Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Obligatory 2013 Reflections

My 2013 started off with a lot of emotional pain, reeling from a recent breakup.  Fast forward to today, and short of being homeless or a billionaire, my life couldn't be more different.  I have a "new" boyfriend, the relationship is 7 months strong so it's hardly new, but he's different than the selfish child of a man I was pining over at the end of 2012.  I have a new job (finally) that is fulfilling and makes me feel valuable, plus gives me lots of opportunities and perks.  I make good money, I've done cool things, and I have big plans for 2014.  In short, it's a good time to be me, and I am so thankful for where I am now.  I think it's a good time to indulge myself and reflect on the path that got me through those difficult times to being happier than ever before.  

After a few rough dates with total wackos, and a memorable night with an old friend, I recommitted myself to a few things like hiking and dancing and writing.  At one point, I wrote on Helium.com where I could make a little bit of money, but it required me to keep up with a rating system that took constant attention.  It eventually turned me off, and I practically stopped writing except for myself when I needed clarity.  But I always found benefit in writing for a forum where others could read it - nobody had to read it mind you, just that there was a possibility of others reading it.  So I started this long-overdue blog, and I've been so glad I did ever since.  I may not be making money off of it, but it gives me something I own that is entirely me, which is perhaps even more exciting than the value I got out of Helium, where my writing was limited to certain topics and restricted by their writing requirements.  

I saw a rocket launch into space.  Specifically, I was surprised by and then suspicious of an invitation from NASA to join their NASA Social event to see the SpaceX CR-2 launch of the Dragon to resupply the International Space Station.  While I've always been mildly interested in space, the breathtaking experience has made me more of a fanatic for space travel before.  It inspired me to apply to the MarsOne mission to colonize the Red Planet (which I recently found out I was turned down for).  

In diving back into swing dancing, I got to play out a relationship that had previously only existed in fantasy, with R.  It was in some ways better than I imagined it, and in some ways much worse, and I knew the relationship didn't stand a chance. R taught me, more than anything else, how to be a good follow in swing dancing, and I will always owe him that.  And he only would have spent so much time with me if we were in the relationship we were in.  But the relationship sucked, and I was relieved when it was over.  

Having nobody in my house at the time, I opened up my house to out-of-town guests for swing dance workshops, and found some new friends from San Diego who were excellent balboa dancers.  My house turned out to be a very convenient location for the various dances and workshops, and I wasn't using the room anyways.  While my relationship with them has not blossomed much, I think I will always have a special balboa partner, which is nice since balboa is a dance style new to me and very challenging.  

One of the most significant changes in my life came at a swing dance workshop.  I felt a special affinity for Jaiman before the workshop even started, before we even bothered to introduce ourselves.  Maybe it was that compelling feeling I have when someone likes me, because I now know he was checking me out.  Or maybe it's just one of those things that were just meant to be, and you know it when you see it.  Either way, Jaiman and I hit if off in the workshop, and we danced several times together at Kat's Korner's 50's Prom that night.  Our relationship escalated quickly and blossomed into a fulfilling relationship like I've never quite had before.  

I don't think Jaiman quite understands how or why he completes me, and I'm not quite sure I've completely nailed it either.  What I have discerned is that he is very knowledgeable and excited about some of the things I want to be involved with.  Football is perhaps the best example.  I've long wanted to have a boyfriend or even a close friend that loves sports, and especially football, so that it would keep me motivated to follow the sport, learn the names and characteristics of the players, and watch games with.  With all my various interests that I pursue on whims that come and go, it's hard to stay focused on football through the entire season without external forces.  Thus, this past season, I knew more about my ASU Sun Devils, went to more games, watched, listened or at least tracked the games I couldn't be at, and understood more about the rankings and the strategy involved.  In short, this was my favorite football season ever, and it was largely fueled by Jaiman's enthusiasm for the sport.  Prior to our relationship, he mostly watched NFL, and he still does, and I don't mind watching it with him, but he got really involved in the college football scene with me this year.  Some of my favorite pictures of us are at the games, decked out in ASU gear with eyeblack and all.  We have nicknames for our favorite quarterback, we know some of the defensive and offensive leaders, and get excited when those players make big plays.  I've never been this involved in a season before, and it's definitely been fulfilling.  

Jaiman and I have found that we love trying new and exotic foods together; we bring out a foodie characteristic that neither of us had or knew we had before.  Jaiman shares my enthusiasm for traveling and trying new things, so he indulged me by taking surfing lessons for my birthday and touring SpacePort in October.  A couple of his biggest passions are Disney and roller coasters, both of which I've been reminded that I enjoy.  Before we started dating, it had been years since I've visited an amusement park to go on rides, and I had so much fun when Jaiman and I went to Six Flags in California.  We also love watching and re-watching movies, new and old, and playing games, video games and board games, and pampering through pedicures and massages.  He is my best friend, I can do anything with him.  I don't need him to be a genius or a millionaire; he gives me pleasure by helping me enjoy entertainment, food, and life.  He appreciates the adventure and we persevere because we have each other, and that's all we really need.  

My life became markedly better once Jaiman entered it, but I still had a lot of struggles the second half of 2013, especially in my job.  My employer of 6 years had now held the carrot of a promotion out in front of me three too many times, my team's caliber was atrocious and deteriorating, and the colleagues I had to interface with were useless at best and more often than not, complete idiotic jerks.  It's hard for me to express the work conditions that drove me out, because everybody complains about their jobs and feels like they are being screwed.  But what I experienced there was far worse, much more ridiculous, very often illegal, and absolutely unnecessarily bad and wrong in so many ways.  But I was in a weird limbo in my career where most jobs I was qualified for paid much less than what I was making, and the jobs I wanted were mostly managerial jobs which were nearly impossible to attain because I had never managed people.  The obvious career moves would have involved being promoted to manager in the areas I was already familiar with, in the companies who already knew my worth, but those were denied to me.  I had a strong feeling the only "way out" would be to start a company and make it big, and I felt like I could do so safely in my time outside of work while still retaining my paycheck.  I had some good attempts at starting a couple companies, but nothing panned out.  It was looking like I'd be stuck in a miserable work place indefinitely, but at least I had a good boyfriend.
So I was completely blown away when I was offered a job at my new employer, with a salary much higher than I expected from the position, and much higher than I could expect to make waiting around at the same dumb company, matching my vacation allowance which had taken 5 years of loyalty to earn, and had bonus potential on top of it all.  I knew the commute would be a drawback, but honestly, after two full months of working there, the commute is STILL the only drawback I've really seen.  There are a lot of opportunities and challenges, all of which I know I can tackle.  I am confident I can become a leader within my group, which is what I was hired to do, and totally rock their world. And I am excited and motivated to do it because I feel understood and valued like never before in my professional career.  

Yeah, I'm in a good place now.  I am also renting a room out to one of my prior roommates, so that's some additional income, another friend around, and dogsitter for when Jaiman and I adventure out.  With my relationship with Jaiman, I've also found a new family within his family, and I always feel welcomed when celebrating holidays or birthdays with them.  Sadly, I still have the burden of being overweight literally weighing me down, but I don't know how I could have a better environment to work on my weight: a wonderful, supportive relationship, a great work environment (with a nice gym for free), and a happy, comfortable life.  

So 2014 will find us taking more trips, making more memories and going on more crazy adventures.  It will also hopefully find me improving my weight and health.  I intend to do some great things at work and for APICS, and continue blogging on important topics much bigger than myself.  I am excited to see TechShop get going in Chandler, and hope to be a part of their growth.  So many things are looking up for 2014, I can't wait to get started!!  

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