I vividly remember last December 31st. I spent the beginning of the day on a wild goose chase run around Boston taking selfies in front of landmarks like a fool in order to win some last-minute, NHL-Sponsored tickets to the Winter Classic. I was 20 minutes shy of the last prize (which probably was not tickets) and spent the rest of the day deciding whether or not I wanted to get dressed up and go out to ring in 2016. I remember being so excited for the new year to usher in the changes on the horizon. I was ready to leave 2015 behind, for no real reason in particular, and jump in to 2016 full-force, as a newly registered dietitian, freshly admitted graduate student, and chock full of a directed purpose for my next steps in life. It didn’t take long for life to voice its chaotic, demanding cry, straining me to figure out a balance between work, school, friends, family and my own sanity. Even though 2016, was, for most people I talk to, not winning any medals, it had its shiny moments. There’s nothing like reflecting on the past 12 months to remind you how fast time can move and how quickly we can forget the little wins. With the help of the photos stored on my phone, here are the highlights of my 2016, bulleted in memories.
- Started graduate school full time at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in the Nutrition Communication program
- Road tripped up to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine for a weekend of snow and fun with my new classmates
- Gave up drinking for a month (made it 3 weeks until I decided eliminating fun things from my life was not for me and re-adopted the moderation stance, as well as a new identity as a lightweight)
- Turned 24, got my hair blown out and went out to a fancy dinner + drinks with friends old and new.
- Celebrated my first Valentine’s day as someone’s real Valentine.
- Ran for student council co-chair and got elected.
- Went to the Boston Beer and Cheese festival and got entirely too drunk off of craft beer and fancy cheese (culminating in getting kicked out from one of my favorite pizza restaurants. I am still ashamed).
- Attended an Inside Tracker event and listened to Mike Wardian, Tawnee Prazak and Brogan Graham speak and felt all the running feels.
- Watched the Boston Marathon and had the first thought that “I could do this”
- Volunteered with Food for Free at their fundraising soup event to support and learn more about the community-based food rescue organization.
- Said an amicable goodbye to a short-lived relationship with a good guy.
- Started the blog A Balanced Pace.
- Thought I might have developed a dairy intolerance.
- Signed up to run the New York City Marathon in November, committing to raise $3,000 for Action for Healthy Kids
- Road-tripped to Burlington and Ran the Vermont City Marathon HALF as a relay with my roommate.
- Realized I probably didn’t have a dairy intolerance.
- Found my current running coach, Heather, after reading blogs and discovering her super refreshing perspective and advocacy for balance and health-focused training.
- Traveled back to Minnesota (after missing my flight in Chicago and bumming around, stranded, in the airport for 5 hours) for my best friend’s bachelorette weekend up north at a beautiful lake house.
- Finished my first full-time semester of graduate school a little too overwhelmed and decided to back down to part time.
- Stood beside my best friend as a bridesmaid while she married her then-fiance, now-hubby on our gorgeous hometown Lake Minnetonka.
- Went on a whirlwind drive from Minneapolis to Chicago, stopping in Madison and Kenosha to see friends and family.
- Organized and put on a flop of a fundraiser and learned lots of lessons about running for charity and effectively raising money.
- Hosted my mom, dad, grandma and aunt in Boston for the 4th of July. Did all the touristy things that you do in the city that hosted the first independence day ever.
- Decided to step down from my position as co-chair of student council for the coming year.
- Saw the Twins beat the Red Sox in Fenway with my aunt and cousins from Minnesota.
- Went on some of the hottest morning 2+ hour runs and felt like a badass.
- Went to the beach, laid in the sun, explored new restaurants in Boston and Cambridge with friends.
- Went to a COUNTRY concert at Gillette Stadium.
- Started working at Turnstyle.
- Chopped my hair into a short bob.
- Went on my last first Bumble date 🙂
- Got ordained and officiated the small, gorgeous wedding of my best friend from college and her hubby in Madison, Wisconsin.
- Visited Chicago and a few good friends – ate lots of good food.
- Went apple picking and went home with WAY too many apples – none of which were wasted.
- Started my second semester of graduate school.
- Volunteered at a local food festival in an “ask the expert” role, and fielded lots of interesting questions from a variety of folks in attendance.
- Attended my first FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo) as a fully-fledged Registered Dietitian, got blown away/weighed down with free food samples and educated on all sorts of nutrition topics.
- Strained my foot on my first bad long run and realized it was an issue that was going to need to be seriously addressed.
- Tried and failed to run the Boston Half Marathon.
- Bought new running shoes, did not run very much.
- Started water-jogging.
- Gave up drinking (by and large).
- Ran my first marathon, finished smiling, drank a cider, and started thinking about running another one someday.
- Voted in the presidential election.
- Cried about the presidential election.
- Cried with classmates, coworkers and friends about the presidential election.
- Traveled back to visit family in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving and realized family > politics.
- Went to my first badger football game as an alum, and rode the rollercoaster of watching Wisconsin almost lose to Minnesota (but jumped around and sang with pride in the 5th quarter when they didn’t)
- Went to an impromptu friendsgiving with beloved old friends in Madison.
- Started an internship working with the Tufts Athletics Department as their Sports Performance Nutritionist in a developing role.
- Finished my second semester of graduate school, almost thought I failed statistics but was happily incorrect about that fear.
- Realized that I’m ‘officially’ no longer single. Winky face.
Now onto the next year.
New Years Resolutions have become the guaranteed cliche headline undoubtedly already flooding your feeds and news outlet sidebars this week. Even though I could spend hours arguing that we should approach goal setting as an ongoing process, and that the last week of December does not have to be a farewell to all that is fun and exciting in life, there is something intoxicating about the first day of a new year and the allure of a fresh start. In reality, there are no fresh starts. Life moves along and forward with drudging certainty no matter what the calendar says. Real life is messy and there are no hard and fast boundary lines keeping all of the baggage of 2016 from seeping into the fresh new order of 2017. Moving forward and improving aspects of our lives is a process that happens day in and day out, but starting the year off with a few clear goals in mind can keep the good motion in motion. If this is the only time you remember to reflect on all you’ve accomplished and assess your status as the person you hope to be, I think setting a few goals in January to mark a new year is better than not setting any goals at all.
These are goals I’ve been working on and mulling over for months. January 1st does not signify the “start date” and December 31st is no “deadline”. These are goals that represent where I’m at on the 2017 year mark on the timeline of my life. These are not drastic goals. They don’t signify a major change in character or lifestyle. Some are more concrete than others. Many are simple additions that will bring me closer to that floaty dream of “the life I’ve always imagined”. All of them are feasible, and all of them make me smile.
- Continue to hone in on intuitive eating and nurture my own relationship with food and my body.
- Read BOOKS. My list is already about a mile long and growing by the day, so it’s about time I start chopping a few off. Most of them are focused on eating behavior, economics, and other nerdy topics, but I do have a few fictional recommendations in there and always welcome suggestions. I tried the whole Audible.com thing and really it just doesn’t do it for me. It’s too easy for me to zone out and realize I’m not listening, and I can’t just miss whole chunks of a book, that’s not cool. Must read words, that’s a need.
- Run Marathon #2: Faster. With my first 26.2 under my belt, there’s only one direction to go and that’s forward. Since I didn’t go into the first one with any sort of time goal, I feel like I can definitely push myself to prune up in race #2. I’m looking forward to the training, the strategizing, the running. More to come with my plans for this race, but I already have a few ideas brewing that will hopefully be solidifying very soon.
- Specialize in Eating Disorder Nutrition Therapy, starting with Marci Evan’s online course.
- Get involved in a charity, and stay involved. Particularly one that addresses fair access to health.
- Call distant friends weekly. It is way too easy for me to disconnect and be hard to reach. I want to make it a priority to stay in touch with those I care about even if they are far away.
- Post more recipes to the blog. Start a recipe index and make food more of a feature of A Balanced Pace!
What are your new year goals or resolutions? Do you believe in the power of fresh starts?