When I turned 30, I did 30 things I’d never done before in an effort to start living my life as big and loudly as I could. I often say that’s my favorite year alive so far. Not that the years since haven’t been filled with awesome, but there was something so memorable about the fullness of that year, of stepping outside my comfort zone so often. This being one of those “multiple of 5” years for me, I wanted to try and find that same fullness.
This year had a weird start. I ended 2012 with an unexpected, but totally expected breakup with a man that I was prepared to be my husband and I had spent more than 3 years waiting on to get his shit together. It needed to happen, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt, and that change wasn’t hard. I had given so much, to lose it all. I needed to reclaim my life and be selfish again. I started calling 2013 the year of me. I knew that this year was going to be amazing…I don’t think I could have predicted how much awesome would come though.
In January, I talked about how I was going to say “yes” this year. Starting with the fact that I had found myself saying yes to cycling 100 freaking miles around Lake Tahoe. Training for that event ended up being the hardest, most amazing four months of my life, and my greatest accomplishment so far on this planet. Not only (with the help of my very amazing friends and family) did I raise over $3000 for one of the greatest causes out there, but I rode a bicycle 100 miles. Every week for that four months I wanted to quit. Every week I cried, I complained, and I ached. I felt like the problem child. I was on the slowest “short bus” team. It was so.hard. But in the end of every ride, I found myself realizing what I had accomplished that day. That I could do it. I did it. I proved so many things to myself, but I also found the depth of my cheering section. The people that were there cheering me through every ride, both virtually and in person, made me realize how truly supported I am. Every message, every Facebook like…it went miles. The friends that camped out an entire weekend to hug me for 2 minutes during that ride…priceless.
One of the best things to come out of the Team in Training adventure is “the cycling kids.” Something about crying and sweating together for 16 weeks bonds you to people. I made a lot of friends on the team, but there’s something special about a few of them that has created an amazing friendship that I adore dearly. It led to pint nights, a drunken day at beer fest, and me almost drowning during my first drunken tubing adventure on the American River. (The team is really alcoholics with a cycling problem. You spend 16 weeks really training on how to re-hydrate your depleted body with beer. When the season was over, we just kept up our training…) I’m so grateful that they don’t care that I’m old and let me hang out with them. 😉
Even with all the cycling, I still found time to participate in a few foot driven events. I did the Electric Run 5k, the Color Run 5k, the She.Is.Beautiful 10k and Wharf to Wharf for my 3rd time. In October I bought new running shoes, and hope to find my way back to a half marathon in 2014. (I know I said I was going for a 26.2, but I don’t know anymore that I need that on my bucket list, and think I should start back with a smaller goal.)
It was actually a great year for friends. I started my year surrounded by my favorite musicians and best friends rocking out with Steve Poltz, the Rugburns, Matt the Electrician and my fellow cult members at the Casbah. I said yes to speed dating with an awesome girlfriend, and then we found ourselves giggling and sneaking out before it even started. I took a wilderness skills class with some of my favorite family. The afternoon I spent with them just as valuable as the skills of fire starting and shelter making that I learned. I also had the most amazing garden party mimosa brunch birthday ever, with tons of my favoritest people at one of my favorite restaurants in Santa Cruz. I made it camping with my girls once, even if it meant throwing my tent into the car unpacked on a Monday morning and driving straight to work. I also finally got to use my wine tasting passport again, spending a day in July gallivanting in the Santa Cruz mountains with two of my favorite guys. It was a precious year for spending time with people.
I squeezed in a trip to San Diego, and got to visit my parents and my old stomping grounds…which basically meant going from rolled tacos at Taco Surf to coffee at 976 before I trudged up to the mountains to see my family. I got to see my brother for the first time in many years. I also scored a few hours alone with my Dad, which was long overdue.
I made vision boards twice, and I think helped me channel what I was looking for. I tried to dress cuter for work, I got the BIG change I was looking for, and found myself kissing a few boys along the way. (I even found a pretty cute one that I kept around for a while.) I remember being bold and putting both Mexico and Hawaii on the board in January, and I’m proud to say I made them both happen. I found myself back in Puerto Vallarta in April, watching whales leap in the ocean in front of me as I sipped cocktails by the pool. In October, I went on the most splurgey, most fantastic vacation of a lifetime to Maui. I zip-lined, para-sailed, biked down the volcano after sunrise, went to a luau and consumed massive quantities of Mai Tais and pints of Maui Brewing Company beer. It was amazing.
I finally found myself at SXSW Interactive this year, soaking up information like a sponge and finding myself more inspired to be a better marketer. (I also found myself consuming a lot of tequila and tacos.) It was a really awesome year in the work department for me. For three quarters as a Director at Smith Micro, I feel like I truly grew into my own. I rocked my programs, owned my numbers, held my own in the boys club and knocked things out of the park. The little girl that started her career at as a temp was finally a big girl. Such a big girl in fact, it was finally time to leave the nest and try my wings at a new adventure. 2 months in a new position in a new industry, I am finally able to say that I’m not just good at the products I hawked for 13 years, I’m a good marketer who knows what I’m doing. I’m really proud of my career and what I’ve been able to make of it this year. I really love my new job, and am glad that I have found a place to learn and grow while showing off my strengths.
At the end of June, I went to St. Louis to celebrate my Grandma’s 90th birthday 6 months early in form of a family reunion with my birth father’s family that brought people from all over the country that I hadn’t met or seen in a decade. I also got to surprise my mom’s side of the family too, which was super-duper awesome. There is not a trip in the last decade where I’ve driven away from my Mammaw’s little house on the corner and haven’t wanted to turn around and never leave. I even got to visit with my oldest friend, who I may only see every few years and yet it’s like we saw each other yesterday. It was one of those trips that reminded me who I am, made me feel like I belong, and recharged my heart and soul full up.
The travel didn’t stop there. After a 5 year hiatus, I returned to the Black Rock desert for Burning Man. I found myself realizing that the attraction to me is similar to the draw to endurance sports. There is something about being forced to survive, to prepare to go the distance. It is about the solitude in a sea of strangers. The art is amazing, the community indescribable, but I could do without the parties and the man exploding. For me, it is about spending a week camping with my friends, having communal meals and sharing everything we have. It is about riding my bike topless across an ancient lake bed without anyone giving me a second look. It is about the temple. It is about finding myself lost in the dust, away from a computer, disconnected and truly in my head finding who I am. I am so grateful for those 10 days. I had forgotten how much that city meant to me. PLUS, I finally got to get the giant Connect Four board made that I’ve been wanting for years. SCORE.
There wasn’t a ton of time left for live music this year, but I did see AJ Croce at the Catalyst Atrium, Matt the Electrician at Don Quioxte’s and go to Live 105’s Not so Silent Night, experiencing a bunch of new bands for the first time.
This year wasn’t without its stress, and I was lucky to spend so much time getting massages. In my commitment to say yes to self-care to keep my sanity, I discovered my favoritest massage therapist in the whole wide world who became a crucial part of my routine throughout my adventures. I’m so lucky to have found her and I’m going to miss her when I move.
That’s right, after 17 years in Santa Cruz, and 10 years in my apartment, swearing you couldn’t drive me away from the coast unless it was being consumed by a monsoon or falling off due to an earthquake…I’m moving. The stress of living in a town that’s trying to find its way, combined with up to 3 hours each day in a car, led me to search. Setting my standards high, I plowed through listing after listing until I finally hit the jackpot. Living in a sea of boxes for the holidays is a worthwhile trade to know that in just a few days, I will have a fantastic little duplex with 2 bedrooms, a garage, a yard, a dishwasher, and a fireplace. I’ll also have new places to discover, be closer to so many of my friends without a mountain between us, and hopefully a new chance at finding a partner to be my husband and make babies with at some point in the future.
2013 was amazing. Ah-MAZING. It was filled with tons of up, plenty of down, but always always always adventure and lessons. Everyone in my family survived another year and my furry munchkin was always there for me when I got home from my adventures. So many reasons to be grateful. This entire year was a big gift, even if I forgot that in moments. I feel so lucky to have so many amazing, supportive, precious people in my life. I love being physically, emotionally and financially capable to live my life in a full and adventurous way, often pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. (Even if it happens in inches, instead of feet sometimes.) Thank you to everyone who has been along for the ride. Your enthusiasm, companionship and patience are more valued than you could ever know.
Here’s to an even more awesome 2014!