HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are excited for 2014! Confession: I love New Year’s Day and all the navel gazing that goes with it, and I always set New Year’s resolutions. Sure, it’s a arbitrary time to pick for making changes. So what! And lots of resolutions never happen. So what! Some of them do. People make big changes in their lives everyday, and plenty others don’t. None of this deters me from enjoying this age old ritual of wiping the slate clean, looking back at the year we’re leaving behind, and planning for the one ahead.
This year I’ve thought I’d share some of my year end review with you.
2013 was a big year for me, filled with lots of highs and a few big lows. It was my first full year living in San Francisco, and I had some big hopes and expectations. Some of which I met, and others I (definitely) didn’t.
I don’t always pick a theme for the year, but in 2013 I did, and it was FINISHING. I wanted to actually finish more of what I started. I’m changing the focus a little for 2014, but I’m keeping FINISHING.
I’m just not done with it yet.
My first and biggest resolution was financial. I wanted to finish paying off my private law school student loans, which totaled $102,807.* But who’s counting. Obviously, I’ve been making payments on all my loans since I graduated from law school, along with any bonuses I got, but for the first 5 years at least, it just felt like an overwhelming amount of debt that I’d never be able to conquer it. I only got really aggressive about paying off these loans about 3 years ago.
My final payment hit the bank on December 30th. I thought it would feel good, and it does. It was worth every last bit of the effort involved to see that big fat $0. It even feels good to write about it in the past tense for the first time!
*These loans were underwritten by a private lender with a variable interest rate, compared to my much smaller balance on my federally subsidized loans which have a 1.6% fixed interest rate — i.e. ridiculously low! I’m in no rush to pay those down.
I took two big international trips this year, and lots of other within the US. I flew 46,595 miles on American Airlines, in 38 segments. My most frequent stop by far was Dallas (9 times!) for work and to see family and friends.
My Cities for 2013: Dallas, Texas (x9); Birmingham, Alabama (x2); Santa Cruz, California; Chicago, Illinois; Tucson, Arizona; Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Portland, Oregon; Corte Madera, CA; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Mexico City, Mexico; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; and Valladolid, Mexico.
In April, I flew business and first class on frequent flyer miles to Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, and Helsinki. While in Oslo, I helped my friend Chris Guillebeau celebrate his seemingly impossible accomplishment of visiting all the countries in the world by his 35th birthday. (Yay, Chris!)
Then I wrapped up the year with a Thanksgiving trip to Mexico City, Playa del Carmen, and Valladolid near Chichen Itza. Despite all this travel, I somehow managed to not hit the 50,000 mile marker to keep my Plantium status on American Airlines. More on this, and how I’m not going to let it happen in 2014!
I wrote more this year than I did last year — lots of peronal journal entries, 41 blog posts here on Far & Wise, 3 guest posts, and 14 posts about San Francisco for Viator. Those posts for Viator were the first time I’ve been paid to write about something other than law!
The readership at Far & Wise has increased substantially over 2013, and you may remember that I also hosted a writing contest and announced the winner of the free trip to San Francisco. (So fun!) We’re working out her travel arrangements now, and her prize winning essay will run next week.
Travel Poetry: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Adventures Abroad at The Food Poet
Ascension: Serious Coffee Culture Comes to Dallas at I Live in Dallas
Trip Planning Made Easy at Productivityist
San Francisco Things to Do by Angela Petersen at Viator
My overarching goal is always to keep getting better, and I accomplished that in 2013 with my writing, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Plenty of room to get better at FINISHING — starting with the pile of posts sitting in my drafts folder that never got published!
FINISHING OFF 2013
So I’m going to use the month of January to finish off 2013. I’ve got one more New Year’s related post for you about looking ahead to 2014, Heather’s prize winning essay, and then I’m going to share a handful of those draft posts (with stories from Mexico, Scandinavia, San Francisco and New York City) that somehow just didn’t get published the first time around.
Those are my big wins for the year, along with a few other purely professional accomplishments, but overall I’m at about 50-50 on my 2013 new years resolutions. Not bad, but plenty of room for improvement. I’ll tell you a little more about those failed resolutions in my next post.
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If so, how did you fare? Are you going to anything differently next year?
P.S. – If you need some year end review and resolution inspiration, check out this great round up.