2014 in Review

Well friends, the calendar must have changed because washing one's car in Minnesota now means finding that elusive temperature window in which your doors won't instantaneously freeze shut upon exiting a car wash. With the calendar change comes the cliche but awesome 2014 reflection process / post...and in looking back at this past year, I'm so so jazzed to be able to say that 2014 was my favorite year yet. After 2013’s year of questioning, 2014 was a year of answers. Of acceptance. And then of more questions. Funny how that happens.

January –
Beyond playing the "will my car start?" game daily during the Polar Vortex,

January was a doozy. From a work perspective, January brought the most challenging situation I’ve been in to date. While it seemed like hell at the time (as evidenced by the semi-joking, semi-not team-wide suicide ban that was instated until mid-March), it retrospectively taught me an obnoxious amount about capabilities, perspective, interpersonal dynamics, and life. Personal life-wise for the 40 some non-sleeping hours over weekends that were actually considered personal time, it also introduced me to the wonder of ice fishing

(which up until that fortuitous day, I didn’t get the point of) and to my newest lady crush, Caroline Smith.

Lesson of the month: Our biggest challenges can be made manageable via baseball speak: don’t think about winning the game – think about winning each pitch, then each play, then each inning. If you win the pitch, win the play, and win the inning every time, you’ll win the game.

February – Galentines day with the ladies, cross country skiing and boot hockey with the men,

and slightly questioning my priorities after leaving a beautiful man to go work. Might be why it resulted in him ending things at the end of the month because I “had my life together and made more money." Biggest regret: not putting a trademark on that phrase 6 years ago. On the bright side, at least the situation makes for a good litmus test moving forward for if the guy is a keeper or not.

Lesson of the month: If team dynamics are off, plan social events (ex: team dinners) to get your team to see each other as people instead of work robots. The little things like that can turn into big differences in the team room culture.

March – March was a month of do’s and don’ts: Do sign a lease for your own place. Do finish a crazy project with a bang by pulling an all-nighter at a pizza place.

Don’t attempt to still go on a company ski trip a few hours later. And definitely don’t do mixed drinks after not sleeping / being that stressed out ever again.

Lesson learned: Relationships will change over time and that’s okay. If you do grow apart from someone, take the time to look at why (ex: differing priorities, investment of emotion, time, and/or presence; interests, spending habits, income, communication styles, other relationships, etc.). Seeking to understand the why can help you to either put the relationship back together or to be a better friend and/or partner for others in your life.

April – A highly amusing foray into online dating, a 9 day adventure in Guatemala,

and moving from a place of being externally happy but internally feeling like I was never enough to a place of sustainable self-acceptance and contentment were just a few things that made April amazing. Turns out the months of therapy sessions dedicated to working through internalized insecurities, grief, and twisted self-expectations worked. My biggest question coming out of April: why I’d fought against the idea of seeing a therapist for so long

Lesson learned: Face yourself and you’ll meet yourself.

May – May brought a new lifestyle,

a new apartment,

little sister's graduation from the Air Force Academy,

and an invitation to be a part of a new reality tv series. The reality series was turned down, but the month in general rocked.

Lesson learned: 35 things from my adventures with OkCupid + (bonus!) sometimes, dating other people teaches you that you just want to date yourself for a while instead. Which is something that that needs to be more socially acceptable.

June – June meant my first weekend away (v. coming home) in between back to back weeks of work travel, a girls weekend in NYC,

some much needed closure, quite a few killer concerts,

lots of bike commuting,

a lake weekend,

some purchases I'd been coveting for a while that made me feel like an actual adult,

slow dancing in street in Charlotte, NC, and my first promotion. What a month.

Lessons learned:
- Sacred spaces happen because of the situation – extending them past that takes out the magic
- Sometimes it’s better to let things be than to try to make them something they are not
- There’s a reason why we move on from people in our lives – we serve a purpose in each other’s lives, and when we can no longer add to that person’s story in the directions that they’re growing, we move on

July – Oh my, July. You brought a stay at the Ritz Carlton, the cashing in of a lot of hotel points, a failed set-up at hot yoga, two obstacle course races,

a bon voyage for a fantastic roommate, promotion training, a ton of new friends,

some very awkward bruises left by a mechanical bull, and the most Hollywood movie-esque moment of my life. In short, you were my favorite month of the year.

Lesson Learned: Fairy tales can happen in real life if you let them happen

August – Until August happened, I didn’t know it was possible to miss someone I’d just met as much as I did. Or that one could be moved to a new consulting project with one day of warning.

Or that the best meal of my life would be at a 25-seat restaurant in Seattle. Or that music festivals as wonderful as Bumbershoot existed.

Or that living in Seattle now needs to happen at some point in my life.

Lesson Learned: One should never apologize for enthusiasm because enthusiasm breeds wonderful, wonderful things.

September – September started in Seattle, took me to San Francisco, Phoenix, and Charlotte for work,

Monterey for sushi with my 91 year old grandmother,

Geneva, Interlaken, and Gruyere Switzerland to spontaneously celebrate a girlfriend’s birthday,

 sprinting through Heathrow to catch a flight home, and finally back to Minneapolis.

After spending a total of 5 days in my apartment in September, it definitely made me question the point of keeping an apartment at all.

Lesson Learned: There are times to make sound financial decisions and times to throw fiscal responsibility to the wind for excellent life decisions. Don’t get so caught in being “responsible” that you miss out on those “life” moments.

October – October brought a pub crawl with a few thousand people dressed as zombies,

a hiking getaway that turned into a spontaneous friend reunion on the trail,

a weekend trip to Boston, an NFL game tailgate with the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders, and the ultimate night out as a farewell from coworkers.

Lesson Learned: Unfortunate situations can reveal unexpected people that have your back in times when you’re not at your “best.” The kindness of those people during those times can make an indescribable difference.

November – After 14 years of living in a state that borders with Canada, I finally made it to the great white north for a new work project. Biggest problem thus far: singing the Canadian National Anthem with the proper lyrics instead of my Dad’s version of, “Oh Canada…it’s really cold up here.” It also brought round two of the Big Sur Half Marathon and a visit to the coolest aquarium on earth.
Lesson Learned: Trust is a beautiful currency – granting it readily can bring out the best in others

December – Craziest travel story yet: trying to get out of Toronto after it received 5 inches of snow over the course of 18 hours. You’d think Canada would be prepared for snow, however, it turns out that Toronto could be renamed, “Atlanta.” Following a 26 hour “get home” adventure, I had  some down time in Minneapolis,

a delightful Christmas at home and then made a valiant effort to ditch winter for a bit by heading to Houston for New Years.

Winter, however, didn’t want to part. Sorry for the cold spell, Texas.

Lesson Learned: Don’t attempt to make jokes with customs agents. They generally won’t find your sense of humor to be funny and "detained" is a horrible word to hear when all you want to do is go home.

Here’s to 2015!