Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - A Year in Review

Here it is, my annual post of recollections from the previous year and thoughts going into the new one.

Greg and I always schedule time at the beginning of the year to review our goals, finances, travel plans, etc. While we already track our spending via spreadsheet on a daily basis, and review our calendars and plan meals and outings every week, it's always a good idea to take a few hours at least once a year to talk about things on a larger scale. With that conversation date set on the calendar for this weekend, I thought this might be a good time to go ahead and rehash the year that is now coming to a close.

Looking back at my blog post dated January 19, 2015 (my first of the year), I had no way of knowing how much my life would change, or at least be affected by, the events to come. The post that I wrote during a very hectic time this summer, The Month That Was, summarizes at least part of those events:  moving, job changes, and frequent travel. In addition, I have continued to deal with some lingering health issues (a herniated disc in my neck which causes constant pain in my upper back & shoulders; and an asthma-type respiratory condition that developed after I had the flu in February that causes frequent coughing and difficulty breathing). Both of these have created an inability or decreased desire to exercise regularly, which in turn has contributed to moderate weight gain. I am definitely out of shape and one of my new year's resolutions is to rectify that asap.

I did fulfill some goals in 2015, including traveling more and spending quality time with family and friends, but sadly it was not all enjoyable, particularly the unexpected death of my beloved Uncle Jim in early August. A quick recap of this year's adventures (you can find some of my favorite photos from our travels in the highlights albums to the right of this post and under the Photo Albums tab on my Facebook page):

  • February - Greg and I flew to San Francisco and took a relaxing 10-night Mexican Riviera cruise on the Star Princess.
  • March - I spent a fun-filled four days in Austin, TX with my girlfriend, Adena. I made the mistake of trying to fly home on standby and it turned into a two day ordeal, with an extra overnight in San Francisco and a memorable 18-hour Greyhound bus ride back to Portland.
  • May - I flew up to Anchorage, AK where I met a new friend and spent the day navigating us around to some of the newest breweries, then bused to Seward the next morning where I met up with 12 family members for a wonderful seven-night Inside Passage cruise on the ms Zaandam.
  • June - Greg and I flew to Indianapolis, IN for five days to attend his youngest brother Brian's wedding.
  • August - I made an unplanned five-day trip back to Indiana (Terre Haute) for my uncle's funeral.
  • September - Our long-awaited 12-night vacation in Iceland. I'm still working on the blog posts for this one!
  • October - Greg and I flew to Nashville, TN then drove to Knoxville to attend his middle brother Doug's wedding. Due to Greg's recent job change, he had to modify his travel plans and return to Portland for work after five nights. I stayed and visited with family and friends for a total of nine nights.

In addition to our travels, we have also hosted several friends for overnight stays at our new apartment (where we finally assembled the bed in the second bedroom this past week!) and/or met up with out-of-town visitors whom we haven't seen in several years. We are expecting more guests in the coming months as some family members are scheduling their biennial visits. I am already planning a few "girlfriend getaways" for early 2016, but Greg and I haven't really talked about our vacation plans yet as his bank of days off doesn't replenish until his one-year Trimet anniversary in July.

Besides travel, I know I still need to focus on some of the same things I mentioned this time last year:  "my physical, and consequently, mental well-being; my relationship with Greg; and making a better effort to set some specific goals and work towards them daily." I also want to do what I'm calling more meaningful work in 2016. I'm not sure exactly what this will entail yet (hopefully my upcoming conversation with Greg will help shed some light on the possibilities), but generally I want to take on more work-type responsibility, preferably in an environment or for a company that contributes to the greater good.

I/we have faced plenty of challenges this past year, not only in our personal lives but also in finding a way to deal with the frequent news of tragic events in the world around us. My hope is that 2016 will bring positive, lasting change and that good will triumph over evil in more situations. I also hope that all of you who read this will take the time to consider the things that you are doing in your daily life that need to change and find a way to make that happen. Life is far too short to be unhappy, unfulfilled, ungrateful, and meaningless. Make yours count!