“Bye Felicia”: a 2016 retrospective

I know I probably have fans forming a metaphorical line around my virtual home, waiting for my take on the year that has just passed, and who am I to disappoint you?

2016 wasn’t really all that bad a year (except that 97% of the celebrities that I love decided to die … hang in there, Betty White!!), but I’m ready to be done. To be honest, I’m always ready to be done by this point. I realize that I could give myself a fresh start on any given morning — January 1st holds no special magic that makes resolutions more sparkly and successful — but I always feel the tug to conform and keep on keepin’ on with my 2016 resolutions to the bitter end.

Some highlights from the year: a great trip to Indy to do a trail run that I had no business doing, an awesome family reunion under the bright Vegas lights, my introduction and falling in love with Zion National Park which I then consummated with a week-long girl’s vacation in October, another trail run that I *really* had no business doing (even though it was gorgeous), finding and actively training on the Swallow Cliff stairs (which regularly kicked my ass), jumping on the Jonathan Fields bandwagon and starting up what’s been an awesome book club with a bunch of awesome ladies ….  and basically making it through the year in one piece (always something to celebrate!).

And now you’re probably wondering how I did on my 2016 resolutions, right? I mean, if I were in your shoes, I’d totally be on the edge of my chair, almost frantic with my desire to know. In fact, I’m not entirely certain how y’all have made it this far.

Shall we get on with it?

2016: The Year of Hustle. The year where I would get off my butt and really get things done. The year where I would be in motion and moving towards all the things that I desired, rather than waiting patiently on my couch for all those things to magically make their way to me. And here’s what I said I’d do, with the actual results following each entry in italics.

Race every race. This sounds frighteningly straight forward, doesn’t it? You’d think there would be no problem with this one, except, historically speaking, there is. I’d sign up for a race, all excited and such, and then the day would come around and I’d be tired or it would be raining or I thought Belle looked sad that I was contemplating leaving her and I’d skip out on it. I have a drawer full of race shirts that I’m (almost) too embarrassed to wear because I didn’t earn them. But this year? None of that funny business. I’ve signed up for 5 races already, I did one today and have got 4 to go. Also – just to keep me accountable, I’ll post hilarious and/or tear-jerking race reports that will become instant viral hits. Or at least I’ll post a race report. Well … this first one wasn’t quite as successful as I hoped, but it wasn’t awful either. I did not race every race — I skipped two of them, if I’m remembering correctly — but I did pick up three extra races along the way, just for fun. So, while I didn’t strictly fulfill this resolution, at least I did in spirit by completing five races. And there was that week-long trip to Utah where I hiked and hiked and hiked and hiked some more. It’s almost like I’m an overachiever, right? 

Train for every race. This will take some work. But, I’ll say one thing — it’s desperately necessary! Feeling like you’re going to collapse on a race course isn’t an especially fun thing (it’s possible I have recent firsthand experience with this), so I’ll do what I can to make the whole racing thing more enjoyable. Which means becoming best buds with my treadmill this winter. I’m glad we have a decent relationship so far. (shuffles feet embarrassingly) Perhaps I didn’t do this as well as I could have. Or perhaps I did this almost not at all. I did train for my Utah trip — I set a goal to be able to do 20 flights of stairs at my local torture forest preserve and I accomplished that. With that said, I didn’t do a whole lot of running this year — I meant to, really I did! — with no excuse other than it didn’t feel all that good to run. Later on in the year, I started biking more (on the bike trainer) and that seemed a little more joint-friendly, so I’ll look to mix it up a bit in the coming year.

Work through the freecodecamp.com curriculum. In all, doing this evenings and weekends, it should take me a little over a year to finish. I’ve got a little coding background, so I’m hoping that it will go a little faster for me, but we’ll see — web design is not my forte. What’s my end goal with this? To be honest, I’m not sure. I know I’ve been enjoying learning it and another skill to add to my skillset backpack (you keep your skills in a backpack, too, don’t you?) is never a bad thing. While I’m not leaving my job until they either kick me out or I retire, having a side hustle in my pocket (that’s where you keep your side hustles, right?) gives me just a little sense of security. And perhaps a little sense of smugness, too (just kidding!)(okay, maybe not!)(no, really, just kidding). Didn’t happen. Still on my radar, but just didn’t have the time to devote to it and it’s not something that you can pick up and do once a week — it requires consistent dedication. 

Read less than last year. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still have a 50 book goal for the year, but with all I want to do, something’s gotta give. No more wild and crazy 60+ books this time around. #FAIL I just can’t stop reading!! Though, I think I’ll stay under the “crazy 60+ books” demarcation line, so there’s that. Beyond that, it’s been a good book year — I think that this year has brought me books that I love more than any other books I’ve read. There might be a blog post in there somewhere.

Give 100% to Living Brave course. I signed up for Brene Brown’s online semester course and while I have the track record of letting these sorts of things fall through the cracks, I’m determined to really get something out of this. It’s based on two of her books — Daring Greatly and Rising Strong — and what it has to teach is something I need to learn. Of course, one of those things is “you should really follow through on things that you pay money to do”. We’ll start with that lesson. #FTW!!! (in 2016, I totally got into hashtags … now I’m totally cool, right?) Man, I totally demolished this course … and it demolished me in return. I learned more than I thought I would going through this course, and I highly recommend it if it comes out again. There was a point where I wanted to give up because it was shedding light on stuff about myself that made me a little uncomfortable, but self-growth is so satisfying once you get through to the other side and can see where all the pieces fit. 

SLEEP. Last night I was going through a worksheet designed to ferret out goals and intentions and what I found myself mentioning over and over was how much getting enough sleep affects my life. It’s difficult when I’m getting up 4 days a week at 4:30am, but it’s doable; I’ve done it before and I can do it again. And really, I can’t overestimate how frickin’ important this is for me. If I want to have the energy and motivation to get all the things done that I want, I have to SLEEP. Without that, I come home from work, collapse on the couch and barely move until it’s time for bed. Which doesn’t really facilitate goal-reaching and stuff. Though I do end up very well-versed on Modern Family re-runs. Still incredibly important, still something that I go through periods where I struggle to get enough. I’m so much more mindful about it, though, so at least I know when I’m screwing myself up.

Turn off the TV. First, get rid of cable. I don’t need the cost, I don’t need the channels (and then I can spend all that cable money on running clothes, am I right?). All I have to do is get someone in here to mount an antenna on my roof and run the necessary cables to make it all work. My pie-in-the-sky goal? Limit TV watching to 10 hours a week. There’s just so little that’s on TV that I need to watch to enjoy life. I GOT RID OF CABLE!! And I’m so happy about it! The bill was just getting bigger and bigger, and I cut it off at the knees. Now my only tie to Comcast is for my internet connection (which is still too expensive, but — unfortunately — not something I can live without). I did end up subscribing to SlingTV, which gives me ESPN and a handful of other cable stations, but the fact is that I no longer turn on the TV and start flipping to stations to find something to watch. Because there is no on-screen menu of what’s on, my TV watching goes like this:  grab my phone, put in my passcode, bring up the TV Guide Listing app and see if there’s anything on that I would want to watch. If not, the TV doesn’t even get turned on. And I find that these days, even though the TV is on, I’m rarely really watching it — it’s just background noise. Facebook and online newsmedia has taken the place of evil timesucker these days (Facebook is mostly the gateway to all the articles). Especially with the election and all the fall-out, I want to stay informed and updated with politics. Of course, this leads to never-ending streams of articles that I want to read. And it disguises itself as something that’s feeding my brain, and so it feels educational, somehow, and not wasting time. I’ll need to figure this out in 2017.

Bring more creativity into my life. Write more, listen to more music, even do some adult coloring books (which sounds dirty now that I’ve typed it out, but here’s a link so you know I’m not a pervert with crayons). With the TV off, that gives me more time to do the things that allow my creativity to flow, whether from writing stuff here, finding new music to listen to or just journal writing. Creativity is good stuff, people. You should check it out. I did a few writing classes, which are always so damn gratifying. I also signed up for an at-your-own-pace online fiction writing course, which I’ve just started — I’ve never written fiction and decided that it was time to stretch that muscle a bit and see what it’ll do. I created a couple of playlists on Amazon Music that I love (who else out there misses the days of painstakingly putting together a mix tape for your friends? I LOVED doing that). I even took a ton of photos in Utah which reminded me how much I love photography and how I missed having a real DSLR camera — which I then remedied by spoiling myself and getting a refurbed Canon. 

So, that was 2016 in a nutshell. It was a good, stable year, for the most part. I had a few casual friends turn into always-have-my-back friends. I went an entire year without having to mess with my antidepressant meds because they’re doing such a great job. I now have a group of #sturdygirl hiking friends that I can take AWESOME hiking trips with. I’ve been weight-stable (weight +/- 5 pounds) for well over a year now (first time in 5 years that I haven’t gained weight!). I lost a roommate but gained a former roommate who’s happier than I’ve ever seen her. My family is happy and healthy, as am I. What more is there to ask for?

A solid 2016. Thanks for the memories, 2016, and now I look forward to the lessons that 2017 has to teach me.

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