2008: Year In Review

It’s become a New Year’s tradition for me to write a retrospective of what has happened over the course of the past year, and I’ve found that I really enjoy going back and reading past years’ reviews. They tend to encapsulate the important things, the high and low points, and some things that I would normally have forgotten by the end of the following year.

For quick reference, I have Years In Review from 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and now 2008.

Instead of going entirely chronologically this year, I’m going to group the major happenings by topics.

Hot topic #1 for 2008: Weight Loss. I started out the year with a weight-loss challenge against my friend and former co-worker, James. We both started out strong, but fell off the wagon after about a month and a half. In March, we spearheaded a new Spring Challenge, which lasted for another couple of months before we mutually decided to call it quits.

I didn’t call it quits entirely, though. Shortly before we decided to end our Challenge, I joined Weight Watchers — on my 32nd birthday, in fact. Since then, I’ve lost about 20 pounds in eight months. Aaron’s joined up, too, with the online program, and lost over 60 pounds in six months. We’re both looking and feeling much better, and a “normal” and healthy weight is just within reach.

Hot topic #2, closely related to #1, was Health and Fitness. At the end of January, I tested for and earned my ranking of 6th kyu in Aikido. I’d been practicing for about six months at this point, and earning my rank felt like a major goal achieved.

Unfortunately, testing time closely corresponded with bronchitis time, and Aaron and I managed to infect much of the dojo on testing day. We both spent some time off of work, and I spent some time away from Aikido. This was just the beginning of the end of my Aikidoing; I went back to the dojo sporadically between February and May, then never made myself go back after our vacation.

Before I go off on a tangent about this year’s vacation, let me wrap up the topic of fitness: Aaron and I made a habit of walking the University/Parks Trail together on the weekends during the summer, then started the six-week HundredPushups.com program in November.

Hibiscus in HawaiiOK, on to hot topic #3: Our Hawaii Vacation. This was the follow-up vacation to 2007’s Japan vacation; we never thought we’d be able to afford either, but there we were, affording them. Granted, Japan was funded by credit cards and carefully-saved stash, and Hawaii was mainly funded by the unused severance pay from my previous job, but still.

Our Hawaii vacation was awesome for different reasons than our Japan vacation had been. We went snorkeling, parasailing, took multiple bus tours, ate Japanese food (thanks to the prevalence of Japanese culture and tourism in Hawaii), shopped, luaued, and learned to play the ukulele.

CrokinoleAlso under the topic of travel is one bit of info that I failed to post to my blog, but Aaron posted to his: our trip to the World Crokinole Championship in Tavistock, Ontario. Aaron and I traveled with our friends Mark and Rocky up to rural Ontario, where we participated in the annual crokinole tournament. The good news? I won the early-bird drawing and received a free World Crokinole jacket. The bad news? Out of 136 entrants in the Adult Singles Division, I came in DEAD LAST.

Apart from these main topics, a few other events deserve an honorable mention. Concerts don’t happen very often anymore, but we did get to see Matthew Sweet, MC Frontalot, and Avenue Q (more of a musical than a concert, but it still fits). We’ve also scaled back our anime convention attendance, but we hit Anime Punch (our favorite) in Columbus in April, and used our frequent flyer miles to head out to Providence for the first-ever 21-and-over anime con in October.

On a more egotistical note, I donated 13 inches of hair (again) in July and, not long after, bought my first pair of jeans at Buckle (a “real” clothing store, instead of a specialty store for plus sizes). I also celebrated my one year anniversary at my new job.

One other happening that can’t be forgotten: in August, Aaron’s grandmother passed away. She’d been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years, but hadn’t been in poor health, so her passing was sudden and unexpected. We all got together to remember Grammie, and to honor her life, and I think that we all learned something new about her and about each other in the process.

If I had to pin one label on 2008, I’m not sure what it would be. This year wasn’t the year of change that 2007 was, but it was, at the very least, another banner year for weight loss for myself and Aaron. We’re hoping to keep that going through 2009, and to make the coming year a year of maintaining momentum.