Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014: 10 Things

2015.  Already it's the 6th and Winter has finally descended upon the region...  The other day, T. and I got up and went to the laundromat in the cold and blowing snow, the kind of newly fallen wet accumulation that causes your tires to spin out even at a low speed.  it was busy, but we got several loads of laundry washed, dried, and folded in an hour and a half.  Not too bad!  After that, we came back to the apartment and I worked from home for the first part of the day.  By the time I left for work, the snow had stopped falling, but it wasn't incredibly pleasant to drive in, really.

The same could not be said of my drive home Monday night...  I was thankful for 10 years of experience behind the wheel on that commute; it was quite snowy and slippery and generally unpleasant, but I made it back in one piece.  One or two more drives in the snow and I'll be back on the horse--navigating through the winter conditions is like riding a bike.  You never really forget how to turn into the skid or slow down well before the intersection.

So even though the new year is here, and even though there are a ton of exciting things in the works (even the month of January alone is crazy and bursting and busy--deserves its own post, frankly), I am still working on processing and learning and working through 2014.  Truth be told, 2014 was a huge year for us.  It was incredible in many ways, but it was also difficult and challenging and even terrifying at times.  I grew up a lot over the course of those 365 days.  I became a different version of myself.  We went through a lot, both good and bad.

Yet, we got through it.  We always do.  And ultimately, I am grateful to 2014 for pushing me way out of my comfort zone.  I hope that 2015 does the same, but I hope it's a more positive push.  Tonight, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The Wilder Coast, and M. posted a list of her "10 defining phenomena of 2014".  I found myself inspired to do the same... good way to recap the year!

So, without further adieu,
10 things that made 2014 one hell of a year.

(Enjoy!  List and photos after the jump. Thanks for reading!)

1.) The Apartment

In February, T. and I moved into an apartment of our own.  Inhabiting this one bedroom, with its hardwood floors and lovely late afternoon light, has been quite a learning experience.  Though I wish things had ended differently--we have had some issues while living here--I do not regret anything and wouldn't change it.  We grew up here, we loved here.  

2.) Shamrock Shuffle 8K

At the end of March, I ran the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K in downtown Chicago.  It was a beautiful morning, and a fantastic race.  I was so proud of myself for how I ran and how I felt afterwards.  Those post-race beers had never tasted so sweet!  I've already requested time off for the 2015 race, and I'm looking forward to registering soon!

3) Stranded in Nebraska

Obviously, I wouldn't consider the accident one of the great things that happened to us in 2014.  This is pretty much on the completely opposite end of the spectrum from "great."  It's been months and I can still remember it like it was yesterday; if I close my eyes and concentrate, I'm back there in the passenger seat, But, despite how terrible and terrifying the whole event was, I'm grateful because it brought T. and I closer together.  It was teamwork like I have never experienced before--though we worked together to get ourselves out of danger, he was the one who got out of the car and pushed it onto the shoulder, feeling the shudder of semi trucks as they just barely changed lanes in time to miss our disabled vehicle.  He saved my life.  So yeah, while I wish this weren't on the list at all, it definitely bears mentioning.  

By the way, we're hoping to try again this upcoming spring.  And I'm looking forward to it.

4) Lemons into Lemonade

So even though our road trip to Colorado ended at the halfway point, and we almost died, and we had to say goodbye to the Yaris at a dusty junkyard in Lincoln, Nebraska, we took those shitty lemons and made them into pretty decent lemonade.  It didn't really feel like a vacation, per se, just because we had to deal with the stress and the logistics of insurance and finding a new car, but... T. and I were together, and that was all that mattered.  We got the Civic (affectionately named Betty), took a few day trips, and counted our blessings.  Could have definitely been way worse.

5) Betty

I love this car.  Definitely a highlight of our summer.  Soon she will be my daily driver, and I couldn't be more excited!

6)  Family Ink

June brought a visit to the tattoo parlor with my mom and sister for tattoos.  This is my fourth tattoo (the ankle comes in second place, pain-wise, after the one on my ribcage).  It was such an incredible bonding experience and I love this beautiful piece of art.  Just like all of my tattoos, it is incredibly meaningful to me and I hope it won't be long before I can get another one.

7) A Swanky Night Downtown

The end of June brought T. and I downtown for an incredibly fun party thrown by my company at the Field Museum.  We reserved a room at the Renaissance Blakstone, got all dressed up, and enjoyed drinks, dinner, and a little bit of dancing with some fantastic work friends of mine and Sue the T. Rex.  It was a very fun night, I loved that dress, and the headache I had the next morning was every bit worth it.

8) 2014 Chicago Half Marathon

In September, I did something I'd been planning for the better part of the year...  I ran the Chicago Half Marathon, and while it was one of the most challenging things I've ever done, it was also one of the most rewarding.  I wrote all about it here.  I'm planning my next half marathon and can't wait to improve on my time.  I am bound and determined to make it happen.

9) Awesome Fall Adventures

I traveled a little bit during October and November, and I loved every second.  I started it off with an adventure to the Southwest Suburbs for a work trip--the hotel was so nice and I went swimming both nights, enjoying the solitude of the water and my thoughts.  I met a lot of awesome people and left with a new appreciation for what I do.  After that, I went on a fantastic weekend trip to Michigan with my sweet husband and then, a few weeks later, met my sister down in Springfield for a fantastic midweek weekend.  I also went home for a weekend to celebrate my brother's graduation from college and, also, headed downtown to meet said college graduate for an afternoon at the Art Institute, a day that was pretty typically Chicago and pretty fantastic.  It was a great way to round out the year.

10) Movin' on up...

We found what is practically our dream apartment in our dream neighborhood, and I'm fulfilling a lifelong goal of mine--with my very best friend, the love of my life.  What could be better?  This adventure is going to be one of our best, no doubt.  We are incredibly excited and... I'm picking up the keys in nine days.  More to come soon!

2014, you changed my life.
Here's to 2015, to continued adventures outside of my comfort zone and good things on the horizon!

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