This past year has been a year of growth and opportunity. Also, a year with a lot of accomplishments – so many, in fact, that it almost feels hard to remember all of what they are.
More than once in the last week, L has reminded me of something that happened, then reminded me that it happened this year. So to recap some of the amazing and incredible things that happened this year:
The first trip I took this year was to Seattle for Emerald City Comic-Con – this was kinda a last second decision with a buddy. We just went for a couple days, and I am pretty glad about it – it was nice to be able to visit the show for a bit, see things, buy some convention exclusives and head home to still have a weekend.
The next weekend, L and I headed up to Tacoma to celebrate being McMenamin’s Cosmic Tripsters at their then-unopened location in Tacoma. It was a fun party, but a really low-key weekend overall. The party was a lot of fun, but also kinda cramped and the site was still very much an active worksite – much more than we expected.
Later in March, L and I went to three National Parks in Utah, over our Spring Break. Arches, Canyonland and Bryce were all incredible. Arches was very full and busy when we were there, Canyonland is a bit more lowkey, and I think Bryce Canyon was the overall best.
Then I got to visit my alma mater to participate in a panel on what kind of jobs or career paths English majors find themselves. It was really cool to chat with some current students at my undergrad and have some fun conversations – I also really enjoyed seeing some of my faculty and staff again. Every time I visit, it feels more and more removed from what it felt like to be there ten years ago.
L spent the summer on the Camino in Spain, and I went to join her in late July/early August – I had a stopover for a few days in Dublin to be a tourist in a new place (and also because flights there are pretty cheap). Then I met her in Barcelona and we spent a few days exploring the beautiful, humid city.
Then in September, we took a trip to Disneyland for L’s birthday weekend. My cousin and her boyfriend joined L, her sister and one of our friends. I even got to try out the virtual reality Star Wars experience which is so cool I almost melted.
Our last trip of the year was a weekend getaway to Lincoln City to try and find these glass baubles they hide on the coast. No such luck.
Here is the short version of my running report: I ran more and faster than I ever have before.
Now, the longer version of that:
I read 77 books in 2018. Some of them were fantastic, some of them were not very good. This year, I started to think about reading in quantity perhaps not being an optimal function, but rather the quality and perspectives that I am reading being more interesting to track. I created some metrics for it that I am excited to share and talk about a bit more in the next month (as well as some of the books I read and enjoyed in 2018).
I had lots of isolated micro-moments of excitement about writing, but nothing that really stuck. A lot of my 2019 goals are built around writing and what I want to accomplish with this in the new year.
One thing I want to change in the new year is how much I write about my professional life – I recognize that the work I am doing is, in many ways, new and different for higher education. Caring about student success, persistence and retention is incredibly important, and as I move towards academic presentations and publications again after taking a few years off, I also want to take time to discuss what I am learning and processing through.
That said, in the last year, I have taken on a lot of new and exciting responsibilities – many of them tied to a new job title.
Yes, you read that right! New job title! I am now the Assistant Director of Student Success for my department, and it is pretty exciting. As our department grows and changes, I am taking on more responsibilities in areas I have been doing work.
Those are just the notable accomplishments and events that come to mind easily – as I scroll through my photos to insert some here, I keep coming across moments and memories that were moving – from the church leadership role we stepped from to the time we saw Hamilton, or when I went to a Thorns game with friends. A year has so many notable moments, and I have a growing sense of peace and gratitude.
Postscript: As I am scheduling this to post, I am reminded that L bought tickets for my birthday to go see the Oregon Symphony perform the soundtrack for Star Wars: A New Hope while it plays ON A BIG SCREEN ABOVE THEM. It was one of the coolest things – I have never seen A New Hope on the big screen, and it was so exciting to do that.