I really didn’t want to write this blog post.
No, not for the same reasons that have prevented me from writing more often this year. I just didn’t want to admit — to myself, or to anyone else — that 2014 was over.
A year ago, things for me were looking (and feeling) good, and I was on the verge of some much anticipated professional stability. If things went as predicted, I was finally going to be able to reprioritize and shift from job searching to living my life again, and let things get back to normal. And then it happened: In January, my contract gig became a full-time job, and after about a year and a half of being unemployed and putting my life on hold, I was ready — determined — to make up for lost time.
And holy crap, did I.
In 2014, I did a bunch of traveling, hanging out with my niece and nephews in Mystic, Conn.; heading out west to Los Angeles to celebrate my 40th birthday; driving up to Portland, Maine; attending the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland; going back to Chicago for Marathon weekend (no, I didn’t run it); and finally, spending Thanksgiving with my folks in Florida.
I met a whole host of famous people, including NESN (and now NFL on CBS) hottie (and the future Mrs. Will Middlebrooks) Jenny Dell, Neil Patrick Harris, Selma director Ava DuVernay, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, basketball legend Patrick Ewing, Uzo Aduba (aka Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black), chef Paul Wahlberg, Boston Marathon legends Rick and Dick Hoyt, and more. Oh, and while I didn’t technically meet Kevin Spacey or Senator Elizabeth Warren, I was just a few feet away from them when he spoke at the CMWorld conference and she spoke at my office.
I acted more spontaneously.
I went on more dates than I had been on in recent years (not that any of them resulted in an actual relationship, but oh well).
I got to enjoy working again — not just the job itself but the people I was doing it with — and we were rewarded for our hard work with a Content Marketing Award.
I was back on Boylston Street to watch the Boston Marathon (and cheer on some friends who ran), along with what felt like the entire city, and then some.
I dumped cold ice water on my head — and donated money — to raise awareness of ALS. (I hope you did too.)
I finally made it to the South End Open Market and saw what I’d been missing.
I got caught in a torrential downpour minutes after the July 4th — I mean, July 3rd — fireworks ended and had to run all the way down Memorial Drive to get to my car on the other side of the B.U. Bridge.
I ate a lot — probably too much — and finally tried restaurants like Abe & Louie’s, Bobby’s Burger Palace, Fogo de Chao, Del Frisco’s Grille, and, in L.A., Philippe the Original.
I saw some great movies and went to an actual Hollywood premiere — 22 Jump Street.
I used Twitter to get Good Humor and Pretzel Crisps to come to my office and give out a ton of free ice cream and pretzels.
I took photos that were used with credit by local news media sites — and without credit by a local business that never understood why they were in the wrong.
I saw the incredible Idina Menzel (no, not Adele Dazeem) in If/Then, a Broadway show co-written by my high school classmate, Tom Kitt.
I listened to lots of decent music, and saw Jamie Cullum live again.
I tripped over and joined Twitter chats all the time, meeting lots of new people in the process, and using social media to be, um, social instead of just a place to share links and stuff. (Like Andy Crestodina tweeted, if you’re not making friends on Twitter, you’re doing it wrong.)
I got a new upstairs neighbor, one who takes her shoes off when she gets home, likes rugs, doesn’t have a 50-pound black lab, and doesn’t vacuum her floor at 2 in the morning.
And so on. I wasn’t kidding when I said a year ago that I wanted to do more things this year. I did a lot, really enjoyed myself, and formed memories that will last for a long time to come.
Of course, the year wasn’t all good. There was loss (rest in peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Williams, Mayor Tom Menino, Joan Rivers, et al), escalated conflict in Israel, racial tension in Ferguson and New York, downed or vanished airplanes, an Ebola scare, a disappointing midterm election, and more. Closer to home, friends and family members lost their jobs or dealt with illnesses, injuries, deaths in the family, or other challenges. I did what I could, when I could, to be a positive, optimistic presence in the midst of so much negative energy — though I acknowledge that I wasn’t always successful in that effort.
And I realize that I did a lot (too much) by myself, because I was so committed to doing things that I didn’t hesitate or wait for other people to join me — something I know I need to change in the next year. (More on that tomorrow.)
But despite what was going on in the world, and at the risk of being totally selfish, 2014 was exactly the kind of year I wanted (and needed) to have. I had a lot of fun. I was happy. Time flew. It was awesome.
That’s why I don’t want it to end.
My friends John and Jenni recently suggested that it doesn’t have to; I can just call the next few months “2014 Plus.” Ha! It was a nice thought, one that would probably only be a sort-of realistic suggestion for people in Austin, Texas, where New Year’s Eve has been postponed indefinitely.
Alas, since I’m in Boston, and the calendar will change at midnight tonight whether I want it to or not, I have to acknowledge that 2014 is, in fact, ending. If I’m being honest, that’s not an entirely bad thing: I now have 12 months to make the next year as good or better than the last one was. Can I do it? How’s this for an answer: I’m feeling like the 48% of people in a recent Associated Press–Times Square Alliance poll who said they were hopeful that 2015 was going to be a better year than 2014 was.
But all that said, before the ball drops and we move forward, I’ve chosen to celebrate a Happy This Year today. Tomorrow, I’ll close the book and turn the page. Today, I want to remember the good, fun things I did and express my gratitude. I think that’s a fair deal.
Thank you to each and every person who helped make my 2014 so great. I hope your year was just as good as mine was — and that 2015 is even better for all of us.
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