination. It’s a magical thing, the Program is – twice a year, it brings hundreds upon hundreds of wide-eyed college students who want to make a go of it for the Mouse House, maybe even hoping to become the next Bob Iger.

We check in to our housing, grab our keys, then it’s off to orientation we go – and then it’s just a matter of settling in to the Happiest Place On Earth. And I’m not exaggerating when I say: never have I seen an atmosphere more convivial, more open to making friends, and more welcoming than those first magical days.

Boundaries collapse; borders become nonexistent. You’re from Wyoming, and the person sitting next to you is from Canada? That’s so cool, tell me what it’s like! Hey, do you want to go to the parks with us?

And just like that, new friendships blossom.

It’s magical.

Among everyone I know, there’s precious few that I can call my lifelong friends. Friends that you can share everything with; friends who you know will be there for you, no matter how far away or busy they are; friends that you feel at home with, on the couch or on the road.

In the past year, I must’ve added more names to that list than I have done the rest of my life.

That’s what happens, I guess, when thousands of young, excited college students live and work together, sharing common goals and loves, going through the same problems and the same commitments.

I spent eight months at one of the most magical places in the world, and I’m thankful for that.

There’s a New Star Wars movie…

And it was awesome.

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