2015!! You guys, I fucking loved 2015.
Last year, I couldn't wait to see the calendar change. 2014 was a year I just wanted to put to bed. This year, I'm sitting here staring at my calendar wondering where the heck the year went. Answer? It blew by in a crazy-busy, exhausting-but-magical blur of travel, weddings, friends, family, cocktails, theater, and adventures. I've been extremely cognizant this year of how lucky I am to be as happy as I am, where I am...if that makes any sense.
At the same time, though, I think it's hard for any twenty-something to shut off the "What's next?" part of the brain, and I include myself in that. I constantly find myself mulling over the future in the back of my mind...waiting for the next promotion, the next crush, the next big weekend or trip or event, and always wondering in the larger sense what the heck is going to happen to me in my life.
One of my most vivid memories of this year is from my Boston trip in November. Kait and I were on the highway and Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" came on. We turned the volume in my crappy rental car up to full blast, rolled down the windows, and all of a sudden everything kind of clicked into place for me. I'm living in my own "middle," and it's a pretty damn great place to be. Since then, I've found myself looping the song, and have particularly come to love this phrase for all it encapsulates about my life and my year this year:
You know you're doing better on your own, so don't buy in.
Live right now, yeah, just be yourself.
It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else.
Holy lightbulb moment, Batman! My 2014 was all about trying to be good enough for someone else...and in 2015, I just completely stopped caring. Instead I focused on myself and the amazing people and experiences in my life, and doing that has been so incredibly rewarding. That rental-car jam session remains one of my favorite moments of 2015. Without further ado, a few more:
--Mexico in late March/early April, for a quick sun-and-sand getaway with my beloved Kels and her friend Ellie. We enjoyed way too many swim-up bar shots, partied all night with fun wranglers, and became pros at the "ocean in the morning, poolside cabana in the afternoon" lifestyle.
--Paris in May with my mom and Em! Our ten-day trip will forever remain one of my most cherished memories. We day-tripped to Versailles and Giverny, took a tour of Champagne, shopped, ate, and drank to our hearts' content and got our fill of museums and churches and monuments for at least the rest of the year. Les vacances les plus belles!!
--Kansas City, Chicago, South Bend, and Iowa, for this year's batch of crazy out-of-town wedding action! Friends tying the knot in such lovely places provided great excuses to road trip with Kels to Kansas City and play in Power & Light...visit Laura, Drew and Fi and drink and eat our way through Chicago...pretend to be an undergrad again with all my Lakeville crew at ND...and frolic in a cornfield in Iowa like I'd never seen one before. Such fun memories!
--Toronto in October for a quick work trip. The combination of its amazing cosmopolitan and international air with the insane niceness of its residents made it a trip to remember...as did the gorgeous views from my office for the week!
--Columbus in early November for a to-die-for (almost literally) Buckeye football pilgrimage. Totally got to experience student life with David and all his grad school buddies, and watched the marching band I've been obsessed with for most of my adult life (finally) dot the I!
--Hartford, Connecticut for another work jaunt. While I literally did nothing but go to work and go to bed, staying in the heart of "downtown" was pretty and I loved getting to see the places all my Connecticut-based colleagues always talk about--not to mention finally meeting all those colleagues for the first time!
--Boston for the Shamrock Series and, more importantly, to see Kait! I haven't even recapped this on the blog yet, but it was a great trip. From crashing a class at Harvard Business School to wandering the North End and Boston Common, exploring the South End and making a pilgrimage to Walden Pond, it was absolutely my favorite city I've ever been to and stole my heart so hard.
--Claire's and my 26th birthday, in "Adult Disneyland" style, with a big old party on my roof! We took way too many jello shots, almost as many photos, and discovered that partying with our parents is legitimately the best way to celebrate a birthday.
--Endless weddings!! So many friends said "I do" this year, and getting to attend eight in the last twelve months was such a privilege. I am such a sentimental fool and absolutely adored witnessing so many unique, personal, beautiful celebrations. Congrats again to all these happy couples!
--Engagement parties, in keeping with all those weddings! My book club threw Anna and Kevin a bash on my roof in early July, and we upped the ante in October when Claire, Kyla and I pulled off an epic surprise bash for Eva! I loved getting to mark such a special milestone with both these amazing ladies.
--The Guthrie Theater's Dowling Gala in June with my mama bear! I adored getting all dressed up and celebrating Joe Dowling's twenty-year tenure at the Guthrie as he prepared to end his run. From the heartfelt, high-octane revue to the gorgeous multimedia installation (and of course the free champagne!), we had a ball!
--Adventures with Hannah! One of the common themes of our friendship, especially this year, is having so much fun with her--I will forever be grateful that she is always willing to go along with my harebrained schemes! From cooking class and goofing off at the Guthrie to a subzero hot air balloon excursion and endless lake walks, I cherish every one of our out-there, awesome experiences.
--Throwing myself into service this year: from mentoring St. Paul high school students, to getting involved with the St. Paul Public Schools Foundation, I spent my year seeking and embracing causes. My very favorite? Running our company's employee giving campaign for the second year in a row, which culminated with a visit to the United Way a few weeks ago. We were recognized for our huge success in increasing participation and dollars raised, and it felt wonderful.
--Arts experiences! I've loved getting more involved in the Twin Cities music and theater scene, especially through Open Call at the Guthrie. Backstage tours, the Midsummer Night's Ball, and of course their fantastic shows always make for memorable evenings. The Minnesota Orchestra also kept me applauding all year with fantastic orchestral offerings and, of course, their amazing holiday performance of "Home Alone!"
--Finally, not an event per se, but my absolute favorite part of 2015 is for sure being so incredibly happy in my new start, new home. After my October 2014 move, I've spent the last year adjusting to and cherishing my beautiful Loring Park apartment and loving the independence and peace of being on my own for genuinely the first time in my life. It's so deeply satisfying, and I attribute a lot of my general happiness to being so happy with where I am.
--Most notably this year, we said goodbye to my beloved Grandma Lo, and her loss is still so deeply felt. I don't think I'll ever stop missing my afternoons with her or cease to cherish the memories I was so lucky to make with her in the last few years.
--On a nuclear family level, the highlight of my year was our girls' trip to Paris! My mom, Em, and I had an absolute riot experiencing and adventuring through the city together. From lost umbrellas and aggressive cab drivers to all-day Sancerre binges and mild (accidental) shoplifting, we created inside jokes and anecdotes that will never get old.
--Being the only local Schwegchild meant I got to enjoy a lot of mom-daughter and father-daughter dates all year! From the Guthrie gala above and shopping days with the Jodester to brewery-hopping and adventuring with Papa Bear, there was never a dull moment when I got time with a parent one-on-one. I love the adult relationships we've got with each other. They're my favorites.
--And of course, the fact that we had THREE SchwegFive reunions this year was completely wonderful! Emily and Jonathan were both home for hefty chunks of time around Father's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and we did so many amazing things together--trying distilleries and amazing new restaurants, hitting up old favorites like the Stone Arch Art Fair and the St. Paul Grill, and getting into plenty of Schwegmanigans at home. I absolutely adore every time we get to assemble the whole cast and crew of our crazy wonderful family...they make everything more special.
All things considered, if this is my "middle," I'm pretty damn pleased with it, and am content to stay here for awhile. 2015, thank you for being exactly what I needed--my personal renaissance, the rediscovery of my own happiness and the genesis of so much magic. While I may have doubted it after getting my proverbial teeth kicked in in 2014, 2015 proved that, just like Jimmy Eat World so eloquently stated, "Everything...EVERYTHING...will be all right."
For more 2015 highlights and memories, press play! Love you all and see you in 2016!