I was recently talking to one of my very best friends about having a January birthday and how, sometimes the combination of a new year and a new age is subconsciously overwhelming. No, not overwhelming. It is straight-up depressing! I’m sure there are other things that play into these fleeting depressive threats – like, I was just kidding about that one time as a kid that I really wanted to have a summer birthday #takeitback, winding down from the holiday season is always like falling off a freight train, and in the not-ever-distant-enough past, the New Year always served as the grim anniversary of having survived another year without my Mother and the feeling of being entirely helpless toward the idea of surviving (what was once perpetually) a worse year yet. Although that changed for me quite abruptly around 2009 – a year that started off more sad, terrible, surprising, and numb than ever and no place but up – I wouldn’t put it past my misbehaving subconscious-self to still feel a familiar, lucid emotion similar to how life used to be.
So we’ve already talked about the New Year – my resolution and all that jazz – but here we are at a new year older. The Happy BIrthday’s have been rolling in and they feel like they aren’t for me. I blame the self identity crisis that comes with spinning upside down from the bottom of the Earth for too long (yayyyyy Australia!). To be honest, I don’t know what it is. Maybe it is that I am busy. I am super frickin’ busy! And I’m tired. I’m older! I’m so forgetful that I wouldn’t have even known it was my own birthday if some message hadn’t reminded me first thing this morning. So the day went off as normal…. -ish.
At lunch time, Stark asked me if I wanted to do anything to celebrate. Where did I want to go? What did I want? Anything? Everything?!? I had no clue, so we tried a brand new place here in our little neighborhood. We sat upstairs. We sat alone. I ignored my phone through all the noming, and enjoyed the ridiculous, bright contrast of a summer day. #weird
Traditionally, as passed down from my brother-outlaw and his family, Stark asked me for my words of wisdom of this last year, to which I replied more quickly than ever: Spend what time you can with your littlest nieces and nephews. #thebest
Then he asked me a question that was just as easy to answer, but never quite complete. He asked me what the highlights of 2014 were.
To be honest, the answer was probably not complete for no other reason than why I also didn’t even know it was my birthday first thing this morning. #oldage As we flipped through our imagination scrapbook, I posed questions like, “Was that this year? Really?!?” So now comes the self-obligatory 2014 highlight – a year so large, so fantastic, and so ridiculous that it seems like it couldn’t possibly smoosh into just one 12-month experience.
And the highlights goes to….
- That time in January where I still looked young and super-skinny in birthday photos!!!! Yayyyyy. j/k
- My 7th Sundance Film Festival
- The day of my second-Mom and Aunt Ilse passed away (not really a highlight but definitely a time I cherish being with her)
- That time my Sony brother, Jamie Pham wrote his first book – I Could Be President
- Being published in three annual publications from the Salt Lake Community Writing Center with an essay on being 16, an essay on racism, and an essay on narcolepsy
- A year of eating our way through an entire season of Formula 1 racing with cuisines specific to each GP destination
- Thinking we would be moving to New York City, if anywhere, and going back in for an interview with my former colleagues at Sony Music
- Spending a long weekend in New York City for a belated birthday present – front row seats to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Gardens + Book of Mormon on Broadway + No Man’s Land on Broadway with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart
- Starting a side-job just for the hell of it and being promoted, fired, rehired, and quitting all within a month, but meeting one of my great friends, Jay
- Presenting one of my published essays at the annual Sine Cera reading event for SLCCWC
- The opening of the first Tesla charging station in Utah and visiting it!
- Hiking The Narrows with Stark at Zions National Park
- Taking a trip with Stark to Peru – visiting Lima, Matchu Piccu, Cusco, and Iquitos before taking a list minute trip to the Panama Canal in Panama City and dipping back down to the Gallapagos Islands, and Quito
- Starting my favorite job as of yet, being hired as a Communications Specialist, positioning myself as a Communications & Marketing Manager, and being promoted to Director of Communications & Marketing all within 6 months (not to mention being able to keep my job through moving to Australia, but that part is coming)
- Attending Natalie Cole concert at Red Butte Gardens
- Hiking from the very base to the top of Ben Lomond, up hill in the snow both ways while including unplanned flips, slides, and falling into waist-deep snow (but I was an elf about it, really #lightasafeather)
- Taking the train to work everyday #favoritepart
- Selling my beloved WRemiX, a 2009 Subaru WRX Imprezza that I loved immensely
- Visiting Yellowstone National Park with Stark’s entire family
- Remembering my time with Robin Williams as we all faced the surprising news of his death
- Spending two weeks in Hawaii – one week just for Stark and I, and another week with part of his fam
- Moving to Sydney, Australia
- Landing our dream rental in Sydney
- Attending the Rugby “Super Bowl” to see the Rabbitoh’s win
- Our first Aussie BBQ
- Noodle Markets in Sydney
- Reginold, our opossum
- Sydney coffee
- Christmas time in Sydney
- Flying Internationally by myself for the first time
- Being the “Best Man” in my Best Friend’s Wedding
- Loving being back at work for a few short weeks in December
- Spending a few days with each of my sister’s and their kids over the holidays
- A surprise white Christmas
- Last minute gifts
- Flying back to Syndey with my good friend Jan
- Taking Jan to the tower, the aquarium, the zoo, Bondi, Manly, Hornby Lighthouse, a nude beach, Sydney Opera House, botanical gardens, and two different swimming pools
- Spending our first Sydney New Year’s on the bay with new and old friends alike – Jan was with us, my old friend from Northern High School was with us, and so many of Stark’s colleagues
- Did I miss anything? 😉