2014 In Review

4 Jan

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GIF from adafruit

As we look to our future in 2015, we thought it could be fun to do a little reflecting on 2014 to see where we’ve come from, and to help that inform where we’re going. Here are some questions I snagged from The Art of Simple with Zack and my answers below. We hope you enjoy, and that your new year brings you all of the love and happiness in your life that you could ever need.

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1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year? 

It seems so obvious, but it’s just so true — Zack and my engagement was simply one of the best things that has EVER happened to me. I was blissful the entire evening, and continue to be so excited to commit my life to him. I think we are so well-matched, and when we’re not being cranky, we’re an unstoppable partnership. It’s been such a blast to refer to one another as “my fiancé” this year.

Definitely the engagement. Not only the actual day itself, but all the time since then planning the wedding and our lives together has been not just the highlight of my year, but my life. 

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

I was really fortunate to have a year that was very much smooth sailing. I traveled all over the place with Zack, cuddled with Scooby every day, and enjoyed tons of success in my work. I think that the most challenging thing for me continues to be my work towards recovering from my eating disorder. I’ve had binge eating disorder since my freshman year of college (anorexia before that), and I’m still working on treating my body well, keeping it enriched with nutrients and strong, without going over the edge and becoming obsessed with exercise. It’s a very tough balance to strike, and I know that it has a tendency to touch most other aspects of my life, when it’s being triggered by something especially. I’ve made tons of progress, though, so I feel hopeful and will never give up. My life gets a little bit better every single day.

For me it was a self-imposed challenge of finishing a half Ironman. It was a ton of training and there were times in the summer where I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but I peaked at the right time and did even better than I thought I would. 

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

I feel like this is going to be my broken record answer for so many questions this year, but honestly my engagement was just such a lovely occasion that I was not at all expecting. Well, not until I was on my way home that day, anyway. Every turn held something incredibly well thought-out and special: From the band in my living room to the pedicab that took us to the horse and carriage ride, to the surprise party with our friends and a stay in the W Hotel, it was the most joyous thing.

I’ll say running twice a week with Caitlin’s dad. I never thought I’d enjoy running, especially running without music. But I look forward to Lance and my twice a week runs. I miss them in the last few weeks with the broken foot. Hopefully we can get back into it by the end of the month. 

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

Being delayed when we were flying home from Portland was a bit of a shock, particularly since I’d been lucky enough to never experience a delay like that before. But we grabbed a hotel room in Denver* and made the most of it, so it all worked out in the end!

That Denver hold-up isn’t even in my top three. I got to take an extra day off work. I didn’t mind at all. It’s a close three-way race between my car being totaled in a drunk driver car accident*, getting my wallet, phone, keys and a backpack full of stuff stolen at Barton Springs and breaking my foot. I was dealing with the fallout from all three for almost a month each. The broken foot hasn’t been too bad. I’ve had an excuse to be lazy and watch a ton of movies and am extra motivated to start running again soon. The car crash was an incredible pain in the ass, but I ended up making some money and raised my credit score and got a slightly better car out of it. So I’d have to say getting my stuff stolen was the worst. It cost me several hundreds of dollars to replace everything, there was absolutely no upside and it left a bad taste in my mouth about our favorite place in Austin.

*I COMPLETELY forgot about this. I think I blocked the trauma from my memory. I still get chills whenever I come to a big intersection, particularly that one at the I-35 frontage road and 6th Street.

For these next three, Zack and I wrote down all of our answers separately so there would be no cheating! We realized quickly that we’d interpreted the questions completely differently:  I’d taken a broader, wide-lens view, and Zack went specific, which represents us well.

5. Pick three words to describe this past year.

 1.Fresher      2.Friendships      3.Flawless 

1. Engaged 2. Ironman 3. Hanks.

6. Pick three words your fiancé would use to describe your year—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you. 

1.Happy      2.Caring      3.Flawless 

1. Engaged 2. Triathlon 3. Travel. 

7. Pick three words your fiancé would use to describe their year—again, without asking.

1.Momentous      2.Loving      3.Life-changing 

1. Engaged 2. Beyonce 3. Travel. 

jim-henson-cover

8. What were the best books you read this year?

I feel like I’ve been reading so much more consistently, and yet I still have been slow to complete books. That said, my favorites that *I* finished this year were Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas, which I’d started reading last year after we returned from Europe. It was a beautiful little memoir about making big decisions in your life, and enjoying the simply sweet moments. I also really enjoyed Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (while it had it’s slow spells, it was generally laugh out loud funny) and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s latest graphic novel, Seconds, all about a young chef who finds some magic mushrooms and makes a lot of mistakes.

The Jim Henson biography was spectacular. What a wonderful, inspiring guy. I read the first couple Harry Potter books which I’m enjoying getting into, I read a couple Brett Easton Ellis novels which are fun dark reads, I oddly enjoyed “Wetlands” which was way out of my usual comfort zone. 

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9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

There are so many ways I could answer this question. My relationship with Zack has moved forward in its trajectory significantly, both because of the engagement and because of our individual maturity and desire to be kinder and more considerate of the other. My relationship with my brother continues to strengthen, which delights me, truly. I get to see my dad way more often now that he’s moved to Austin, and we’ve become closer. My mom and I had a very deep and real conversation that felt scary in the moment but I think has been for the absolute best and actually brought us closer. Then there are all of my indispensable female friendships – from my maid of honor Brittany and her continued support of me as I tried on wedding dresses and generally tried to keep my head on straight with wedding planning, to my newest friend Katie, who is so sweet and considerate and fun to be around. Female friendships wrapped up 2014 on a perfect note, and they will continue to be my theme for 2015.

Caitlin first and foremost. And I really worked on solidifying friendships with people from many periods of my life this year, being sure to reach out often whether on g-chat, Facebook, texting or social media. I felt connected to so many people this year.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

Getting engaged!

Engaged was the biggest one. I took a big step forward in triathlon training, quadrupling the length of my longest race competed. 

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

I was able to open myself up to new friendships, and make even closer bonds with many of my existing friends, which felt amazing. I also really worked hard on my own self-care practices, being mindful of how I was feeling at any given moment and what I might need emotionally. Reading various feminist/body acceptance blogs helped with this a TON.

Still a work in progress, but I’m working on being more understanding that I can often have a different opinion than others, and a strong one at that, but I should find a better way of expressing it than my usual aggressive way.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

Practicing yoga and going star-gazing in Marfa/Fort Davis helped me feel more connected with myself and the universe.

Meh. 

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13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I started rehab-ing my foot, which I injured at some point during Fun Fun Fun Fest, and also tried to exercise regularly to keep my heart healthy. I also started taking medication for my (FINALLY diagnosed) thyroid condition, which has helped me get back some energy, which is SUPER exciting, I can’t even tell y’all.

Got so much better at running, biking and swimming and gaining tons of endurance.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

I asked Brittany to be my maid of honor, and wedding planning has made us closer than ever. I met my new friend Katie, and we have become very fast friends (we just rung in the new year at her and her husband’s new house!) I also tried to be more honest with others, particularly my family. I made a very concerted effort to be transparent, but kind; firm, but still loving. Very happily, I learned that in doing so, I might go through a rough patch with someone, but I could actually trust that people would stand by me anyway, in the end. This was a huge milestone for me.

I feel like I covered this. 

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

I really got into the swing of things at work, which has helped me do better and therefore be recognized by being put on important special projects. Some new people joined my team at work who I already love and rely on regularly. And I got to interview some of the coolest musicians, including Sean Lennon (yup, THAT Sean Lennon), Morgan Kibby from White Sea, and Jacob Graham from the Drums (possibly my favorite interview of all time)

I enjoy my job, but really what I like most about it is that when the day ends, I can pick up and leave it behind and get into my hobbies, which I’m more passionate about. 

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

The most challenging part of my day job is just to feel satisfaction from it. That sounds horrible — I really do feel much more satisfied by my work on a daily basis. But it still isn’t what I ultimately want to be doing with my life forever, so keeping my chin up, especially on hard or very “standard”-feeling days can be tough. I think I managed it well, though.

The hours. It’s a struggle to get up at 5:15 every morning. As hard as I try to get in bed early every night, sometimes I just can’t fall asleep and then it makes everything harder on five to six hours of sleep, especially when it happens night after night. I like most aspects of my job itself as long as I’m rested enough. 

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

I would have to say reading blogs all the time — I’d get really lost in scanning through hundreds of photos and other pieces. But I also think this was a huge, huge part of my self-care and attitude adjustment when it comes to the way I see myself now, so I actually can’t call it a waste of time at all. It was an important use of my time. It just took up the most of it, I think.

iPhone games. I waste so much time connecting dots and running around in these total time sucks. I don’t know why I let myself spend so much time on them. 

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

As I mentioned above, I think reading blogs really helped me evolve in the way I look at myself and the people around me. I also love how much I got to write for publications about music, I love how much we traveled, I love that I read much more regularly, and finally, I love that I got into taking bubble baths with epsom salts and great smelling candles. The aromatherapy coupled with the bath itself was just delightful and relaxing, and made me feel like I was really caring for myself. I want a lot more of that in 2015.

I enjoyed spending hundreds of hours training for triathlons. For so long I’d gotten in the habit of coming home from work and watching movies, playing video games and wasting time and it felt like such a good investment of time to be working toward something and getting healthier in the process. 

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

Female friendships are the BEST! Seriously, the damn best. I think prioritizing my relationships with the ladies in my life has helped me on a daily basis, as well as helped my relationship with Zack (since it takes some of the pressure off of him in being my shoulder to cry on). I want to continue putting in work on my friendships, and take care of them so they grow even more.

That I can do a lot if I dedicate myself. There were times where I didn’t want to go for long runs or three hour bike rides, but I pushed myself, put in the time and made it happen.

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20. Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.

Who better than the Queen herself to sum up my year?

When you love and accept yourself, when you know who really cares about you, and when you learn from your mistakes, then you stop caring about what people who don’t know you think. 

– Beyoncé

Sticking with Beyonce…

If you like it, then you better put a ring on it. 

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2 Responses to “2014 In Review”

  1. tapeparade February 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Hi guys, sorry I haven’t been over to your blog for a while! Ahhhh every time I read a post like this I have so much to say, it’s like I want to comment on each little thing, I read through going “yes! me too!” and “Oh my gosh, I wonder if…” etc. I wish we could just hang out somewhere and grab a drink and watch a band! I feel like we’d get on so well (I’m so sorry if I sound like a scary stalker). Anyway. I love this post and I love the idea of you guys evaluating your year together – and the answers to the first qustion basically had me crying about your engagement. I can’t wait to read more about it.

    Also some smaller thoughts –

    Yes, loved Seconds – what a book.

    So cute about Zack going running with your Dad.

    Really sad to hear about all your stuff getting nicked (wasthat on the blog I may have missed it?)

    I have loved your Hanks posts this year!

    First picture of you is supercute!!

    I spend so much time on stupid iPhone games too – it is my biggest waste of time. I try and excuse myself because my brain is normally firing on all cylinders even when “relaxing” and iPhone games are one of the only times I’m able to singularly focus (that and instrument practise).

    Caitlin so amazing that you are overcoming an eating disorder. You go girl!!

    I could go on but I sound like a crazy fanatic so I’ll stop. But thanks for this post 🙂 X

    • Caitlin February 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

      Laila, you are always SO thoughtful with your comments:) Thank you so much for reading through – you do not seem like a scary stalker in ANY way, if anything I hope your travels bring you to Austin sometime so we can all hang out!! I am totally with you on the relaxing front – I give myself such a hard time when I am not choosing from a more “acceptable” time-killer, like reading a book or something. I do think that those of us with mile-a-minute brains need a bit of vegging-out time, though! Anyway, thank you for sharing in our triumphs and random activities from the year, I’m so glad you could relate to so much of it!

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