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A year of firsts and lasts

Election season is finally over.  The nation is either celebrating or grieving the selection of a new president, and I’ve just put a big project to rest: for the past few months, I’ve been volunteering my time as the co-chair of a local levy campaign.  The levy would have funded road repairs and improvements in my town – but it didn’t pass.  City officials heard much public input over the type of levy they put forward for voter approval, and I hope they will come back with a more passable proposal in 2017.  But either way, the campaign is behind us, and my stress level is lower and my to-do list much shorter. Amen to that.

I have worked on levy campaigns in the past through my job, but this is the first campaign I have led as a volunteer.  And as 2016 is drawing to a close, I’m realizing that this has been just one of many firsts for me this year.

I had the opportunity to travel three times this year – to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Boston.  Pittsburgh and Boston were both firsts.  Pittsburgh is an awesome town. Before that trip, one of my coworkers told me that Pittsburgh has its own energy and sense of life that other cities don’t have – and she’s right!  I didn’t spend much time in Boston, since that trip was for work purposes, but I got a taste of history (and lobster) there, and I’m ready to go back for a longer visit.

This year brought me my first Cincinnati Reds game, my first Pittsburgh Pirates game, and my first visit to Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park to watch my Phillies play on their home turf.  Great games. Of those three parks, Cincinnati’s stadium is my favorite.

I did some renovation work in my kitchen this fall (pics soon), so it was my first experience with demolition as well as tile work.  I have a bruised fingernail as proof – but the kitchen looks worlds better. Through the work, I have gained an even deeper sense of “home” in my new place and a greater sense of capability in myself.

And this year also brought some sad and difficult firsts – things I learned about death, grieving, and the qualities that make (and don’t make) for good friendships.  Everything that begins must end.  As I have experienced those many firsts this year, I have also learned that for every first, there is a last.  And after every last, there is a new chapter just beginning.

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