Reflecting on 2013

While I try to stay away from writing personal posts, I felt a bit obligated to write something to wrap up my thoughts and takeaways from 2013. Why? Well first of all, I’ve felt so busy this past month that I (regretfully) seem to have put my blogging on the back-burner. And second, what better way to get back into the swing of writing than an easy personal post, right?! Yes, this is an obligatory “New Year’s Resolutions” post, but rather than listing out my resolutions, I’d like to reflect on all I have accomplished this year.

Without a doubt, 2013 was the most productive year for me. No, I didn’t land some amazing new job, buy a house, get engaged/married/start a family, adopt a rescue pet, or any other measure of perceived success or happiness; but 2013 gave me the opportunity to set aside my fears and start focusing on what kind of life I want to build for myself and what decisions I can make now to get me there.

For those that don’t know me very well, let me explain that when it comes to my ambitions and setting goals, I am like a well-trained dog – Let’s say a golden retriever to be exact. I constantly need to be focusing my energy into some sort of new project or goal. I thrive off of structure and enjoy facing a new skill to learn or challenge to conquer. If I don’t get to expel this energy in some way, I tend to become very stressed and anxious and have been known to jump on house guests and destroy furniture. Ok, that last part if a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

All of this energy and determination can be a good thing, but in the past I have found that it also can cause me to be impatient and inflexible when things don’t seem to go as planned. 2013 was the year I was able to find a balance between ambition and purpose. I have come to a better understanding that reaching ones goals should be a process, one where taking time to reflect and analyze are equally important as the time spent taking action and doing.

Here were my greatest milestones of 2013:

I just felt like running1.) I trained and competed in my first, and last, Half Marathon.  I have never been much of an athlete, but that’s not to say I’m not athletic. I had run several 5ks and 10 milers before I took on the half marathon. After training for 13 weeks, race day came and it was a feeling I’ll never forget. It was by far one of the largest adrenaline rushes I’ve ever experienced and when I crossed the finish line the feeling of accomplishment was immense. I felt certain I would sign up for more half marathons in the near future. Then a few weeks passed and it felt nice not to be regimented to clocking my required miles for training. I still run and enjoy running, but shortly after completing the half marathon I decided to switch gears and cast a broader scope on my fitness goals. This past August, I joined a new gym and started seeing a personal trainer to help build my strength and develop a better gym routine.

2.) I bought my first car. Yes, while it’s a humble accomplishment, it felt empowering to finally rid myself of my parents’ 2004 Pontiac Grand Am and purchase a new (used) big girl car. Mom & Dad please note, I am forever thankful for the 7 years I had with the Pontiac and appreciate that you trusted me with the vehicle in the first place. I just feel like a more credible adult now.

3.) I continued to study Mandarin. Since graduating from college, my mandarin lessons seem to only fit in when I seem to have the time or don’t feel too overwhelmed with work and other activities. I’m proud to say that I was very consistent with my lessons and was more dedicated to my studies this year.

4.) I started pursuing a Certificate in Digital Marketing from Georgetown University. I’m fortunate enough that my employer values the investment of fine tuning my marketing skills through this program and I’m very thankful for the opportunity. I am about half way done and the program just continues to get better. Interacting with professors and other marketing professionals has been very refreshing and I’ve greatly enjoyed my experience thus far.

5.) I started this blog! While I have had personal portfolio sites in the past, I have never blogged. My digital marketing strategies course gave me the basic tools and guidance to develop my vision and voice for creating my personal website. I’d like to work on being more frequent with my postings and try to stay more regimented with finding material to write about. So far, it’s been a very fun project to work on and I’m looking forward to strengthening my digital presence.

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6.) I have felt the most comfortable and secure in my relationships. Transitioning to life after college is weird. Your friends are no longer around 24/7 and many of them aren’t even in the same state any more. I’ve always been a social person, but I’m not very skilled at making and keeping a ton of new friends. By and large, I’ve always relied on the built-in social circles of a few close friends. This fact use to bother me but I’ve learned that for as much as I try to correct this trait, I always fall back into my introverted ways. This year I learned it’s OK to not feel the need to have a ton of friends, but work on fostering my closer relationships instead. I’m an extremely independent person so dedicating the majority of my time surrounded by people doesn’t always jive with my interests or goals.

run4gEach New Year, many people resolve to change themselves in some specific way; we want to either lose, gain, stop, or improve. Instead, I think we should learn to continue on, listen more and talk less. If we decide to freely accept the journey life is taking us, I believe there would be less bad habits or traits we would want to change about ourselves in the first place.

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