2013 in Review

Is it fair to label something as a paradox? It seems all one need do is find an occasion and search for a way in which it opposed something else. Meaning that, unless life flows peacefully along in a smooth consequence of evolution, everything is paradoxical.

This is especially true if that thing in examination is an entire year.

And, yet, it has not left the warm library of the mind: 2013 was a year of paradoxes for me.

I don’t want to stretch the metaphor into uselessness but in my mind the paradoxes are as follows: this was the healthiest year of my life, yet I faced my worst bodily injury. My employment situation was the most stable, yet my location was as unstable as it gets. I, for really the first time, did something new with my hair, then cut it all off (for good). I wrote more in 2013 than in 2012, but with my Macbook crashing, I lost almost everything I had written up until November. So, more words, less that remain.

I’m sure there’s more, but again I don’t want to batter the metaphor down to a pulp. 2013 is and soon will be a was. And what it was was an interesting year. I traveled to 5 different countries — 14 states (quick count) and countless airports. With the exception of some convalescence time in the suburbs of Chicago, I didn’t stay in one place ever for longer than three weeks.

2013 was on the move. Always.

Places I stayed for at least a night: Buffalo Grove, New York City, Martha’s Vineyard, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, Madison, Austin, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Eugene, Vancouver, Santiago, Valparaiso, Cordoba, Buenos Aires, Playas del Coco, Nuevo Arenal……..Some pictures.

Professionally: moved into the Head of Learning at Zirtual. Built a team around that. Worked with more Big Buddies, certified 100+ ZAs, continued to evolve our education program. Really great stuff, all fueled by my passion which makes working so much easier.

Relationships: got to spend a solid block of time (3 months) with my family which was great. Asidfe from being a relaxing time, it was great to slow things down and spend some quality time with them. All the traveling can get in the way of that sometimes…..Friendships were kept and new ones were formed. I think 2014 will be a year I really try hard to keep my relationships solid. To really put myself into them — I don’t know what form that becomes, so we’ll have to see.

Pearl Jam: Was 2013 the year I saw too much Pearl Jam? I saw my favorite band 8 times this year. Yes, 8. In 3 different countries. In one stint, I saw them 6 times in two weeks. I saw them play a paradise of my own  – Wrigley Field and saw them headline Lollapalooza Chile in March.

What else?

Started this site and have a good collection of posts I’m proud of. Read quite a few books, saw some great movies….

Some favorites amongst those and other entertainment from 2013:

Favorite new book I read in 2013: Weapons of Mass Instruction.

It’s not fiction which surprises me. And it might not have been my favorite book — but it certainly had the most impact on me this year, so we’ll keep it in its designation. I think the book, about the stagnation that our current educational system is causing, combined with Sugatra Mitra’s paradigm-shattering TED talk, really charged something in me. 2013 was the first time I really took a hard look at what we’re doing with education these days (both in its larger, national system, and the culture surrounding it). I’m out to change some things because of this book.

See more thoughts on this book and other reading recommendations I made here.

Favorite 2013 movie: Before Midnight.

Too good. Too real. Too anticipated after watching the first two earlier this year in waiting for this. The pair did it again — superb, superb acting. And the script, like the first two of the series, was full of incredible conversation, real affectations of people in love (or out of love), and just an apologetic and raw look into our often cringeworthingly mundate realities. This one was a bit harder to watch, if only because all the romance you recognize in these characters has seemed to have dissipated. But it’s no less a powerful film because of this. In fact, it may be more powerful —and the scenes where they seem to come together again last longer than the ones where they fight. I, like millions, hope to see this pair again in 9 years, but if this is all we get then it was one of the greatest trilogies the cinema has seen.

Favorite TV show: Breaking Bad.

Nothing came remotely close to equaling the intensity of what this show did in 2013. So little can in the context of what you can accomplish in episodes playing once per week.

Favorite album of 2013: The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Couldn’t wait for this. I heard it for the first time and felt a tinge of disappointment. I’ve listened to it probably 60 more times (in various manners too, on random for instance) and I feel ashamed for having thought so on first listen. They’ve done it again…..though not as strong as Alligator or Boxer, that bar is set just so impossibly high.

Runner-ups: Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt, Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City, Gregory Alan Isakov’s The Weatherman……and Angus & Julie Stone’s A Book Like This (which didn’t come out in 2013 but I first heard it this year)

Favorite place visited in 2013: Buenos Aires

buenos aires pic

cobblestone streetshot I took!

I remember being in BsAs thinking “this is what those European cities wanted to be…” or something like that. Indeed, it’s a creation in that idea. The cities of Europe ended up with characters contingent on a history or the trickle down of centuries of culture. BsAs felt new, mixed, and altogether warm and beautiful. Was there as autumn was in full and it didn’t disappoint.

Runner-up: Alaska

Favorite Work Spot: Tennyson Lanes (Denver, CO) or Hotel Cafè (Valparaiso, Chile)

zirtual bowling            photo 4 (1)I

Favorite Meal in 2013: La Cabrera in Buenos Aires

I stopped my paragraph above before mentioning how good the food (read: steaks) were in Buenos Aires. This was a meal I’ll never forget. Sides galore, steak that almost melted in your mouth it was so soft and tender, and cheap thanks to a black market for currency trade! What could be more of the dream? See my post here about some other great meals I had in 2013…

For more reading, check out the sites I bookmarked in 2013.

How about some pictures? In no order, some snapshots that made 2013 what it was….

One thought on “2013 in Review

  1. Pingback: 2013: in Review | Eric Ryan Grant

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