Friday, January 1, 2016

5 years later

Back in December 2010, one of the bloggers I've read the longest, Bella, got me into doing a series of prompts in December that were on such interesting topics. 

One of the prompts in December 2010 was to write a letter to yourself going into 2011 from the year 2015.  And I did it!  And now, 5 years later, I'm still blogging, and it's going to be 2016 soon.

Here's my original post (and here was Bella's), I thought it would be fun to see where things stand now.

The prompt was awkwardly phrased, telling you to imagine yourself 5 years from now (in Dec. 2010) and give advice to your current self for the year ahead.  I kind of blew that off, saying that I didn't really see any big changes in 2011 (other than knowing my 2 youngest brothers were getting married that year), and I was kind of hoping my life would be basically the same at the end of 2011 as it was at the end of 2010.  The biggest struggle for me at the end of 2010 was that I didn't really like my job, but the rest of my life was pretty much just as I wanted it. 

I chose to look at the question based on the main categories of how I define myself set out on my About Me page. 

Runner.  In late 2010 (almost 3 months after my first BQ), I figured that by late 2015, "I hopefully will have run Boston and requalified several times" and I'd have run several other marathons that were of interest, as well as a trail race and an ultra.  And I'd still run with the same crew, and hoped 2 friends who had left our crew would be back. 
Status:  Well, I've run Boston and I have requalified on more than one occasion, but I'm not presently qualified, and I'm a long way from it!  But running Boston and having the option to do so again was the real goal in 2010 looking toward 2015, and I've accomplished that.  As to the other aspects of my 2010 running goals/predictions for 2015, I've made some progress.  I have done a couple of the other marathons on my list, as well as a bunch of other marathons.  But I didn't really run a trail race or an ultra -- I did a marathon that was partially on trails (the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon) and in training for that, I did 27 miles of walking while wearing the extra 40 pounds I carried on my back for that marathon.  But neither of those are really what I envisioned 5 years ago as "doing a trail race" and "running an ultra."  But as predicted in 2010, I still run with the same group of people.  But sadly, my 2010 dream was that two of my favorite running buddies who both moved to Cali would move back to Dallas, and neither of them has (but I'm still in touch with both, just visited the So-Cal one (and his wife and son) this past summer!).  But I've met some new running friends over the last half decade and those have been great experiences too.

Wife.  In late 2010, I wanted 2015 to have us as a settled and secure married couple, who know each other well and think of each other first.  I knew that would be tough (not just because I'd been unmarried for the first 30+ years of life), but I wanted to always think before speaking, to make more of an effort to let the little things go and to have the word "squadra" (Italian theme for our goal marriage) at the forefront of my actions. 
Status:  Going stronger than ever!  Feel very secure and settled, but there are definitely times we each think of ourselves first, and less like a team.  But I'm better about not sweating the small stuff, and we work on being a "squadra." 

Vegetarian.  Five years ago, it was easy to predict that I'd still be a vegetarian. I also predicted that I'd have even gone vegan on many days.  In 2015, I wanted to be an adventurous cook, always trying new recipes and relying more frequently on homemade leftovers for lunch instead of frozen meals or restaurants. 
Status:  Definitely still a vegetarian.  More vegan days since November 1, 2015 than probably in the last 5 years combined, but still far from being a real vegan.  I'd say I'm a pretty adventurous cook, but I still don't cook enough.  I work a lot and we go to bed usually not too long after I get home from work, so almost all weeknights it's something in the microwave (usually something from the in-store prepared meals section from the grocery).  And it's leftovers for lunch maaaaybe once a month.  When I cook on the weekend, there are usually leftovers, but I use those for other dinners and still eat Amy's frozen meals for lunch most days (though now vegan meals more often). 

Dallas-dweller.  In 2010, I wasn't certain where we'd be living today.  I knew it was most likely the same place we lived in 2010, but there were thoughts of moving back near my parents or near my in-laws, or maybe even to near my husband's family in Italy.  In 2010, my husband had said he really didn't want to move until 2016 or ideally after 2020.  In 2010, my immediate hope was to make progress hammering down the mortgage in 2011.
Status:  Same, same!  Happily living in the same condo and no plans to move on the horizon.  Earlier this year, I had a strong bug to move to San Fran, and I'd still love to do that, but my husband still isn't ready to change jobs and it's not really on the radar anymore.  I did refinance the mortgage at least once, maybe even twice, and I'm working on paying it off ahead of schedule. 

Attorney.  In 2010, I expected that right now I'd still be a a practicing attorney and that I'd love my job.  In late 2010, I knew the 2015 plan was likely going to require change from where I was in 2010, either by making some changes to how my 2010 job worked, or changing jobs.  I also expected that in 2015 I'd be a zealous advocate for a pro bono cause dear to my heart, and doing what I can to help children who encounter worse circumstances in their living arrangement than most people can imagine or would ever want to consider. 
Status:  Success!  Crazily enough, I changed jobs within about 3 months of writing out these predictions in 2010 and I'm still at that job.  Up until a few weeks ago, I loved it more than I thought it was possible to love a job.  The last couple months have been exceptionally stressful and yielded an unmanageable caseload, but that is presently slowly resolving.  The last few weeks have also added some very stressful salary negotiations, but as of last week (a call with the president of the sub for which I work, after multiple conversations with my boss, and with the president of my division), it seems like the negotiations are going well and I'm optimistic it will get worked out within the next couple weeks.  If it doesn't that will leave me in an awkward spot -- I don't want to change jobs, but I also don't want to be paid less than I believe (and apparently my boss, the president of my division, and the president of our sub) I deserve, it's just a matter of working out when and how that will happen.  If they don't make it happen, I don't want to leave, but I might try to make myself look.  It would all just be so much easier if they could just give me what I ask for immediately, sigh! 

Traveler.  In 2010, I was hoping that in 2015 I'd still go overseas every year, and roughly every other one of those trips would include Italy.  I wanted to get better at speaking Italian and even learn some dialect.  I planned on speaking Italian at home more and going back to an Italian conversation group, but adding some actual studying outside of class.  I hoped that by 2015, I'd have "been to Egypt, India and/or China."  I wanted to manage my work schedule and finances as needed to allow for an overseas trip each year, knowing that big trips overseas tend to strengthen our marriage, my perspective, and my sanity. 
Status:  I'd say success!  We have gone overseas every year for the last five years (including trips to many places I've long dreamed of going), and there's nothing like planning a wedding in an isolated non-touristy part of Italy where you pretty much can't find a wedding planner to force your Italian language skills to improve!  Unfortunately, even though I was able to communicate pretty easily a couple months ago in Italy, I don't work on my Italian as much as I should.  I really would like to use it more at home (though prioritizing open and clear communication is certainly more important), I really should go back to conversation group (my husband still goes weekly), and I really should study on my own.  I'd say I've met my actual travel goal -- I've been to India AND China (and I would have gone to Egypt, but for that political stuff...).  And, to excuse my lack of Italian studying, in my defense, I've taken Chinese class for a pretty long time (though you wouldn't really know that to hear me speak).  Honestly though, "learning" is something I should put more effort into going forward.  Italian, Chinese, French or something new, I should just buckle down and spend at least an hour a week on it.  I usually like trying to unplug on the weekends, but it's turned into lazily watching TV lately instead of even just pulling out a language book and working on it.  Guess now's the perfect time to make some kind of resolution...

There was also a bonus question in December 2010, looking back at where I was 10 years earlier (December 2000) and thinking what advice I wished I'd had then.  In December 2000, I had just found out I passed the bar and was settling into my first few months of work.  The main thing lacking from my life then was work-life balance, and there were lots of dinners at work that were bad for my social life and my waistline.  But in December 2010, I recognized that I was quite content, and everything in December 2000 worked out just right to lead me to where I was in December 2010. 
I feel that same way now, looking back at December 2010.  It all worked out just right.  There were lots of changes between December 2000 and December 2010 (job change, starting running, dating, meeting and marrying my husband, etc.), but there have been very few changes between December 2010 and today (the primary one being my job), and I don't really expect much to change in the next 5 years.  I'm actually hoping very little will change -- I'd be very content to still be running the same mileage, still traveling, still at the same job and in the same condo with the same guy, going to visit the same relatives...

If I get motivated, maybe I should now try to look ahead to December 2020...  But that would be three posts within a week, and yow, that's just unsustainable these days! 


  1. I loved this! So much worked out for you the way you thought and hoped it would. You've definitely reached a sweet spot in life if you hope little will change in the next 5 years. I hope your contract negotiations get resolved soon! I was in a similar situation last year with not wanting to leave but wanting a salary more in line with my performance. It worked out for me, but if it hadn't I agree it would be an awkward situation.

    1. I'll hope to have a similar happy resolution to yours!

  2. This is a fun post ... you are right that the original prompt was awkward, but it is also very 'you' to make a specific note about how awkward it is :)

    I know there are ups and downs that you see and face ... but as you note, life is a confluence of people, places, things and times - and we cannot easily deconvolute one from another and still expect the outcomes we WANT while just losing what we don't want. If you know what I mean.

    I think one of the greatest milestones in life is figuring out who we ARE ... often we think about who we would LIKE to be, who we SHOULD be, how others around us do things, or whatever. But just thinking that we should have X kids or Y job or Z relationship doesn't mean that is right for us.

    So I ultimately thinking finding your own sense of balance is really important, and I am glad you are happy and healthy in so many areas. Perfect? Nobody is ... nor will they ever be. So revel in your imperfection :)

    One interesting thing is your use of the term 'home' referring to where you grew up. I know it varies person to person, but I was reading something one of my boys wrote where they think of home as our current place in NY (<8 years) as opposed to where they lived the first 11 years in Massachusetts. Myself, I think of Massachusetts as 'home' ... but not any specific place. Interesting.

    1. For me, the real test of "home" would be if my mama moved to California or something. I think my definition of home is very closely tied to where she is (no offense to my father, but she really makes it feel like home). Maybe if she were in a new-to-me state, I'd be "homeless" or maybe it would really make Dallas my home.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. It reminds me that reflecting on goals is important and necessary to making them happen. I haven't written mine out in awhile and I think it might be time to reassess.

    I get a sense from this post that you really know yourself and have created the exact life you want. I admire this so much. You don't waste time complaining you just go after your goals.

    I hope your salary negotiations have ended successfully at this point. I am terrible at that sort of thing.

    I enjoy reading about your travels. It is one of the biggest priorities in my life. I want to see the world!