Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Fond Farewell

For as long as I've been blogging, I've written a New Year's/year-end post to sum up the year and look forward to the year ahead.

  • Travel: This year, I've hiked along the Great Wall of China, ridden Icelandic horses, driven through the Scottish highlands, visited friends in the UK, taken a "self-portrait" with the Penny Lane street sign in Liverpool, eaten soup dumplings in Shanghai, driven a snowmobile on a glacier in Iceland, earned a certificate for mastering the "perfect pour" at the Guinness factory in Dublin and watched musicals in London. Oh, I will certainly miss all of the long breaks that come with the student lifestyle! On the plus side, I have fairly ample vacation time at work and, oh yeah, an income.
  • Graduation: In May, I fulfilled a long-term goal of graduating with my MBA. I can't even begin to sum up how much the decision to move to Charlottesville and pursue this degree has changed my life. I now have friends across the globe, opportunities that just weren't there for me three years ago, and a job which I love and at which I am challenged.
  • Move to Boston: In the back of my mind, I dreamed of living in Boston ever since I visited on my MBA school tour over three years ago. I remember telling my sisters how excited I was about going to Boston Pops concerts if I ever did get to the city. While I was job searching, I wanted to be as flexible as possible, but really, really wanted to live in a "walkable" city. Since moving to Boston in August, I've felt incredibly blessed. I ditched my car less than a week into life here and have not regretted it even for an instant. I got a Zipcar membership, but have only used it once. Also, in December, I made it out to my first Boston Pops concert!
  • Physical Health: Not being one for New Year's Resolutions, I waited about three weeks into January to take my first visit to the North Grounds Gym. Not being one to do anything halfway, at that time I got back on the Weight Watchers train, started running and hired a personal trainer. Nearly a year later, I'm proud to report that I've dropped two to three sizes (depending on whether you go by numbers or letters) and can run a full 9.5 km (could probably do more, but I'm slowly building up my endurance).
  • Faith: If anything is really responsible for the joy I'm experiencing right now, it's renewed relationship with God. I've had my ups and downs in this area all throughout my life, but after struggling during my first year at Darden, I found an AMAZING small group at my church in Charlottesville, and they encouraged me tremendously. I've really been focusing on getting involved with a church here in Boston and making sure that I make time for my relationship with God... But most importantly, if I've learned anything in 2011, it's that ultimately there is nothing on this earth that really satisfies us. What matters most is that I'm falling in love with the God with whom I will spend eternity.
While 2011 certainly had it's fair share of challenges, heartbreaks and disappointments, the overwhelming theme of the year was hope, joy and adventure. And the best part is that it isn't joy from life events or external blessings, but a deep, abiding joy that comes from feeling like I finally have my priorities straight and am deepening my relationship with my amazing God.

Some things I am looking forward to in 2012:
  • Now that I'm in a stable routine for the foreseeable future (no more switching between work, school, internships), I'm planning on finally getting down to the goal weight I set nearly three years ago
  • Running a half marathon
  • Getting settled and established in my job - it's been a steep learning curve so far!
  • Getting to know new people here in Boston
  • Serving at my new church