Happy new year friends! I’ve been trying to recover post holidays and working to get back into a routine that doesn’t involve eating cookies for breakfast. Why are breakfast cookies better than cookies at any other time of day? Some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved…
If I had to give January a label, it would be, pardon my french, the “get my shit in order” month. I start looking ahead to the new year laid out before me like a brand new notebook. Every page is blank, but I can’t wait to start filling them up. The anticipation is agonizing. In order to make the most of the days ahead, it doesn’t hurt to take a moment and look back over your shoulder at how you got to this point. What events led me here? What mistakes did I make that I can avoid down the road? What brought me the most happiness?
When I do that sort of retrospective thinking, I notice that my years become defined by the major events that occurred in them. 1999 is the year I graduated high school. 2006 is the year I entered the work force with the rest of the grown-ups and got my first landman job. 2009 is the year I moved to Pennsylvania. Each of those events set in motion a new phase in my life, but they weren’t the only events that happened to me in their respective years.
In my business, we rely on precise land boundaries to tell us where the dividing lines are between one piece of property and another. When you have a river nearby, all bets are off. See, a river expands and contracts – it takes away from the land sometimes and sometimes deposits new soil on its banks. We have names for these events: avulsion is the sudden and perceptible taking of land by a river and accretion is the gradual and imperceptible addition of soil.
The major events in our lives are sudden and perceptible. One day I am a student and the next I’m not. One day I live in Texas and the next I am shoveling my car out after a snowstorm in PA – it doesn’t get more “perceptible” than that! But the little details of those years, the everyday things that gradually add to and enrich our lives, are not as likely to stand the test of time in our memories.
I want to capture some of those small things, along with the big ones here, so I can look back someday and better remember who I was in 2014. In 10 years I won’t be exactly who I am today. Life will continue to take away from and add to who I am. The only way to truly measure how much change has occurred is to know where I started. So let’s start.
My year of a lot of little things and a few big ones
Frozen: My year started off with not one, but two snow days off work. I realize that doesn’t seem noteworthy, but I live in Houston. That may never happen again in my lifetime. Sure, I have hurricane days to look forward to, but there is a good chance that I never have another snow day. What did I do on my days off? I got out and enjoyed the city! Everyone was too scared to attempt driving, so it felt like the city was mine alone.
Free at Last: In February, I sold my house in Tyler, which had been on the market for nearly a year. This was a major stress point in my life, as I was maintaining two households and wasn’t sure how much longer I could sustain that on my income. After spending a year free from home ownership, I am gearing up to jump back in sometime in 2015. See what I mean about how easily we forget the little things (like the pains of repairs, upkeep and unexpected costs)? I prefer to think of it as optimism that this time will be easier.
Stupidity: I gave up drinking for Lent. It was the longest 40 days of my life.
Lifestyles of the Broke and Fabulous: I celebrated the end of Lent with 10 days of beaches and drinks with umbrellas. I spent the first 3 days in Miami with my cousin Ben. He took me on a yacht and to poolside parties where drinks were $20 (each). After that, I couldn’t afford a hotel so we made our way to the beach. My favorite place in the whole wide world is the beach at night. I love the sound of waves so much, I play it at night on my phone to put me to sleep, so it’s no surprise that I went right to sleep on the beach that night. Since it’s Miami it didn’t take long for the rain to move in and wake us up, and I made it to a bed that night after all. I left Miami broke and hungover; it was my favorite MIA trip so far.
From there I traveled to Puerto Rico, where I spent a day exploring Old San Juan and drinking pina coladas at Barrachina. Did you know they were invented there? At least that’s what the website says, and we all know the internet never lies. True or not, it’s no lie that it was the best pina colada I’ve ever had. I only got one sip of it down before getting a phone call letting me know that my party was ready to board our hopper flight, so I got that wonderful fruity rum creation to go and made my way to the airport…
…where I got on one of the tiniest planes known to man. Our destination: the island of Culebra for Brandon and Maegan’s wedding. Culebra means snake in Spanish. I honestly think that is the reason why one lovely lady backed out of the trip. She says she couldn’t get the kids out of school, but I know it was because she googled ‘Culebra’ and got a bunch of snake pictures.
It was a large group of people and so much fun! The beaches were gorgeous and virtually empty. I didn’t see any snakes, but there were about 3000 stray cats living outside our rental house and I saw the biggest spider I’ve ever seen…ever. It was in the car with me, so I had a really good look at it. It’s legs could have covered my whole face. Stop laughing – I’m not even playing. From that experience, I learned that in fight or flight situations, I choose the third option – freeze in terror. It’s important to know these things about yourself.
We had such a good time that we are planning to go back this year. I will probably pack bug repellent instead of sunscreen this time. Priorities.
A teacher Yoda is: Over the summer I got to mentor one of our interns. It was my second time around, and I have been lucky both times to get super smart, fun women, who will be great additions to the company and to my circle of friends. I was hesitant to take on the role of mentor at first. I was concerned that the time involved would take away from my work, and I was worried that I wouldn’t do a good job. As it turns out, I loved it. I may not have the wisdom of the 30 year experience club, but I do enjoy sharing the knowledge I have. Maybe I should have been a teacher?? Haha just kidding. I’m fond of my sanity, and I like kids in the same way I like dogs – selectively.
We went out on a field trip to check out our operations and I had to make a quick stop to visit the site of the first well I drilled in Texas!
Remember the 5 D’s of Dodgeball: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge: This is my dodgeball team. We thought about going pro, but settled for the “way to not give up and just go home award” instead. That award also could have been called “good job for forgoing your dignity to participate.” We were the only all-girls team, and as a result, became notorious by the end of the day. It’s unfortunate that our notoriety stemmed from how fast we lost each game. This was a great time for an ego check, since I was getting a pretty inflated sense of self after my awesome mentoring gig.
Doomsday Prepper: I joined a CSA this year (Community Supported Agriculture). Every week, the farm would give me a grab bag of whatever they happened to pick. I got so much spinach. So much. I had to tap into my farm girl roots and stock up for winter. I made jellies, pickled green beans, canned tomatoes and froze the spinach. If you need to eat during a winter storm or the zombie apocalypse, come on over, because I’m ready.
I live in two worlds; one is a world of books. -Rory Gilmore:
I set a goal to read 50 books last year.
I only read 34 books and it was a struggle. I was reading down to the wire on new year’s eve so I could add one onto my then total of 33. I won the battle but not the war.
I set a 50 book goal again this year and I’m not wasting any time. I’ve already got 4 done and working toward my fifth. I will be posting in the coming weeks about the books I read in 2014 and I’ll keep you updated with my 2015 books. We can start a virtual book club; with my current pace we need to start a book on Sunday, discuss on Saturday and start the next book on Sunday again.
Where did everyone go? Come on back…I promise I won’t make you read with me…
Also, you can look forward to the upcoming lively debate (where I’ll be arguing both sides – I only enter into debates I can win) about audiobooks vs. printed books and how we define ‘reading’ in the 21st century.
And then we come to the big thing – the 2014 defining moment.
August: That’s how I think of Joe’s accident. It’s just “August.” August was when my little brother was involved in a car accident. August was the month I spent hanging out in hospital waiting rooms. If you’re ever in Iowa City hospital, I can give you recommendations for the best food organized by floor, time of day, or dietary restrictions. I can tell you where they hide the good pillows and here’s the best tip – the nurses have a blanket warmer and a freezer full of ice cream.
August was when my heart stopped, and my parents will tell you August was when they aged 5 years in a day.
August gave me the gift of feeling emotions on a deeper level than I knew possible. I experienced thankfulness, gratitude, sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, elation, relief, and happiness.
August brought me closer to my family.
August 2, 2014 is a day I will never forget; it is the day that defined my year, for better and worse.
Hook ’em: After that emotional roller coaster, I got to let loose in Austin to cheer on the Longhorns at their home opener. It would’ve been such a long three-hour drive for me, so my friends dropped by in the plane to pick me up. If you call me spoiled, I really couldn’t argue with you. I’d be inclined to agree. I went another year without running into Matthew McConaughey at the stadium. As Journey so wisely preached, I “Don’t Stop Believin.” It’ll happen someday.
Thanks for walking with me through my year. I’m looking forward to what this year has in store.
Have a happy 2015!