New Year – New Year

2015 New Year celebration

As far as end of the year wrap-ups go, I’m going to warn you in advance that this one is going to be a little depressing. For me 2014 was like the last few months of a failing relationship compared to how wonderful my summer romance with 2013 had been. Nothing horrible happened, but nothing remotely wonderful or life changing happened either. The year just never felt right to me, and I never seemed to get my ducks in a row as people are known to say here in the Midwest…

To begin with, I started the year off unemployed after moving back to my home state of Illinois, and although I found a job within a few months at a local newspaper, it took me 8 months to find a job in my field. So with my weekdays full of responsibility and a bank account that reflected my recent trip to Southeast Asia, I stuck close to home when it came to adventures.

Drinking The Kool-Aid

One thing I seemed to do a lot of this year was visit breweries with my beer geek father. Four Hands Brewing, Schlafly, Scratch Brewing Co., Perennial Artisan Ales, Ferguson Brewing Co., Recess Brewing, 4202-Main Street Brewing, and Prison Brews to name a few. I also went to a lot of beer events like the Lupulin Carnival and the Repeal of Prohibition, and was also inducted into my dads beer group… but don’t ask me any questions related to the production – taste – smell – ingredients, because I am quite literally just there for the beer.

Hiking

In an effort to work off all that beer I was drinking, I made multiple visits to both Pere Marquette State Park and Giant City Lodge during the Summer to rediscover my favorite trails and explore a few new ones. Since Illinois is a pretty flat state and neither location is nearby, I couldn’t get out to either as much as I would have liked, but thanks to the mild weather we’ve been experiencing, I was able to enjoy a few nice Fall days with my family at both locations.

Revisiting Local Attractions

Despite what you’ve all be hearing on the news about Saint Louis, it’s actually a pretty great town. Having grown up just 20 minutes from downtown in the “Metro-East”, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the Gateway to the West an uncountable number of times throughout the years,  and it will always hold a special place in my heart. In the past 12 months I was able to revisit a few local favorites like the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the St. Louis Balloon Glow, and the Art Museum, as well as Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville IL., which I hadn’t been to since I was a child. I had hoped to get a little more local tourism done to share here on the blog with all of you, but got busy and wasn’t able to get everywhere I would have liked.

Heading To Jail

I also had the opportunity to visit the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City while my parents and I were visiting one of my brothers in Columbia, MO. Since I love old buildings – the ruined the better – it was the perfect place for me. Despite the hot day and even hotter interior, the rest of the family seemed to agree that it was an interesting tour. If you’re in the area I’d suggest checking it out.

Outside of all the things listed above, I also stayed up late to witness one of the many Blood Moons that happened this year, and got to tick off another item on my bucket list by completing the AFI 100 Years 100 Movies list. Unfortunately for me, this is where the happy part of the year ends. I actually just lost my job at the beginning of the week, and will now be ending my year the same way it began… unemployed.

While I find it a little ironic that I’m now closing out 2014 the same way I ushered it in, I can only hope that the new year will bring along all the possibilities and good fortune we hope for at the close of a less than fantastic year. As I prepare to celebrate the new year tonight and my 27th birthday on the 4th, it’s more than a little hard for me to admit that I’ve never felt more lost in all my life… even the time I drove around lost in Vietnam for hours pales in comparison to this. As of the moment I’m typing this sentence, I’m not sure what I’m going to do next, but will be sure to keep you all posted when I figure it out.

Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

Cheers – Susan

2 thoughts on “New Year – New Year

  1. Susan:

    This blog entry moved me to comment. I am very glad I got to meet you in person last spring but I felt I already knew you from reading your blog starting with your journey in Asia. I had met your beer geek dad in person in April 2013 and he told me about you journey and I started reading your blog ten and am a faithful reader. Your writing is excellent and your insights perceptive. I enjoy every blog entry you write.

    As I just turned 75 I have to say life does indeed provide moments where you can feel somewhat lost. The loss of job, of a friend, or the disruption of a relationship can easily send you off the rails for a while. A lot of people get annoyed at the old metaphor that goes “The darkest hour is always before dawn” but there is a germ of truth in the notion.

    So keep the faith and keep exploring life and enjoying the journey. There is in my opinion something big waiting out there for you. I cannot wait to read about it on your blog when it appears.

    Ron

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    • Thank you for the kind words of encouragement Ron. I apologize for taking so long to reply, as I’ve been beside myself trying to find the right words to convey how much your comment meant to me. You can trust me when I say that it was a pleasure to finally meet you as well. After hearing my father speak about you with such fondness for so long, I fully understand why he counts you among his friends.

      I am however sorry to report that I am among the people who groan upon hearing the metaphor you shared. While I agree it most definitely does hold a germ of truth, I like to hope there doesn’t have to be too much darkness in life, and hope there is indeed something big out there waiting for me.

      So thank you for taking the time so share your warmth and kindness with me, and for sticking with me here on the blog before you even had the chance to meet me. I truly can’t convey how much it means to me. Happy belated birthday (in case my father didn’t pass along my sentiments on your actual birthday) – Susan

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