It’s Gonna Be a Good Life

2011 is coming to an end, so I thought I would blog about the year that has come to pass.

For the first time in a number of years I can look back at the past year of my life and smile and I can think about the future and be hopeful for what is ahead.

I cannot think of anything notable that happened in the first six months of 2011, but the second half of the year has proven to drastically alter the life I was leading.

On July 6th, I wrote two blog posts, one of which was 27. I was on the precipice of turning another year older. I was reflecting on the state of my life in comparison to the life I’d imagined I’d be leading in my mid to late 20s. I was nearly 27 and my life was not really my own and was nothing as I had imagined. I was determined to make a change, though fearful that I would make this pledge and still not be able to hold true to it and make changes in my life to find some form of happiness.

My first step towards getting what I wanted was to get out there and make an effort. For several years past, due to circumstances I’d resigned to a life of solitude. I rarely left my house (sad I know), never met new people, rarely talked to friends who were living their lives across the province, country and globe. In short I didn’t get out much and I’d made myself a bit of a social outcast and I did not like that version of myself a whole lot.

For at least a year I’d been saying I’d start going to #gdldn and I’d always managed to come up with excuses of why not to, mostly I didn’t have a car or money to get there, which while true, I probably could have found a way around. So on June 6th, the date of my 27 blog I attended my first geek dinner and stretch my comfort zone and attempted to re-engage with the world around me and (relatively) local community. I decided to put real people to the tweeps I’d been following for months and in some cases years.

I have to say I’m really glad that I ventured out to #gdldn that first time, so glad that I have gone back every month since. I have met great people and started to (I would argue) form decent acquaintances and maybe even friendships. A lot of the people I have met inspire me, intimidate me and challenge me to really strive to be the person I want to be. At the same time while these people inspire, intimidate and challenge me, they also make me realize that we all face our own challenges and that no one’s life is perfect and it is okay to not have everything figured out all of the time. So to all of the #gdldn crowd, thank you for making me feel like a part of something good.

That may not be the turning point of the year, but I think it definitely played a part. The other turning point of the year also happened in July. I had been furiously applying for jobs, determined to find something before or shortly after my 27th birthday. There were probably about 6 jobs that I thought might be a good fit. After two strong (in my mind) interviews, I was offered the position of Social Media Specialist at the London Convention Centre and before the end of July I was in signing my contract ready to start my new job.

Starting August 15th, I was (and am) the Social Media Specialist at the London Convention Centre. I always said I wanted to find a job that felt right that I could say I love. I’d walked away from a couple of job opportunities because it just hadn’t felt right to me. I wanted a job that I loved, surrounded by good people, because for me that is when I do my best work and am challenged to be my best. After 4 months, I think it is safe to say I have found a job that I love, surrounded by a great team. I remember in previous jobs I’d hit that afternoon wall at about 2pm and be stuck watching the minutes slowly tick by, and that rarely ever happens in this job. I enjoy what I am doing and always have work to be done. I feel like the people I work with value my thoughts and the work that I do and they actually look to me for ideas and answers, which is a great feeling. I look forward to getting up every morning and going to work and that is really all I ever wanted in those three miserable years of job hunting. I wanted a job that I looked forward to going to every day and a job that interested and challenged me. A number of people at work have commented on the fact that I am always smiling or that I always seem to be smiling and I have to say it is easy to smile when you are truly happy in your life and doing something that you love.

I love what am doing at work, but I also love the people who I work with and I say that sincerely. I have made great friendships with a number of people and I would trade my staff for anything. It is easy to do good work when you are having fun and I think we are often having a lot of fun with each other and when we’re not, I think we’re quite good at supporting each other through hard days, or difficult times, which is really nice. I cannot thank my two girls enough for keeping me from being a sobbing mess in the days after I found out someone I’d known years ago had passed away far too young.

I have met a lot of great people this year. My geek crowd, I cannot even begin to name all of you who make me smile each an every month and all the tweets in between. My coworkers, who I would argue in a number of cases are more than just coworkers.

None of these new people though replace the old friends who hold permanent places in my heart, like my best friend. As I write this I’m thinking, was it only this summer he got engaged? I think so! Man seems so long ago. This was great news and I was so happy for him and for his fiancée. Typically I dread weddings (sorry Matt), but the way life has been going, I’m actually kind of looking forward to a wedding (not my own … and oh ya I’m assuming I’m invited!).

The more I write this, the more I realize that it is not going to flow or necessarily make any sense. So I’m getting involved more, attending #gdldn, joined Emerging Leaders (finally only been cyberstalking for three years) and I have found an amazing job with fantastic people!

So what could be better?

Oh ya! Music! First off, I love the John Labatt Centre and Chris Campbell you rock!

Looking back at this year in music I have had the opportunity to attend 7 concerts.

First concert was Soundgarden. JLC gave away a bunch of tickets on Social Media Day and it was fantastic. Took my oldest friend along with me for the ride.

Shortly after that I won tickets for Owl City, but unfortunately could not make it to Toronto Mid-week to attend.

After that I wont tickets to see U2 Live at Rogers Centre on MY BIRTHDAY! Seeing U2 Live was a bucket list item for both me and my sister, so of course I now have the title of best sister ever because I took my big sister with me to see U2 live on my 27th birthday! Can I just say wow?! It was phenomenal. I took a bunch of videos, I believe I posted them on my (under utilized) Google+ account. It was a PHENOMENAL concert.

After that I was selected as a #JLCreviewer for Josh Groban. Unfortunately I came down with a horrible flu bug or something of a similar nature and was unable to attend. Hoping I get another opportunity to be a #JLCreviewer. I was campaigning to be a reviewer for Simple Plan on Feb 20th, but keep reading and you’ll see why I may not need to be rewarded that opportunity and those tickets.

Right after that I found out I’d won front row tickets for the Moody Blues at the JLC. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but as my Dad was/is a huge fan and it was right before his birthday, they made a fantastic present. The concert was in September and while my Mom wasn’t thrilled being front Row my Dad had an Amazing night! So thank you Live Nation Ontario who made that happen!

After winning those tickets and before that concert, the JLC made another dream come true and myself with two friends and my sister with two of her friends … two single gals and four Mom’s went to see NKOTBSB and O.M.G. that was a show to never forget, I mean, I know it is apples and oranges, but the entertainment value of that show rivalled the U2 show that  was just out of this world. I would hazard to say that Donny Wahlberg’s body help to elevate that show to that level. It was music of my childhood and youth and I shared it with my sister and one of my oldest friends and four others. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed so much, though I’m pretty sure that will change in the coming months.

And now here is the BIGGEST Music news for 2011.

That’s right, I entered a contest to see Marianas Trench live on a lark. Figured what did I have to lose and heck if I won that would be pretty freakin amazing. I didn’t think I stood the snowballest of chances. In fact, I’d forgotten that I’d entered the contest and that there was even a contest. Forgotten until my phone started vibrating the night of Dec 21st and it was a message from a rep at 604 records saying I’d won two tickets to see Marianas Trench stage side and hang out with the guys! O.M.G.! Ya right! I’ve watched the above video about 100 times just to make sure that I didn’t dream it. Now I haven’t talked to the rep yet, but I’m pretty sure I will be at the Simple Plan concert on Feb 20th, which is featuring Marianas Trench and I will be stage side for the show hanging out with the guys of Marianas Trench, which will be unreal and I sincerely hope I can keep my crush on Mike Ayley under control. As I was saying before I may not need the #JLCreviewer opportunity for this concert, but please keep my name in the running until I hear for sure that that is the show I will be attending. Oh and I will still be reviewing that concert if I am there, likely from stage side and hopefully they will let me take pictures!

So lets see, social life, heading in the right direction, job, is excellent, my 2011 concert going experiences have rocked and I have Hedley and Matt Nathanson (ok Kelly Clarkson, but he is opening for her) already set in 2012. And maybe (que long ramble of a run on blog sentence), possibly, there may be a guy in my future, maybe, who knows, there is a possibility of one, we will see, that is all I will say.

2011 has gone my way and 27 has certainly started to transform my life into everything I expected it to be by my late 20s. I still have 7 months left of 27 and I am determined to make the most of them. 27 is going to be my year, the started to everything I ever wanted!

So here’s to all that 2011 gave me and here is to everything 2012 has in store, I cannot wait to see it all unfold!

Geek Dinner London #gdldn – Part two – After

I attended my first geek dinner last night at Gig’s grill house.

Overall review – it was a great time!

I’m sure Gig’s loved me, I spent a whopping $3 on Pepsi.

I met some interesting new people and finally got to put real people to twitter names.

I want to thank the people who made me feel a little less like an outsider looking in, or a fish out of water.

So here it goes:

Thanks @mwickett – aka Mike Wickett for saying hi when I got there, it was appreciated.

Also thanks to @phronk – aka Mike Battista for introducing me to people and inviting me into conversations last night, it meant a lot.

And thanks to @timfelsky – aka Tim Felsky for making me feel like I wasn’t totally out-of-place and that I did have some roots in the group (thanks to twitter).

 

I learned a couple of things last night.

One, my twitter name and its origin continues to confuse people. I’ve probably had about a dozen people ask me where my twitter name comes from since I created it.

For those of you who don’t know, my twitter name is Sadie_Liz. My real name is Sarah Elizabeth. My real name is actually fairly popular (first and last, and even middle). So all variations (that I liked) of  my name were taken on twitter (and everywhere else, have you seen my mammoth Gmail address?).

So I came up with Sadie_Liz. Sadie is a variation of Sarah, both mean princess (some might say I was appropriately named, as I am a royal pain, just kidding). Sadie was also my great-grandmothers name, and later my Grandpa’s dogs name (my Grandma named her, we all wondered if that meant something).

Anyways Sadie is a variation of Sarah and Liz is obviously a short form for Elizabeth, so Sarah Elizabeth, became Sadie_Liz.

 

The other thing I learned last night was that 13 years later, I still really suck at Laser Quest. A group of us from geek dinner took a mid-dinner hiatus for a round of laser tag. It was us and a family, with a couple small kids. They were probably between 8 and 10, so when I saw small, I’m talking more in size.

It is really not fair to be playing with kids who are like 3 feet tall. I’m looking eye level for targets, as they are shooting at me, from the height of my knees. I was dead from the get go.

Also Tim is apparently a king when it comes to laser tag and every time I turned around, I had found him again and I was shot.

I also kept finding @RachFee aka Rachel Fee, at one point we agreed to work together, but she still kept shooting me every time that she saw me.

Then to add to it, I found myself in a corner, being shot by Mike, though I got in a couple good shots of my own, I think.

It was a lot of fun, we all came out so sweaty, it was entertaining

 

After laser tag was over, we headed back to Geek Dinner and I got to meet and talk with more great people, thanks again to Mike (@phronk) for making the introductions and making room for me in the conversation, it was appreciated.

From here I learned that once again I am known to the twitter world as the Blue Jays girl, apparently I need to diversify my tweets.

I finally got to put real people to the online personalities of @ronnyxu aka Ronnie Zoo (now) and @Edjackman aka Ed Jackman.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk to Ed as much as intended, but there is always next time!

 

I got to meet a lot of other people last night too, that I look forward to getting to know more in real life and via twitter happenings.

So it was nice to meet @brianfrank, @lukejohnsondev, @brendanpierce, @mattasross, @evilflu and @laurashelby. I am certain I missed people, but it was really great to meet everyone.

Thanks for making my first Geek Dinner London experience a success, I think I’ll come back next time, if you’ll have me.

 

 

 

27

27 is fast approaching and life is not quite what I expected it to be at 27.

Growing up I figured by 27 I would have my life in order. I would be in a job that I loved and excelled at. I would have a place of my own, an apartment or a house in the London area, maybe an apartment downtown. I figured that I would be happy in a relationship, contemplating whether I wanted to spend the rest of my life with the individual or if it was time to part ways. I assumed that I would be leading a very active lifestyle; participating in community initiatives, playing sports, going out with friends and enjoying all that this area has to offer.

So far, life isn’t quite what I anticipated, which I guess is my own fault in a lot of respects.

27 is just around the corner and I am still searching for that job that I love, that gives me some form of security and enjoyment.

I have not yet attained my very own apartment, I am still living where the rent is cheapest, at home. (Upside I have my pets and I am available to help with family things, things I missed out on when I was away for University)

I am also single. Growing up I assumed that by 27 I’d be in a relationship. Even with 27 being so close, I’ve never been struck with the need to be in a relationship. I am content being single and I figure that when I meet the right person or at least an intriguing individual, I will desire a relationship more, but until then I feel no rush or pressure (despite my mother’s focus being squarely on me since my sister is married with 2 kids).

And what about the active lifestyle I sought? Having that outgoing, active lifestyle has become a bit of a challenge for me. I can be a bit of a shy individual. Most of my closest friends are spread out across the province, country and even the world. My closest friends are in St. Catharines, Toronto area and even all of the way in New Zealand and England. I like to think I am a fairly outgoing person, but I tend to like to be outgoing when I have someone else to be outgoing with.

Not having someone to do things with, in recent years has been my excuse for not doing a lot of things, well that and the fact that doing things costs money that I do not really have.

With my birthday approaching, I think it is time for a change. It is time to get back out into the world and stop finding excuses not to. I need to let go of the notion that things need to happen in order; that I need to find the job, and have the income before anything else can fall into place.

I just need to dive in and let things happen as they may.

So here is to 27, a year of new beginnings!

I’m not going to wait until 27 though, I’m going to do my best to start today!

 

 

 

 

My first #gdldn Part 1 – Before

For months now I’ve been reading tweets about Geek Dinner London and have been contemplating attending. To this point, I haven’t actually made it to a Geek Dinner, but I have decided that tonight is the night! I am going to my very first Geek Dinner.

While I am excited, I am also nervous (which is silly). I’m a bit shy, not that anyone who knows me would believe that, but I am. Despite the fact that I have been conversing via twitter with a number of the people who attend Geek Dinner, I still feel as if I will be walking into a room full of strangers.

Despite it being a huge part of my chosen profession, networking at times makes me uneasy and that is something I have yet to entirely shake. I know that I can push through it, I have and I will, but it takes some effort on my part to get past my initial shyness.

Once I get to know someone I am fine; I am louder, I talk more  and I don’t hold back my opinions (for better or for worse). At first though, I am a quiet observer, who watches and listens.

Any of my close friends would read this and laugh, because to them I am an outgoing individual who isn’t afraid to take on the world. They would say that I am an extrovert, and while that is true, there is still part of me that is a bit of an introvert.

This is my goal though, to get out more and be more involved with the things that interest me and tonight that means going to Geek Dinner London and leaving the introvert at the door.

But if anyone sees a girl sitting in a corner being rather quiet at Geek Dinner tonight, that’s probably me.

See you all at Geek Dinner!