Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friendship is thicker than blood
That depends
Depends on trust
Depends on true devotion
Depends on love
Depends on not denying emotion
It's gonna be
A happy new year
- RENT <3

There is only one more day left in 2010, and although it’s been quite the rollercoaster, I’m a little sad to see it go…
2010 (pronounced twenty ten…) was a good year. Not in a flashy, “go all kinds of warm exotic place” kind of year, but a quiet “lots of self discovery and realizing what’s really important and where to go next” kind of good.
Let’s do a bit of a Year in Review, shall we?

What else is there, honestly? Eight years in the making, that step of transition can FINALLY get checked off the to-do list!

I went to the dark side of AT&T and tried to see if I could be an Iphone user…being a firm believer of once you go mac you never go back (well, I did go back… I’m a crackberry girl at heart and could write an entry just about that…. But I still love my AT&Ters!)
February in Gray…. What is there to say? My braces were off, and some good times went down. I have a feeling people at Styxx will always remember my name.
…and then the snow began to melt, and we got our act together, but here’s to the nights we don’t entirely remember with people we’ll never forget!

March and I never used to get along really. It was the drudgiest (new word!) time of the year to be in Maine, the snow turns to mud, the sun rarely comes out, and the anticipation of spring is just agonizing. Then I realized March is high time for conferences, and opportunities to LEAVE! Two years ago I hit Miami, NYC, and DC in March, and although that was a bit much, it made the month fly by and was far less torturous.
This March, was a bit of a pinnacle for me. Enter way too many cheerleaders, a huge hotel on the river, and a couple sunny days on Capitol Hill, something had changed within me. I didn’t see it coming, but I got bit by that bug and realized I was in the right place at the right time, and meant to do what I’m doing, to whatever level I can take. We’re in a time of change, and I’m smack in the middle of it!

Still feeling the energy from the week of hill visits and being in our nation’s capitol (and really getting a taste of what that means) I had the opportunity to see my favorite president in person, talking to our very own community. Realizing, we’re not just talking anymore- we ARE a part of the change that’s happening before our very eyes. We were hooked.
Also, the end of one chapter, the beginning of another…

May is near and dear to my heart. Being a May baby, I don’t need to completely rehash the fabulous things that happened in May, but this year was a pretty powerful May. Having ended the job with HRTW that I had known for the previous 3 years I began my interim months of not knowing where my life was headed, and a series of opportunities that would guide me to figure it out.. .and to remember who I was in the mean time. I kicked off May in Denver, CO which was an amazing experience, getting to work with other people who really “get” the ideas of youth empowerment, and spending time with an amazing family I would ultimately end up working with in the coming years! I also got to hear the stories of powerful youth leaders who made me grateful all over again for everything I have and am able to do, and see the Columbine memorial, which I meant to blog about but the whole experience was just so intense I wasn’t able to find the right words.

The following weekend, was a Next Step Family Weekend, which was one of those times where it felt everything was perfectly placed to be cathartic in just the right way (like previous trips to NY, and many things involving camp…) I can’t accurately sum it up now, but here’s an excerpt from the journal entry I wrote after the weekend, during which my family climbed “the tower,” for those who are unfamiliar, let me once again refer you to this video:

For a long time I have been dealing with this inner struggle that there are sort of two aspects to my life/identity. There is the forever cheerful, ever optimistic, musical theater, forward moving little girl known as Princess Peanut, who grew up at camp and was continuing to show people the importance of "defying gravity" and how no matter what hand you are dealt, you CAN achieve your dreams. For the past three years, that side has made an occasional appearance, but I have felt like she has been frequently been overpowered by a new, jaded, still passionate, but determined due to bitterness, discontent person.
I've been worried that I had been losing where I came from and who I really am deep inside. I know she is still there.
Long story short, I have been slowly weeding the negativity from my life, being active in finding happiness and really reassessing what is important in my life. When I knew we were going to camp for the weekend, I realized at the same time that I had to climb the wall again. I started to back out when I saw it, and realized how high it was, but this was my chance, to remind the world, and myself, that I still had it.
When I got to camp, other people started to arrive. Including most of the key players who had supported me in climbing in my 98 venture. The day we were going to do it, even the videographer who recorded that interview made a cameo (who is completely gorgeous and I plan on connecting with for other professional goals) but it was so just....fateful. I knew this was all meant to play out.
So when we got to the tower, I watched a lot of people go, and knew I couldn't turn back. I got set up and realized how freaking vertical and high it was, but I had come so far from 1998, and I had my baby sister and my dad supporting me at the same time.

This time was so different. As I climbed up there, I wasn't scared. I was determined. Every time I moved up, it was for someone else who had hurt me, or thought I couldn't succeed or who had kept me down with their negativity. I thought "this is for YOU. That little girl, who thought nothing could keep her from reaching her dreams. Guess what? She is STILL HERE!"

After that, my sister came up, and my dad, and we shared an amazing moment (we called my mom from the top...yay technology), as our entire family had defied gravity. A metaphor for what we truly have done, and continue to do in our lives every day. And, I had the contentment of knowing. The Princess is still around. The dreams may have changed, but I still have the capability to reach them.

Shortly after that, I was going to turn 25, which could be an epic blog entry in itself. I had my first surprise party ever, complete with so many people from my past and present who had been there along the way. It was a little weird having my worlds collide, but it was fantastic, and I have completely embraced being “a quarter of a century.”
And finally, May ended with what I consider to be the best Memorial Day weekend ever (and I’m partial to them because my birthday usually falls on it). My entire family was together by the pool, and it was a simple week of sun, food, drinks, and celebrating. The perfect way to ring in the summer of 2010, with whatever it had in store.

I’m slowly losing motivation in writing this, and I might as well admit it, cause it will show. But it’s exhausting reliving a year, that was already exhausting once. The summer was interesting, and when I look back on it, you know, as tough as it was, I don’t remember it negatively. I remember being poolside with my family, driving with my windows down, beach trips, and the freedom and anticipation of where my life would be when it all ended . I took summer one day at a time…and it felt good.

September was a month of getting acclimated once again to living at home, unpacking boxes, and mending fences with my cat who had been convinced I had left her to fend for herself with the dog owners. I made a point of reconnecting with my friends and scheduling things like dinner and coffee dates so we could just convince ourselves we both still had “social lives.” It worked. And I re-established Starbucks as my “third place” (well second really, since I work from home, and all over the place.
September also held a unique opportunity that I found out about last minute via twitter, and I dipped my toe into another political pool when I saw Lady Gaga speak about the repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

I had big plans for October- but the universe had other ideas for me. Another blip on the radar I suppose. I got knocked down, got better and got back up, with a bit of a new appreciation for when my health is good, and how lucky I am since that is the case most of the time. Although the not feeling good part was pretty crappy, it was a little bit nice to be able to lay in bed and just not worry about anything, and truly “rest up.” I wish our society permitted that more often without the inevitable guilt factor…

Another bright thing that happened in October, was getting my best friend back from the wonderful place we call the West Coast. Every time we're together I'm reminded my we're best friends, and although we've both grown up a bit, and added a few members to the family, it still feels like we were just eating pizza, and listening to Mariah Carey like it's 2003. I'm so blessed to have her back and just a text message away.

And we’re back in the game with a (if I do say so myself) kick butt conference in Houston, TX and connecting with some wonderful people I will get to work with in 2011. Then came Thanksgiving and the beginning of festive, family, fun for the holidays.

(just a little football viewing)

….Here we are in DECEMBER.

Wow… what a year huh? Since winter drags on for so many months, I like to make the most of when it’s still fun, and all the hype before Christmas…. So enter our trip to NYC. Without having an event to go, or be in this year, I decided to just make it happen for FUN (iiii know). Tickets to Elf the musical, third row to In the Heights and a room on the upper east side later, we had a trip! The tree, the shopping, the freezing cold, it was definitely an experience. I did learn that we do it best when we stay right in the heart of Times Square and it saves on commuting, and late nights, but all in all it was a great time. We also saw Love, Loss and What I Wore which was the perfect girls’ night out show to be followed by seasonal pumpkin flavored Pinkberry. And Vnyl has so been added to our must hit dinner locales, next time we’re in town!

Christmas held more tradition of hours of card games, the traditional Christmas eve shindig and a morning of opening too many presents. A cozy perfect last holiday of 2010.

So here we are. 2010 is done in a matter of a day and a few hours. It’s silly to say, where has it gone… because I just spent 3 pages telling you. I guess the better question is where will 2011 take me? I’ve said previously, I’m not a fan of resolutions, and I’m not. I’m not going to shop less, or exercise more, I’m going to continue to do what makes me happy in moderation.

Last year, I said I would do strive to do a few things

As for the goals- well. License? CHECK!!! GRE’s…. in the process, but I do have more of a direction. Passport still to do….but I will.
This year I think will be ultimately about taking the next steps, whatever that may be. It’s actually kind of perfect, as Mais and I wrote a theme song about doing just that, and I think I need to remind myself of that as I move forward.
I’m also going to remind myself of one my “resolutions” from last year and work on staying positive. As I wrote after my trip to Albuquerque, I want to keep that sense of excitement that used to come with every trip I take, and the energy with every presentation I give. If I can keep both of those things in mind and take it one day at a time, I think it can be another good year.

There is plenty to look forward to:
Oregon, DC, VEGAS, Kansas, Maisy graduates (ok, let’s not get ahead of ourselves….)
So, with a bit of a knot in my stomach I thank 2010 for all it has taught me, and brought my way, and say cheers to 2011.

A new year, with so much in front of me!