Reflections on 2011: Everyday Adventures

I made a bet earlier in 2011 with a friend that whoever ended the year with the best story of some personal adventure would win a bottle of Champagne for the New Year at the loser’s expense. She won hands down with a story that involved a mechanical bull. =P

After an unbelievable three years traveling, 2011 seemed disappointingly quiet for me at first. No world wandering, toasts in a foreign language, nor bucket list items marked complete. Just lots of quiet moments for serious reflection. As I took stock of my seemingly uneventful past year, I remembered the original intent behind my wager…to inspire my friend to embrace every adventure that life brings us.

From this perspective, perhaps I’ve overlooked some of my most meaningful moments. Though some of what I’ll share may be lost as an inside joke, I’d venture you’ll find similar meaning from your past year:

We are Family. I got to see another year with my nephews and be proud of the upstanding, thoughtful, young men they will surely become. I was reunited with family I haven’t seen in more than 10 years. I spent my Aunt’s 70th birthday with her and saw her celebrate more than 50 years of wedded bliss to my beloved Uncle. I welcomed family home, safe from harm’s way after serving abroad.

Welcome to the Land That I Love

Land That I Love. I welcomed dear friends who just emigrated to the U.S. and finally had a chance to return some of the kindness, hospitality, and friendship they’ve shown me over the years. I hope that they fully experience the compassion, generosity, and hopeful spirit of the American people. My wish is for understanding that the actions of the few do not always reflect the will of the many and that we are not yet done, that we still aspire to be more, to do better.

I Am Developer

I am Developer. We are Legion. Code is my art and the applications you use are my masterpieces. Out of zeroes and ones I create beauty and utility. There is no aspect of your life that has not been touched by a Developer. From the traffic light that keeps you safe, to the scanner that rings up your groceries, to the GPS that brings you back home, all are made possible by some Developer. Yep, that includes Angry Birds and Facebook. Recognize. I got to meet and be inspired by some fellow kick ass Developers and driven Entrepreneurs. Supported by a great team–shoutout to EDP and X–I gave my first (and second) public tech talk. Hackathons, conferences, and tech meet ups galore. The geek shall inherit the earth.

Quotes From Kids

Learning Through the Wisdom of Others. I helped my friend, WB, double Quotationals for the third year in a row. Now up to three SoCal school districts and inquiries from schools abroad, I am proud to be part of this movement. My hope and faith are renewed by the honesty, passion, and voices of our young people. Words have the power to move, to challenge, to inspire change. Spend an afternoon with Neruda, Rumi, and Khalil Gibran and you will forever be transformed.

My doctor says I need a backiotomy (from Half-Baked). I was humbled by my friends’ support through my frequent visits to the hospital and the ensuing recovery. When I needed them most, my brothers were there for me, even miles away with a phone call or vid chat. Dear friends from the Netherlands sent me daily photos to cheer me up as I lay healing. My friend, AV, made sure I stayed fed. My play cousins, RC and SY, checked in on me frequently to make sure I hadn’t gone insane from boredom. Many of us live our lives determined to manage on our own. Rarely do we have the occasion to discover, learn, and be reminded that our journey is so much more meaningful when we have company.

LMFAO. I laughed…a lot…with my bro, LR.

Rebirth of Slick. I met my good friends and gurus of style, Franco and Angelina. I also discovered other great designers like: Hlaska, Peasants & Travelers, Waterfield, and Aymara Designers. You don’t need an occasion to dress up or treat yourself to something nice. You don’t need a why. Doing something for yourself is reason enough. I’m all for comfort and casual, but the spring in your step, the loft of your chest, and the confidence in your smile is undeniably more profound when you look good.

Serge 54R to 48R

…and oh yeah…I lost 65 lbs in 6 months (and counting). All nutrition and no working out (’cause of the back). That earlier photo with the pink Hermes faconnee tie? That was just in October. Since then I’ve lost mad weight. The photo just above was me putting on my old suit jacket. I could take each side and fold it over the other. From a 54R to a 48R and dropping. I kid you not, I’m flipping clothes every two weeks. Even that sweater I’m wearing is huge on me. I am blessed to be surrounded by an incredible team of doctors and health professionals, and to have the support of friends and family. Check back in April to learn more about this journey.

Meaningful experiences need not be some grandiose affair. Opportunities exist everywhere we look. Find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Upon final consideration, I’d say I had quite the adventure this past year. Perhaps I should ask for a recount. 😉

I don’t bother with New Year resolutions. Invariably, they get lost in the daily grind and only make you feel bad as you consider goals unfulfilled at the end of the year. So I end the year, not with resolutions, but gratitude for everything the past year has brought and an affirmation of the words I try to live by:

Be thankful.
Give back.
Make meaning.
Inspire good.
Smile. Laugh. A lot.
Love fearlessly.
Try again.
Do better.
Let go.
Make Mom and Dad proud.

Here’s to a 2012 that proves to be just as adventurous.

p.s. @AC: Come claim your prize, woman. I’ve got a great bottle of Heidsieck or Billecart-Salmon with your name on it.