Take a Look Around

For our New Years celebration, my husband and I invited my brother over for a very laid back and informal get together. We each had a glass of champagne, and as the clock struck midnight we each took a turn remembering what our greatest moment of 2011 was.

We all lead very busy lives and we each had much to be thankful for, so narrowing down the past year into a single ‘greatest moment’ turned to talk of many great memories. During our time of reflection, it was amazing to see how much happened in 2011. I bought a condo, went on a roller coaster ride of unemployment that ended with getting a job at an amazing company, started two companies, kicked off the new website for Architangent, bought a property on which to build a future home, traveled to Washington DC and more.

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I’ve never been one to make resolutions each year, as I know most of them are not kept, and I guess I fall into the school of thought that says ‘if you don’t make a promise, you don’t have to keep it’. It’s not that I don’t want to plan, or set goals; I just keep them to myself much more than I share them in public. It is a way of saving face and avoiding the pressures of expectation. However, it is healthy to be challenged, to have accountability and to reach for something great – even if you might fail and even if the whole world is watching.

I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to earn my architect’s license. The idea of sitting for seven (yes, 7) exams is bad enough, but to study for each of them on top of a full time job, part time contract work and just life in general has brought out the procrastinator in me. This year, I’m putting my foot down…on.. myself?…wait…I digress. I had a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with my husband where-in we talked about the three “F-bombs”: future, family and finances. The conversation was quite sobering, with the realization that we didn’t want to be ‘those people’ who never completed the final chapter of professional certification. We agreed that we would work towards our respective goals and complete them before turning 30 – no excuses. This was fueled in part by the loose-but-really-sorta-permanent plan of wanting to start a family in about three years time (around the time we’ll be building our house). Something tells me that studying for exams will take a backseat to parenthood, so we want to knock out exams while we have the time (free time is relative, of course). In addition to the loose family plans, there is the idea of financial obligation which sunk in once we purchased the property for our future home. Apparently, houses don’t pay for themselves (at least not since that whole ‘economic collapse’ thing). While we didn’t run out and buy a property we can’t afford, we did make assumptions that what we can afford in the future will be greater than what we can afford now. Experience + professional certifications = more money…at least in theory, right? So to help create a larger buffer for our intentions (and boy do we have a lot of them), we need to get ourselves in gear to earn more. That means we have plenty of motivation to get our exams finished.

This winter/spring I will begin taking the ARE (Architect Registration Examination). I’m setting a ‘realistic’ goal of taking 4 exams this year and finishing the remaining 3 next year. I’ll hopefully be able to power through and take a few more, but that’s my official plan. My husband is taking part 2 of 3 of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). He only gets one option: take the test in June. If he passes this round, he’ll have to take the final level next June.

In addition to exams, I have a few personal goals I’d like to work towards this coming year that involve getting some of my designs built (there are a few potential clients in the pipeline), develop several of my existing house designs for sale on the web, and build up the two companies we formed this year. Besides design related activities (wait, there is life outside of design!?), my husband and I are learning Spanish. Yikes, there I said it. (Now everyone will attempt to speak to me in Spanish and I’ll have to give the old ‘deer in headlights’ look when I can’t understand a word they’re saying). We’ve always wanted to learn another language, and this is the year to start. Finally, a lingering goal that should be on everyone’s list is the ‘get fit’ goal. While we are decently healthy people, you can’t be too healthy. Making time for working out regularly is often the hardest part, given our busy schedules. We usually default to taking a mile long walk around the neighborhood as we unwind and talk about our days. I’m aiming to add more weight training and heavier cardio to round out my exercise routine.

Just reading the list I wrote is intimidating, but when I look back on 2011 and see how much happened, I know it is all possible. Even if I fall short, I’ll have accomplished so much more than if I never set out to do it at all. I hope you’ll join me in this next leg of the journey and cheer me on from the sidelines. Better yet – join the race and see what we can accomplish together.

Here’s to 2012!

If you want all the juicy details from the past 3 crazy years, check out “The Journey”.

If you’re curious to see what our dream home will look like, take a peek at the early stages of design.

 

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  • Love your take on this and your ambitions!

    • Thanks! It’s a bit scary to put it all out there, but I’ll just consider it part of the challenge of achieving the goals.

  • Hola!  I love that your goals are a stretch.  It sounds like it’s going to take focus and dedication to reach them, but I think you can do it.  I’ve found that it’s easier for me to reach my goals when I put them out there publicly so I commend you for doing the same.

  • Todd Vendituoli

    That is quite the list, Brinn. Are you planning on giving up sleep? Just joking and I’m sure you will be busy this year and hoping that everything is a success!

  • Anonymous

    wow, quite a list…but i like it. i recommend getting the exam out of way so you can move on…however, if you try to “plan” the family part, you may talk yourself out of it…having a child wrecks all of your plans and i love every minute of it. having a son taught me more about myself than i’d have ever known. it’s worth every minute of it and guess what…architecture will always be there…based on what little i know from our few emails and blogging, you’ll be great at all of your plans…just remember, whose hands are on the wheel?

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like you have a great focus and plan ready to roll out.  I wish you the best of luck in your journey.

  • Brinn, thanks for sharing last year’s highlights and the challenging things planned for the new year.
    I’m wishing you God’s best in 2012.

  • Pat Eggleton

    Sounds like you are going to have a fantastic New Year! Best wishes from Sicily.

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