project 365

On January 1, 2010, I embarked on a life-changing mission called Project 365. The challenge was to take one picture every day of the year. Of course, at the time I didn't think of it as much of a challenge, nor did I expect it would actually change my life. But, at times, it was, and at the end of it all, it did.

I feel fortunate to have captured the entirety of 2010 in digital images. When the year began, I had no idea about the things that were about to happen, grand adventures that were about to unfold. Project 365 has helped me to find gratitude in every moment, allowing me to recognize and acknowledge my blessings. While I can easily look back and assign milestones to years, it's not often that I can truly claim that one year in particular was the best year ever. I know that I have a lot to look forward to, but damn, 2010, you did me right!

My dear friend Ratha and I have this funny thing we do where we assign an overall theme to the beginning of the year, sort of a self-fulfilling prophesy for all the things we hope to accomplish in the days and months to come. 2008 we titled "The Year of Change," and that's precisely what it brought; the glory days of Chez Echo came to an end, I moved to New York City to change careers and pursue my dreams, and Barak Obama was elected into office as President with a promise of change for the American people. In 2009, we vowed to "Live it Up!," which I certainly did while spending my one and only full calendar year living in New York City. When 2010 rolled around, we weren't quite sure how to label the beginning of a new decade. Ratha thought we should call it "The Year of Love" because so many people she knew were getting married. I wanted to call it "Legendary" because I had my first professional acting gig lined up and could sense a lot more incredible things coming my way.

2010 has blown me away. I began the year in high spirits, wearing my brand new and smoking hot LBD, drinking mojitos with my girlfriends at the Cuban restaurant I was working at in New York City. I was preparing for a belated holiday trip home, after which I would be flying down to Miami for a two-month contract with Actors' Playhouse doing Miss Saigon. That officially crossed off two things on my bucket list - perform professionally and perform in Miss Saigon. After that, I hoped that I might get another job offer within the year. Little did I know that I would get three, one of which I would have to walk away from in order to accept another that I probably would have waited a lifetime for if I had to. I spent much of this year in Florida, a place I had always thought of living in but never really considered a possibility, and my in-between time was spent in New York, where I unexpectedly fell into the center of a budding lawsuit and simultaneously burned a bridge with a now-forgotten co-worker, and back home-home in California. I dealt with unemployment and its accompanying depression for the first time in my life, and I had to say goodbye to some of the closest friends I've ever made, not knowing when, or if, we'd ever see each other again. I helped those same friends produce two of our own shows in New York City, living up to the age-old adage that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. At home, I reconnected with long-lost friends that I had fallen out of touch with over the years, and I learned about the resiliency of love. I made plans for the future, I cancelled plans for the future, and I tried my best to live in the moment. I struggled for money, lost a lot of money, then came into enough money to help me start breathing again. As the oldest in my family, I feel a lot of pressure to be the ideal role model for everyone else and a strong pillar of support that my relatives can rely on. But this year, I came to accept my faults and weaknesses and learned to find strength in my sister and cousin, to whom I offer all my love and gratitude. I miraculously traveled for free much of this year, and though not every place I've visited has been the ideal travel destination, I am thankful and humbled by the opportunity to see the world and gain invaluable knowledge and wisdom, all while doing what I love.

So 2010 was legendary. But Ratha might have been on to something. This year was also full of love. Those adventures and experiences never would have happened to me if I didn't pursue the thing I loved. This was the year I made a full commitment to my health and fitness. I did that to help cultivate a self-love, and I wanted to give myself the best possible chance for a long and healthy life because I have finally started to believe that I am deserving of all that. And then there were the three men who came into my life this year and taught me, each in their own way, that I am worth loving. I owe a lot of my recent happiness to them.

Bottom line: 2010, you were awesome! This New Year's Eve, I'm coming around full circle. I'll be wearing my not-so-brand new but still smoking hot LBD, drinking mojitos with my guy friends on the cruise ship I work on in the Bahamas. It feels right to end the year much like I started it. Joy begets joy. Or something like that.

2011, bring it on!

View my Project 365 here:

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