The year that was: 2014

Earlier today, I remembered that almost exactly a year ago I wrote a short rundown of 2013. I’ve re-read that post enough times during this year that I feel like it’s a good idea to do it again.

So here it is!

2014 began just outside of Trinidad, a small town on the north coast of California. We continued driving up to Portland and stayed there for a few nights before farewelling Jesse’s parents at the airport and driving back down to San Francisco on our own.

January was the month I joined PlanGrid as Office Manager. This is the first job that has felt meaningful to me. Sure, we’re another Silicon Valley startup. But far from being a bro-heavy, spending-and-growth-for-the-sake-of-it kind of business, we’re making a product that actually helps people every day, and it feels like we’re doing it right. I’m yet to wake up and not want to go into work in the morning. It’s not always perfect, but hell, it’s been awesome. And I work with some great people to boot.

In January, we saw Darkside live at The Fillmore. Their moody, dreamy album, Psychic, was easily my favorite of 2013, so seeing them live was a brilliant start to the year.

February came and went quickly while I was focusing on my new job and the gloomy weather, and ended with us moving into our new place on March 1st. A successful housewarming party followed, and we marveled at our luck in finding a big place in SF. Maeby became an outdoor cat and loved every minute of it.

In mid-April, I caught a virus from someone at work, and before there was time to recover properly, we took off for Iceland for a magical two week trip. What an incredible place. I can’t wait to go back. On the way home, we spent a couple of nights in Denver and saw Shpongle at Red Rocks – another bucket list item crossed off.

It was in Iceland that I started to realize something wasn’t right with my body. Even though I’d never fully recovered from the the virus, my symptoms changed. It didn’t feel like a virus anymore. It felt like something else.

Over May and June I had a lot of time off work. I’m still sick today, but I feel like I’m slowly improving. I’ve spent a lot on doctors, tests, medications, and supplements this year.

At the end of June, we adopted Rigby. He’s now 8.5 months old, 17kg, can walk off leash, and is an expert sad-face-maker. I’d rather remember this year as Rigby’s year, not The Year I Got Sick.

He’s a delight.

Sometime in mid-July, Jesse was also offered a job at my company, so we both had to go through the paperwork process to change our visas. We realized that I was missing a potentially important document, so I was relieved from work only to return once I had applied for (and received) that paperwork – a process that takes 30-90 days.

It sucked, but timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I wasn’t getting any healthier, because we were getting busier and busier at work, so I didn’t have the time or energy to try and rest or figure out what was going on with my body.

Suddenly I had been given buckets of time to rest, and that’s what I did. Jesse was between his two jobs, so he started to cook more often. We ate better and I felt my body respond. I stopped drinking. I spent a lot of time doing research and trying out different things, and slowly started working out what made me feel better and what made me feel worse.

I did a lot of crafting in preparation for Burning Man. I also did a lot of worrying in preparation for Burning Man. I ordered supplies. I planned, sewed, packed, and stressed about whether or not taking my undiagnosed illness out to the desert, at altitude, was the best or worst idea ever. I spent a lot of time crying in the car on the way in. What was I doing?

Thanks to (and despite) me being strict with myself, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I came home refreshed and happy. Most of all, I learned what I can and can’t handle, and I’m ready for next year.

After the burn, we spent a couple of nights at home before hitting the road again with Rigby and family for a road trip up to Seattle. The scenery was glorious, our Airbnb accommodations eclectic, and we had a wonderful time (we also did a lot of talking about moving to Portland).

From Seattle, our family flew over to New York, so Jesse, Rigby and I had the car to ourselves the whole drive back to SF. I love road trips, especially with those two.

As soon as we got back to San Francisco, it was time to head to Australia for a whirlwind 12 day trip to renew our visas. I loved seeing everyone, but being sick, sitting through long-haul flights, and having very limited time to spend with people does not make for The Best Trip Ever. I’m looking forward to a longer trip so that we can relax a bit next time.

My document arrived, so I went back to work as soon as I got home. We hired a second office manager to help lighten the load, and the difference was apparent immediately. My stress levels went down, and I started to feel better.

September and October passed much like May and June: Monday to Friday I woke up, went to work, came home, and slept. Weekends were mostly reserved for sleeping, resting, and recovering for another week at work. The routine was depressing, but it was either quit working and stay home to rest (a surefire way to annihilate my self esteem) or keep working and use 99% of my free time to rest and recover.

So that’s what I did. And for now, I’m glad that’s what I did. Maybe I’d have gotten better faster if I’d taken a longer break from work, but working kept me occupied, productive, and therefore happier. Jesse still had the energy to cook for me and was unbelievably understanding and supportive, which made all the difference. (Jesse, holy shit, I love you so much. Goddamnit.)

I slowly felt better and better. I started cycling to work a couple of times a week (a HUGE step). I turned 30 in November. Work got busier.

We travelled to Philadelphia and ate, drank, and wandered around for 3 days before heading out to the suburbs to spend a week with my close friend, her husband, and little girl. We drank tea, drew, relaxed, napped, cooked, and watched a ton of My Little Pony. Christmas was spent with her husband’s family, who had a wonderfully traditional American celebration and were kind enough to welcome us into their home for dinner.

We came back to San Francisco a few days ago, fat and happy. Unfortunately I’ve caught some kind of virus from the flight back, so I’ll probably be sick for NYE – it’s kind of fitting when you think about it, given I’ve spent most of 2014 being sick. I say this without a trace of anger or bitterness. Sure, I’ve spent most of the year sick, but I’ve also had incredible support, unlimited love, and it could always be worse. Also: we have puppy!

I suppose that’s it. I had a great year, even though the bulk of it was spent fighting a still-undiagnosed illness. More than anything, I can’t fucking believe how fast this year went.

May 2015 be a year of improved health, continued love, and increased playfulness.

To everyone I interacted with this year, good, bad, or otherwise: thank you for existing. Without you, I wouldn’t be typing these words.

Happy New Year. Make 2015 a good one for yourself.