Three years ago feels like a really long time ago. This Happy Place Blog started as a passion project, something to fill up my time after I finished obsessing over wedding planning. I’m someone who always needs a project, so this was my new one. (In fact, I started my other blog — Rather Be Reading — in 2011 too.) Did I think I would be working on it for 3 straight years? I’m sure I hoped it would last forever but I could never have predicted all that it has given me.
As much as it began as an excuse for me to start writing again and to grow a portfolio, it’s become even more clear this year that THP has led to to friendships I never would have had otherwise. Not only that, but it’s been a way that I’ve grown more comfortable with who I am and what I love. When you’re a 13 year old wearing glasses and oversized shirts in middle school getting made fun of for this and that, you’re not exactly forthcoming with your love of a theme park of Disney movies. For awhile, I pushed away my love of these things and then, year by year, I began to embrace it. But never ever in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a part of a community that loves it so much they tweet, write, shoot photos, argue, plan, share all the time with one another. It’s like a real thing that exists and on so many occasions, this community has given me support when I felt lonely and joy when I needed to smile the most.
In the past year, I’ve traveled with wonderful people I’ve met through this blog, I’ve celebrated birthdays and other big holidays, I’ve seen just what happens when a friendship becomes more than just the Mouse and something else, something truly organic, unveils itself. Of course, there are those moments of heartbreak too. The internet is a funny place. People come and go so quickly here! Some disappear, some pop up time and time again, and others, like any other friendship manifested “in real life”, can grow and change until the line between your online friendship and real life one is so blurred, it doesn’t make a difference anymore.
So basically, I’m so so thankful. For friendships, for a space to be creative and bitch and write as much as I want about something I love, for the Disney Parks (which manage to fill me with love and infuriate me all the time), and most of all, to you dear readers, who have stuck around, take time to say hi, and stop in without fail. It does not go unnoticed. Believe me.
Here’s to another awesome year on the blog! To thank you for following along, I’m treating one of you to drinks and or as many Dole Whips as you want; you can enter below. (Good news: the giveaway is open internationally!)