I know it's traditional to wait until the end of the year to do a wrap up of activities and achievements, but I thought I'd do a check-in now anyway. I've been feeling very busy and perhaps a little too focused on the list of things not getting done and not focusing on the done. I spent some time flipping through the months on my calendar tonight and thought maybe it was time to utilize this space a bit better in tracking how absolutely awesome my life has been. I read an article recently called "Failing Miserably" that talked about a similar anxiety and focus on the undone. I realized I need to step back more often and list out the things I'm actually doing, and so here I am taking a look at the last 8 months...
I can't believe I started the year on the other coast and saw the ball drop in the same actual time zone. That was special. I also tried Borscht for the first time at Russian Christmas with Mike's family before we flew home, and actually liked it!
Speaking of liking new things, who knew this year would have me buying asparagus and bell peppers without a gun to my head? This is big people. My willingness to try new food and expand my edible horizons this year has been huge with great results. Who would have thunk it?
I also managed to get Bella to the vet and she didn't claw anyone's eyes out and no one was otherwise permanently scarred (emotionally or physically) in the process. She's healthy, just scaredy.
Silly but small, but the fact my gorgeous car is alive and well and ahead in payments and up on maintenance is something I'm proud of. I get so much enjoyment out of driving it, it makes me very happy and I'm grateful for it.
I've seen 18 live music performances this year all over the Bay Area from bands big and small. A special bonus was taking Mike to a Rugburns show at the Belly-up and having him meet so many of my music friends. I've also seen 1 Cirque show, gone to a Sharks hockey game and attended my first music festival, camping out at High Sierra. I still find myself closing my eyes and remembering how it felt dancing to the funk in the sun without a care in the world. I hope I get to go back every year forever. Even though some of the days were hot and long, it was a great vacation together this year and I'm so glad we have those memories.
I've run in 6 races this year (up from 4 last year) and improved performance overall - 3 half marathons, a 5k, a 12k and a 6 miler. I got 2nd place in the 5k for my age division for the 2nd year and actually stayed to get my medal this time.
I've had some great times with friends so far. As much as I complain about how busy I am and don't see people enough, I've actually had some very meaningful times this year. I found myself finally hugging a decade old friend from another continent, resuming a playoff football watching tradition with a girlfriend, and camping with two of my closest friends to celebrate Beltane. There was also lots of introducing my man to some of my favorite people for the first time. We found ourselves starting a tradition and celebrated 2 passport wine tasting weekends with friends. It was also the year for meeting quite a few new little ones and celebrating the birthdays of growing munchkins.
There was a change in plans on the February trip to San Diego where we saw the Rugburns when the snow blocked our chance to see my parents in the mountains. Mike and I embraced the free time to explore San Diego and had an amazing vegan friendly breakfast by the ocean and spent some time exploring childhood memories in corners of Balboa Park.
I went back to San Diego in May to visit my parents by myself and enjoyed the road trip across California, but had to quickly come back and prepare for my solo adventure to Puerto Vallerta, Mexico. I spent 5 amazing days lounging on the beach, only venturing out of my all-inclusive haven to bravely take on a zip lining adventure. The trip was perfect.
I came straight back from my vacation into full on birthday mode. It started with an amazing dinner with some close friends. Discovering this tiny, but pricey Italian restaurant last December, I have come to want to call it a favorite but can't justify the splurge often enough to go back, but each meal has been a fantastic memory. Dinner tumbled into a fantastical surprise. When preparing for a wonderful picnic BBQ in the forest with a large group of my favorites people, I was blindsided by the granting of a birthday wish - my friend Shannon from far away was here and going to my picnic too! Tricked by Mike, his trip to drop someone off at the airport was actually an arrival and it made the day that much better. Flustered and excited, I managed to compose myself and get everything set up for our day. It couldn't have been a more beautiful spot and perfect weather for people to drop in and out helping me celebrate. So many friends from far and wide able to connect and meet. Strange how so many people interact so frequently over time because of Facebook, but so neat to see how many people connect and continue to communicate later too.
June was already in full swing and I found myself driving south yet again to participate in celebrating my awesome cousin's graduation from high school, with the side benefit that the celebrating included a chance to spend some really valuable time with my grandma and my aunt. A trip to a brewery, a museum and an awesome candy store kept us busy.
I have kicked ass at work this year. At times I've thought I was sacrificing my personal life for work, but I think I've started to find a balance for both. Though I feel like I have been advancing steadily for a decade and earned my place at the table last year, I feel like this is the year I've started to own my skill set and am proving what I can offer with it. I've never worked this hard but it is paying off. This has been the year that everything I've been able to learn has finally been able to come together and I have been able to lead and contribute at a significant level, not just a significant volume. I've had some really successful ideas this year, and put together some great marketing programs that I'm proud of and even snuck in a trip to Comic-Con. I feel like Q3 hasn't even wrapped up and I have a strong year of output shown. Even with everything we accomplished during business hours, we still found time to build bikes for kids and make care packages for soldiers. I'm pretty lucky to have the job I do, but I'm pretty proud of how well I do it too.
In trying to own my marketing skillz, I took on some new outside projects and helped launch a couple new Wordpress websites. I was also able to get rolling on a couple of my of my own. I had great hopes for the Live Loud Challenge, and really wanted to be leader in encouraging people to make small bolder choices in their lives. While it doesn't get the attention it deserves, the fact I bought my own domain, hosting and set up the whole site by myself was something I was (AM!) really proud of. I now have a second domain that will hopefully be my hub, and was bold and recently swiped up a third URL to park due to a random brainstorm for a new company I may want to start someday.
I took on the garden for a second year. While I've had some awesome help from Mike a few times, I'm pretty proud that this year I've spent so many hours by myself doing some serious labor. We built one garden box together, but I got all the supplies and then decided it wasn't hard so built a second all on my own. I've weeded and shoveled. While some things have been more successful than others and the experience doesn't come without frustration, the garden is a great accomplishment. I found myself unable to hide my pride when it got compliments for being ready ahead of the group.
I also just got back from a solo camping adventure in the Sierras. It was a challenge, but a memory I'm happy to have.
It's been a busy, full year. I've had to say no, I've not seen many of my friends, there were missed chances to travel, go or play. I've spent far too much time concentrating on the list of things that hasn't been accomplished, the people I haven't seen, the projects I wish I had more time for and what I feel like I'm failing at. I'm so glad I spent the last hour dedicated to showing myself that the last 8 months have been this full and wonderful and given myself a reminder to fall back on. It is easy to forget, and important to remember. I really need to stop expecting each post here to be some full report and just write more often to remind myself that this is the life I want. I'm so lucky.