In celebration of my 27th birthday yesterday, I tried to come up with twenty six things or memories from my twenty-sixth year that I'm grateful for. It wasn't very hard and I am even more grateful that that was the case. I am so lucky to have such love and opportunities in my life. The time that I spent writing this post was a trip down the memory lane of a great year and a really good way to spend some time appreciating the people, places, and experiences in my life.
26. Living next to a great bar. Oh Aero Club. Thank you for hosting so many of my favorite nights. :)
25. Going to Disneyland for the first time. I had to brace myself before I told my friend Marisa that I had never been to a Disney park. Marisa is a huge Disney fan and grew up in Southern California, so to her (like most locals) this revelation was unfathomable. She and her husband gave me the VIP tour during Christmastime. I could have ridden Space Mountain all day.
24. Dental insurance. Until this past year, I completely took it for granted. But without it, I would still be suffering from headaches and sleepless nights caused by my impacted wisdom teeth. Or at the very least, I wouldn't have been able to afford the unbeatable level of care that Dr. McGann provided when he removed them. If you don't want to be YouTube famous, he's your man.
23. Jack's Mannequin's last show. Even though I've more or less grown out of the music, Andrew McMahon's bands (Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin) hold a special place in my heart. Still, I didn't know how much I wanted to go to Jack's Mannequin's final show until it sold out in seconds. I posted on Craigslist looking for tickets and prepared myself to spend much more than face value. Predictably, someone contacted me with an offer for 3x their original price. When I explained to him that the show was a cancer benefit concert and asked him if he'd be willing to donate some of the extra money he was asking for to the Dear Jack Foundation, he apologized for raising the price. He sold them to me for the same price he'd paid, meaning that all the proceeds went to DJF and I got to share a huge influence in my life with Ryan who'd never seen them play before. And who, by the way, tolerated my fangirl request to stay until Andrew came out to take pictures after the show, waited until 1am with me and THEN drove us back from LA in the middle of the night. Have I mentioned how awesome my boyfriend is?
22. New York City. My friends know that one of my favorite things to do is complain about New York and my time there. But when Ryan and I visited in November, we had more fun than I ever remember having when I lived there. From autumn leaves in Central Park to delicious Italian food in Little Italy to singing karaoke in Koreatown at 5am to our awesome AirBnB rental apartment in Union Square, it was great to visit and see friends and appreciate the city through the eyes of someone who was visiting for the first time.
21. Valentine's Day bonfire. Having dinner, wine and dessert on the beach by fire in February? Unheard of for 85% of my life. So for me, where we spent Valentine's Day was almost as magical as who I spent it with. :)
20. Going back to school. While I'm not necessarily happy about school itself, I am always thankful for the freedom and opportunity that I have to get additional education and for the reprieve it's giving me from student loans.
19. Celebrating new journeys for my best friends. I am so happy for so many of my best friends this year. Two of them graduated college. Three of them made the brave step to start their Bachelor's degrees. One friend bought a house on her own. Four of my favorite people got engaged. Five of them moved to a new city. Two had a tough year and came out stronger than ever. One of them had a beautiful baby girl. Lots of moves and changes and engagements and accomplishments and I could not be prouder or more excited for all of them.
18. My company's parties. My company throws a seriously fun holiday party every year and this year was no exception. Great food, tons of champagne, a flipbook photo booth, and hours of dancing to live music from every decade at a venue they rented out just for us. They also held a summer picnic for us at SeaWorld and Marisa got my department a behind-the-scenes tour where we pet penguins and sharks and stood next to dolphins while drinking BLLs. Um, that's about as good as it gets.
17. Disc golf. I played my first game of disc golf and bought my first disc this year!
16. San Francisco trip. Our trip to SF in February was a great time. I had never been before and we got to spend a fun weekend with friends drinking, shopping and exploring the city. It's hard to choose my favorite part, but our private Anchor Steam Brewery tour and our day trip to Alcatraz were definitely highlights.
15. Vavi kickball. I've wanted to join a Vavi league for a while and thanks to my friend Heather, I finally did last spring. She rallied us all to sign up for Vavi Kickball and for about 8 weeks we played every Thursday night after work. We were a terrible team but it was a lot of fun, especially the pregame Mexican food and cheap beer that no doubt enhanced our performance.
14. One year anniversary. In October, I got to celebrate one year of being with my best friend and the love of my life!
13. My new ride. For Christmas, Ryan got me a beach cruiser that is literally the bike of my dreams. My very grew-up-on-the-East-Coast-and-desperately-wanted-to-be-a-California-girl dreams. With a perfect little white basket on the front, this bike is going to see some serious miles this summer.
12. No more laundromats. Between having my phone stolen at one laundromat and having clothes ruined by the machines at another, I don't know if I can accurately convey how happy I am to have gotten a washer and dryer this year.
11. Balloon chandelier and our party getting escorted out of the US Grant Hotel. You had to be there. :)
10. Another wonderful Coachella. More on this later because I can't wait to share my pictures and the recap from my favorite weekend of the year!
9. Great coworkers. For as stressful as work can be, when you work with fun people it makes all the difference. The people I work closely with are kind and hilarious and super smart. I couldn't ask for more.
8. Big Sur roadtrip. What an amazing vacation. Big Sur is truly breathtaking. We were lucky enough to have a wedding to attend up there and took Brewer along for the ride. The three of us camped in a tiny cabin underneath the redwoods for the weekend and had the absolute best time.
7. Marathon motivation. After everything that just happened in Boston, I am even more certain of my decision to register for my first marathon this year. Life is too impossibly random and short to ever put off a bucket list item like this, especially one that is so determined by health. I'm glad I had the motivation to finally register, I'm inspired now to run for those affected by Boston's tragedy, and I know it will be one of my favorite moments of my 27th year.
6. My neighborhood and San Diego at large. I love where I live so very much. Growing up, I never knew any of my neighbors and here I not only know them but consider them my friends. I love the sense of community and knowing that a friendly face is always just around the corner next door.
5. More nights I can't remember with friends I'll never forget. Some of the best memories from 26 are actually pretty hazy. Fact: if I can't remember it, Fireball shots were probably involved.
4. Banjo!!! Our little Banjo bear was my gift to Ryan for his birthday and he has been the best addition to our home. Now I can't even imagine Brewer without his perpetually happy, snuggle monster partner in crime.
3. Getting older. Over the past year I really felt a shift in my perspective and a change in my way of thinking. Mostly, I feel confident, calm, and clear on who am I and what I want. And I know that that is a gift that only comes with age. In a way, the tragedies that have been happening in the world have added to this and helped me to prioritize the things that matter most to me. So much of one's teens and early twenties are about striving and for the first time, I feel that I am finally getting the chance to enjoy what I've worked so hard for. I wouldn't trade where I am now for anything. 27 is going to a fun, wild year and I'm looking forward to every minute of it.
2. Moving into The Sunset House. This house. It could not be more perfect. I love our yard, I love our view, I love our hammock and our wall art and our Craigslist-furnished rooms and and and...
1. My friends and family. I can't say enough about the people (and dogs) in my life and sometimes it's overwhelming when I think about how lucky I am to have every single one of them.