2014 Year-in-Review

If each year since I started this blog had a tagline, they might go something like, “2008: The Year I Started a Grown-Up Job After Graduating From College” or “2010: The Year I Moved to Chicago” or even “2012: The Year of The Ear Surgeries.”

What would 2014 be? The year all of Chicago’s crazies/misogynists descended upon me at once? The year of my breakup? Or would it be the year I said yes? This is how I choose to look back on this year.

I wrote 18 blog posts in 2013. This is my 54th for 2014. I wrote more this year than possibly any other, save the year I was a full-time reporter. I also traveled more in 2014 than ever before, from California to Vegas to Portland to Salt Lake City to home.

It was a good year. I couldn’t see how it could possibly turn out to be so when it started, but it absolutely was. I started out this year feeling like someone’s ex-girlfriend. I’m wrapping it up with such a solid sense of self, and a clearer understanding of who I am and what I want for my life. For me, 2010 was a similar year of growth, when I made a life-saving recovery thanks to grief counseling, and ended it with the decision to hit re-set by moving to Chicago. This year was less dramatic, but just as eye-opening and productive and soul-feeding.

I spent the first half of 2014 in complete upheaval: breaking up with my live-in boyfriend; spending the first three months of the year unsure if I was going to get hired for a new job I was in the running for; and moving out of my apartment of more than two years to a new neighborhood with a roommate I didn’t know.

The rest of 2014 was spent smoothing things out, leveling them: I am no longer in a co-dependent relationship in which I feel shitty half the time; I love my job; and I live in a much better apartment with an awesome lady who makes me tea and buys me chocolate when I’m sad. The second half of 2014 was spent writing, whether it was an episode of a webseries, freelance articles, blog posts, or a travel series. It was at the start of the second half that I felt the undeniable need to go to Portland alone and experience that city and new place.

I said yes to lots and lots of things. I like myself a whole lot better than I did 12 months ago. So, as I’ve done since 2008, I present to you the inane; the important; the things I deemed worthy of blogging about this year.

January: My ex-boyfriend moved out of the apartment we shared. Was asked to be a contributor for the Addison Recorder. Got an email from an HR department about a marketing job I’d applied for. Enjoyed the company of Mango, a foster kitty that had been left in my custody.

February: Had a rough, cold winter and drove to the suburbs in a snowstorm for a job interview. Spontaneously decided to flee the polar vortex(es) and fly to San Diego to see Eileen and Tim.

March: Debated whether or not to re-sign my lease on an expensive one-bedroom that used to be paid for by two people. The day before my 28th birthday I heard I was hired for the new job, but signed my lease knowing I was going to need to break it in the summer to find somewhere cheaper.

April: A month of goodbyes: Said goodbye to Groupon, and hello to my current company. Said goodbye to Sarah and Evan, who moved to Salt Lake City and Seattle, respectively. Ran a 5K with Jaimi — my first in two years, her first one ever.

May: Said another goodbye, to Mango the cat. Ran another 5K, this time with Travis. Got horribly sick just before Memorial Day weekend, but recovered in time to go on an illuminating bike ride to Evanston with Becca.

June: Rode my bike everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. Made plans to move in with Adele in Albany Park. Was unfortunately assaulted by a cyclist in Lincoln Square just before moving. Began writing in earnest for the Addison Recorder. Ran my first 8K.

July: Went to Ohio for Fourth of July weekend. Threw myself a moving-out party. Wrote an episode of a webseries. Had a meltdown after procrastinating packing for weeks. Packed. Said goodbye to my home of 2+ years and cried a lot. Decided to visit Portland by myself in the fall.

August: Settled into the new apartment and was surprised by how much better I felt just by getting out of the old place. Got really into using Twitter. Tallied up my miles and realized I’d ridden more than 200 over June, July, and August.

September: Bought myself a tiny blue record player and held its importance close. Finally read at a live lit event, sharing an essay about moving out of the old place and away from the memories it was built from. Went to Vegas for work and began to feel mounting excitement for Portland. Ran my best 5K yet, this time by myself.

October: Flew to Portland by myself Oct. 1. Fell in love with a part of the country I was unfamiliar with and biked everywhere I went for four days. Took a bus to visit Evan in Seattle. Read at two more live lit shows. Starting making lists for NewsCastic. Began to imagine myself living in Portland.

November: Climbed all the steps of the Sears Tower with Jaimi, Becca, and Jodi. Felt the heavy weight of my mom being gone for seven years. Had an essay published on Hello Giggles. Saw the final version of the webseries episode I wrote. Flew to SLC to see Sarah with Stef for a very fun Friendsgiving.

December: Had a really effing terrible cab experience. Signed up for a January stand-up comedy class taught by a live lit woman I admire and respect. Took up roller derby. Got bangs! Went home for Christmas and was gifted the skates I needed for game play. Flew home thinking about what I want to get out of 2015 and began making some plans.

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Weighing in, off the wagon

When I fall off the wagon, I fall hard, you guys.

It snowed a whole bunch last night, so I didn’t go to the gym. Instead, in my lethargic state, I ordered a pizza. Poor pizza delivery guy. And those mini fried apple pies I ordered probably weren’t necessary. I won’t be going to the gym tonight either, because I have an SNP going away party to go to at 6 (good luck, Rachel!). If I have any hope of completing the third day of week two of Couch to 5k, I’ll have to either go tomorrow before my first improv class or (God forbid) run outside on Sunday. Why is my gym closed on Sundays? Grrrr.

I haven’t lost any more weight, but I gained two pounds back. Yay. EDIT: This is after running twice and roller skating once this week. Lame.

Also, it seems that running gives me lower back pain. But just on one side. Thoughts? Someone said new running shoes would help. Running shoes = very expensive. Worth it?

Making further progress

I am not doing so bad on those resolutions. Yesterday I started a book and today I found out I lost a little more weight. I have lost 13 pounds since Oct. 12!

The book I am now reading is “Whip It!” and I have to say, so far I like the movie character better than her paperback counterpart. The book’s narrator is just mean. But, I’m only around 40 pages in. Perhaps she sweetens to more of an Ellen Page standard at some point, although I am doubtful.

Speaking of “Whip It!” look at what I got for Christmas this year:

OMG

Ohmygoodness. You have no idea how excited I was to open that box. I had roller skates on my wish list this year but I didn’t really expect anyone to shell out the cash for them. And purple, even! Thank you, Owen and Jamie, for loving me this dollar amount’s worth! (And thank you, Michael Scott for that one). They said they were going to get me these along with the movie, but it turns out it’s not on DVD yet.

Last week I started Couch to 5K, a running program that, in theory, trains you for a 5K in nine weeks. I downloaded an iPhone app for it (one of the three apps I have now been willing to pay for). Brandon got me an arm band for my phone, so I strap the phone in, open the app and start the day’s run. Until you are more used to running (around week 5, as far as I can tell) the program has you alternating running with walking. A scary man’s voice tells you over your head phones to run, and then a minute or so later it tells you to walk. The app lets you play your iPod’s music through it and when you’re done with your work out it gives you the option to post a braggy message on facebook. I start week 2 tonight and will be running 90 seconds, then walking for 2 minutes, running, walking, etc. I am not a runner, and I was so sore all last week from doing what was essentially a mere 9 minutes of actual running three days a week. It’s a lot different from the elliptical machine, but you’re supposed to vary your cardio routine. Too bad running doesn’t burn as many calories. Thanks to Jessie E. for telling me about the program; she begins week 2 today as well.

Also, Brandon got me a work out game for the Wii in an after Christmas sale online. EA Active should be coming in the mail today or tomorrow, and then we’ll both be able to work out at the same time for a change. I got a Marshall’s gift card from Brandon’s brother and used it over the weekend to invest in some new work out clothes and a yoga mat. I do aerobics in our living room and our scratchy carpet does me no favors.

Another thing I bought this weekend is this:

I actually went to a sporting goods store of my own volition

College friend (and The Sleeper Hit reader) Jessi D. told me her thoughtful boyfriend picked up a set of these bicycle pedals for her to use at home. He also helpfully suggested she take them to the park and sit on a bench reading a book, pedaling away, to see how many odd looks she got. I am all in favor of this idea (videotaping = a must). I took these babies into work only to discover they don’t fit under my desk very well. Some furniture rearranging is needed. I tried to smuggle them into the building surreptitiously, but alas, there was one witness. He looked at me kind of funny.

From my family for Christmas, I was lucky enough to get not one, but TWO Hungry Girl cook books. I’ve been making one recipe from them every week night. Brandon likes what I’ve made so far, so that helps. It’s hard to lose weight without the support of the people you live with. In fact, with all this outpouring of love from my friends and family, I best be skinny come my birthday.