2013 was a biggie. I got married (though I still can’t bring myself to use the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’. They leave a gross aftertaste in my mouth). Took six months off work. Backpacked around the world. In short, it was a year of YOLO.
They say nobody ever wishes on their deathbed they’d spent more time at the office. Sure, but I would definitely feel bummed if I didn’t achieve some sort of professional satisfaction, some measure of happiness in work and my achievements, over a lifetime. I’ve written some things I’m proud of, for myself and for wider public consumption, and came very close last year to being able to plonk “award-winning” in front of my name (alas, an almost-award doesn’t really afford me that luxury. Highly commended is all well and good, but nobody ever remembers the runner up). A small change at work should make my job even more awesome starting from day one back (though raises the stakes for sure), so I’m amped to see what 2014 brings.
As much as my work matters to me, people and experiences absolutely come first. It blows my mind how much we did in 2013. The places we saw, the people we met, the meals we ate… I whimper a little to think what it cost (full tally coming up VERY SHORTLY) but it was truly a priceless adventure. How could I ever forget biking through the fiery forests of Vermont (nearly falling asleep and falling off the back post-lunch)? Feasting on lamb and wine at sunset in Santorini? Gliding through Venice’s waterways, blotting sweat from my face, mesmerised by every new alleyway? Marvelling at the raw thunderstorms pounding down on the plains of Cambodia? Being enthralled by the sheer scale of the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Gulfoss?
For all that, I’m glad to be home. I’m reminded of the beauty that’s all around me everytime I go hiking out west with them (Mokoroa Falls is heartstoppingly fabulous, and I can’t believe I’d never seen it before). We may not be going abroad again anytime soon, but there’s plenty to explore in our own backyard.
This year, I resolve to get out more – on weekends, after work - even if petrol costs are insane and our crappy car chews gas.
I’ve also realised how amazing my friends and family are. I was terrible about keeping in touch with them while we were away, but after all, I knew we were coming back in November. But we’re all getting older, time is passing quicker, some are moving away, and some of us are moving into the next logical phase of our adult lives. And for all my past grievances with my parents, none are egregious enough to hold a grudge about forever – Buzzfeed is right, I’ve come full circle to realise how awesome they are in many ways and embrace all the traits they’ve passed down to me.
I’ve been aware for a long time that I’m basically never the instigator when it comes to these things – I’ll always respond, but I never initiate contact. I often find a text an annoying interruption to the workday, which is kinda messed up. My last day at work, I noticed a text and went to unlock my phone – yet somehow between that and actually opening up my inbox, I got totally distracted with something and wound up entirely forgetting to go back to my phone. T wound up calling me an hour later instead.
This year, I resolve to make more of an effort – to reach out to at least one person a week – by text, email, or (shudder) Facebook chat/message. I emailed a dear friend overseas just before Christmas for a long overdue catchup on our lives, and I can’t tell you how freaking GOOD that felt.
I’m not going to set any financial goals since that side of things is still uncertain. I’m naturally a saver anyway, so I’m going to be trying to bank as much as possible. The long-term play is still to save up for a house. Overall, 2014 is about the small things – balancing work and play, finding a happy medium in life. What more could one ask for?