Happy New Year!

My dear bronies, pegasisters, fellow fans, followers, and everybody else here not sitting on a cushion,

I can’t with any honesty say that 2011 was one of my better years. I’ll not delve into the various reasons why, but suffice it to say, it presented me with what in hindsight seems more than a fair share of challenges. I dealt with each as best I could, as best as circumstances and my own capacities allowed. Sometimes this was enough; sometimes it was not; either way, I’m quite glad to put all of it behind me.

I’m hopeful that in years to come I’ll be able to look back on 2011 and say with conviction that, to steal a line from a favorite song, in the end, the journey brought joys that outweighed the pain. Only time and further reflection will tell for sure – but I would be both a fool and a liar to deny that the year had its bright spots, its moments of happiness and periods of joy. And while some were more pronounced than others, and some more powerful, certainly none were more unexpected or more welcome than becoming a part of our wonderful little community.

To say that it took me by surprise is an understatement. I didn’t originally come willingly to this fandom. It took the dear friend who recommended the show to me many months of gentle cajoling for my resolve to finally crack. When she first mentioned it, I gave her my word I would watch it, but while this was a promise I fully intended to keep, it was one I planned on keeping later rather than sooner. Eventually, though, I relented, and watched the two-part pilot. Then I watched a few episodes. Then a few more. Then, rather inevitably and before I quite knew what was happening, I was hooked.

Equally inevitably – as I’ve never been much good at keeping quiet my passion for my interests – my newfound enthusiasm sought an outlet, and Twitter provided it. Just as I’d not known what to expect from the show, I didn’t know what to expect from this new account, but in very short order, @foalpapers did indeed become my primary channel for my enthusiasm, and so much more besides.

For what I found on Twitter was more than just a number of fellow fans; instead, the people I discovered have proven to be some of the most thoughtful, intelligent, honest, supportive, and genuinely decent individuals I’ve ever come across, online or off. Every single person with whom I’ve had the pleasure of interacting has made an impact on me, and left a lasting impression. As I know it has to so many others, the sense of camaraderie and fellowship in our corner of the fandom has come to mean a great deal to me, and I’m humbled and grateful to be a part of it.

Though 2011 was not one of my better years, I know full well that it could have been worse. I’m luckier than most: through what highs and lows I’ve had, I’ve always been buoyed by the love and support of my family and friends. But even if I lacked that – even if 2011 had no other redeeming individuals or joys – still it would be redeemed by having come to know all of you.

I don’t know where 2012 will take me, but I look forward to sharing the journey with you, and I’ll try, as ever, to be as excellent to you all as you all so richly deserve.

Happy New Year, and may it bring you joy.

– F.P.