I keep a personal annual review, but I decided to share this with the public, because so much of it involves all you wonderful people around me.
What Went Well In 2011 – Personally
Everything went well. I went to not one, but two, music festivals (Outside Lands in SF and Austin City Limits in Austin.) I missed music so much, music that I enjoy – Kanye West, The Black Keys, The Decemberists, Bright Eyes, Stevie Wonder, Iron & Wine, Arcade Fire, Beirut, John Fogerty and so many more. It almost felt weird at Outside Lands, as if I had forgotten how to rock out, but by Sunday I let loose. And it was much better in Austin, where I was able to just enjoy even in the sometimes pulsing hot sun. Having a place to stay that was only a 20 minute walk also made life easier. I was glad to share Outside Lands with R, D and D’s brother. I was beyond thrilled when I ran into an old friend, S. The world is small and our lives so similar.
I met R who has been a complete blessing in every which way. We’ve traveled across the country together, to the Bahamas together and have navigated three successful months of living together in Brooklyn so far. Many more (happy) months to come. Our road trip took us from California to Arizona to Colorado to Nebraska to Omaha to Illinois to Ohio to Pennsylvania to New York. It was something I won’t ever forget – and I got to visit four more new states. I saw the Grand Canyon and it is truly amazing. I saw historical things like the cave dwellings in Mesa Verde which I had never even heard of. I got to meet a lot of nice people – R’s friends and family and Couchsurfers. I got to drive the open desert roads (too bad it was in the dark!). I got to have a pie-milkshake and vote in the coffee bean pole. I got to take hundreds of photos (which I need to print!). I got to see the country and it has only made me want to see even more of it, every corner.
The Bahamas was a place of new experiences too — scuba diving and kayaking, mangroves and caves, swimming in beautiful, perfect blue ocean, seeing fireworks from so close and NOT getting sunburned! Win. It was an accident, but I also liked being draped in clothes that were the colorful patriotic colors of the country – yellow and teal. Colors have power, energy.
Once R and I settled into Brooklyn, we kept the adventures going. I’ve learned to rock climb and totally love it – we go twice a week. For Christmas, we went to our first hockey game together (Rangers vs Islanders) at MSG. We watched the end of the World Series at our neighborhood bar. We’ve explored other neighborhood bars. We stood on the sidewalk and cheered for the NYC marathoners (I was desperately wishing I was one of them). We saw one of my favorite photographers–Annie Liebovitz–at the 92nd Y. We saw two Broadway plays: Mountain Top and War Horse. We’ve hosted several couchsurfers and are just starting to get into the AirBnB racket. Our neighborhood is perfect, small and safe with everything you need right around the corner and with Manhattan just a short subway ride away.
Oh, and I should mention my three-week stint in LA, where R showed me his home. We saw RATM at the Coliseum, we ate at Jose Andres’ The Bazaar, we saw the Dodgers win and enjoyed fireworks on the field, we saw the Avett Brothers (officially my favorite band), we went to the Hollywood Bowl twice. I ran all around his neighborhood in beautiful California weather, we enjoyed the beach and I went into the biggest waves I’ve ever been in, we hiked stairs in the middle of the mountain and found a strange artists graffiti house. We went to six Flags and rode the rollercoasters. We went to the Observatory and watched an amazing video on the cosmos.
I also have to mention watching the Avett Brothers in Cooperstown in NY. It was at Ommegang Brewery, it was like watching your favorite band at a hoe-down. There was only two or three hundred people max, and it was raining and smelled like a farm. It was a wonderful way to see this folksy band. Ryan and I sang our little hearts out and stomped around in the mud drinking our so-so beers. We were so close I thought we’d be able to touch them. Two days later, R, my dad and I packed a U-Haul and moved to Brooklyn. After unpacking the van and my car, I got terrible ill from that night in the rain. But it was absolutely worth it. Cannot wait to see them again in 2012.
As much as I love R and have gotten to do and enjoy so much because of him. Last year wasn’t all about him. I spent New Years Eve in Miami with J drinking champagne in the streets and watching fireworks on the beach. I got to run on the beach for the first time. D and I explored San Francisco – one of the first cities I truly enjoyed in my past year of travel. I hung out with my brother in Santa Barbara and he weirded me out with his conspiracy theories. I visited my old roommate L in LA and was given a whole new perspective on the city (and met R.) I went to Portland to chill with M & F and got to run my first long run – 8 miles! I hang out with J regularly when I’m in Baltimore and she has risen through the ranks to best friend. I love that lady. I saw one of my poker friends marry a beautiful, awesome woman in Baltimore. I saw my sister and her family in North Carolina, saw my Uncle and his family in Massachusetts, my Aunt and cousins in Georgia. All in all, I feel like I saw everyone in 2011. I even got to spend a good amount of time at home with my parents and grandpa.
I wrapped up the skirt project. I trained for a marathon (but couldn’t run it). I ran a marathon relay in Baltimore. I took lots of photographs. I take vitamins and supplements.
Without even knowing it, 2011 was about getting my personal life back in order, and it worked.
Theme for 2011:
Year of Courage. I will put my heart into everything. I will live and love without fear. I will not half-ass anything. I will not fear failure or vulnerability. I will not be victimized or stay silent. I will do more then I ever thought I could. I will gain strength and self-worth. I will amaze and impress myself. I will make myself proud. I will not recognize myself in a year from now. The new ‘me’ will actually be me.