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.
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.