10. Learned web design, and a bit of coding. Thanks to a great opportunity to work with Paniris, I got to really hone my skills and work on some killer projects.
9. Went to the beach with the girls. My favorite memory was definitely walking down the beach alone at 3:00 AM (not realizing my friends were out searching for me), finding myself two miles down the beach at a pier, barefoot, where I briefly fell asleep next to a fisherman. Coming back was not quite as fun, but it was certainly an adventure.
8. Got a nephew, Noah Whiting. He is going to be the coolest kid ever, and possibly the most photographed. Can’t wait to get back up to New York to see the little guy again.
Also got a new cousin – Cooper Montgomery. I had a very long conversation with him once, and he looked at me and listened like he understood every word. Pretty cool stuff.
7. Had a lot of adventures – my first hunting trip, 4-wheeling in the snow (and flipping twice), climbing (and falling), sleeping on the side of the road, crate-climbing, rope swings, urban exploring on rooftops, abandoned buildings, bridges and old bank vaults… The fun never ends.
6. Read some cool books and saw some interesting documentaries — The Fountainhead, Kiss or Kill, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Food Inc., Man on Wire. These all were my inspirations throughout the year.
5. Became an agnostic, basically. I finally came to the point where I realized that I had more questions than answers, and that I was tired of pretending like I knew everything. Some things don’t make sense, and neither science nor religion can explain them to my satisfaction. I lean more one way than the other, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything. So there. I don’t know what the answers are, and I’d rather live not knowing than have answers that don’t make sense. It’s time to let the evidence speak for itself, yeah?
4. Discovered Paleo eating and the Primal lifestyle. And I f’ing love it. There’s a million blogs out there dedicated to explaining what it’s all about, but basically it’s eating real food and getting back to the roots of what makes us human – playing, running, fighting and getting our hands dirty. As part of this, I learned to cook pretty well and I finally had an explanation for why having fun and being physical is so important to me – aside from the fact that I refuse to “grow up.” The way of thinking, the culture, the mindset – I just love it.
3. Graduated college. I suppose you could say that’s a pretty big deal, after five years of school. But I’m probably not quite done – I’ve got this crazy notion that science is interesting and now I gotta learn something about it. We’ll see where that leads (maybe physics, maybe medicine…), but in the meantime, I’ve got a BFA in Graphic Design. I have to say, art still blows my mind, and soon I’ll be writing a post on the Top 50 pieces of art that inspired me in college.
2. Went to the Marines, graduated OCS. Ten weeks of hell, to be sure, and I’m real glad it’s over. No lie, I didn’t think I’d make it through. It was a learning experience, from the first PFT to the flight physical in Pensacola to the graduation ceremony on the parade deck. I’ll never forget it, and I met some pretty stellar people in the process. It inspired more in me than I had thought was possible, and it brought me to lows that I had never experienced before.
1. Finding CrossFit. Definitely #1 on the list, CrossFit may be one of the most incredible things I’ve ever found, let alone this year. I love being allowed to wear a sports bra to the gym. I love competing to be the best, even when I fail. I love the soreness after a WOD and the bruises on my legs and whip marks from missed double unders. I love seeing myself progress and get stronger, and I love being part of the community. I love watching other people work hard. I hate myself at times when I don’t perform as well as I should. I hate seeing how much more I should be able to lift. I hate being brought to terms with my weaknesses, and yet I love it because I know I can do better. At least I hope I can – that’s what this year will be – a “finding out” of what’s really possible. I don’t even know if I possess the motivation and ability to push myself during a WOD the way real athletes do, but I want to find out. CrossFit, cheers to you for keeping me sane, happy and motivated.