Do you know what happened last October? It was the month of The Boy. It was the month that I stepped off my own beaten path to find out what life would be like without the puritanical standards I had held myself to for so long. I’d been battling with myself over the past few months; trying to reconcile the person I wanted to be versus the person I thought I ought to be. I had been restless and wanted to know what it would be like to just do what I wanted without thinking about what I thought I should do. I wanted to experience the side of life that wasn’t 100% about duty and responsibility.

I had jokingly thought about assigning myself a period of time to rebel. The year of rebellion, it had a nice ring to it. It sounded like it ought to be a book.

On October 1, I walked up to the club thinking to myself, “Tonight I’m going to cross that line and just let whatever happen. Okay Universe, bring it!”

Two hours later I was leaning against the wall of a building across the street from the club laughing with The Boy. Despite the fact that after three months I had yet to even tell anyone at the club my name I didn’t hesitate for a second when he asked me for my name and I only hesitated for a second when he asked for my number.

We talked on the phone a few times over the next week or so and ten days later on October 10th, I went on my first date. He was ridiculously attractive, highly intelligent, and a little bit bad. I liked it.

For the next few weeks I accepted every invitation to hang out. Unfortunately, I learned that often the invitation to hang out really translated into, “I’m going to get you alone and try to bone you.” 23 years of naïve virginity had not prepared me for that.

Then, a month and a day later on November 11th, I met That Certain Someone. He was a very different kind of attractive, intelligent, and bad and I fell in love.

I was really geeked out at the time that these three events happened on 10/01/10, 10/10/10, and 11/11/10. I’ve always wondered what that meant in binary, probably “run away!”

Shortly after that, I gave it up. I let go of that oh so important piece of identity we call virginity and started what would be an on again, off again, semi-secret relationship that was complicated but wonderful. Even now that it’s over, I will never regret it.

I tried so many things I never would have considered before last October. Sometimes I went too far. Sometimes I needed other people to tell me to reel it in. I did.

Taking away the rules gave me courage. In a lot of ways it was a really hard year because I dealt with things I had absolutely no idea of how to handle. I put myself in situations I didn’t understand and there were, of course, consequences for that.

I made so many new friends, met several pretty awesome boys, went to so dozens of parties and events I never would have considered attending, I kept 44 North, Burnett’s Vodka, and every rum maker in business, I tried tequila, I stayed out too late, I lived the fucking stereotype, and I danced and danced and danced. I did exactly what I had planned to do; let loose.

Obviously I had some regrettable moments and more than a few drunken texts I’d wished I hadn’t sent. On more than one occasion I commented on my hot mess status and how it was getting old. I had the “Kendra, I’m worried about you” conversation with a few more people than I would have preferred, but all of these things were worth it in context of all I got out of my wild year.

While it was a year of self discovery and unconventional learning, it also caused stagnation in so many other areas of my life. I didn’t care much about my lack of job, lack of weight loss, or lack of progress in so many other goals. There is a price to pay for doing something so indulgent and, in reality, irresponsible. I wanted to explore the extremes, though, and create new rules and standards that I could comfortably and happily live within. Having just left a faith I had used to constrain myself in so many ways, I wanted to explore all the options.

Mission accomplished.

Last October 1st found me wanting to find someone to be bad and explore with. I didn’t want commitment, pressure, or anything resembling morality. This October 1st found me wanting to find something deeper. I want to build relationships, friendships, and community. I want to see how what I learned and experienced this year fits within the context of what I really want in the long run.

So, what now? Obviously I’m not going back to who I was last October. I’m still in the process of becoming and I’m not looking for a destination anymore. I’m also not going to continue at quite the level of carousing I’ve been practicing because when it really comes down to it; that’s not quite who I am. While I couldn’t comfortably life in the skin of the constrained girl, I also can’t comfortably live in the skin of this girl either.

I guess this next year will be about trying to integrate the two and find the happy medium. This is probably where I should use the word “moderation” but I don’t really know what that is anyway.

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