I realized lately that I've been a grumpy grumbler the past couple of months. I keep focusing on what is beating me up rather than all that I've accomplished in the past decade. Last year at this time, I was much the same. I was being all "Bah humbug" and "screw the Aughts/Naughties (2000's)".There's a feeling that there is an ending and a new beginning in sight, but in reality, everything just keeps going. And moreover, if I look back over the past decade...and even the past year, things have been pretty darned awesome. Where was I a decade ago anyway? I remember ringing in 2000 in Calgary, Alberta. I think I went to the biggest, lamest party of the millennium. I put too much weight on that particular night and bought overpriced tickets to a night in a convention center where I was crowded in a room where I knew nobody and couldn't get to the bar to have a drink to toast with at midnight. I was working at a job I didn't particularly like, my son wasn't with me at the time (I had temporarily given up custody for reasons that don't seem clear now) and I had no idea where I was going or really wanted to do with my life. Yet, I was hopeful and thankful.
Everything changed for me in the Aughts. I started my first business, which gave me the opportunity to run a national campaign that won several awards, both in the digital space and in the print design space (I just hung a few of the posters from that campaign in my apartment and several people have told me how amazing they are). I moved to Toronto first where, sure, I gave up my business to a SARS ravaged city, but I ended up running a totally fun, successful DJ night where I got to spin old school Funk, R&B and Disco with amazing people. We even ended up in the National Post and several local papers. My 404 page is me in one of my crazy disco outfits from that time. I also started blogging and really exploring the web as a learning, socializing and personal growth tool. In 2005, I got drafted by a hot new startup in Silicon Valley to run their marketing and moved to San Francisco. That was an amazing time. My career grew. My personal life soared. I started being asked to speak in front of large audiences. I got a literary agent. I sold and wrote a book to a major publisher (now published in 8 languages!). I spent the next several years living the dream of traveling all over the world, meeting and talking with amazing people who were (and are still) changing the world. I got to work with amazing startups and people who I really admire. I got PAID for this. I made really great money. I spent way too much money. I discovered heirloom tomatoes. I fell in love. I had my heart broken by someone worthy of breaking my heart. I was looked to by people as someone who knew what the hell she was talking about. I was interviewed and celebrated and given opportunities people would kill for. I got to be part of movements that have grown to change the world (coworking, barcamp, microformats, etc.).
Then I got to travel across the country in an RV - fully sponsored - to KARAOKE with awesome people. I mean, really. Who gets to do that?! I got to sing on 47th and Lexington in NYC. Sick! Then I landed in Montreal where I was instantly part of a freakin amazing startup scene in a wonderfully interesting and artistic city that is damned cheap to live in (shhhh...don't tell anyone). I met two of the most amazing people in the universe - Jerome Paradis and Cassandra Girard - who were crazy enough to want to join me in doing a startup. We appealed to friends and family and raised some great convertible debt that allowed us to hire some more amazing people crazy enough to believe in what we are doing so that we could LAUNCH a freakin web app! At TechCrunch Disrupt no less. There were nearly 1,000 applicants to this launch platform and we got picked as one of the 24. Wha?!
And when we launched, we had over 2000 people waiting to get in, even though what we launched with is pretty bare bones. And of the now 2500 or so people who are using it, there are several hundred that give great feedback, ideas, tweet, support and generally cheerlead for us.
And sure, I get morally downtrodden because fundraising is hard and heartbreaking. And sure, I haven't met 'the one' yet. But WTF Tara?! Count your blessings, girlfriend.
As for this year, besides the amazing accomplishment of launching a startup in under 6 months of development with an amazing team of people I'm proud to call friends, I've gotten into the best shape I've ever been in, I've traveled to San Francisco 3x, Paris, New York City 3x, Las Vegas, Austin, San Antonio, Toronto 4x, Guelph, Minneapolis/St Paul, Palm Springs (where I went to TEDActive), Sonoma 2x, Miami, Sydney, Tokyo, Boston, Jersey Shore, Brighton (Utah - but I got free snowboarding lessons and sweet equipment given to me!), Halifax, Phoenix and Oklahoma City! Pretty much all paid for. I have an amazing life. I have the world's cutest, most easy going dog. My son is happy and healthy and independent. People send me free products: books, skincare, training gear, etc. I know the most amazing people doing killer awesome things in the world. People who appear on the cover of magazines regularly. I have people who care about me and love me. People who would totally notice if I disappeared.
Time to stop being grumpy. Time to stop being all, "Stupid Aughts" and count my blessings. My life wasn't nearly this cool in the 90's. Not at all.
I'm ringing in this New Year this year with HUGE gratitude to everything the 00's have given me. And with that gratitude in mind, I hope to be able to give everything back tenfold in the decades to come. I promise to focus on the victories and the all of the blessings I have rather than the ways I feel frustrated. It's now about my commitment to making it happen and seeing the silver lining through the cloud. And mostly, it's about my commitment to thanking each and every one of you for joining me on this crazy journey and recognizing everything you've given me along the way.
So...happy holidays. And happy new year. And thank you. From the bottom of my heart.