I’m about a month and a half late in doing this, but better late than never, right?

I started out my 26th year with 26 goals. How well did I do? Guess you’ll have to read to find out!

BEHOLD: Pictorial proof that I accomplished 15 of the 26. Ones in bold are ones that did not get accomplished.

1. Hike a 14er – my friend who said she’d take me didn’t… so hopefully this summer

2. Canoe/kayak Dillon Reservoir – Colorado is in the middle of a major drought. I don’t have pictures but I probably could have walked around in the water of Dillon Reservoir it was that shallow. So no canoeing for this girl.
3. Go to the Sundance Film Festival – I talked about going with The Lawyer, but then both of us got a significant other, so it was forgotten.
4. Snowshoe in RMNP – I did this TWICE! And to the exact same trail… the park is 415 square miles and I went to the same trail twice in a week… clearly I need to get better about planning this stuff.

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5. Fall in love – This is worthy of its own post, and was technically a month late of the one-year goal, but it happened 🙂

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6. Get the full bonus amounts at work each quarter – When I started my job, I thought it would be more about my work and productivity, so this was important. Little did I realize that it had everything to do with the guys in the field and how well they did that would determine the outcome of my bonuses. But I got to go to the field twice, which was always a treat– including having to wear a men’s size large of coveralls. (I don’t have permission to post pics of my coworkers, so please ignore the blacked-out faces)

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7. Go to Cheyanne Mountain Zoo – The Roommate and I went here after we accomplished #8. What a fun zoo and experience!
8. Have brunch at the Broadmoore – I don’t know if I can fully describe just how over-priced that brunch was, but at least I had a fun companion and ate till I felt I was about to burst since it was a buffet and I insisted I get my money’s worth!
9. Grow a lush garden – I don’t know if I can eat store-bought lettuce ever again! We did have a broccoli plant that we neglected and went to seed. It was actually quite beautiful, but got really top-heavy and fell over and uprooted itself… oops! I didn’t get any pictures of the end result, so you’ll recognize the pictures from this post:

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10. Learn to roast a chicken – Didn’t do this… I find chicken boring so being motivated to roast it didn’t happen. But I love the roasted chicken from Costco, so I want to at least try it once to see if it’s worth doing it myself or keep only spending $5 to get it.
11. Travel somewhere that requires my passport – This didn’t happen, but I DID go to four states, so it half-counts since I accomplished #12 four times! I’m going to two countries this year (maybe more if timing works right for my trip to France in the fall), so I’m making up for it this year.
12. Travel somewhere outside of the state – Balboa Island in California, Chicago, Orlando, and New York City– and they all happened in the last half of the year.

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Balboa Island, California

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Top of the Hitchcock Building, Chicago

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Who’s ready to see Micky and Minnie?

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Central Park, New York

13. Eat at least one thing a week from our CSA bag – I didn’t keep good notes on this, but it was always in the back of my mind… I’m pretty sure I did this. I even made baba ganoush with the eggplants we got!
14. Learn to grill the perfect steak – Thanks to reading a lot of grilling books, watching Americas Test Kitchen, and getting some pointers from The Roommate’s dad, I can say I now know how to cook a perfect steak, on the grill or on the stove/broiler
15. Throw at least one party/get-together a month – If I missed a month, then the next month had more than one party, so it made up for it!

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16. Have a reason to wear each of my three LBD’s – Wicked with the girls, TJ’s wedding, and dinner at The London by Gordon Ramsey with Company Ink in New York (so I actually wore one of them twice… I still count it as three!)

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Girls night out to see “Wicked”

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TJ’s wedding with my sister!

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After the most delicious dinner of my life in New York!

17. Go on a full-moon snowshoe hike – As mentioned in #2, Colorado was in a drought. So to find a time that it had just snowed, hadn’t warmed up enough to melt it all, AND be a full moon was pretty near-impossible. Maybe next season…
18. Treat myself to a shopping-spree for new clothes for work – I never did an actual shopping spree, but whenever I found a piece of clothing I liked, I would buy it. I’m not good about treating myself to things like that, so I count it as a win!
19. Go to at least one concert – LMFAO for a friend’s birthday, Gotye (where we sat in the 3rd row!) with my sister and her BFF, and Aimee Mann with my mom:

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20. See fireworks in DC – They did fireworks at the City and County Building in downtown Denver, but not in Glendale where they have the best ones. I also saw the fireworks at Disney, which I was slightly disappointed in, but I should be happy I got to see any at all… but for the record, Glendale’s fireworks are the BEST!

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21. Go hiking with my parents at least once this summer – My mom has 3 jobs, so hiking rarely happened. But I did go hiking with the guy I went on the blind date with. So I’m counting it as a win!

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22. Jump in a pile of freshly-raked leaves – The leaves on my tree are lame for jumping in, and Company Ink took his away to add to mulch piles before I could jump in his… and everyone else I know lives in an apartment so they don’t have trees to rake because of. Major fail 😦
23. Ride my bike every day to work in the summer – I need a new bike. And a better system of getting out of the near-impossible garage that we park our bikes in. So I only rode a few times. Once I get a lighter bike (seriously, my current one weighs about as much as I do!), I will definitely ride more. Plus, I might have more riding buddies this year, so that always helps.
24. Make limoncello –  I looked up a recipe and video on how to make it… does that count? I will make it soon and have it in time for summer and sitting on our porch and looking at our great view of the mountains!
25. Go to a game for each of the Denver professional sports teams (except the Nuggets– I hate basketball) – As of last night, I actually succeeded in going to a Nuggets game! Boy can Company Ink be persuasive! But I did go to a Broncos game twice– once with my family and once with work people, a Rockies game with The Lawyer, and an Avalanche game with Company Ink. It sure does help that our company pays for a box so we always have tickets available for the Avs!

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26. Write my 3rd NaNoWriMo novel in November – This was covered in this post. But 2013 will see the awesome comeback of me as a novelist!

Even though I only accomplished 58% of my goal list, here are some other things I did:

Met famous people:

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Angelo from Top Chef

Went to Wicked twice:

We totally won the Best Dressed award!

We totally won the Best Dressed award!

Danced in the Denver Pride Parade with Colorado AIDS Project, the organization I volunteer for:

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Rode in the Denver Cruiser Duct Tape and Cardboard night:

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Chopped my hair off:

photoMade home-made sushi with The Roommate and Company Ink:

photo (2)And saw a ton of elk while driving through Estes Park and driving across Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park:

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And lots of other things that I didn’t get a picture of 🙂

Hopefully I’ll make a new list for this year. But seeing how long it took me to write this post, don’t hold your breath!

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Life has been absolutely crazy lately, and I want to take a moment to breathe and express my gratitude about where my life is right now.

At this time last year, I was in a job that I loathed. The office was described by my fellow-coworkers as toxic, crazy-making, and just downright miserable. But now I am in a job where my boss regularly acknowledges my contributions, I’m respected by my coworkers, the new engineer’s manager even said to all of the engineers that he was so glad that I was a part of that team because I bring so much value to it! It still makes me smile just thinking about that. Towards the end, I never smiled at my old job. There was nothing happy and my contributions were never acknowledged. It’s such a breath of fresh air to finally be in a place where I’m treated like an adult and respected as a valuable member of the office.

Plus, they sent me to Williston again to continue learning about what the engineers do on a day-to-day basis and to learn more about what our company does. I went in February where I nearly froze to death (and coinsidentally is the first time I met Company Ink!) but I had just started at that job 2 weeks before– so I was still pretty unfamiliar with the intricacies of our work/company and I didn’t know any of the engineers yet. But I was reminded that I take quality half-way decent restaurants in Denver for granted…

While The Roommate is gone for the next month and a half, which I miss her so much so I’m packing my life full of other things so I don’t have to think about it too much or be at the house by my house too often (denial really is a beautiful thing), I’ve been spending quality time with friends, family, and Company Ink.

I’ve gone to Chicago to visit my old college roommate, I went to Balboa Island in California with my family (no one wanted to kill each other by the end of it, so that is a definite success!), and got to spend an evening while we were there with a few of my cousins who I only have interaction via facebook, but don’t really know them at all.

Company Ink and I even spent a weekend up in Beaver Creek to look at the foliage. It was our first weekend getaway together and it was so much fun (although I got a little drunk… stupid altitude messing with my already lightweight-ness!). So New York for a long weekend is definitely in our near future… 😉

And I’m getting ready to go to Florida for a week with some friends to go to Disney World the day after my BFF’s little sister gets married (congrats TJ!) Wow, the wedding is a week from today and I leave for DW a week from tomorrow… I have a lot of packing and shopping to do! Hopefully my friends’ children behave relatively well and we all walk away still being friends. I went to Disney World when I was 6 and I have a vague recollection of it– plus, I’ve heard it’s completely different so it doesn’t really matter! Watch out Mickey and Minnie– here I come!

I know I can take the simple things for granted in my life, but taking a moment to reflect on where my life was only a year ago really takes my breath away. Now if only The Roommate would get back from Europe– then things would be perfect! (P.S. Roommate, in case it isn’t clear, I really really miss you! I cannot wait for you to get home so we can have normal face-to-face conversations and have major, quality boy-talk!)

Anyone have any positive things going on in their life they’d like to share?

 

Consider this my acknowledgement of the fact that I haven’t posted since… holy crap! August 10! And that was the day that so much happened 🙂

Anyway, I have a lot of boy-related news to share with you. And I’m apologizing in advance: this is kind of long. But I didn’t want to make you wait to hear all the details by making this a multi-part story.

For those of you who may have forgotten where we left off, I last told you all that I finally admitted my crush on my coworker. I’m calling him Company Ink (CI for short) for now until I think of a better nickname. Well, after inviting me over to his house that next night to watch a movie (which we actually watched, thankyouverymuch!), we spent hours making out on his couch.

I then proceeded to spend every available moment with him the rest of the weekend.

The most amazing part about everything is just how normal and natural it all feels. That anticipation as he leaned in for the first kiss– since I was finally sending the “I’m truly interested” and “OMG! Kiss me!” signals– and everything has flowed without any hesitation. Spending the entire weekend with him didn’t feel overwhelming or like we were going to fizzle out once reality hit (aka work the next day).

Even when we went rock climbing with his good friends on that Sunday, it was not a big deal that we were dating. It made sense to them and was kind of expected. Apparently, he had been lamenting to these friends about how he couldn’t figure out if I liked him or not, and even got them involved in trying to figure me out… As I explained to CI later, it wasn’t that I didn’t like him. It was the fact that I work with him that was my big hold-up. So they were never going to figure me out!

We’ve had quite a good laugh over how I just couldn’t figure out what to do. And my mom was appalled about just how mixed my signals actually were: I invited him over to my house to watch a movie in the middle of the day, but then cancelled on dinner when he was clearly asking me out on a date. I went to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival with him, but would drag coworkers along with us when he asked me to go to lunch. And that’s just the beginning. He sure is lucky (and relieved) I finally made up my mind!

My biggest anxiety about dating him was the fact that WE WORK TOGETHER! But come to find out? It’s really no big deal. I see him in the hallway, I chat with him just like I had before, and we give each other quick pecks on the lips when no one is around. (Let me just state for the record: soundless, quick kisses are completely disappointing… but that’s what we have to do for now since we still haven’t told anyone at work yet). So far, there’s not much difference between before and now– which is exactly like it should be. We have been able to maintain our professional/business relationship and keep our personal life outside of work hours. Well, except for the covert pinch I gave him in the elevator with all our coworkers around 😉

I’m really happy with how things have gone and it’s happened like I would have wanted– I was friends with him for almost 9 months before something romantic happened. Meaning: we were friends first. We know we can talk easily, we have a lot in common, and we connect on a deeper level than just physical attraction. I’ve dated guys where there really was no depth, and it was so unsatisfying on an emotional level. Instead, now I have someone I know I like to talk to and we can spend hours talking and hanging out– and it’s never strained or filled with awkward silences.

One of my favorite things has been that making plans has not felt stifling or overwhelming. He emailed me a link the other day that had a hotel deal in the mountains that we can go away for the weekend. So in a few weeks, I’ll be in Beaver Creek enjoying the views of the changing aspen trees and wandering a ski town I’ve never been to. We’re also talking about going to New York City for a weekend some time in November. Our company has every other Friday off, so it makes it really easy to plan long-weekend getaways really easily! He even told me, after a second-failed attempt to win “Book of Mormon” tickets, that we could just go see it on Broadway when we’re there…

So after spending most weekends together (when one of us isn’t out of town) and a couple of nights a week, we finally had THE talk.

We had spent 8 hours at Wash Park on Labor Day with a bunch of friends. My sister was introducing CI to her friends and she ended it with “he and my sister are…. dating?” He told me about the conversation on Tuesday and that was the catalyst that was needed to talk about what we were calling each other/what we were doing. We’d talked a couple of weeks ago about what we were looking for, so we knew at least we were on the same page there.

So, over some mediocre sushi, CI officially became my boyfriend!

To continue our natural progression of our relationship, even that conversation was simple, easy, and natural. It wasn’t dramatic or anxiety-filled. We knew we liked each other, we’ve been spending a lot of time together, and we want things to go to the next level.

Even though I don’t really like labels, especially that of boyfriend/girlfriend, because they sound cheesy and weird (which I explained to my mom that I now understand why Dan Savage calls Terry his “huuusband” on his podcast) I call CI my “buhfriend” (it sounds better if you hear it).

Company Ink has already been to 2 family nights, and tonight will be the third. It’s also the last family dinner The Roommate will be at for a while, but that’s for another post. I’m basking in the happy thoughts of me and CI and I’ll get to the “I’m really going to miss her” emotions and blogging tomorrow.

For now, I’m happy 🙂

I  haven’t been this excited about something in a very long time! And I’ve been waiting for the day when everything was done so I could share it with all of you!

As you all know, it was 4 years ago that I got married. And it was 3 years ago from June 12th that he moved out. Ever since then, my wedding ring has sat alone it’s box in my jewelry holder. It has my mom’s diamond in it, so the diamond holds a lot of sentimental value to me. I knew I wanted to do something with both the ring and the diamond, but never knew what.

Then my BFF’s sister got engaged.

Her fiance, who is an artist by job and trade (he’s a high school art teacher), designed a ring for her with a jeweler and it’s GORGEOUS! It’s beautiful and unique, just like his fiance.

That was the spark that I needed and the key to finding a jeweler who I could work with to do something about my wedding ring. I had picked it out (thankyouverymuch!) and I really like it! Selling it or just leaving it in the box forever were never even options. The ring doesn’t have a second band with it, so it would be easy to be able to wear it on my right hand and not look like a wedding ring.

So I set an appointment with the jeweler and drove the 45 minutes to her studio to get the ball rolling. I handed her my ring and told her I wanted an amethyst in place of the diamond but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the diamond.

Here’s how it turned out:

Is it weird that as I was driving home, while I had my hand on the top of the steering wheel, I said out loud to my ring, “welcome home!”?

Wow, do I have my mom’s hands!

Changing out the stone in my ring was the easy part. Now, what to do with that diamond?

After going through lots and lots of gigantic catalogs and magazines, I gave the jeweler a very diverse idea about what style I like. And when I say diverse, I mean: I like swoopy, I also like angles, I also like bigger, I also want something smaller… That she was even able to figure anything out I liked shows her true talent!

One thing I was sure on was that I wanted a pendant of some sort that has the diamond as the central focus. And if it had other stones, I wanted lots of color.

A few weeks later, I met with her again to choose one of the half-a-dozen mock-ups that she had drawn. I moved around and touched a lot of precious gems and settled on a design and the stones and shapes I wanted.

I can’t remember the last time I was this eager about something!

I waited impatiently as she made my necklace.

And today…

I got to pick it up!

BEHOLD! The most beautiful and sentimental piece of jewelry I’ve ever owned:

What’s that? You want a close-up? Well, if you insist! (p.s. It’s super difficult to take a picture up close of something you’re wearing…)

I didn’t think about writing down all of the stones that are in it before I handed my parents the appraisal information to put in their safe, so I can’t tell you exactly what each of the stones are. I do know there’s a pink diamond, an emerald, a sapphire (possibly more than one, since I learned that sapphires come in more than one color (blue)). But see the diamond? It’s front and center, just like I wanted.

I love this necklace, I can’t even begin to describe how much!

I don’t usually get emotional about things, but I had to resist hugging the jeweler when I opened the box to see it. And then when I made a stop at my parents’ house to show it to them, I was thiiiiis close to crying.  I don’t know why this necklace ended up being that emotional for me, but I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

I’ve worked really hard on bettering myself over these last few years and, most importantly, to learn from the mistakes I made. The fact that my family and friends have stood by me as I’ve learned and grown, that has helped me become even stronger. This necklace is the embodiment all of that.

I love this necklace so much!!!

Now I’m going to go stare at it in the mirror some more…

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And because I’m so happy with the result (she in no way, shape, or form asked or paid me to say this), I’d love to recommend my jeweler: Cheryl Reiber Designs

I’m hoping by posting about my current feelings about my love life will help alleviate my frustration. So please bear with me…

I have great friends, a great job, a loving family and most of my evenings and weekends are packed. I would describe myself as happy and content with my life.

However…

I am extremely lonely.

Both my sister, who in the past has been the biggest relationship-phobe but is now in a full-fledged relationship, and The Roommate are dating men who fit them so well and I have seen how much joy they get from being in those relationships.

I look on their relationships with envy and really wish that I was with someone who made that much sense with me. Instead, I end up on dates with players, dickheads, crazies, and bores. Or on no dates at all.

And don’t get me wrong– I am so happy for my sister and The Roommate and can’t wait to see where their relationships end up (it’s like a real-life romantic comedy for The Roommate… and I have front row seats!). Their relationships show me that there are people out there who fit perfectly with another person. And it’s been so great to see the positive changes that have come from them being in those relationships.

I like dating, I like going out and meeting new people. First dates don’t give me any sort of anxiety and I’m never nervous about them– which helps me be relaxed and a good conversationalist. But I’m not meeting anyone who would be a good match for me.

Not by a long-shot.

I have a dating philosophy that says “I never say no to a request for a first date” (within reason, of course). My thought is that if a guy has had enough courage to ask me out on a date (or even for my phone number), I will oblige. And I will go with a positive attitude and hope that something comes from it. Unless I’ve known the guy for a while, how can I know how good of a match they’ll be for me if I don’t give them a chance?

But do I need to change that philosophy? Am I not being discerning enough, so I continue to end up disappointed more times than not? Or is that the “right” way to do it, and hope that eventually I’ll go out with “the one”?

And I’m not even asking for much at this point. I know that the shaming of single women is “you’re just being too picky,” which I honestly don’t think I am. At this point in time, all I’m looking for is someone who has a job, can carry a two-way conversation, I have chemistry with them, and he isn’t an asshole.

I feel like I’m too young to have to start lowering my bar/expectations. Or has 26 become the start for spinsters? Maybe it is– during a recent conversation with a friend, we started talking about how it’s nearly impossible to find someone who is not either: A) completely immature, B) recently divorced, or C) not looking for a relationship. Sounds like a list of the traits of my recent dates…

I don’t want to whine. I hate when people whine about “no one loves me!”

But I can’t seem to help myself. I’ve been doing everything I can to meet people out in my world (as opposed to online)– I’ve joined social groups, attended meetups, drank at networking happy hours, I’m currently captaining my kickball team, volunteering more– but none of that hasn’t seemed to get me anywhere. Yes, I’m making new/more friends, but any guys I meet at any of those get-togethers are unavailable, way older than I am, or sleazy.

I’ve been bound and determined to not get back into the online dating world because I REALLY want to meet someone “organically.” But more and more, I’m finding that that has really become nearly impossible.

Is online dating really the only way to meet anyone any more? Or should I continue to be a “Ted Moseby” and hold out hope that I’ll meet my future mister out about in my life?

I’m feeling down about this, and I refuse to let it bring my entire out-look on life down, but I also can’t shake the dark rain cloud that is lurking in the background, ready to swallow me if I give it more than a moment’s attention.

Thanks for listening to me whine. Hopefully getting this off my chest will help me get past it and just live my life and tell that dark cloud to go away.

To help cheer me up (and tell you where the title reference came from), I’m hoping Winnie the Pooh will help:

 

Have any of you read the book, “Law of Attraction” by Michael J. Losier? It was recommended to me by The Narcissist and the ideas of that book have actually stuck with even though I read it years ago.

The idea behind the book is that we put “vibes” out into the universe and the universe will respond in-kind. If you put negative energy out, you’ll get negative things happening to you. And if you put hopeful, positive vibes, good things will come to you. Sounds cheesy but I actually recommend the book– it’s got some pretty interesting ideas.

I talked about it in this post way back when, but I was reminded of it yesterday when I opened my email and saw a unique email waiting for me to read. I’ve been dealing with the Funny Man issues and have been feeling a lot more positive and open to the idea of really dating and really letting myself relax and truly committing to wanting a relationship.

Well, if Mr. Losier is to be believed, then those positive vibes I was putting out into the universe caused a guy to email me via meetup.com! I’m not as active as I’d like to be in regards to those groups (it’s not a dating site–that’s an important thing to note), but this guy saw we had a few groups in common so he messaged me.

It was a simple message, asking basic questions about me and it didn’t feel at all intrusive. I don’t know what is going to happen with him, but all I know at this point is that he looks pretty cute and it took a lot of guts to email some stranger to get a conversation going. And it sure gave me the ego boost I needed!

When I was in high school, I was known as the “phase” girl in my youth group. (Background story: I was super-involved in church all growing up and into college. (I’ve taken a 180 degree turn from that life since then.) So to say that church and youth group were my life in high school would be a total under-statement). When we (being the girls) used that term, we referred to the girl who all the boys in the youth group liked. And their affections came and went– hence the term “phase girl.” But they all seemed to be in love with the same girl at the same time.

I believe I hold the record for longest time in that position, but no one kept an official count 😉 I knew all the guys liked me and I liked all of them. I flirted like crazy and was very friendly and uncharacteristically outgoing. I was friendly with everyone, not just the guys, and wanted everyone to feel included. Having struggled to make friends when I first came to that church, I made it a point to reach out and help anyone who was new to make friends and feel included. That plight ended up leading to my demise, but that’s neither here nor there.

That relaxation and not-being-self-conscious seemed to disappear once I entered college and by the time I graduated, it was pretty much gone for good.

I then got married, so flirting and interactions with other men was scarce and I had no need/reason to be that flirty.

But even after my divorce, that flirtiness never returned. And I’ve never been able to really relax when I interact with men.

I distinctly remember a session with my counselor about relaxing. I’m not talking about relaxing being a night drinking tea and taking a long bubble bath. I’m talking about the kind of relaxing around people that came so naturally to me in high school.

I didn’t care about what people thought, I was friendly and outgoing and enjoyed the people I spent time with. My goal to be “perfect” has ended up interfering with my natural friendliness and now I am rigid and awkward and struggle with just go with the flow.

My counselor had me sit on one couch like I would have in high school– I slouched and put my legs out in front of me– clearly comfortable and relaxed. She then had me sit in my normal chair (I literally sat in the exact same chair for 2 years solid… OCD much?) to show how I feel now. I crossed my legs and arms and sat up straight.

I don’t remember if there was even a “lesson” that was supposed to go with that exercise, but it’s one of the few sessions that I replay in my head pretty consistently. Deep down, I know what it feels and looks like to relax and just be myself. But those feelings seem to be eluding me.

During an email exchange with a new-found friend, I asked him about how to meet guys in the real world (as opposed to online). His answer was simple: be relaxed, smile a lot, and be friendly with everyone you interact with, even if it’s the person standing behind you at the supermarket– you never know what can/will happen because of those interactions.

As I read his advice, a vision of myself from high school flashed through my head. That girl is so different from who I am now, but I realized I envy her. I envy her relaxation and care-free attitude about life.

I wasn’t told any advice I hadn’t heard or even done before. But it was the reminder I needed that I can relax, be myself, be flirty and friendly. As a result, I’ll be happier with myself, my interactions with other people, and I just might finally attract the attention of a guy who values that kind of person.

I’ve dated guys who are attracted to my more mature attitude– no one ever guesses my real age– they either guess 17 because I look like a high schooler or 29 because I act a lot older/mature than people “typically” do my age. And I’ve ended up dating some pretty big a-holes… so clearly not being myself is not getting me anywhere good.

So thanks to Zak for the reminder to be myself. The real Kate is in there somewhere, possibly stuck back in high school, but maybe I can at least glean some advice from her about how to stop being so boring! Plus, I’ll have a lot more fun when I am my friendly self as opposed to the stuffy, rigid person I’ve been for the last few years.