2019 Recap

As the year draws to a close, I want to reflect on some of my accomplishments this year. My coach sent over a couple questions to help frame my thoughts.

What caused me to grow?

Of all the questions in this post, this is the one I’ve found hardest. It’s the first question, yet I’ve answered it last. I worry that I didn’t grow enough this year. My brain feels… slower. It’s frustrating.

Overall, I’d say the two skills I grew the most this year are writing, and decision making. I’ve been doing a lot of copyediting of posts at work, and trying to write as often as I have something to say. I’ve gotten more confident about making decisions, and stepping back and see the entire picture to help move something forward, instead of having a snap reaction.

What am I most proud of?

I proposed last summer during my sabbatical, and spent this year planning my wedding. My (now) spouse is generally the planner, but I took on a lot of responsibilities when it came to moving items forward, and y’know what? Our wedding freaking rocked. It was super fun, our friends and family were there to celebrate, the good was great, my band played… And I got married! Probably the most important part of the wedding!

Photos by ​Tim Correira Photography

I also painted like, 35 little watercolors for guests in the two weeks proceeding, and not only did I bust ’em out, but they looked really nice. I was really worried I’d taken on too much and I’d flake out and fail, but I pushed through and got them all done. Good job me!

Where did I make progress?

I spent a lot of time on music this year, continuing to learn drums, and picking up bass at the beginning of the year. I played both at this year’s Automattic Grand Meetup, which felt super badass.

I’ve also been working with a trainer, and this year we went really hard into weightlifting, which I’ve been loving the hell out of. Picking things up and putting them back down again is very satisfying. Hoping I can get up to 200lbs+ next year.

I also made some pretty good art this year:

What was missing from my life?

Time! This year went by so quickly, and with both wedding planning and work travel, I feel like I lost a couple months.

I’d also say “focus,” but let’s be honest — that’s always missing.

Whom did I help?

Like last year, I volunteered at GRCB this summer. I spent the morning teaching drums to kids, then did “site crew” in the afternoon, which mostly meant setting up, and being available during, the workshops we run throughout camp. Watching a bunch of kids learn how to play drums, and then perform on stage, all in one week? Priceless.

I’ve also continued to volunteer for Ragtag and Tech for Campaigns, where I worked on several websites and ad campaigns throughout the year. Most recently, I worked on helpfloridaregister.org, which uses the new Twenty Twenty theme, Gutenberg, and WPML!

What am I most grateful for?

Um, obviously my fantastic spouse, Kelly. She’s my partner in all things, and is always there for me. She brings stability and structure to my life.

Additionally, as someone who grew up poor, financial stability is always at the top of my mind. Because we started saving for the wedding a couple years ago, it didn’t put us as far back as I’d worried it would. Despite paying a lot of money for a Big Thing, we’re still in a good place. And, I have enough extra money to pay for activities that increase my mental and physical health, like drum lessons and a trainer. I’m incredibly thankful for my salary and benefits that keep me financial, and less worried about healthcare than many fellow Americans.

I also live in a great city, where I have easy access to fresh, nutritious food. We have tons of farmers markets where I can pick up produce from local farms, and I usually have the time to cook for us as well. I ate a lot of Hamburger Helper growing up. Like, a lot. Being able to acquire and cook fresh food is a luxury I appreciate the hell out of.

What was the most fun?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up my wedding again. The ceremony, the reception, it was all perfect. Afterwards, Kelly and I went out with a bunch of friends and continued having a blast, then got to go home together and crash for a couple days to recuperate before heading to WordCamp US the next week.

One of the most consistent sources of fun in my life has been my band, Peachfuzz. We played three gigs this year at the Midway, Union Tavern, and Warehouse XI (for my wedding!), and practiced as often as we could, sometimes as often as every week. We had some bandmates cycle in and out, but the love remained.

Playing in a band and practicing with people regularly has made me a much better drummer. I can’t wait for us to start recording our first album early next year.

Thank you Georgia, Nadya, Carolyn, Jenny, Darby, Peat, and all of our Peachfriends!

What advice would I give myself for 2020?

I’ve gotten pretty comfortable — I think I need to push myself more out of my comfort zone and try new things. We might move to Philly next year, which is going to be a very uncomfortable experience, since I’ve lived in Massachusetts for over a decade. Moving out of state is a huge change. I need to lean into that discomfort and fear of change, and let it motivate me.

Routine and habit building must continue to be a priority for me, one step at a time. I need to hold myself accountable for this, especially if we move, because I’ll need to start building new habits based on new locations.

Also, you know, all of this.

Here’s to 2020!

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3 thoughts on “2019 Recap

  1. Mel, you are no longer the young girl I met…..at well. You’re all grown, wise beyond your years, fun and funny, and very accomplished in so many ways. Cheers to you and Kelly, and a happy healthy new year!

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