project 365

365. Lessons.

Obviously, I did not blog 365 times this year. I did rather well for much of the year, but then it just fell to the wayside during #yuppiequest and I didn’t bother to pick it back up when I got home.

No matter. I still wanted to do a bit of reflection.

2014 is/was a wash – not all bad, not all good. I’ve said more than once that I’ve been ready for this year to be over since Jan. 1.

And now here we are, a full year later. I’m not going to pretend I’m a million times wiser because, let’s be honest, there is so much more that I am still figuring out. That will always be the case. Still, this not-bad-not-good year had a few (probably cliché) lessons.

1. Everything in life is only for now. I got a fortune cookie last January that reminded me that all things have an end.

Treasure the laughter, the moments of singing the perfect song at the perfect moment in your car, the coincidences that bring a smile to your face. Deal with the heartache, the terror over a lack of guard rails on a two-lane highway on a cliff, the loneliness. Because this too shall pass and tomorrow is another day (channeling my inner Scarlett O’Hara).

2. If it’s not a right fit, then it’s not a right fit. My graduation shoes are the cutest pair of shoes I own. They have this fantastic black-and-white floral print. They are also magnificently painful after standing in them for more than an hour.

Despite knowing that I should never wear these shoes again, they still sit in my closet and I break them out every once in a while, thinking that maybe this time, it will be different.

Note to self: It’s never going to be different. You drank a lot of Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks the last time it wasn’t any different to numb the pain.

This lesson goes for shoes, people, jobs and basically everything.

3. Opportunity comes in unexpected ways. You never know how making the incredibly tough decision to leave your job and go off on a month-long trip around the country will include grabbing lunch in a city you don’t live in with someone you used to work with, and how that will lead to you meeting someone else, who will in turn recruit you for a new job you didn’t even know you wanted but will find you actually really enjoy.

I mean, it doesn’t ALWAYS happen, but it does, indeed, happen.

4. Above all, family. I saw my parents and my brother for three periods of time in 2014. I also spent time with several extended family members at reunion-esque events for the first time in years. While I’ve always had an inkling that this may not be enough, now I am certain it is not enough.

And for the first time ever, I was not home for Christmas. That came about for a myriad of reasons, but it was the end result.

Maybe it’s time for me to seriously consider how to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

I don’t know what that will entail, but I suppose that’s what 2015 is for.

Happy New Year, friends.

project 365

287. Rain.

Tuesday was the beginning of the coastal driving part of #yuppiequest. Per the suggestion of friend Suzi and her partner, I ended up driving along the Umpqua River before hitting the Oregon coast. I then took the coast all the way down to Trinidad, where friend (and former professor of mine) Deidre lives.

And all it did was RAIN the entire time.

There’s some saying that goes, “Do one thing a day that scares you.” Well, driving down a coast in the pouring rain scares the crap out of me.

But eventually, I made it. I was welcomed to Trinidad with much less rain and a night filled with wine, a magical waffle cone filled with meat and talking with Deidre about life and journalism and leaning out/in and Spam. I couldn’t connect to the Internet, but being off the grid was absolutely worth it.

project 365

286. Office.

I am so behind on posts right now, partially due to laziness when I had Internet access and partially due to not having Internet at all.

So, on Monday, after a brief Portland morning stint that involved buying Voodoo Doughnuts and touring airbnb’s office, I drove to Eugene, where I caught up with friend Taylor downtown, visited the University of Oregon campus, had a tarot card reading done on said campus and spent the night at friend Suzi’s house, where food was eaten, laundry was done and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was watched.

Still, the most memorable moment happened while I was eating pizza after Taylor had to leave for court. A girl — damn, I can’t remember her name now, but she was very nice and had just moved to Eugene from Sacramento — invited me to sit down at her table because the one I was originally at appeared to be by a heater. We chatted a bit before another girl sat down at the table I was originally at.

Girl 2 remarked on the heat, then started offering us some unsolicited advice about how to get the job you want. She was a journalist, she told us, and her writing was noticed by an editor at the local alt weekly. That had landed her the job she was still in, and this allowed her words to influence her readers.

Now, mind you, I hadn’t said a word about what I personally do for a living. I just nodded and let her keep talking.

When she finished her lunch, she got up to walk away, but paused next to my table and said:

You know what the best part about being a journalist is? I don’t have an office. *waves her arms around to gesture at the world around her* This is my office.

Talk about an on point conversation.

I still have no idea who this girl is, though I did pick up a copy of the weekly and plan on googling the contributing writers’ names. Journalism!

project 365

285. Road.

I’m going to attempt to get back on the posting bandwagon by getting something done about yesterday this morning and actually writing something up tonight.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the road trip chapter of #yuppiequest. I bid farewell to friend Adam and picked up my rental car at the airport, where the man working at the desk asked me how often I did this kind of thing by myself and didn’t I want to watch the Seahawks game before I left (answers: almost never and not in the least).

I then hit the road, and it was a nice and easy drive southward to Oregon. First stop was at the magical land known as Powell’s. Then met up with friend Marin, who I stayed with for the evening, and went to Rogue for beer and food.

Stops for the night after Portland are as follows: Eugene, Trinidad, Westport, Bay Area (staying in Berkeley with friend Suzanne, but will likely venture around), Grover Beach, L.A. (more venturing) and San Diego. Will check out many other things along the way.

Because I grew up in the ’90s, this is the first song that pops into my head when it comes to road trips:

project 365

281. Knitting.

Took the ferry to Bainbridge Island today (gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous), where I ended up wandering into a random knitting store, talking with some of the employees and deciding that, obviously, what I need to do on this trip to ease my brain is knit.

I’ve decided to make a cowl, as inspired by the fabulous ones worn by Caitriona Balfe in Outlander.

We’ll see how far I actually get on this project, since I do exactly what Liz Lemon does, according to Jack Donaghy: every two years, I take it up for a week.

Other highlights: hung out with friend Sean from college. We grabbed dinner and ice cream and beers and wandered around the Capitol Hill neighborhood, since I will obviously never get away from neighborhoods named as such.

project 365

277. Wedding.

Late post No. 2:

Went to the wedding of friends Vanna and Jake, which acted as a mini high school and college reunion. Thought I was going to hold it together, but the minute Jake started saying his vows, the tears welled up. Friend Lauren noticed, handed the tissues backward and friend Mark, without even looking to see who needed them, just sent them my way.

It’s weird wrapping my head around Vanna — the girl I passed notes with when I was 14 and sent a million emails to and spent far too many hours on the phone with — being married to Jake — the guy who I met at my 18th birthday party and played cards with while sitting in a completely bare living room and debated the finer points of politics and economics with. But as weird as it is, it’s also right.

Seeing my friends was bittersweet. These moments together don’t happen very often, and I realized that the next time we all might be in one place again is when someone else gets married.

I guess this is what growing up is.

project 365

276. Home.

Ahhhhhhhh I’m so behind on posts.

For Friday: was Dad’s birthday. Had lunch with friends Courtland and Gianna. Spent some time with my family and their friends. Picked Lauder up from the airport.

Even though it doesn’t happen very often, still felt like home.