New Year’s reflections

Good morning Muppets! I hope you are feeling well rested and ready to put 2014 to bed on this fine New Year’s Eve.

I appear to be totally on a roll with blogging since I announced my un-retirement: three posts in as many days might be a PR for this manic little marathoner.

My own personal performance-enhancing drug of choice...we do good, strong coffee up here in Seattle.
My own personal performance-enhancing drug of choice…Seattle: the odds are good, the goods are odd, and the espresso is STRONG

As I was splashing my way through my swim workout this morning I thought it would be valuable to take some time to reflect on the highlights and lowlights of this past solar cycle.

Sunrise over the Evans Pool
Sunrise over the Evans Pool

Humanity in general had its share of ups and downs during the past 365 days. We literally reached unprecedented heights when we successfully landed the space-probe Philae on comet 67P: the collaborative, international, interdisciplinary effort behind the Rosetta mission exemplified the extraordinary capabilities of Homo sapiens sapiens when we use our big brains to work together.

GUYS, we landed on a COMET! So badass! (source: http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov)
GUYS, we landed on a COMET! So badass! (source: http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov)

On a more microscopic scale, scientists used a super-cool DNA-editing tool called CRISPR (that we stole adapted from Bacteria) to engineer the first-ever monkeys with custom mutations in their genomes.

Cute little mutant monkeys! (source, Niu et al. Cell, 2014)
Cute little mutant monkeys! (source, Niu et al. Cell, 2014)
I'm passing fond of CRISPR because I wrote about it for my off-topic second year Ph.D. exam proposal
I’m fond of CRISPR because I wrote about it for my off-topic 2nd year Ph.D. exam proposal

We watched Dennis Kimetto break the marathon world-record in Berlin.  Tatyana McFadden continued to crush it with a sweep of victories at the four major marathons for the second year running. Humanity gathered together in Sochi to celebrate athletic achievement, remember how badass the biathlon is, and pretend for five minutes that we care about curling at the Winter Olympics.

I'm coming for yah, PyeongCheng Biathlon 2018!
I’m coming for yah, PyeongCheng Biathlon 2018!

2014 has seen a wave of progressive policies sweeping across the nation. My fair city of Seattle passed a 15$/hour minimum wage. President Obama announced an aggressive series of executive actions to combat climate change. Seventeen additional states legalized same sex marriage (bringing the grand total to 35).

Unfortunately our species wasn’t on its best behavior all year long. The girls kidnapped by Boka Haram have yet to be brought back. ISIS continues to impose its midevil interpretation of shariah law across the Middle East. The Ebola outbreak claimed too many lives. In America we saw horrific school shootings, unarmed black men killed in cold blood, and peaceful protests turned angry and ugly. Our legislature still has its collective head up its own ass when it comes to passing a budget bill to actually pay for keeping the government running. That Kardashian Kreature appears to still possess a career.

Ayn Rand is an (insufferable) FICTION AUTHOR, NOT a model for economic policy!
Ayn Rand is an (insufferable) FICTION AUTHOR, NOT a model for economic policy!
Why are we paying more attention to this than climate change?
Why are we paying more attention to this than climate change?

Overall we great hairless apes deserve an “E” for effort, with substantial room for improvement in our year-end performance report. Relentless forward progress in an atmosphere of growth is pretty much the best that anyone can hope for.

Except for Martha....Martha is, in fact, perfect.
Except for Martha….who is, in fact, perfect.

My own year had its share of triumphs and travails. I ate a LOT of oatmeal.

My favorite things
My favorite things

My mom visited Seattle…and also had brain surgery.

bananaphoneI raced my brains out, ran a marathon,  took third in a triathlon, and discovered a new love for trail running.

I made a LOT of banana phone calls, too
I made a LOT of banana phone calls, too

I got injured. I struggled through a bout with Achilles Tendonitis, and suffered a (second) stress fracture in my foot.

Mother-Effer!
Aaaannnd October is where I nuked myself. Mother-Effer!

I went to an incredible scientific conference where I filled my brain with facts about DNA. I worked insane hours and spent WAY too many Saturdays stuck in lab.

Sonicating is my least favorite weekend activity
Sonicating is my least favorite weekend activity

Looking back on the year that was, I can identify instances where I probably did not make the best decisions. I can also pick out some pretty fantastic memories and phenomenal excursions with friends. I set a lot of goals. I achieved most many a few of them

I tried to settle into a regular strength training routine, but I couldn't find a mentor who inspired me.
I tried to settle into a regular strength training routine, but I couldn’t find a mentor who inspired me.

In retrospect I wouldn’t change a single thing about the year I’ve had; it’s impossible to alter the past, so why waste the mental energy wishing that you could? Every single experience in my entire life contributed to landing me where I am at right now; I wouldn’t have it any other way because I COULDN’T have it any other way.

Thank goodness where I'm at is occasionally pretty awesome
Thank goodness where I’m at is occasionally pretty awesome

The end of the year is a great time for reflection, goal setting, and resolutions, but it is also totally arbitrary. I’m going to wake up tomorrow in 2015 as the same merry, mustachioed, oatmeal-eating, card-carrying, friendly-freakazoid on wheels that I was in 2014–just one year wiser and one year weirder.

As long as I'm a freakazoid on BIKE wheels I am happy
As long as I’m a freakazoid on BIKE wheels I am happy

So as the sun sets on this year, let’s think about what we’ve done and where we’ve been; but for crying out loud let’s try not to get a complex about it. Everyone deserves a big, shiny “E” for effort, with room for improvement. Who’s ready to take up some of that room and improve right on forward into 2015?

IMG_5866

Alright gentle readers, time to strut your stuff!

What are some of your favorite memories or proudest moments from the past year?

 

 

2 thoughts on “New Year’s reflections

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