Every year, I aim to read at least 12 substantial books. That’s really not a lot, compared to what my annual reading list was like when I was in grad school, but I feel like it’s a fair amount of reading for someone who reads student writing for a living. So this year I am behind that quota, and realizing that it is the last week of the year, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to finish Ulysses before the end of the year. (Yes, I did write my MA thesis on it so no, it is not my first time reading it. Yes, it is even more enjoyable each time.)
So even though I was supposed to be focusing on the words on the page, I couldn’t keep my mind from wandering to the fact that 2011 is thisclose to being over. And suddenly,my imagination began creating one of those cheesy year-in-review montages that we’re all going to see a lot of this week, except that mine only contained the really important stuff– the stuff that happened to ME. A year ago, I wanted this year to be full of adventure and discovery, and it exceeded my expectations. Here are some of the highlights:
*Being caught in a blizzard in Boston while sharing drinks and laughs with Teri.
*Celebrating Amber’s birthday in style in Beverly Hills. We all looked amazing and had a blast. It was the best cure for a broken heart that weekend.
*Celebrating MY 30th birthday at The Bruery. It was low-key, and the night was filled with wonderful people. So what if my favorite jeans ended up with puke on them?
*Being hired as the Writing Center supervisor along with Beth. It is a job I have always wanted, and I couldn’t have asked for a better dream team. No wait, I did. And it worked out that way, and we’re awesome.
*Getting lost in Brooklyn while looking for Brooklyn Brewery with my mother. It was 100 degrees and humid, and we were yelled at by a schizophrenic woman while trying to cross the street. Then, the brewery was closed. But we did finally get a beer and it was one of the best I ever tasted.
*Buying the Mini Cooper that I have always wanted. Every time I get into my car, I smile. It is the perfect car for me.
*Picnic and Croquet day with girlfriends.
*Going to Big Sur and exploring the unknown by myself. Literally venturing off the beaten path to discover a hidden beach with purple sand.
*Camping in Mammoth for the beer festival. The festival may not have been the best, but the people were (as usual).
*Meeting Cliff. Probably the best surprise and most fun adventure of the year.
*Lounging in the cabana at the Hard Rock in Vegas.
*Partying in the ridiculously awesome Lucky 7 suite. When you’re in Vegas and security knocks on the door at 4am, you know your party is legit.
*Winning cash money from the Oregon lottery slot machines while ignoring the naked women behind us at a nudey bar in Portland.
*Running around the Saturday market in Portland, looking for a legit homeless person (and not a hipster) to give a donut to.
*Driving up the coast with my family, having a wonderful dinner at Nepenthe in Big Sur, and hearing my grandfather recount the general debauchery he partook in with college buddies at that same place.
*Spending Thanksgiving with Erin and the folks at Food on Foot, and remembering what really matters.
*Wandering around Shoreline Village with Cliff on a beautiful night, where the pier and docks were almost empty and everything was lit up for Christmas. One of these nights, I am jumping in the fountain outside of the performing arts center.
*Watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas Special with my cousins on Christmas.
I really have been blessed this year; blessed by having so many great people in my life, and blessed by having so many opportunities. But the real blessing this year came from the perspective that I went into this year with. After feeling down about things for a couple of years and feeling like I was always waiting for something awesome to happen or someone awesome to make me happy, I decided to stop waiting and to make things happen. I found that if I just start heading in the direction I want to go in, I will figure out how to make it work along the way. I realized that I am the only person that can really make myself happy. Once I really learned that, I met someone who is almost as good at making me happy as I am. I took a lot more risks, and learned that being less guarded, whether it by by sharing this blog or by rushing down a steep hill on a mountain bike, always has some payoff in the end. Sure you risk getting hurt; in fact, you will get hurt. But that pain always provides and opportunity to grow in some way that you never would have had you not just taken the risk.
So with that, I am looking forward to an even more exhilarating 2012. There are already some big adventures on the horizon, and I look forward to those unforeseen adventures that are sure to come up as well.