It’s that time again – time for a new year to begin and reflections of 2014 to surface.
As many of you know, I have published a New Year’s post every year since I started blogging in 2010. I always focus these annual posts not on resolutions, but on the memories I am thankful for in each closing year.
As I reflect back on 2014, I realize most of my highlights have revolved around life’s simple things: spending time with family and friends, exploring my own neighborhood, and making myself known to local coffee vendors.
I have been presented with a series of challenges the past couple years. While life has moved mostly forward, it has also presented a series of losses ranging from tragic deaths to sick family members to unsuccessful relationships. I have been learning not only how to find stability through my personal challenges, but also how to remain a strong social worker while absorbing stories of my clients’ trauma on a daily basis. The combination has required a great deal of personal time and self-preservation.
When I look back on 2014, I find that while it wasn’t all perfect – in fact, many parts far from perfect – I had been slowly and unknowingly starting to fit back together the broken pieces of my overshadowing hardships. It wasn’t through a big life event, any one trip, or from reading any particular book. Instead, I found that each of these random, often idle moments, when strung together, began building a new environment of comfort and stability.
And, with that, here are my highlights of 2014. I…
- Turned 30. Yes, Thirty. Celebrated with a big bash and a sparkly dress.
- Visited my 39th state, Arizona
- Took my first trip to The Grand Canyon
- Introduced my body to old-people problems like gingivitis, lumpy tissue and “abnormal cells.” Still surviving.
- Made it through one full year living in New York City
- Went to our family cottage TWICE. I had been lucky to make it there once a summer these past 10 years.
- Bonded with my best friends’ babies. Yes, my friends have babies (plural) now.
- Hung out with my parents almost once every month – a nice change from only a few times per year
- Started a project of transferring all my family’s VHS home videos into computer files – a project I’d been meaning to start since DVDs came into existence
- Signed my first ever one-year apartment lease renewal. Before this, I had moved into a new apartment at least once each year since 2001.
- Got in my first altercation with a NYC landlord over tenants’ rights. I won.
- Cared for my pit bull through the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and credit card debt of heartworm. She’s now healthy and heartworm free.
- Visited a medical marijuana dispensary. Got on board with the movement.
- Began seeking out freelance writing opportunities
- Attended my cousin’s wedding in the Hudson Valley, New York.
- Ate so many breakfast sandwiches that the local deli workers memorized my order. Egg, cheese and hot sauce on a whole wheat bagel and a small coffee with milk. Oink.
- Got a new job offer. Put in three-weeks notice.
- Visited the Poconos with some of the greatest girlfriends that exist – this time with a fugitive “on the loose” in the area.
- Helped a bunch of deserving people stay out of jail
- Fell in love with New York City
I made this New Year’s Eve a quiet one, and I did it on purpose. Instead of the crowded bars, house parties and high-heeled pavement treks, I spent my night with a pen and paper, and leftover Christmas cookies. This year, I chose to celebrate the turning of my calendar on the first day of 2015. By noon on January 1, I had been on an hour-long dog walk through Prospect Park, sipped my chai latte through a uniquely empty Target, and browsed IKEA for a new writing space for my bedroom. If I learned anything last year, it’s that a girl needs a place to sit with her thoughts and her wine. The area rug of a third-floor Brooklyn apartment isn’t always a prime spot to get the creative juices flowing.
So, here we are, 2015. I welcome you from my new desk in my recently rearranged bedroom. I have reflected. And, now I’m ready to recharge, refresh and reboot.