Today is my birthday. No, I’m not posting this to get a slew of birthday messages – my heart is full from the notes I have received today. Instead I post this to relay some thoughts about life, well my life. This has been a crazy year.
This time last year I had just given my notice to leave Nielsen, where I was a Vice President running a region in a successful career that used to be a big part of how I defined myself. Leaving was one of the most difficult decisions I have made, mainly because it meant leaving the security that I had striven for my entire life in an industry that I loved, but had lost the passion for. Over 10 years at Nielsen the industry changed a lot and many of the elements that I used to thrive on had dissipated. I never expect things to be easy, but it had gotten to a place that it just wasn’t fulfilling and my passions were taking me elsewhere. Thankfully one of my greatest passions, my wonderful Gary, gave me the support to make the leap into something different and the time to figure it out. And those first few months afterward I was a handful, trying to figure out my next move. When you are tied to something for so long and then have the time to sit back and reflect it can be overwhelming. Lucky for me I found an outlet in writing.
Over the past year I have written a lot, both for D Magazine and Sidedish, as well some new projects; really thrown myself into creating and writing this blog; thrown unbelievable Dallas Uncorked events with proceeds going to causes that I really care about, like CharityWater.org, The Stewpot and The June Jones Foundation; cooked…a lot; enjoyed incredible wine; strengthened incredible friendships; and traveled….WOW, the travel.
At this time last year I would have never thought I would have the opportunity to visit South Africa or Ireland or spend weeks in some of our favorite places, like driving through Oregon, visiting Napa and Sonoma and relaxing on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was inches away from elephants and giraffes, I could have touched a lion…but was smart enough not to. We spent Halloween in New Orleans, watching the Rangers win their one game of the World Series and SMU beat Tulane; and Thanksgiving in New York, one of my favorite places in the world especially with the magic of the holidays in the air. We spend Saturday afternoons in the fall at SMU games on the sidelines rooting on the Mustangs, as a TCU alum I have even surprised myself, but a friendship like we have with June will make any purple Frog root for the blue and red Mustang. We welcome our friends into our home excitedly, throwing dinner parties as often as we can. We wake up the morning of a party saying, “we get to cook for our friends today,” as that is one of the best ways we can show our love. I was invited to the Napa Valley Wine Auction, something I have always wanted to do and was given the opportunity a few weeks ago, and then get to come home and report on it. And, the best birthday prize, our Dallas Mavericks win the championship!! WHAT A YEAR!!!
Which brings me to Gary. I was married once, many years ago, and my ex-husband told me that no one would ever love me the way he did. With everything that I am sure he meant at the time, I have never known a love or been loved by a man as I have by Gary. I am a blessed girl to be in love with my best friend. Cliché, but true. Just being around him makes my day complete. And, we have the opportunity to surround ourselves with friends and family who feel the same way. I look at relationships like my stepfather has with my mother, or like that of some of our friends and feel lucky to finally be in the same place with a man who respects me, makes me laugh, openly shows his love, graciously allows me to be me, spreading my wings to see what will come next. My my mom met Raul when she was in her mid-30’s and always said eventually I would find my Raul, and indeed in my mid-30’s I did. He is supportive, generous, funny and kind, and he loves my dog.
I’m not sure where the next year will take us, there are so many opportunities on both of our horizons right now. I do know there will be more travel ahead, more dinners to be cooked, great wine to be tasted and stories to write.
On this happy day I celebrate life and am thankful. Thanks for following along on this journey, can’t wait to see what happens next. Cheers!