For Home. For Peace. Happy 2014.

It’s New Year’s Day. Unlike last year, fortunate enough to have my friend Caroline by my side in Brooklyn as we sang our hearts to Coldplay and Jay-Z, this year she’s back home in France. And I’m sitting at home alone on New Year’s Eve.

In a way, that is okay. Going out for New Year’s is way overpriced to begin with. I did not have the money during my early 20s to afford a New Year’s Eve party; in fact most of my NYE nights then were actually working in restaurants myself for the extra cash. Now, while that is no longer an issue to even experience a typical NYE party once on the town, the other issue I’ve run into is lack of company. Simply put, all of my friends are coupled up and/or out of town. That’s the situation I just find myself in this year. With how busy I’ve been lately though, that gives me some much needed time to reflect on the year gone by and what I have to look forward to both on and off the pavement.

First, 2013 in a nutshell. How did I do with the resolutions that I made last year?

Let’s review them, shall we? Exactly as I stated them last year:

1 Manage school more effectively
2 More ambitious training schedule which includes weightlifting and strength training
3 Focused relationships
4 Continued communication with family

One by one now:

1 Manage school more effectively

Check. If you had to talk about school in of itself, I’ve done very well in this regard. I’m set to graduate in the top 10% if not higher in my graduating class. All this while getting another solid review of my work performance and just trucking along there.

Looking forward I have to deal with capstone. Right now, I have a great group to look forward to working with more, although considering how beat down I am, I’m not looking forward to the workload. The learning, yes, the strategy, yes, the banter with teammates, yes, but from what I’ve heard, this semester could get ugly. I’m just praying I don’t get sick again from the stress and wind up in the hospital like I did fall 2012. That simply can’t happen again.

2 More ambitious training schedule which includes weightlifting and strength training

Check…and check-plus. This resulted in a PR (admittedly out of nowhere given how questionable my ankles were going into the race) and now the ability to somehow truck through and recover through my marathon training regiment despite injury.

I’m finding that even when I’ve stepped too far with my running, my strength training has been key for getting myself back on track, a partial component, but a key component nonetheless. And over time, I’ve been able to find some structure with what I need to focus on.

I still haven’t put enough time into hills and sprints, and this is something that I can continue to work on in 2014.

3 Focused relationships

Don’t think I can check this one off, or at least not to my satisfaction. School continues to eat away at my time, severely limiting time with friends, and making it nigh impossible to get into, let alone stay, in a relationship. I had tried getting back into online dating but nearly every guy that contacted me had objected to the fact I was working full-time and studying part-time.

Aside from that, I was able to see my friend Caroline for a few days in NYC and spent time in the Hamptons camping (hah, it’s too expensive for actual lodging!) and hitting the shore. I tried through graduate school to meet other students and that has gotten off to a strong start last semester but with everyone’s busy schedules, also combined with the fact that many have their own partners, makes it very difficult.

Needless to say, this will be something to check off in 2014.

4 Continued communication with family

Not only can I not check this one off, but I almost have to wonder if I can ever handle certain topics with my family again. My lifestyle – being single and having the career focus and hobbies I do (travel, running/fitness) – is considered generally objectionable, and especially when compared with my peers from the small town I had grown up in.

Christmas vacation was particularly notable for my mother raging at me for training for the Walt Disney marathon through the holidays, however I tried to ensure family functions or time was not disrupted. I knocked out my runs very early in the morning or when she had been at work, but it wouldn’t help.

Short of getting married I’m not sure what I can do at this point to make any inroads on this. It doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying but I am running out of options.

New goals? In addition to the above.

Fitness wise, I am looking at the possibility of becoming a spin instructor. This would help me change up my fitness routine and goals a bit. As it becomes increasingly unlikely I’ll be running a full marathon again, this is definitely something to consider if I am done for good with 26.2 after WDW. Maybe one more? Who knows.

With respect to running itself, I would like to continue working on my half marathon time. I do not expect to PR should I continue to do the LOVE RUN in Philly in March, but I am looking at the Hershey Half and the Philly Half again in fall 2014.

On a career-related note, I am looking at a few independent consulting projects or small projects to further expand on my skills. There’s also a pro bono consulting organization from my alma mater, called PennPAC, which will also allow me to expand my skills and that I could also use to network with others.

Aside from everything else, I also now, with more time, want to expand on the things that I am cooking at home. I want to work on Spanish dishes in particular and armed with a new knife set, fondue set, and a few other things from the holiday, I will have the time to tackle some tougher recipes once I am finished school.

So there you have it:

1 Continue making and building relationships
2 Make progress towards getting a certified spin instructor certification
3 Improve my half marathon time
4 Independent consulting or PennPAC
5 Varied culinary skills

..and…just maybe…

6 Improving family relationships. Well I haven’t given up yet.

What are your goals for the new year?


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