Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: 2016 Year In Review by Leyla

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Year In Review by Leyla

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I had a really great 2016! In fact, it might be the best year I've had in a decade. Maybe my best year ever!?!

I'm not saying everything was perfect but 2016 was a great year for me. Top highlights from 2016 are recapped below, read on or watch the video, and see for yourself. 

Leyla Ruins Everything
Leyla at Ravina - Duran Duran 

I'm not saying it to be a contrarian, and I've certainly had my share of troubles, but 2016 was mostly awesome. Maybe it's because the previous years sucked, hard. Or maybe it's because I have different perspective. I try to approach each day with some sort of appreciation. I look to the good and don't harp on the bad. I'm happier, in a better place, so perhaps it's a law of attraction thing. Who knows?! 

We are all still here.
My family and loved ones made it through 2016 - and that's all that matters to me. I'm sad for the families of others who are no longer with us, but I'm glad we made it. 

Arsan Family Thanksgiving 1992
Family photo hanging in my aunt's house 

My aunt was in the hospital in 2015 and I spent a few weeks in early 2016 helping her recover. When she first came home from the hospital last January, I didn't know if she was going to make it and I certainly didn't think she'd lead a normal life ever again.

I spoke to my aunt on New Year's Eve and we discussed how incredibly far she'd come in her recovery. She told me that on NYE 2015 she asked the nurses to wake her at midnight because she wanted to say "Happy New Year". And they did. She went on to say that she cheered by wiggling her toe -- because it was the only thing she could move on her body. Since that time, she's had multiple back surgeries and has gone through extensive therapy. Today she's walking and in great spirits.

Work was awesome. 
I don't talk about it much but I left my former company at the end of 2015. I wasn't sad, scared or angry about it but I needed a break. I took it easy for a few months off and slowly started to work for myself again.

Kia Auto Show - Leyla Arsan
Kia Motors at Chicago Auto Show

In February of 2016, things started to pick up and that momentum continued month after month. I've been SUPER lucky -- if you want to call it that -- my friends and former colleagues were all so good to me. I didn't have to look for clients, they came to me through referrals. I got to work with people I really like, friends / professionals I respect, and I was a part of the entrepreneurial community again. The work was good too, I mean it was really good -- fun, solid work that I truly enjoyed.

Here's some news additional news that I haven't really said anything about... I accepted a full-time job last month. I start with a new company next week and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be great.

I met someone I really like (part 1). 
This is a fun story... get ready! In January, I met "The Hand" aka "Handsy" (that's a nickname). He was funny, smart and handsome.

The Hand Loves PBR
"Handsy" loves PBR

I thought we clicked somewhat quickly, we had mutual friends (also an odd story but I don't want to get into it here), and we had things in common. He secured a second date at the end of the first, the second date quickly turned into many more dates - things were going great! However, he made it very clear that he did NOT want to be in a serious relationship, which was OK by me. Six months into our relationship, he abruptly broke up with me. Jerk.

Artun Travel turned 25.
My family's travel business turned 25. It was great, I'm so proud of him. We celebrated our customers by giving away $2,500 in travel vouchers.

Artun Travel turns 25! 

I had my golden birthday. 
I turned 44 on 4/4 and I did 4 shots at 4:44. I snapchatted the experience and others joined in. My birthday was a good one, they're all good ones. I am grateful every single day for my health, happiness and my good genes. Thank you Allah, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and whoever else may or may not be responsible for my youthful appearance.

My birthday cake this year

Me... taken around my birthday

My eternal summer of dreams.
I had the best summer of my life. I remember saying, "This summer feels like I'm a kid again" - back when summers were dreamy. We had AMAZING WEATHER and I took advantage of it daily! I was outside all the time, I would've slept outside if I could've. By August, I was clocking about 10 miles / 18-20K steps a day on my health tracker. I also went paddleboarding about 1-2 times / week and started to meditate. Oh, and I lost 15 lbs.

Jane's Addiction at Lollapalooza - Thank you, boys!

It was also the summer of concerts -- Lollapalooza (4 days), Duran Duran at Ravinia, Riot Fest (where I finally met @Brilldisruptive), Guns N Roses (I went both nights), just to name a few. There's more to the summer but these points have their own categories. 

I met someone I really like (part 2).
Handsy broke up with me for reasons that I understood, I thought he was stupid, but due to his circumstances, I understood. We talked about remaining friends, I wasn't really interested in that, but we still would see each other from time to time.

Chicago skyline
I spend a lot of time here in the summer

In July, I started to grow tired of Handsy's bullshit and began to erect the "Wall of Hate". I decided to end it and focus on meeting someone else. That's where part 2 comes into play! There was another guy, let's call him Bob.

I met Bob about two years earlier, he lived in the neighborhood but I hadn't seen him in a long time. Until this past summer on my morning walks. I would see Bob riding his bike on the lakefront path as I was coming back from my walk (he starts his day after I start mine). And I would see Bob paddleboarding, he would be going out as I was coming back in. I just couldn't ever bring myself to talk to Bob.

Then there was Bumble. One day in the late summer, I was man shopping on Bumble and boom! It was Bob. I swiped, he swiped and we went out. Things were good, a little awkward at first, but eventually got better. I think the turning point was when we spent three days at Riot Fest together - separately but together.

Here's where things get weird. Handsy re-enters the picture and I'm in a conundrum. I was mad to be in this situation -- but then I was grateful. Here's what I mean, and this is why I'm even telling this story. My whole life people (family & friends) tried to convince me that I'd be disappointed if I didn't settle down and get married. People would tell me to "just pick someone and get married." Insanity.

I met two wonderful men who were both nice, successful, smart, we liked the same kind of music, had the same sense of humor and good chemistry. Probably the two most "viable candidates" for life partners I've ever encountered and I'm 44. I'm neither as youthful, nor as attractive as I was 10 or 20 years ago, yet somehow this happened. My point is this... It can happen to anyone at any time and never let anybody tell you otherwise! 

My dad turned 80. 
This was a great, great day. We planned a surprise party for my dad and I've never seen the man as happy as he was that night. Seeing him that happy had me I fighting back tears all night long. His two best friends passed away in the recent past, but their wives and daughters were there, I was happy they were able to share my dad's special day.

My dad's 80th birthday

So many other great things happened! 

  • The Cubs won the World Series
  • My youngest brother turned 40 
  • Tony Ham came for a visit 
  • My friend Sheila got married 
  • I joined the Lyric Opera Young Professionals 
  • I got back together with Dave (Handsy)

Too many wonderful things to list, so I made a recap video too. My 2016 year-end video is below. It's a little long, so below the main video, I also included a shortened version in fast-motion for your viewing pleasure as well. 

Enjoy my 2016 year-end video

And here is the short version of my video

Find all my highlight photos from 2016 here
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