New Year, New(ish) Me

Happy (really, really late) New Year! After a busy start to the new year, I finally have time to sit down and write one of those fancy schmancy year in review posts – kind of like the one I started this blog with. 2009 was a tough year for myself and most everyone I know. But it was the year that saw me actually become comfortable in my skin and in who I am – which is a great place to end up, no matter how tough the path. For the first time in the long time, I can look in the mirror at any point and know that I am, to quote one of the SNL geniuses, good enough, smart enough, and, doggoneit, people like me.

Ok so no promotion as such this year like I hoped, but, you know what, that is fine by me. Because I found out that this job is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Last year alone I’ve launched and expanded
an online tool-kit all about the legislative process; wrote countless (ok I could count them but there would be a lot) issue summaries about different bills; tracked and reported on the healthcare reform debate; met with the staffs of many members of Congress; got a resolution passed by unanimous consent in both Houses; blogged two times a week; and wrote many columns for our monthly magazine. I really don’t think that I could handle a promotion right now without serious detriment to the rest of my life.

This year is bringing awesome new challenges so far in that I’m being pushed to think strategically as I set my goals for the year. To give you a better idea of why this is a challenge, let me tell you about my 12th grade AP English teacher. In one of my one-on-one editing sessions with her, she looked up from my paper and says “Do you know the saying ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’? Well, I believe that there are forest people, those that can only see the big picture, and there are tree people, those who can only see discrete details. You are definitely a tree person.” And I am. I’m very good about thinking about individual projects and how to get from point A to point B. However, the minute you ask me why we’re going from point A to point B and how that journey intersects with the journey from point C to point D, I will look at you like you’re from Mars.

So any tips on how to set strategic, big picture goals would be helpful.

Last year I was worried about losing touch with my awesome Raleigh friends, and indeed, that is one of my big regrets of 2009. I visited with some of them multiple times, either in Raleigh or when they visited me in DC. I chatted with some of them on g-chat. But, by and large, I failed to keep in touch in any meaningful way. And some I didn’t keep in touch with at all.

DC friends are a different story. There are weeks where I do not get home before 9 every night because there are so many people to see and so many things to do. Each of my DC friends is awesome in their own way. I have friends in politics and agencies; friends who are actors and actresses; friends who are lawyers; friends who are teachers. I have friends who I can call and party with any night of the week and friends I can call up and have over for a laid back meal at home. I have friends who have the same passion for good food and trying new restaurants that I do. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to hang out with.

There were some surprises in friend-land this year. One of my good friends from high school became one of my best friends through almost daily, late night conversations about the state of affairs in our lives. I say this is surprising because he is married with 2 kids (his wife is a nurse who sometimes works the night shift, so he wasn’t being neglectful – no worries) and I am most decidedly not. With other friends, I have found once they’ve made that shift into married-land, much less married with kids, the connection is lessened and the friendship falters. But apparently this is not always the case.

Ahhh love. The eternal frustration. Let’s just say things got complicated. I hurt someone who did not deserve it. Breaking up sucks. Period. But, at the end of the day, I’m 26. I’m not going to stay in something where I can’t see the future for it because, well, I want to get married…eventually. So, the eternal optimist and the romantic in me has reared it’s head for 2010. Who knows what will happen.

All I can say here is “Yes, please.” I have trips to San Antonio and Denver planned, both for weddings. I have plans to go to the beach with my family and, potentially, an intriguing sounding event called the “Pirate Party” in North Carolina. But, I want more. I’ve been toying with the idea of a trip to Belgium. Now let’s see if I can convince people to go with me.


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