Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Another Year in Review

If I don't do this annual traipse through my memories, I'm liable to think that others had all the fun in the last twelve months, traveling to other countries (wait, I did that a couple times), getting new jobs (also me), or having babies (definitely not me).

So without further ado, I present, probably for only my own sentimentality since I don't blog often enough to have anybody reading this, a summary of my adventures in 2019. As always, it's easiest if I catalog the year in reference to my perpetual New Year's resolution of going somewhere I've never been and trying three things outside my comfort zone that scare me a little. In no particular order...

The year started with a bang as I took an unexpected leap into formal leadership, transitioning into a supervisor role at work. Probably one of the scariest (and definitely one of the hardest) things I've ever done, definitely fitting the criteria of being outside my comfort zone. I committed to a lot of personal growth via trial and error, mentorship, reading (see previous blog), and classes. Probably should have added prayer to that list. Might have gotten me where I am faster or with fewer missteps. While I can't always honestly tell people that I "love" my new job, I am 100% convinced that it is the right place for me to be right now.

Never thought I'd end up in France before making it to Greece or back to Italy, but when the trip of a lifetime literally lands in your lap, and you don't have to learn any French or do any planning, you make it happen. I did sort of try to learn French, but it's really hard when your brain keeps defaulting back to forgotten Spanish--seriously, at the airport on our way out of Paris, the guy at the sandwich shop asked if he had my order right and I said "si" instead of "oui". What a doofus. Aunt Marianne took care of most of the translating at the hotel and restaurants. And because Normandy is such an American-friendly region, English and gestures were functional pretty much everywhere. One of the things that surprised me the most was the gratitude and welcome offered to Americans. We had been told of such sentiments, but I had a hard time believing it given the opposite stereotype often described of France, especially Paris. But it's true- the people of Normandy have not forgotten the sacrifice of the American (and British and Canadian) soldiers who fought to free them from the German occupation. I wish that I had blogged about the trip when I returned so I wasn't reliant on just pictures to remember.
With Uncle Carver and Dad at the TO monument at Utah Beach
The annual Z Family Christmas letter also highlighted another "outside the comfort zone" adventure: waterfall exploring in the Dominican Republic. Any activity that requires the combination of a helmet and a life jacket is probably not for me. The last time I think I was so attired, I almost died in a whitewater rafting boat dump. So the comfort zone exists for self-preservation. Nevertheless, if my 60-something-year-old mother can do it, I suppose I can too. Think combination of canyoneering, swimming, and bumpy painful water slides worn into the rock. Next time I'm joining E to swim with the dolphins.

In the quick look back over the year, the last New Year's resolution check box was hit at Camp W, finally capturing my first outdoor rock climbing experience. With nuns. So that's awesome. I felt a little embarrassed that I didn't make it to the top of the route until I found out that only two people (plus our guides) achieved the top that day- one of the counselors who climbs regularly, and a camper who had done pretty much every route in Jurassic Park over the last 4 years. It's a lot harder than it looks. You watch something like Free Solo and suddenly think grip strength is not that big of a deal. So wrong.

I think this year marked success in finally figuring out how to plan and execute a solo adventure trip. I've done them for years, but never have they felt quite so right as my jaunt to Traverse City: hiking, biking, kayaking, wine, beer, whiskey, pie, and Brene Brown on audiobook to keep me company. To counter the intense planning that went into that one, I then jumped on a Creatio pilgrimage to Chimayo, NM which required zero planning on my part, but turned out to be one of the most physically difficult things I've ever done- walking 44ish miles in 2.5 days with a large pack, sleeping on floors, snacking on the trail, lots of prayers offered up in suffering. Worthwhile, but not something I'm itching to repeat.
Arriving at the chapel in Chimayo after 3 long days!
And that's about the extent of my year. There were of course new(ish) things within my comfort zone (cross-country skiing, foot golf, joining a new Bible Study), old stalwarts (Toxicology lecture, wiffleball and softball, a couple new breweries, Film on the Rocks), and lot of the mundane day-to-day that often brings the most reliable small joys. Oh, and after four long years, my labor of love journal article was finally accepted for publication. Still waiting on the final proof, so maybe that'll be part of next year's annual review. Until then, verso l'alto.

1 comment:

Laura Zaps said...

And you got a nephew. That's new and exciting. More exciting than sitting with him at 2:40 am, ninety minutes after he woke up to eat and then refused to go back to bed. At least I have a good ebook to finish.

I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.