2012: End of Year Thoughts and Ruminations


2012 has been a wonderful year. If I were the type to pick favorites, and I am, I’d say it’s one of my favorite years to date.

Travel happened. A lot. LA and Chicago in January, Seoul, South Korea in February, Las Vegas in March, Cottage Grove road trip in April, Seattle in May…twice, Cave Junction (my hometown) in June, camping on the coast and in the mountains in the summer months, Seattle again in November, and Chicago again in September. A lot of that was Vida Vegan or blog-related, and a handful were pure pleasure and family visits.

And because I haven’t done it yet and I have about 500 pictures of my trip to visit my older brother Ahimsa in Korea, here are a handful:


At Gyeongbokgung Palace in Northern Seoul:



The cutest coffee cup in the world and vegan bibimbap:

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My brother and I goofing off:



The view of Seoul at Twilight from the top of a hike up a very tall mountain (I think we could even almost see North Korea at points!):



This is my “I’m about to enter a Rastafarian bar in South Korea” face:



Olympic Park (Seoul hosted The Olympics in 1988):



In which my brother and I play the game “Imitate the inanimate thing you’re standing next to”:

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Hey, recognize this guy? It’s Ryan Patey! (The gal is my brother’s girlfriend and travel partner. We’re standing outside a castle bar that served popcorn. Hence the big smile on my face.)



Travel is a major component of my life, and in 2011 when I thought about my intentions for this year, being open to and pursuing travel was a major theme. I’m grateful I had so many travel opportunities in 2012, and I hope and foresee even more in 2013.



Last year on New Year’s Eve, I worked at the Pub helping with inventory until 11pm, then caught a ride home for some much-desired solitude. I love working with people (it’s been my chosen career for over a decade for a reason), but sometimes a little self-date is absolutely necessary to regroup and re-center. I came home, popped corn (naturally) and champagne (naturally), and curled up on my couch listening to Auld Lang Sang and working on my intentions for 2012. It was an absolutely perfect way to start this year out. And it helped keep me centered throughout.


P1040137 (reflection, get it?)


It’s been a really strong year—filled with growth (spiritually, mentally, and, due to my bike accident in September, physically. ha.) and new experiences and love and more acceptance and inner peace, and humor, and tons (literally?) of good food and cocktails and some great dating and making new friends and cementing old friendships and practicing being grateful every single day and appreciating the moment I’m in, whether  it’s a joyful moment or a painful moment. Sure, I’ve had my share of let-downs and frustrations this year, but I’ve really been working on appreciating those for what they are, seeing how I can learn from them, and moving on.


Either tonight or tomorrow, I’m going to think about my intentions for 2013. I’m excited for the new year—there’s a good friend’s wedding reception in Austin in April, Vida Vegan Con TWO in May, and some other half-baked glorious plans I’ve been scheming about for awhile.

I read an article yesterday from Psychology Today called “Five Things You Can Do Instead of New Year’s Resolutions” you may like. I really like it.

Here’s the first one:

1. Write yourself a letter from your future self, dated 1/1/2014. Imagine looking back at 2013, from a place of having achieved your most important goal for the year. In your letter, thank your present self for all you did to achieve your goals—and be specific. Or give yourself some compassionate advice from your wiser, 2014 self. Research shows that connecting to your future self in this way can help you make a difficult change and succeed at your goals.

For the remaining four, follow this link. It’s worth a read.


I generally keep my intentions private, but two I’ll share that I’ve already been working on: more travel and more reading. I love reading so much—heck, I majored in Literature in college, and we know I didn’t do it for the large paycheck I get working in the service industry—and sort of got away from it over the past few years as I got more involved in event planning, organizing, blogging and restaurant management. But I’m back, I updated my Goodreads profile, and I’m planning on reading a whole heck of a lot more in 2013.



What about you? Do you like to make resolutions or do reflecting at the end of the year? Have you experienced major changes that you wouldn’t have expected a year ago today? Is there anything you’re immensely looking forward to in 2013?



What have you learned this year?

A few lessons I’ve learned (or relearned) this year:

* Trust your life. Trust each moment that you’re having, for the simple reason that you’re having it. If you don’t like that moment, think of why and wonder what you can learn from it.

* The only thing holding you back from ANYTHING you want to do is yourself. Want to be more productive? You can do it. Want to travel more? You can do it. Want to change your job? You can do it. Want to foster better relationships? You can do it. Don’t blame other people or situations; just focus on what YOU can do. Things will happen.

* Want to be more peaceful? Choose it. In every single moment. If we can choose to be irritated or anxious or insecure, we can choose peace or happiness instead. It might not work in every single moment right away, but you will notice a difference in lots of little ways. Try it.

* Communicating honestly means a ton of reflection. You must recognize your own truths before being able to communicate them fully. And open communication and honesty is the key to healthy relationships (with yourself and with others).

* If the answer is not a resounding YES, it’s a no. This works in every single situation I’ve encountered: dating, social plans, life plans, food, every single choice you make: if it’s not YES!, it’s no.

* Vocabulary matters. Instead of saying (even or especially to yourself) “I can’t”, I don’t have time”, or “I should”; try “I am choosing (not) to” and “I am not willing to make this a priority in my life or my day right now”. Take responsibility for your desires and dislikes. And I just think ‘should’ is a dirty word.




Thanks for reading my blog in 2012. Here’s to a happy, healthy, humorous and joyful 2013! Happy New Year!

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About Janessa

I'm a travelin' vegan gal, event planner & writer who loves eating, drinking, hiking, biking, reading, writing, loving, scheming, learning, laughing, champagne-ing and gerunds.
  • Great post! Thanks for linking that great Psychology Today post, too. I also need to focus on reading more in the new year! It’s tough to make time for it sometimes. :/ Hope you enjoy your New Year’s Eve and that 2013 i s a great one!

    • Thanks Tamara! That Psychology Today article is a really good one. I hope you have a great New Year!

  • Angelina Landeros

    I love this post! Sounds like you had a great year and reading more is always a worthwhile resolution. I will check out your Goodreads profile!

    • Ahhh thanks Angelina! I agree, reading more is always a good thing. Happy New Year!