– Ben Martens

2007 Year In Review

The year is drawing to a close and that means it's time for another Year In Review post. Here are links to 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 if you want to read posts from the past.

How can I begin to sum up the last 365 days? This was the first full year that I spent in Seattle, but I've been out here for 18 months. On one hand, it feels like forever since I said goodbye to my friends in Jersey, but on the other hand, it feels like time has been flying by out here.

The winter months at the start of the year were filled with skiing. Jay and I made our first trip up to Whistler Blackcomb for skiing on a mountain so big it boggled our minds. The snow wasn't great for those three days, but we had a blast hanging out on the mountain and in Whistler Village.

Right at the end of February, I flew to Philadelphia and rode up to Maine with Jay and Juliet for another round of skiing at Sunday River. I'll have to check my records, but I'm pretty sure that means I have been at Camp Ticawa at least once every year for the past 5 years! It's getting more and more difficult to keep that streak alive which just makes me more grateful for every opportunity.

Winter activities were cut short when the doc said I needed surgery. Recovery took longer than we had hoped so I was fairly bored for about three months. The surgery brought a host of new experiences for me. I had never been under complete anesthesia before, but that turned out to be a magical little experience. Poof! It's done! It was also the first time I can remember being under such restrictive orders about resting. That was pretty tough, but thankfully that stage didn't last too long. As the warm weather fired up and the softball team stepped onto to the field, I had to watch from the sidelines for the whole season. The motorcycle was also neglected until the middle of summer. At the time, I felt like I was missing out on so many activities, but I made it through and grew in the process. It has helped me appreciate good health and the time that I'm able to spend hiking, camping, riding a motorcycle, skiing, or hanging out with friends.

Other trips included Jay and Juliet's housewarming party, almost a full week during August in Maine with the Abendroths, an October weekend trip to Indiana to visit the family, and another October trip to Philadelphia for Microsoft recruiting as well as a quick visit with the Jersey crew. Thanksgiving was spent with three days of skiing in Whistler. I finished off the year with a week in Indiana and Illinois for Christmas. It was a special trip which included Grandpa Martens's 90th birthday party. Over 160 people signed the guest register at the American Legion building in the tiny town (~800 people) of Reynolds, IL. Happy Birthday Grandpa!

When I moved to Washington, I thought I was done having roommates. I was looking forward to having a place to myself, but that all changed when the opportunity to live with Tim arose. He moved in around Thanksgiving last year and quickly became one of the best roommates I've ever had. Now that he's getting married next January, there's a deadline set for him moving out. Who knows how I'll feel then, but right now I know that I get bored quickly when he's not around. It will be interesting to see how I feel when the next Year in Review post rolls around.

This year brought some more failed attempts at dating. Some took longer to fail than others, but they were all pretty quick. I suppose it's part of the journey. When you think about it, every one of your relationships will get broken off except for one (if there is one.) Maybe that's a dismal way to look at things, but it makes the recovery a little easier. I'm much less worried about this than everyone else seems to be. God has his plan for me and either I'll meet her some day or I won't. "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" [Matt 6:27] … or a wedding ring to his finger?

In late September and early October, I started focusing all of my free time around I was convinced that there was a market for a Seattle specific ski website. For two months, I worked countless hours digging up new content and trying to get more eyeballs to visit the site. Around the beginning of December, I called it quits. I still think the idea is solid, but I need to adjust my plan of attack. Maybe it will be resurrected some day, but for now I'm satisfied that I gave it a good try.

There are a seemingly endless supply of activities that I want to do in Washington. Activities this year included motorcycle rides to Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Leavenworth, a trip with the parents to Mt. St. Helens and Cannon Beach, and camping trips to Penrose Point State Park, Deception Pass, and Ocean Shores. Tim bought a book showing great hikes in our area, but we really only crossed one off the list: Tiger Mountain. Arye invited me out on his sailboat on the Puget Sound, and I got to watch the Blue Angels fly at SeaFair. I'm sure I've leaving plenty of things off the list, but even with all these busy days, I feel like the To Do list is growing.

That brings us to my goals for the coming year. First of all, I'd like to cross a lot more of the aforementioned activities off the list. It's difficult to explore new areas, because the activities I've already done are so fun that I'd like to repeat them. I'm hoping to find time to hike and camp around Rainier including a possible day hike to Camp Muir (basecamp for Rainier summit trips), ride my motorcycle along the Washington and Oregon coast, visit the Olympic Mountains, kayak, tailgate at a sporting event, ride my motorcycle up through the annual Tulip Festival, take a ferry ride, visit the Grand Coulee Dam, and generally do even more hiking and camping. Can it all be done in one year?

I've been tossing around two even bigger trip ideas. They may not happen in the next 12 months, but they are on my short term radar. I want to go heli-skiing with Jay and I've also been looking into a climb to the top of Rainier. That's part of the reason for wanting to climb to the base camp on Rainier: it's a tough hike and it marks the half way point on the summit trip. It would be a good workout and would help me evaluate my chances of making it to the peak. When I moved to Seattle, I was all set to climb Rainier. I still remember the first time I was driving south on 405 and the clouds parted so I could see Rainier. It's HUGE. At that point I realized that hiking to the top was going to be much much harder than I had anticipated. It's still something I'd like to accomplish and maybe my hiking this summer will bring me closer to that goal.

While I have plenty of words to fill up this post, I still don't feel like I've communicated a single life-changing event or overriding theme. There was no single topic that drove my thoughts each morning, and that's a very relaxing situation. Sure there were very stressful periods, but overall, I feel like this was a great year. Now that I've had a little time to reflect on my decisions to move out to Seattle and buy a house, I'm still completely happy with both of them. Maybe in the future I'll be ready for a change, but right now I hope that 2008 brings a lot more of what 2007 had to offer.