December 29, 2010

A year in review

 Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
~ Semisonic, Closing Time

Well, here we are again – saying goodbye to yet another year and gearing up for what I hope will be a great one for all of us.

This year has been extra busy for me as I spent the past 12 months serving as the 69th president of the Denver Jaycees. I realized going in that it would be a lot of work and there were definitely some unforeseen challenges that popped up along the way. However, overall the chapter had a great year and I learned a lot from the experience—both about myself and leadership. I also met a number of new friends as a result, locally and throughout the U.S., and I am grateful for these new friendships.

Beyond the Jaycees, work and other endeavors kept me quite busy as well, including a fair amount of traveling. Although I wasn’t able to take a “big trip” this year, I did spend ample time away from Denver. The year’s travels began with a trip to Tulsa for the U.S. Jaycees Leadership Academy and from there my voyages took me to an array of locations: Saratoga, Wyo.; Kansas City; Truth or Consequences, N.M.; New Orleans; Cimarron, N.M.; Minneapolis; Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Las Vegas; Durango, Colo.; Chicago; and, a few trips home to South Dakota for weddings, birthdays and the Christmas holiday. I also had a number of friends and family members visit me in Denver in 2010.

This year also brought with it a number of big celebrations, including my own and many of my friends’ 30th birthdays.  I spent the big 3-0 in Las Vegas with a group of great friends who ensured a memorable experience. Upon my return to Denver, I decided to usher in the next decade of my life with a few “upgrades” and hired a financial planner, took a class on mindfulness and had a few sessions with a personal trainer. In my mind, 30 is the definitive end to the adult trial period that is the 20s. That is not to say I don’t expect to make any more mistakes in my life or act completely responsible all of the time, but I do hope I have learned my lessons from my 20s and can move on to the next stage of my life.

My job as a communications specialist at Tri-State G&T continues to be both challenging and rewarding, which I find to be the perfect mix. There were a few changes this year, including the departure of a coworker and dear friend. However, our department has gained two new members, both of whom are great additions. I was also promoted in July and celebrated my three-year anniversary in August, which marked the longest period I have been at a job (post college).

Other personal milestones for the year include: completing my first half-marathon in October; renewing my lease at my loft, which marks the first time in more than 10 years that I have lived somewhere longer than 12 months; and, obtaining my Master Cooperative Communicator Certificate from the Cooperative Communicators Association.

Unfortunately, not all that occurred in 2010 was good as my family has endured quite a bit this year in the way of health. In February, my maternal grandmother moved into an assisted living facility. She had been living alone since my grandfather passed away in 2000, but within the past year her health made that option no longer viable. She had been adjusting well at her new home until November, when she fell and broke her arm. After undergoing surgery, she was moved to a nursing home where she will reside for a few more weeks until she gains better use of her hand. My paternal grandparents also had health issues this year as my grandmother and grandfather experienced illnesses that caused them both to have surgeries – in September and December, respectively. Both are recovering well, but definitely had a tough year.

Due to everything going on, our family Christmas celebration was altered quite a bit this year. Typically, we spend Christmas Eve with my dad’s parents and then shuttle back and forth between their house, my parent’s house and my maternal grandmother’s house on Christmas Day. However, this year due to the circumstances, Christmas Eve was spent with at the hospital with my grandparents and the majority of Christmas day took place at my parent’s house. Despite the reason for the change, I think my family was actually kind of relieved to have the opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company without running from house to house. In fact, my mom mentioned that this was the first time since she and my dad were married more than 30 years ago that we had been able to have Christmas dinner at home.

Looking forward to 2011, I’m excited for all the possibilities and adventures it brings. First up on the docket is the Ships ‘n’ Dips cruise in February, during which I and my fellow cruise mates will be aboard a ship with the likes of Guster and the Bare Naked Ladies. I can’t wait! I hope your new year is filled with happiness and I look forward to our paths crossing soon. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

P.S. I "stole" this post from my New Year's card/letter.

Riley, Lilyana and Alexis with their gingerbread creation