New Year. Same Me.
My only resolution for 2015 was to do anything and everything. It was a “Yes Man” year to catch up on living after being on the conveyor belt of life for the last 23 years. The best parts of it go like this:
- Flying to Seattle and road tripping through Portland, the Redwoods, San Francisco, and Big Sur all the way to LA with my best friend Jessie. Driving through a redwood tree, camping and making new friends, and paddle boarding with sea lions along the way.
- Snowmobiling across frozen Lake Superior to the Grand Island ice caves with my dad.
- Canoeing, exploring and eating cheese curds in the Northwoods of Wisconsin
- Sailing on the most amazing freshwater Lake Superior
- Road tripping to Yosemite to camp and hike Nevada Falls, Glacier Point, and swim in the valley.
- Experiencing the inaugural Eaux Claires and watching all my favorite musicians perform
- Road tripping with my brother from LA to Marquette with stops at Zion, Lake Powell, Arches, Boulder, Mount Rushmore, and Minneapolis
- Jumping out of an airplane with my best friend Bugsy
- Flying the tiniest airplane I’ve ever seen on a fall colors tour above my favorite city
From these epic days of living in the present, you’d think I’d have some answers for 2016. Nope. I’m wandering around with just as many question marks in my brain as I was a year ago — actually more. But I’m incredibly grateful for the year of 2015 because I gained some amazing life experience and learned a few things in the end. From that, I have settled on a few things I want to focus on going into the new year.
Road trip more often
Good things always come from a new adventure. Meeting new people, seeing new places, exploring new corners of your brain after being in a car for over 5 hours and singing to all the guilty pleasures.
One of the biggest things I learned during my first post-grad year is to be more assertive. Never apologize or disclaim your ideas — it displays weakness/inexperience. So stop that. Your ideas are valid, give them the voice they deserve.
Ask more questions
Along with being more assertive, its important to stay curious and eager and willing to ask questions. The dumb questions, the obvious questions, the confusing questions, any of them. Keep learning and problem solving.
Stop saying the right things
A huge challenge for me is speaking my mind. I have a large mentality to stay silent until I have the “right” answer or the “right” thing to say. I had never noticed until recently how much this is holding me back. After all who am I to decide right or wrong? Overthink less, speak up more.
Keep taking risks
Some of the best things of 2015 happened because I said “why the hell not?”. Why not go skydiving? Why not spend my paycheck on plane tickets? I received a lot of comments from people this year varying “I wish I could do that” to which I always respond with a “but you can”. This mindset is liberating, often a bust, but you never know where something leads until you try. Don’t lose that spirit.
Biggest take away. Most of my 2015 moments came from simply making an effort to follow up with acquaintances, friends, and mentors. Life is busy and time is fleeting, but if I had never gotten lunch with one of my mentors, I wouldn’t have flown his plane. If I hadn’t stayed in touch with my friends out west, I wouldn’t have had so much great company on my trips. People are generally flattered when you make the effort to connect and those gestures are much less frequent with the presence of social media. Think about the last time someone genuinely asked you to get lunch instead of simply commenting on your latest Facebook post. Take the time to follow up with people because it leads to great relationships and opportunities. So lets get coffee! < Seriously.
2015 will be a difficult year to top, but things are still on the up and there is always more adventure lying ahead. *Insert more cliches here.* Let’s do this twenty-sixteen.