Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Looking back at 2011

As we approach another new year it is important to be reflective, while also creating a plan for the upcoming year. First to look back, 2011 continued a personal trend of big changes during odd number years. For whatever reason it seems like big changes tend to stick to odd number years.

In 1999, I switched from glasses to contacts and transitioned from a high school sophomore (awkward) to a high junior (a little less awkward). That year brought a new starting position on the basketball team and a girlfriend. Neither of those two points can be understated in terms of importance.

In 2001, I graduated high school and decided to move my life away from the only state I had ever really known. The decision to attend Miami University wasn't an easy one, but is something that I wouldn't ever want to change.

In 2003, nothing much really happened. This is the one big exception to my odd year = big life events.

In 2005, I graduated from Miami and went to work at Target. This again represented a big move as I continued my northern trek up to Minnesota. Also, I started the world of corporate America, which meant sleeping in on a Tuesday was no longer a possibility.

In 2007, I made the decision to stay in Minnesota. I had the opportunity to go to North Carolina (my ideal state), but turned down a job offer for a company in Minnesota. It is hard to think of what life would have been like if I had accepted the role in North Carolina.

In 2009, I (finally to some) proposed to my long time girlfriend M. We found a perfect two bedroom duplex in Edina and moved in together.

And in this past year, M and I and moved from Minnesota back to Ohio. This involved interviewing for new jobs, quitting are old jobs and moving back in with the in-laws. This decision was made with the future in mind. We both really loved Minnesota, but we our families in Mississippi and Ohio, it is probably short-sighted to think that was a reasonable place to live for the next 30 years.

That was the big news of the year and something that I probably couldn't have predicted at the beginning of the year. Besides that though M and I had a wonderful first full year of marriage. One of our main joys was traveling and with that we were very fortunate this year. Below were some of our trips:

  • I met my brother-in-law in Milwaukee for a Giants-Brewers game before driving back with him to Minneapolis. In retrospect this was especially important, since before we left it was nice to show Buck our favorite spots in the Twin Cities. 
  • We went down to Jackson for my nephew H's 4th birthday party. Also, it was great seeing my sister and brother-in-law's new house.
  • M and I spent a week in Mexico with M's parents. I wrote about this on my blog, but it was a great week soaking in a new culture. Also, I wouldn't mind the weather in the Mexico City area.
  • I had my annual Kansas City (a great success), Buffett (#4) and Vegas trips.
  • We also flew down to Columbus for my mother-in-law's 60th birthday. 
  • We had a few small roadtrips including a nice drive down to the Field of Dreams site in Iowa. That trip also included a single A baseball game between the Cedar Rapids Kernels and the Beloit Snappers. 
  • Finally, we were able to get M to attend a Malphurs family trip to Florida. This was really fun and relaxing. Also, the big highlight was meeting my new nephew. 
  • Our 2nd big trip of the year was the one over Thanksgiving to London and Paris. 
Looking forward to 2012, I don't think we will go on as many trips as the previous year. We are trying to do as much as we can for as long as we can because the advice we have been given is to take advantage of traveling while you are young and not tied down with children. Thankfully, I don't think we will look back on 2011 with any regrets.

Besides traveling, M and I enjoyed our final year in Minneapolis. It was tough leaving our friends, restaurants and duplex behind. M did a great job of suggesting a final night out at our favorite restaurant - Amore Victoria. We partially hosted (wine and some appetizers) a party for about 30 of our friends. That was a lot of fun. Also, we were taken aback by the generosity of some of our friends. Two of my good guy friends got me a rare, expensive bottle of whiskey called Pappy Van Winkle's. Also, another friend took me out to lunch, bought me a t-shirt and even lent me her husband to help with the move.

I might have mentioned in the past being disappointed with the number of Minnesota friends that showed up at our wedding. It seemed like after 5 years we should have had at least double digits at the wedding. I know that it was far away in Ohio, but again I was disappointed. However, this past year has reaffirmed my faith in Minnesotans. M made great friends through Junior League and I was happy to continue to spend time with my friends at Honeywell. I learned that the Minnesotans I hung out with might not wear their emotions on their sleeve, but they are genuine people. It has been tough in Ohio to not have the same connections. 

The sporting world could have gone a little better this year. Duke predictably lost in the Sweet 16. UNC

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas (I received an iPad!) and a happy New Year's. I know this has been a long post, but I had a lot to say that didn't make it into the Christmas letter.

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