“It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last.”
– Counting Crows
2013 was a crazy year. My emotions ran hot and cold, up and down. I wanted one thing, then I wanted another. I longed to move back into my condo, then I dreaded it. I was excited to rediscover Chicago and build a new life here, then I was dying to move. And then I was meeting new people and committing to teach a class and volunteering to help plan a conference and feeling okay about sticking around after all.
I don’t think I was shy about my struggles this year, so if you’ve been following along, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. But to recap – I suffered a herniated disc in my neck last spring that was sometimes excruciatingly painful. I agonized over my inability to lose weight and struggled with my confidence. I felt ignored or forgotten by friends who I once considered close to me. I made an unsuccessful return to online dating, not even managing a single email conversation (much less a date!) in six – yes, SIX – whole months.
Despite it all, a lot of good happened in 2013 – good that I hope to build on in 2014.
I managed to get to Washington, D.C. (twice), Toronto, Memphis, New York, Minnesota (twice) and Nepal, despite limited vacation time. I started writing regularly for Viator and I wrote a couple posts for the Huffington Post Travel Blog. I made an appearance on HuffPost Live to talk about quitting my job to travel and I was interviewed by NBCNews.com for an article about traveling to all of the tennis Grand Slams. I spoke to a travel meetup group about visiting the Caucasus and I taught a class on using Twitter to build your personal brand or business. I finally learned how to use a DSLR camera during my photography trek to Nepal. I joined a running group and I volunteered with Passports with Purpose and World Chicago. And just before the holidays, I joined the planning committee for the inaugural Women in Travel Summit, to be held in Chicago March 14-16.
If I learned anything in 2013, it was the importance of being open to opportunities – and the importance of putting myself in a position to be offered such opportunities in the first place. It was all about saying yes.
But I also realized I missed a lot of 2013 because I was constantly looking ahead. I was obsessed with whether I was on the right path and which direction I was heading that I often forgot to just stop and enjoy the moment I was in.
I have a few things planned for the first half of 2014 that I am really looking forward to. I’m running the Georgia Marathon in Atlanta on March 23. This will be my sixth marathon overall, but my first in nearly three years. It feels good to be training for something again, even if it means running through snow and freezing temperatures (which I can handle much better than heat and humidity). I am also tentatively hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim in May. I am waiting to hear from my trekking company, Wildland Trekking, whether they can get the permits necessary for my preferred dates, but assuming I do, I will be joining five strangers on a four-day, three-night trek from the North Rim to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I should know for sure by mid-January.
Beyond that, I have a lot of maybes. I don’t want to set my heart on anything at this point because so much can change. While my trip to Nepal last fall was great, the timing ended up being horrible, but it was set so far in advance that I had no way of knowing. I want to give myself more flexibility in my travel plans for 2014. And I want to live in the moment and not always be looking ahead.
I do have a few more convention New Year’s resolutions for 2014: getting back to my pre-trip weight, reading a new book every month, doing yoga before bed every night, saving more money and perhaps somehow managing to go on a date or two. But above all, I want 2014 to build upon the positives of 2013. I want to stay open-minded and say yes more than I say no. And I want this year to be at least a little better than the last.
What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2014?