This week I’m looking back at 2014 for the Celebrate Link-up, hosted by Ruth Ayres. Head over to her blog to see what others are celebrating.
In recent weeks I’ve seen lots of 2014 reviews and 2015 resolutions around the blogosphere. It’s tempted me to post a bunch of lists of the past year’s accomplishments and goals for the next year. But while I’m doing some of that reflection in my journals, I don’t want to weigh myself down as the year begins. I want simplicity and clarity. Additionally, all the listing seems to overlook the way planning, resolutions and subsequent check-ins can’t account for all the unanticipated accomplishments or moments worth celebrating that happen in a year.
So today I want to celebrate some of the surprises of 2014 brought me.
1. A book club
It started with “Euphoria” by Lily King, which is a novel about a love triangle among three anthropologists doing fieldwork on a remote island. The book is clearly inspired by Margaret Mead’s life and loves. I knew when I heard the description I needed to read and discuss it with Emily, who studied anthro undergrad with me and is working on her Ph.D in the discipline. We read it over the summer and then somehow that led to us starting the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood in recent months. Besides good books and a good friend, what I love about this unplanned book club is that it’s not on a rigid schedule and there’s been no hassle in coordinating when we meet — we just text each other when we’re nearing the end of a section, check what times we could Skype in the next couple days, and then we do it. It’s great!
2. Distance running
In recent years, I ran several 5K runs, but in 2014 I was kind of over it. I still liked running, but races are pricey and a 5K was no longer a challenge. So I didn’t start the year with a particular goal for running.
In June and July, two things spurred me to try longer distances than before: 1) reading the autobiography of a pioneering female marathoner and 2) starting to run at a local rail trail on weekends. The autobiography didn’t make me create a new goal, but reading the thoughts of this determined runner sort of seeped into my own psyche, and I found myself running an extra mile or two each weekend. Going to the rail trail also made that possible because I’ve always liked a scenario where I can just run on one path without interruption. I have a harder time persisting while running in a city or town setting.
In September I ran a 10K race (6.2 miles) and one day last month I ran 11 miles — my longest distance yet. I’m looking at options for running a half-marathon this year.
3. Raw foods
A friend and I went to special raw dinner at a local juice café in August. I was delighted by both the delicious food and how good I felt after — satiated, but light and energetic. So I’ve been experimenting with various raw recipes on my own once or twice a week. (Most recipes I’ve tried are from The Rawtarian website, an awesome resource).
Raw foods are definitely more expensive but I am surprised at how easy most recipes are to make. The ingredients are straightforward and the preparation options are limited (mostly chopping, blending or food processing), so it’s neither as time-consuming nor as intimidating as I’d expected!
One of my favorite recipes so far is raw “mashed potatoes” which is actually a cauliflower and cashew puree.
4. Work things
My income increased significantly when I moved to Lancaster for a different job. I’m still a reporter, so I’m not rolling it in, but the boost has helped in paying down college debt and being able to contribute to some causes/charities I care about. I also am celebrating the growth of some work relationships, which has been a bright spot this year.
That’s me running the 10K in September 2014. Photo by Emily Channell
What unexpected positive things happened in your life in 2014? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!