Happy New Year!
I’m opting out of my usual “Food History” post this week.
Instead, we’re going to have a little Erin history.
I’d like to share some personal thoughts in lieu of the New Year. I’m reflecting upon the most exciting one of my life so far, 2014 – and the years leading up to it. And, what my New Years resolution will be for 2015.
So, what can I say. . .
Clearly, I got married this year, so that’s been the biggest event for me. We’ve been together since 2009.
Just a few short days ago, I met up with someone from my past who had reached out to me to make amends. It was a healthy and highly beneficial conversation, and it lead me to think about the past few years, and wonder about what the next few will bring.
In 2009, I went through some difficult times right before meeting my now husband, including but not limited to a break up and getting laid off for the first time. I wasn’t really writing a lot.
The husband and I started dating in July of this year. Neither of us were looking for a serious relationship at the time, but we hit it off right from the beginning. We decided to be together, and haven’t stopped since. Life started to look up.
Just a few days into the new year I started working at a farmers market, where I met my boss and still good friend/mentor. He allowed me to take the reigns over the market newsletter, and I was introduced to food writing for the first time. Writing for the newsletter taught me so much about agriculture and the farming world, but I was starting to get interested in broadening my food writing to more than just farmers.
In my personal life, the husband/boyfriend-at-the-time and I moved in together in April. Also in April, we took our first vacation together, to Arizona and Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, we – on the first day the activity opened – jumped off the Stratosphere tower in a controlled free fall “Sky Jump.” I was terrified. It was amazing.
In October of this year I got my first “real” writing job for a local classified ads company. I edited articles that were currently on their website, and created news ones. For example, one of their biggest categories was used car ads, so I wrote articles on how to go about buying a used car, I studied car reports on Consumer Reports, etc. Some of what I wrote was interesting, but a lot was quite boring, sort of like writing stereo instructions. But, I was writing, a lot, and learning new things about areas I otherwise wouldn’t have studied.
I also write a novella. It was a novella, because I had a story idea I wanted to run with and I didn’t want to worry about a word count or a market to reach out to or a contest to submit it to – I just wanted to get the story down, for me, hence the awkward length in between a short story and a novel. But, I did it and I still love that story.
I decided to finally take the leap and write an entire novel. I read and followed day by day for three months Alan Watt’s The 90 Day Novel. Before getting into the novel itself, I did the research I felt was needed for my story, and followed the writing exercises in Watt’s book to get to know my characters as thoroughly as possible.
I wrote the first draft from March through June. Then, I proceeded to get stuck in an endless series of editing and perfecting and worrying and getting second readers – no one has read it in its entirety yet – and have only recently finally begun to get it together, two years later.
In July, the husband/boyfriend-at-the-time and I took a weekend vacation to Vermont for our three year anniversary. We stayed at a bed and breakfast/farm and visited the Magic Hat Factory. He proposed to me by a pond on the B&B’s property, with two golden retrievers and a very well endowed bull present.
In March, I got called for jury duty. I loved it loved it loved it. The case was interesting, I liked my fellow jurors, I liked how the police and security guards got to know who I was, and I liked the break from my normal routine, especially not being on a computer all day. (And, I [still] don’t have smartphone, so I was really cut off.)
In April, I officially started my blog, with the help of my husband/fiance-at-the-time. No matter what was going on in my life or what other writing I was working on, I made it a point to blog consistently. It almost didn’t matter how low my numbers were or if anyone was reading other than my mom – I was writing. And learning, a lot. I knew if I persisted it would end up paying off.
In the summer and going into the fall I took three classes, after not having had any schooling since graduating college in 2007. I took How to Write and Sell Your Book, Food Writing, and Play Writing for Adults. My writing tools and experiences expanded, but I still couldn’t let go of my novel.
The husband/fiance-at-the-time and I got a serious jump on wedding plans this year, nailing down the vendors and making all the decisions one by one. On the one hand, the long engagement allowed us to take our time – and I wouldn’t have done it differently. But on the other hand, the wedding planning dragged on and on and on and on.
Wedding plans got even more serious and involved. A lot of it was fun. Some of it was less so.
My website numbers slowly started to go up. I got approached for the first time from someone wanting to advertise on the site.
In May going into June, the husband/fiance-at-the-time and I began taking scuba diving lessons with the hope of diving on our honeymoon. Our honeymoon plans, like the wedding plans, were becoming more and more real. We were going to San Francisco, San Diego, and Las Vegas, in that order, with the scuba diving in San Diego.
I threw everything in me into scuba diving. Like the sky jump, I saw it as something very scary but very rewarding that I wanted to accomplish. The husband/fiance-at-the-time and I took lessons in a pool once a week, and then in June we completed the final process of the certification: four dives in two days in a real body of water, Lake George. It was exhausting and exhilarating.
In late July, my best “online friend” of 16 years who lives across the country from me flew in for my wedding and we were able to meet in person for the very first time. It ranks up there with the sky jump as one of the most exciting things to happen to me.
The second day of August was my wedding day. Two days beforehand, I had begun to get so nervous and stressed out I knew I was beginning to get sick. Although I was calm and relaxed on the Big Day, the physical toll on my body from everything was still hiding inside.
On the plane en route to San Francisco for our honeymoon, I realized I had bronchitis. I usually get it out about once a year, and I know the symptoms well. Most importantly, this meant I was going to be unable to scuba dive, after all that money spent on the certification, all the time and effort, all of the honeymoon plans essentially revolving around the scuba diving.
I managed to stay in good spirits and after getting medication from an urgent care was able to forge on with the rest of the honeymoon plans. We visited Alcatraz in San Francisco, Sea World and the San Diego Zoo in San Diego, and ate at our favorite Las Vegas restaurant from our first visit in Vegas: The Top of the World.
In Vegas, I got my first tattoo. People reading this who know me probably don’t know that, because I haven’t really told that many people. It’s something I’d thought about for a long time and had been planning on doing for my 30th birthday, but I jumped the gun, doing it a couple weeks before my 29th birthday. It’s fairly small – it’s two leaves overlapping each other on my right hip.
Right after the honeymoon, the husband/for-real-my-husband-now and I moved into a new apartment – our third place together – to start our marriage in a new, bigger and better place. Also shortly after getting married, I got my second “real” writing job, albeit a freelancing, non-permanent one, and I wrote two articles for a local newspaper.
And now, here we are, the first day of 2015.
My New Years Resolution? You might think it’d be to get my novel published, and you’d be partially right. But I have an even simpler goal: to start journaling again.
I used to religiously journal for years, and in the midst of life and things getting in the way, it’s faded out. My resolution is to turn that back around.
Journaling is not only therapeutic and will help my writing skills, but it’s also been known to significantly help with memory retention – something I may need as I turn 30 this year!