2014 Turns 2015 and 28 Turns 29.

So, this post is two months late, but shame be damned, I still wanted to get something up.  This is the second of my series of birthday posts where I look back at the previous year and toward the new one.  Hopefully, this post has less typos than its predecessor or I may just need to give up writing.

2014 was a pretty jam packed year and was a unique experience in that it led me to both the highest of highs and toward the lowest of lows.

Starting with the high, I got to marry Sarada! 15 months of engagement and planning culminated in a really spectatular wedding where we got to celebrate our journey together, our future, and our families and friends.  I really couldn't have asked for a better day from the venue and guests to the perfect 75 degree weather.  It was a blast.  Sarada and I tried to soak in every moment while also keeping a focus on one another -- what a fitting way to kick off the rest of our lives together.

The low was losing my original best buddy in the whole wide world, my grandpa, in November.  Gramps was a pivotal influence in my life, and we had to say goodbye too soon.  However, I'll always treasure all he taught and gave to me.  Whether it was from a young age telling me to "never work for anyone else, Clay. Start your own thing." (a wish I've happily honored for the past nine years) or the way he taught me to treat others or stressing what a masterpiece of comedy Happy Gilmore is, I'll keep all of these things and more with me.  I am really focusing on trying to remember these things from our most treasured times together rather than the sad last days, but it can be hard to separate the latter from the former at times.  I hope to get better at it and remember him at his most vivacious, and I'm all ears if others have recommendations how to do that.  Hearing House of Cards mention Dunbar Armored cars, where he worked for more than 25 years and rose to be their chief of operations, simultaneously brought the joy of remembering what he built and the defeating sadness of not being able to text or talk to him about it.  I miss him and will alway miss him, but I hope to honor him just as much.

Those are two big, life-changing things to happen in a year, let alone within six months.  Now onto the rest of the highlights:

  1. Traveling up to NYC with Sarada for a long weekend and a cool Brooklyn wedding.  It's always fun to see her back in her element in the city and have her show me around.  I also got to have some great times with some UNC friends a few days before she got to town.
  2. Honeymooning in Belize!  We left a week after our wedding for Ambergris Caye, a small island off the coast of Belize.  We spent a week at the Victoria House and had an amazing time.  Biking into town, a sunset sail that turned into a squall, snorkeling with giant sea turtles and sharks, catching our limit fishing for snapper, and much more -- it's a trip that deserves its own post (and will hopefully get one someday).  It was a great honeymoon and a trip I would recommend to anyone.
  3. Spending a week in San Francisco and wine country with Mike, the best man at my wedding, and a host of other friends.  I was out there for our friend's wedding and Mike was generous enough to take some time off work and spend a couple days in the Russian River valley in Sonoma with me, hitting up wineries, eating well, enjoying great conversation, and jamming to some lo-fi while driving along the coast.  Then, Mike put me up in his home for the rest of the week while I worked from SF during the day and caught up with friends in the evenings.  
  4. A New Orleans bachelor party.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have a real love for New Orleans.  The people, the music, the culture, the food, and the open container laws all just scream my name.  A group of 17 of my best friends in the world descended upon the city for French Quarter Fest and had an absolute blast.  I hope to get back soon, but if I don't, this was a good send off.
  5. A number of other small trips for weddings, bachelor parties, and more.  Two that stand out are exploring both Austin and Asheville with Sarada, Joel, and Katie.  A long weekend trip is often exactly what's needed to recharge and get a sense for another place.
  6. NMC continued to grow.  We hired two new teammembers, beat our growth goal, and did our best work to date.  It was a great year, and I am so thankful for the folks I get to work with.

A pretty big year!  I'm excited for the year to come; since we're already two months in I can say that it's on pace to be a good one.  At a New Year's dinner with friends, one asked me if I had to place a "theme" on the coming year, what would it be?  I thought about it for a little and felt like Routine would be a good thing to focus on.  More reliably getting up early, regularly catching up with friends and co-workers, carving out time to read books, writing more consistently (ironic, I know), and more.  Each of these are things that I do off and on when I have time, but building them into a consistent routine will pay dividends and help me be more comfortably least, I think it will!  So, that's where the year's focus is.

Hopefully you'll be seeing more writing here soon and cheers to 2015 and 29!