All the Things I Did Last Year

I like to wait until everyone else publishes their New Year’s resolutions, goals and non-resolutions and then publish mine. I want to know I’m not missing out on anything. And, I want to process everything.

So first, accomplishments from 2013. I got engaged, which was quite the celebration; kind of like being welcomed into a club I didn’t know existed: “You’re getting married! You’re one of us now!” I didn’t really get the mania, nor did I understand the constant questions of “When is the wedding?” It is the next logical question to ask, but very rarely have I imagined my wedding and more often I have imagined a non-wedding. (Also, weddings are too freaking expensive. Marriage is not an industry, folks.)

Rebecca Thorman

Right after Ryan got down on one knee.

Besides getting engaged, Ryan and I also celebrated five years together. This seemed like a much bigger achievement. We met six or seven years ago through blogging. Ryan was writing Employee Evolution, the blog that started his company Brazen Careerist, and I used to comment on his blog and tell him how wrong he was. In fact, I was inspired to start my blog because I felt like I had more to add to the conversation. He wasn’t phased, and true to his character, he was the second person to comment on my blog. That’s how he is: no grudges, doesn’t take anything personally. We have good conversations. I like to say I fell in love with his mind before I ever met him, but it doesn’t hurt that he’s also super good looking.

Other things that happened last year: I quit a job I hated with every particle in my being. I hated it so much that I became indifferent, which is the worst kind of hate. It’s like the gasoline slowly leaked out of my tank, and then hit empty, and then went past the reserves, until I’m sitting in a coffee shop with my nice boss (not the reason I hated my job) and the words “I quit” just slipped out. There was nothing else to say.*

(*Okay, there was a lot to say, but I said it all to a coach. Which was another big thing for me in 2013. Asking for help.)

I have a list of “Successes in 2013,” and at the very top, above anything else is “Quit a job I hated.” So this was a big deal. I decided I was worth more.

Rebecca Thorman

Getting excited at Google.

I spoke on a panel at Google in 2013, which was particularly awesome because I was on the panel with really important people, and when it was time for the Q&A, I prepared myself for all the questions to be directed at these really important people. Instead, the first person directed her question toward me, and she said she read my blog. And then the second person, her question was for me too, and she read my blog too. And so on and so forth. And it was joyous. Because sometimes, even with all the comments and the likes and tweets, it’s hard out here for a blogger, and people were telling me they liked me, face-to-face. AT GOOGLE. It’s something I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who tells someone else nice things. You are good people.

The Washingtonian named me a Tech Titan in 2013, for leading the DC Lean Startup meetup where we’ve built an amazing learning community. And while sometimes I think maybe it was a situation where the editors said, “Dang! There are not enough women on this list; are there ANY other women in tech?” I am still really proud of myself. Particularly because the Lean Startup meetup is what gave me my footing in DC. When Ryan and I moved to DC, I was a fish out of water, lonely working from home for my old job back in Madison, and depressed. The world was bigger than I had led myself to believe, and I was much, much smaller. Finally, I got off my “woe is me” butt, and attended the meetup, spoke at the meetup, and then started volunteering to help organize the meetup. It was through the meetup that I built my network, a community, and my own little interesting corner of the city.

Climbing a mountain.

What else? I climbed a mountain. I spent a lot more time outside. I spent a lot more time exercising and moving. I caught up with family. I turned 30. I feel 27. I keep all my old driver’s licenses and my first driver’s license lists my weight as 130 lbs, and I still weigh 130 lbs. I am damn proud of that. So yes, like the weather: 30, feels like 27. Or 16. The older I get, the more I realize what a goofball I am, and why-does-everyone-have-to-be-so-serious-all-the-time. And me, I don’t have to be so serious all the time.

On that note, I learned to let go in 2013. Of people who suck, and people who are not very nice people. I ran out of gas here too, first putting energy into trying to make certain people like me, and then, just like that, all the energy was gone and I was done. Turns out indifference is a useful therapy for not only expunging dreadful jobs, but also dreadful people.

I am happier. Or wait, I don’t like that term. And I don’t like happy people. I have found more peace. 2013 was the year of finding peace, coming to terms with myself, and my head, which is an awful place to live. Now I live in my lungs, where I breath. Life is two sides of a coin, happy and sad, good and bad, and you can never separate the two from one another. When happy comes, I learn to recognize it and I say, “Oh, this is nice, and it will pass.” When bad comes, I learn to recognize it and I say, “Oh, this is not-so-nice, and it too will pass.”

The last quarter of 2013, I got a new job, after taking a break from all the jobs, and it is good. Really good. And I have a good feeling about 2014. Last year, I tore down what wasn’t working; this year I’m looking forward to building things back up.