2014 was kind of a cloudy year for me. The beginning of my year was clouded by two huge exams I had to pass to keep my day job and my obscene stress-level related to them. The next few months were clouded with confusion regarding something that was beyond my control, no matter how hard I tried.
This year, I also felt a lot like Kristen Wiig's character in Bridesmaids, where everyone elses' lives were "going off and getting perfect and mine's just like..." (Kristen sticking her tongue out, dejectedly). Maybe it's weird to admit that in the public domain, and I promise, I am genuinely excited for you all, but I also couldn't help wondering when it would be my turn for my life to "get perfect". Not to say that I'm necessarily looking for everything that I see many people my age getting into, I can't even imagine having a dog right now or owning anything more expensive than my computer, but I'm not NOT looking for it either.
I've been awesome lately, but I'm still looking forward to this year ending because I could use a clean slate. I have a refreshed outlook and a new life plan - one that I'm as excited about as my life plan many years ago to move to New York. That has probably been the best decision of my life so far so I have a good feeling about this plan too. This one needs to remain close to me for now, but I'm sure I'll be advertising it soon enough.
Here are some of the things I'll remember about this year with a smile, in no particular order, and with relevant blogpost links:
- A perfect trip to New Orleans with someone to whom I sadly no longer speak, but with whom I have some amazing memories. Having the best four-day eating period of my life. Discovering New Orleans' amazing sandwiches, chargrilled oysters, and the bar scene off Bourbon Street. Taking a cemetery tour. Extending the trip in Atlanta for an extra night on our way back due to snow up north.
- Random weekend nights out with friends that started out as nothing and ended up as everything, by simply asking Brits in town to help with a crossword puzzle, or starting up a conversation with people from Arkansas as McSorley's is closing.
- Three weekends of bachelorette party celebrations, starting with friends coming up to NYC to play Twister, eat pizza, and attend a drag show - continuing in Newport, Rhode Island with a mimosas and lighthouses tour, salad in jars, and tiaras - and ending in the Hamptons with a workout class, a trip to a farm to pick out a chicken, and multiple games of Celebrity.
- A 29th birthday celebration that made me feel incredibly loved since it was the tenth rainiest day in NYC ever recorded but still there were tons of people who showed up to one of my favorite West Village bars after work on a Wednesday.
- A trip to Hawaii that came at the perfect time in my life and also in the best possible way (with free first-class tickets, courtesy of my sister and her luck). Taking a helicopter ride, going on a real hike for the first time, seeing the sunrise on top of a volcano, eating a ton of tuna, and getting close with dolphins. Meeting up with four friends who also happened to be in Hawaii at the same time, even if I sadly haven't seen any of them since.
- Exploring more in the area of the Jersey Shore where I grew up. Climbing the Cape May Lighthouse for the first time since the '90s, discovering the excellent brews at Cape May Brewery, practicing yoga on the beach, and treating myself to all the best on the Ocean City Boardwalk. Remembering why I should treat every weekend at home as a vacation.
- Becoming an adult about my health and starting to work out more, eat healthier, and actually make a point of drinking water (unlike on my hike in Hawaii).
- Discovering and becoming a regular at places like Big Gay Ice Cream, Tompkins Square Bagels, Grand Banks Oyster Bar, and the World Financial Center food court where I can eat Umami Burgers, Lil Munster Grilled Cheese, and Mighty Quinn's Barbeque whenever I feel like it. Chasing ghosts at the Ear Inn, Trying Ukrainian at Veselka.
- Feeling like I'm on a team at work for the first time since 2009. Becoming real friends with the people I work near and with closely and genuinely getting excited for work trips.
- An extended weekend trip to Montreal with my parents, my sister, a broken toe and a cane. Trying to solidify my request of visiting a different country each year with the fam. Eating at the cutest lunch place in Canada and having a brilliant breakfast each morning.
- A weekend trip to Philadelphia with my family and my best friend's family to explore Pompeii and the doughnut and mussel scenes.
- Celebrating my mom's retirement from teaching and getting to see how much she enjoys it while continuing her yoga practice, relearning how to paint, and walking the boards along the ocean.
- Joining the team at Trivia AD. Hosting and coming up with questions for our inaugural Girls HBO night and 1990s Nickelodeon night. Hosting and scorekeeping for several other fun themes over the months (Disney Movies, Friends, Sex & the City, Mean Girls). Getting third place in Game of Throne Trivia when I finally got my friends together to play. You really should come see me host sometime. Wink wink nudge nudge.
- Dancing the night away at four weddings in Rye, NY, Basking Ridge & Jersey City, NJ, and Virginia Beach, VA. Being a bridesmaid in two of those weddings. Reuniting with old work friends, friends from growing up, and friends from UD. Losing my scarf at Ruby Tuesdays, getting Avril'ed after Dry Bar totally messed up my hair, being a witness, eating Ice Dream at Chick Fil-A, and playing with the most perfect dog in the universe, Riley.
- Spending a weekend in Maryland visiting a two-year-old who may already be smarter than I am. Playing with Disney princesses, picking pumpkins, and eating clam chowder at a dairy.
- Welcoming two adorable new babies to our growing family and hearing news of another one on the way. Frousins (Friends + Cousins), the Next Generation is in full swing.
- Becoming more involved in the travel community by getting business cards, attending travel festivals and networking events, and becoming real-life friends with some of my favorite bloggers. Making plans for future travels.
- A Thanksgiving for the history books, both with my own family and the after party with my second family down the street which involved a Mary Chapin Carpenter and Taylor Swift singalong that I think someone has digital proof of somewhere.
- A smaller but more-extended-than-usual Christmas with some of the best folks I know. Live-tweeting "It's a Wonderful Life," walking the trail for 3.3 miles, splitting my jeans when getting into the car, bowling in NJ for $5.50 a person, a trip to Firkin, and hearing my cousins' compliments to me while hitting number 4 in "Cheers to the Gov'ner".
After writing this list, I'm starting to think that instead of waiting for my life to "get perfect", I need to recognize that my life is perfect just the way it is. Maybe 2015 will help me to feel that way.
Thanks for another amazing year. A hell LOVE a lotta love to you and yours.