Friday, January 7, 2011

The Best Year Ever?

I was originally going to post this on New Year's Eve, but got caught up, unsurprisingly, in the festivities that come with that celebration, and subsequently with a bizarrely busy beginning of the year at work. Due to a large project being taken off my hands, I've finally gotten a chance to breathe and ruminate about 2010.

I have come to the not-so-light conclusion that it was my best year ever. I do feel like I should qualify this: obviously this was not a good year as a whole--for the country, for the world, etc. But it was wonderful for me, personally, as a personal person, as an individual. I achieved some of my greatest lifelong accomplishments in the past year. Here's a quick rundown of what made this year so good, in no particular order:
  • Romantic accomplishment: I moved in with my best friend, love-of-my-life, and partner, Chris, and our three cats, to a really beautiful apartment in Mount Vernon. We're kind of sloppy, but other than that I simply adore living with him. It's pretty darn blissful. Also, we have a working fireplace and TWO bathrooms.
  • Athletic accomplishment: I began and completed a running training program and subsequently ran a 5k race. Never having been athletically inclined (or able), and being exceptionally lazy, this was a huge accomplishment. I didn't come in last, or even close to last.
  • Intellectual accomplishment: I finished writing my novel. I actually finished. The whole thing is written, front to back, and I wrote "the end." I honestly never thought it would happen. Some weird, psychological "fear of failure/success" often keeps me from finishing ANYTHING.
  • Geographical accomplishment: I finally made it to Europe! Ireland counts, right? Next stop: the Continent.
  • Professional accomplishment: I trained, studied, took an exam, and became professionally certified in my field. I am better at my job and got a raise.
  • Financial accomplishment: In addition to increasing both my 401(k) and Roth contributions, I have began putting money regularly into the stock market and am becoming much more educated on how to make my money work. My portfolio has made returns of 55% and I should have a $25,000 down payment for a house in advance of my 5-year goal. I'm not debt-free (still have that dang car payment) but I will be within a year (the possibility of student loans notwithstanding)
  • Educational accomplishment-in-progress: I've chosen a graduate school and program, and have finished 90% of my application. The accomplishment of actually applying will have to go on 2011's list.
  • Artistic accomplishmentette (a little accomplishment): I've continued to draw and paint, and I attended multiple--not single--multiple--art sessions with artistically inclined friends.
  • Philanthropic accomplishment: I began donating to charities in earnest, with planned purpose. I've succeeded in getting at least some of my friends/family to donate to charity instead of giving me presents for birthdays/holidays.
Of course not EVERYTHING was an accomplishment. My partner went through some significantly rough professional times that has added a lot of stress to our otherwise blissful romance. I had a falling out with some family members that has created a rift wider than I like to think about. I still find myself scattered among too many desires and pleasures, and still don't know exactly how to spend my time and energy. I am still struggling with spiritual and religious questions.

But I know that 2010 was a stepping stone for even better things to come. This is my last year as a 20-something, and I feel like I have the whole world to look forward to.