I distinctly remember the weekend before New Year’s last year as 2013 came to a close. We decided to do something outside of the typical New Year’s Eve shenanigans and went camping at El Cap. Kelsey brought six pounds of fresh fish that her dad and brother had caught in Mexico and we stuffed ourselves with fresh sushi as we sat around the campfire and stared at the stars and listened to reggae. The next day we woke up to the sound of the ocean, sat on a bluff for a bit with coconut waters, and the ocean was so clear we could see sand sharks swimming below us. This was followed by a yoga sesh in the sunshine overlooking the water, headstands at the beach, and surfing. To cap off the weekend, we drove back to Hendry’s Beach in Santa Barbara, watched the sunset on the beach with hot mugs of kava tea and someone strumming on the ukulele in the background.
I vividly remember looking at the sunset with these incredible girls, thinking how glorious these moments were. We had sat on the beach and talked about our prospective ideas for the upcoming year and all the ways that we would make it amazing. And before the year came to a close, we promised each other that we would make 2014 an awesome year filled with adventures.
The year has flown by, and although miles apart from the girls at The Toasty Avocados, I know that we all have fulfilled our promises. From climbing mountains to starting crossfit to starting businesses, I can honestly say I’m proud of these girls and feel so lucky to have them in my life. We made 2014 pretty badass.
Now, as December comes to a close again, we come to a time to reflect on the past year - on what we're proud of and what we can change. To hopefully help steer us in a positive direction as we enter into the next year, the next chapter of our stories.
And I start to think about what I am proud of, of what I consider to be well-lived, of what I will look back on in 50 years and say, Yes, that was a good use of my time.
And when I start to think about it, the moments that stand out are experiences. Moments that were explored, savored, times that were spent with family and friends, adventures that peaked and satisfied curiosity.
When I think back on the moments in the past year that I'm proud of, I think back on watching my brother walk down the isle to marry his love. I think about wondering whether I could do an ironman and then 8 months and more than 500 hours of training later, that moment of crossing the finish line. I think of spontaneously going to Nicaragua for a girls trip of yoga, surf, cocktails and hammocks, fresh lobster while watching lightening storms over the ocean, and awesome hikes...
I think about celebrating my quarter-century birthday (wuddup 25!) with some of my closest friends on a giant inflatable raft in the ocean with nothing but laughter and beers and sunshine. I think about the weekend of hiking through Yosemite and conquering Half Dome followed by a Jack Johnson concert at the SB Bowl (holla, Ronnie!). I think about that moment when Kelsey asked if I wanted to do another marathon - which was two weeks after my Ironman - and thinking how it would hurt but you know, yolo and all, and coming home with a PR and Boston Marathon qualifying time...
I think about starting a blog with some of the coolest ladies I know. I think about adventures in Amsterdam and Barcelona. And—the real kicker--I think about the decision to make a change in my life, to quit my corporate job to buy a one-way ticket to a Spanish island and live the life I imagined.
I think about the past week - of eating amazing food in Bologna, going to Rome and visiting the Vatican on Christmas Eve and hearing the Pope speak, of traveling to Venice, the place my dad proposed to my mom--on a Gondola. (P.s. Props on that one Dad!)
And as I write this, typing away on my little iPhone, I'm sitting in Berlin with the snow falling outside.
Not too shabby for a year, I’d say.
My mom always told me as a kid, "Don't say 'I can't.' You can." Even as a child, this largely shaped how I viewed, and now view, the world. I grew up believing that what you want to do is possible, you just have to set your mind to it and do it.
So growing up, I didn’t have a choice to settle for "can't."
Now as an adult, I still feel the same way. If you want to do an ironman, you can. Yes, it will take a hell of a lot of work, but damn is it worth it. Want to travel? A new adventure is literally a plane ticket away. Not happy with where you are in life? Change it.
I recently heard the following quote: “You know those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.” It struck me because it’s so simple. If you want to do something, go do it. It’s at your fingertips. It’s just a matter of your mindset.
If you don’t have a clue where you’re going or what you want to do with your life, relax. Tranquila. Accept the fact that it's okay not to know what you want to do. Start with what you do know. Want to do your first 5k run? Always wanted to skydive? Never had time to get scuba certified? All those things you wanted to do? Go do them.
For some people (like me), it takes time to figure out the big-life stuff. So start with what you know. It doesn't have to be some grandiose life goal. It could be as simple as, I want to learn to play guitar. I’ve always wanted to slackline. I want to travel more. Make a list --something concrete that you can go back to in a year and see what you accomplished.
And most of all, enjoy the process. Allow yourself the luxury to fail once in a while. Appreciate the moments when you don't. And never say the words, 'I can't.' You can.
So this next year, let's create a life we can be proud of come December of next year. Stay curious, savor, explore, accept fear and venture out of your comfort zone more, love, and don't forget to be grateful for it all.
Cheers to 2015 – let’s make it a good one. Happy New Year, everyone!