December 31, 2013

The 2013 Holiday Wrap-Up

June. Yes, I realize the last post from me was in June. And it wasn't until a reader (omg, I have a reader?!) notified me that she needed to know more about how everything has been panning out for me lately that I remembered how badly I really dropped the ball on this whole "daily, weekly....ok, maybe yearly" blogging thing. Sorry to leave you all (aka, my one loyal fan) hanging!

Every year my mom writes a letter to send out with her Christmas cards. Back in the day when I was pretending to be mature - was married (way too young), keeping house, baking cookies, actually decorating for Christmas, and doing all myriad of other grown-up things, just like mom - I wrote a Christmas Letter too.  I think I did it for 2 years. And then I moved to Chicago, got divorced, lost track of my "Master Life Plan," stopped baking cookies and hauling out the decor boxes, and decided I had nothing good to say to anyone, so I stopped writing them. For 10 years. 

But I think this year I might actually have some good things to say. And perhaps this will tie up some of the loose strings I left dangling back in my JUNE post!  So here goes: Jenn's 2013 Holiday Wrap-Up Letter.

Dear Family, Friends and Folks I Don't Know But Love Anyway,

Wow. What a year! It's been an odd one (both literally and figuratively) in the Jenn-of-All-Trades household, and true to tradition, odd years have been good to me. A little sad to say goodbye to 2013 in all honesty, but rocking with anticipation for what 2014 could potentially bring.

Unfortunately, the beginning of 2013 saw the demise of a long-term relationship that I had harboured some big hopes for. But I have come to realize just how ok the ending of that relationship has turned out to be with the the advent of a new (and better) one. I met Jason in September and have spent the past 3 months in a haze of new-love bliss that just reeks of kittens and puppies and all things cute and schmoopy. He's awesome. I don't need to say much more than that, but I will anyway cause I feel the necessity to brag a bit about my boy. He's an ICU nurse and is currently in grad school to be an even better nurse (which means he's ridiculously smart and talented and caring and compassionate). He's, and can do handstand pushups (Rawr.). His family is amazing and introduced me to my first tailgating experience over Thanksgiving for which I will be forever grateful. And he has the sweetest pup there ever was who I have adopted wholeheartedly as my own fur baby at this point. Bliss, I tell you. Delicious bliss. I'm looking very forward to spending the new year and possibly beyond with this man.

This year saw the completion of my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. In August I competed with some of the most amazing athletes in the world - or rather, just against my own desire to finish - in the Lifetime Fitness Chicago Triathlon. I swam, biked and ran a great race and finished in under 4 hours (3:51:55) placing 6th in the Athena division. 

I also ran another half marathon, 15K and 5K (my first "destination" race outside of Chicago - the Detroit Stuffing Strut with Jason and his sister on Thanksgiving Day) in 2013 with no plans any time soon to stop distance running or training. My 2014 schedule includes the Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon in February in New Orleans, the annual Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago in March (that I will run with Jason's family), and then the Tough Mudder in May - I might be crazy, but I'm pretty pumped for this one. 

I haven't decided on another tri or marathon yet, but I would imagine as the season draws closer that I'll be hankering to get back on that bike and back in that pool and back on the trail to train hard again. It's become almost an annual tradition at this point to be working on something all summer long.

Quitting my full time job in May of 2013 was one of the biggest decisions of my life. I left behind a stable paycheck, health insurance, and a 7 year position for a life of part-time work, schedule shifting, crappy paychecks and ZERO security for the future, and I couldn't be happier. Turns out I really love the people I have met through my new position at Fleet Feet, Blue Man Group still keeps me interested and entertained and even tutoring has had its joyous moments (between a couple of small temper tantrums). My own company (Kiss Kiss Cabaret) even took the honours of being voted the "Best Burlesque Troupe" in Chicago by The Chicago Reader - a local newspaper with a huge following and excellent street-cred when it comes to putting all-important paying butts in the ever-wanting empty seats.

But the best news I could have hoped for this year came to me just before Christmas in the form of an Angel Investor for Kiss Kiss Cabaret. We're getting our club! And we break ground in January. I'd swear it's a Christmas Miracle - but I know it's really because of the amount of work both Chris and I have put into making this happen, not just this year, but over the past 3 years that our little company has been growing. And now someone has taken notice and has offered us the chance of a lifetime to live out our dream. Damned if we're not going to take it! So I'd say the future looks bright. Challenging and complicated and laden with more, much more, hard work ahead of us, but bright. And shiny. And with loads of optimism to kick off the new year. Wish us luck!

So here's to 2014! May it be all that it's cracked up to be and then some. I'm ready for it.

Wishing You and Yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!