Faster than the speed of light: my review of 2012

Dec 31, 2012 by

My good friend and life coach extraordinaire Rosetta Thurman of Happy Black Woman recently posted some incredibly helpful questions to help guide her readers through a review of 2012. I’ve used these questions to take a look back at 2012. Coming up soon, I’ll be borrowing her questions to take a look forward at 2013.

Balboa Peninsula at sunset. - November 18, 2012 at 08:42PM

Balboa Peninsula at sunset.

This review was really helpful for me, partly because it just forced me to sit down and think back on what has been an incredibly fast, busy, crazy, stressful, but ultimately satisfying year. I encourage you to give a try too, even if you just write it down for yourself. (And my photo year in review sprinkled throughout the post – courtesy of Instagram)!


What I Want to Remember About 2012

What was the most valuable lesson you learned this year?

What I learned is really something that I already knew (or should have known), but needed to have reinforced: that I’m extremely privileged in many ways, but that I still don’t know everything. In fact, I know almost nothing. Knowing and owning that was the only way for me to move forward through some of the most difficult challenges of my life.

What was the biggest personal milestone you reached this year in your relationships, health, finances, education and/or lifestyle?

My husband and I bought a house! Obviously this has lots of financial, personal and lifestyle implications and so far I’m really happy with the decision. While I don’t believe in the necessity of ‘checking the boxes’ to get to grown-up-ness, it does feel good for both of us to attain a mutual financial and life goal.

What professional accomplishments (at work or in your business) were you most proud of this year?

Long Beach harbor, as seen from the Queen Mary. - November 20, 2012 at 09:21PM

Long Beach harbor, as seen from the Queen Mary.

I’m most proud about developing, almost from scratch, a brand new set of trainings for folks around the country doing planning, land use, transportation and urban design work. This year, I’ve spent almost 80% of my time (at my full-time job) working with these folks and the opportunity to build and deliver trainings that are useful to them has been really satisfying for me.

What was your favorite family/friends moment from 2012?

I have two favorites this year: First would be my family’s ‘Christmas in July’ camping trip earlier this year. Though my sister couldn’t attend due to a last minute work issue, we still had a great time. My mom brought a small Christmas tree that she fully decorated and also wrapped up a bunch of presents for us. And of course we did our usual family camping activities: sitting in front of the fire, eating, drinking (lots of) alcohol, playing lawn games and occasionally taking a short walk (we’re a lazy bunch, as you can tell). It was great!

Second was the Team Awesome Reunion of YNPNdc Communications Committee members, hosted by my good friend Emily and her husband Neil at their lovely house. We had been working together for two years but rarely spent any social time together and so we had a long, leisurely barbecue and just talked. There is almost nothing that I love more than spending time with friends so this particular party was ideal.

What was the best book/blog/song/movie/restaurant/city/country/etc. you discovered this year?

This is a tough one. I read voraciously, watch lots of movies and travel all of the time so I’m constantly discovering cool new things and places. Here are a couple highlights:

  • I read the Hunger Games series (3 books) at the beginning of the year and they really shook me to the core. With the most complicated, frustrating, amazing protagonist, beautiful writing style and diverse, devastating thematic elements I’ve read in a long time, they are definitely at the top of the list.
  • The City of Portland, ME – A couple of colleagues and I visited there for a training and we were completely charmed. Granted, we stayed in the most tourist friendly area, Old Port, but I was still impressed by how picturesque everything was. Plus, there are plenty of direct flights there, tons of amazing restaurants everywhere and plenty of cute shops for me to spend my tourist dollar in (I always try to support locally owned businesses when traveling). My husband and I now have it on our list as a vacation spot in the future.

    Beautiful flowers from my sweet husband on our first anniversary. I'm the luckiest woman in the world!

    Beautiful flowers from my sweet husband on our first anniversary. I’m the luckiest woman in the world!


What I Want to Leave Behind As I Enter 2013

Which personal development area(s) did you make the LEAST progress on this year: health, finances, education, relationships, family, work and/or lifestyle?

Education. While I did some things in the course of my work that were challenging and required me to learn, I did not spend as much time on it as I wanted. And to be honest, I’m not sure where to go next in terms of my education – barring grad school which I can’t afford for the next couple of years.

What promises (to yourself or others) did you break in 2012?

I repeatedly broke my promise to myself to let go of things more. Out of all my flaws, holding grudges/obsessing over things long over is one of my worst.

What arguments/gossip/hurtful comments, if any, did you participate in or make this year that you wish you could take back and/or apologize for?

Too many to count. My husband and I argued about the house a LOT (far more than we’ve ever argued over anything else in our 7 years together). I gossiped a lot about friends, family, co-workers and others and much of that gossip was judgmental in nature. While I don’t feel the need to apologize for all of it (I don’t think gossip per se is a bad thing but it can easily turn bad), there is a lot I regret.

What opportunities, if any, did you miss out on in 2012 because of fear or procrastination?

This is our kitchen at the moment.

This is our kitchen at the moment.

I missed out on some guest blogging opportunities as well as some opportunities to speak at conferences or meetings due to procrastination.

What did you do in 2012, if anything, that was out of alignment with your values?

I didn’t always pitch in at work when it was needed. I really believe in everyone working together to get a job done, but I let my frustration at specific events obscure that value.


A few more pictures:

Smart growth; Charlottesville pedestrian mall edition

Shenandoah Valley dreaming.

A view of our new neighborhood from our new front door.

Christmas spirit in the office!




  • Cathryn

    Loved this.

  • I enjoyed reading your post! Looks like you had a great year and discovered quite a few things about yourself. Thanks for sharing!