This past year has had its ups and downs, good times and bad, as any year would; but overall, it's been one of my most awesome, memorable, and accomplished years of my life. Not only because of things that happened and cool events I attended, but especially in personal growth.
I'm going to admit, I've always been a lurker online. That is to say, I've been content to join forums and websites, browse them almost daily, but rarely (if ever) actually post or contribute anything. I'm especially guilty of this on BZP, but also countless other websites and communities I've been a part of. I've always been too nervous and worried I wouldn't fit in, even on a website dedicated to a common interest (such as BZP). Really, it's a miracle I managed to get such an awesome close circle of BZP best friends, considering my infrequent (read: virtually nonexistent) activity here. This year, I actually started working to change that. You may not have noticed, but this blog has had more entries this year alone than from all entries in 2008-2011 combined.
Why the sudden change? Well, as ridiculous as it sounds, I owe it to the brony community. Although I was initially a lurker there too, the supportive atmosphere slowly convinced me to get more involved this year; to participate in discussions, and eventually even a few collaborative projects. I gained friendships, experience, and most importantly, confidence in my ability to contribute my humor, insight, and skills in any online community (not just among my closest friends).
In 2012, I went from almost no online activity to the point where I'm confident enough to record songs and even voice act for collaborative projects (more on that when it's completed).
Prior to this year, my actual social life also suffered. I had next to no real-life friends, and I was too introverted and shy to attempt to meet people. Thanks to a good friend convincing me, I got over that and started attending my local brony meetups (which are not as much about pony as they are about hanging out, playing video games, doing general fun stuff together) and got to meet people my age, with similar interests to my own. I'm still far from being a socialite, and I still get pretty nervous and uncomfortable in social situations, but I now have real-life friends who like me for who I am, and I'm not quite so terrified of meeting new people anymore. It sounds sort of pathetic, but I feel it's a huge step forward for me and I couldn't be happier.
In 2012, I went from almost no real-life friends, to about two dozen friends I hang out with on a fairly regular basis.
How does BZP tie into all this? Well, if it weren't for my newfound confidence in myself both online and in real life, I probably would never have attended BrickFair VA and finally met some of my longtime best friends (and all you other awesome bros). Seriously, if Brickfair took place just six months earlier, I probably wouldn't have had the guts to go at all. Also, it would have been February and cold and miserable, so there's that too.
All in all, 2012 was a great year of growth, self-improvement, and friendships. I hope 2013 is even better! Here's a recap of some cool 2012 things!