December 28, 2015
It's getting harder and harder to believe with each passing year that another New Year’s Day is upon us. As I reflect on the past 12 months, I honestly can't believe everything that has happened this year. It's truly one for my personal record books.
I started the year with a new title and position at my employer after a drastic restructuring and layoffs. This new role would prove challenging for me throughout the year as I worked to create process, structure and order for a new, and large, team.
The water and sea overall would continue to be a part of my life, as I brought my good friend, Lorelie, with me on her first cruise; the Sail Across the Sun Train music festival cruise. It was four nights with a stop in Key West near my hometown. It was a fun, amazing experience and I was so grateful to share it with an amazing friend. She also introduced me to yoga (another new practice for me in 2015) aboard my favorite ship, the Norwegian Pearl.
I didn’t know it at the time, but music would end up being an integral part of my year, appreciating fantastic live performances by so many talented artists. I was able to compile a playlist of all the artists my friends and I were able to enjoy. Bands and performers include Train, Andy Grammer, 311, Robbie Rivera, Ingrid Michaelson, Milky Chance and so many more. I honestly don’t know how many concerts I attended, but between the music festival at sea, Epcot’s Flower & Garden and Food & Wine festivals, I’m sure it’s +30. One particular song, Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” follows me throughout the year and becomes a personal anthem for me, playing spontaneously – including by the very artists that wrote it – and reminds me each and every time I hear it that I’m exactly where I need to be, when I need to be there.
Sports would play a huge part in my life this year as Orlando opens an MLS expansion team introducing Central Florida to the Orlando City Soccer Club. With a season ticket in hand, we enjoy the home opener in March and 19 more games over the next seven months, including one away game I make as part of a fun, spontaneous trip to Chicago.
American football would still permeate and attending the home opener for the new head football coach of the Florida Gators made for a great start to an amazing season of Gator football. I hope to kick off the new year with watching them play in the Citrus Bowl, but right now I only have tickets to tailgate with the alumni. Also, a trip to Miami to see the Miami Dolphins defeat the Baltimore Ravens was very fun. I have an entirely new appreciation for the team this year, for a lot of reasons.
However, all of that was part of my goal to see every major sport I could, including college and pro basketball (thanks to student tickets at UF and the Star Wars Magic game against the Hornets … a win for both). Also, I got a chance to see the Chicago Cubs against the Phillies in the historic Wrigley Field. Hockey would take shape with the Solar Bears (not pro, but I’m good with it). Did I mention NASCAR and Daytona for the 500 and the 400? … well, we wanted to go to the 400 but got rained out.
Shortly into April, I was involved in a pretty bad car accident totaling my beloved 2012 British Racing Green II MINI Cooper S. We all walked away, thankfully. It wasn’t my fault, but I ended up with a brand new 2015 Cooper S 4-door in Lapis Luxury Blue, of course. It’s a great car, and I look forward to the miles we’ll put on the road together, but I miss my green machine. It was a great car, with a fantastic spirit and knew exactly when I needed a tighter turn on the curves to put a curved smile on my face.
A few weeks after the accident, a work trip allowed me to experience SeaWorld San Diego for the very first time, as well as a stop in Texas. I would also be on the same flight as our brand new CEO, which unfortunately wouldn’t amount to much this year.
Schooling has continued with 2015 being my full year of courses, nonstop from spring, through summer, and wrapping into fall. I’ll enter 2016 needing to complete just one more course – my capstone – to get my degree in April. I’ve learned so much about myself in this program, while also learning more about my profession and what new opportunities await.
Summer would open up with new opportunities and fun. I’d decided I wanted a trip for my birthday, so I selected New Orleans to which I’d never traveled. The week before that trip, several items aligned to where a very inexpensive trip to Chicago the following week was also scheduled. NOLA was great food, music (of course), tourist traps, and new memories. Chicago was music, soccer, and sports. I even had a chance to hit a family favorite restaurant, meeting some “locals” who couldn’t believe I’d been to that particular Hackney’s six and 18 years earlier, as it’s now in a “hipster” part of town. What’s old is new is old again.
After a rapid change in leadership at work, I applied for a promotion at work, and while I nailed the interview, I knew I didn’t have the job due to bias by the hiring director. At this point, I’m aware my days at SeaWorld are numbered, but my schooling is being covered and the work is fairly routine. I find out I don’t get the job over Labor Day weekend, but decide a longer vacation is in order. I’ve already shopped where and what I want to do, and after approval from my new manager, I book a 16-day trip to Dublin and London wrapping up with a Transatlantic cruise to Miami aboard a brand new cruise ship; the Norwegian Escape.
A new project at work keeps me busy, while also launching a few other successful initiatives. I also get a stride in school, albeit the Ethics course material has been the most challenging. While it’s not the actual subject matter, but the quiz instruments that seem to be doing me in.
I’ve extensively chronicled my trip in October/November to Europe and what it did for me personally. I can honestly say it was life changing, in more ways than I can count. Coworkers attributed my new-found happiness to my time away from the office, but it was so much more than that (21k words, to be exact). I return home with a new perspective on life, love, and happiness.
I spend most of Thanksgiving in the quiet of my home with an amazing meal and Black Friday at the beach instead of the mall. I make a personal life decision two days prior, which was much needed given my new found perspective on life and love. However, two weeks later I have a different life-changing event as I’m no longer employed.
For many this would seem like a huge setback, however, I see it as an amazing opportunity to reset with my new goal of finding, “happiness,” in everything. An all-day yoga retreat validates this for me not 48 hours later and within one week of my termination, I have a new job offer at a bigger company with better pay. I never let worry take hold, although it tried to pop up a few times. Instead, I focused on my end goals and somehow stayed positive throughout the entire experience. My true friends from work were definitely by my side and in the 10 days that follow, I reconnect with truly amazing people from the past 10 years here in CFL. I have tremendous conversations and reach new plateaus with each and every one of them. I’m so thankful.
The newyear will be just that, in so many ways. I sincerely, honestly, truly hope it shapes out to be even half of what 2015 shared with me. I can’t wait to start my new job, complete my two years of school, make new friendships and relationships, and move ever closer to my goal of happiness in all things.
Thank you 2015. You were monumental.
2015, Best Year, New Year, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Pearl, Year of Music,