Happy 2nd Birthday, Blog!

Today my blog turned 2.

My very first post ever on A Day In The Life was titled “New Year New Adventures.” Little did I know just how much that title would ring true for every subsequent year. Year 1 was new adventures in blogging, attending BiSC for the first time, getting engaged, taking risks and stepping outside of my comfort zone, traveling, new friendships and a new job. Year 2 was new adventures in living on my own, starting my own organization, making dreams come true, volunteering in Africa and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and tons of self-discovery related adventures. Now, as year 3 begins, I am once again starting it off right and living by the “New Year New Adventures” motto that I set back on Day 1. Over the past two years, this blog has given me the confidence to have faith in myself, to follow my dreams, and continually challenge myself. Simply because I started this blog, new and wonderful relationship have blossomed and have enriched my life. I am so grateful for those friendships. I can say with 100% certainty that I would not be starting off this new year by embarking on my newest adventure of moving to DC this Friday (!) if it weren’t for this blog. I likely wouldn’t have had the courage or confidence to do any of what I accomplished in the Year of Caryn.

Blog – thank you for bringing wonderful people into my life, for inspiring me to be the most authentic version of myself, and for helping me grow into the strong, confident and positive woman I am today.

Happy Birthday, Blog! I look forward to seeing what we accomplish together in our 3rd year.

No drinks for me this year, I’m pledging my birthday to Charity: Water.

Christmas Eve is in exactly six days. Which means my birthday is also in six days. People tend to forget about birthdays this time of year as they get lost in the shuffle and excitement of THE HOLIDAYS! Instead of wishing people to remember my birthday, my wish this year is that we can give back by remembering those who are not as privileged as us.

Growing up, I’ve been very lucky to have a very loving and supportive family. I’ve never really asked for much. Yet, I’ve still been given bountiful opportunities and received birthday gifts. Usually my birthday consists of birthday dinners and celebrations with friends and family.

But something shifted for me this year and I’ve come to realize just how much of my life I want to spend helping others. I’ve had amazing opportunities; I’m privileged to have the experiences that I have had. I went to overnight summer camp every summer as a child, I went to a Big 10 university and got a degree. I graduated without any debt and I studied in Florence, Italy for a semester. I’ve been to 24 countries already, I backpacked for four weeks through Europe and recently went to Tanzania just to pursue a volunteering dream. This list goes on but in the end it comes down to the fact that I am very lucky to have had all the opportunities I’ve had.

I know that while I have had all these experiences, there are many out there who only know a life of war and poverty, of struggle and hardship. When I was in Africa, I saw people drinking from the same stream that they bathed in. I saw rusted flimsy roof tops and people walking miles upon miles just for water and to provide for their family.

I often donate to friend’s causes like honoring loved ones or running a marathon.When disaster strikes, whether it was the Tsunami in Japan or Hurricane Sandy, I give money to the Red Cross. I hadn’t actually shown up on the doorstep ready to make a difference myself until I went to Tanzania. I had a life long dream of volunteering and having an impact on someone else’s life so I went to Africa, to actually DO something, not just pay for change, but to DO it. I started Social Impact Project for this reason, too. And I am proud to know that I accomplished that. But I don’t want it to stop there.

So this year, I am doing something different. I am continuing my efforts to make a difference, to make it part of my lifestyle rather than just  something I did once.

And that is why for my 28th birthday I want to start it off by giving back and helping others. I am pledging my birthday for a cause that gives 100% of what it raises and uses it to bring clean drinking water to those in need. I am pledging my birthday to help Charity: Water.

We take so much for granted and clean water is just one of many things. If you’re interested in reading about all the ways clean water can change the world, you can find them at Charity: Water.
So great Caryn, you are pledging your birthday. What does this mean?
This year, I am committed to raising $1,000 dollars for this cause. I realize I am not giving $1,000 of my own money; I’m asking my friends to help me.
This year, I will not let people buy me dinner to celebrate me. I want to celebrate life.

This year, no one is allowed to buy me drinks. Sure, I’ll have my friends get together, instead of buying me drinks on my birthday, I’m asking friends to take that money and put it towards something that actually matters.

I used to hate having my birthday at the end of the year, around the holidays. But I’ve come to realize, it is symbolic with starting the whole year over, starting fresh not only as the date changes but as another birthday passes. This year, as I head into another year, my 28th year, I want to start it off by giving back.
I have no idea if I’ll reach my goal. But it isn’t so much about the number as it is about helping somebody who deserves it, somebody who actually needs that “drink” for survival.

That is the best birthday gift I could ask for.

Thank you!

Here is a link to my birthday Charity: Water page.

Happy 1st Birthday Blog!

Dear Blog,

Happy Birthday! Today you are a year old.  I seriously cannot get over how fast this year flew by.

Last January, I decided a change was needed in my life and you were born. I felt something was missing and that I needed to do something for myself .   I felt inspired to write again.  I had no idea just how much you would change my life and how you would fill that void.  It started with Blogger, then I joined Twitter and then you became a big girl and we moved to WordPress.  After much rebellion, I joined Twitter because I was told it was a great tool for bloggers spread the word and to communicate.  It was then through Twitter that I heard about and signed up for Bloggers in Sin City only a few weeks into our relationship .  There I met 50+ wonderful and spirited new blogger friends, many of whom share a lot of similar interests and who continue to inspire and support me. I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone and had the weekend of my life. Because of that unforgettable weekend in Vegas, I chose to attend the 20SB Summit in August and saw these girls over Labor Day weekend.  I also attended a Chicago Blogger/Twitter meetup and met some more awesome internet pals.  Without you I never would have visited Richmond, VA or Philly. Together, we documented milestones and events throughout the year.

You, my blog, have brought people into my life that have shown me what it is like to have friends who make me feel good about myself, who love me, support me, and are even willing to fly across the country to cheer me up. You have given me comfort and sanity and introduced me to so many new experiences. You provided me with an outlet to express myself and ability to find my voice.  I have friends all over the country now.  I had no idea when I started all this that it would be more than just another URL on the internet, that people would actually read what I have to say, and that some of my best friends in the world would be fellow bloggers.

Even for all that you have given me, there were still times I neglected you and didn’t write as often as I wanted to or didn’t have time to follow through on post ideas.  I’m sorry, I’ll be better this year.  Thank you for everything and everyone that you have brought into my life. This year has been extremely special and memorable, because of you.  Happy Birthday!

Love, Caryn

If all of this happened in just one year, I can’t wait to see what happens in round 2! Happy birthday blog, cheers to another year.

 

Here is a Blog Baby Book of some (not all) of the posts and experiences from our first year together!