One year ends, so we rub our chins and review our year, our lives, our ups, our downs. A new one begins and we scratch our heads and (with the help of advertisers) come up with at least one thing we want to change for the next year or perhaps even permanently.
Overheard: “So what are your new year’s resolutions, dude?” “I think I’m gonna start to go on a beer diet.” The things we want to change may be self-imposed or conjured up because everyone else is coming up with a shiny new resolution. Who doesn’t want to lose weight, exercise more, or visit home more often? You don’t have to answer that.
Since I can only speak for myself about 2011 and take 2012 a day at a time, if I could sum the year up in one word it would be this: OPPORTUNITY. Some hidden, some in my face, some disguised as punishment. Nonetheless, as opportunities appeared (or if I created them) in 2011, I learned quite a bit about myself and the situations around me.
As a citizen beer blogger, I have had to literally knock on doors since I started The Hoppy Nomad in 2009 — network; convince others that this woman does know a thing or two about beer; pour it to the masses on a sweltering September day; wait in line for almost two hours for a waste of a festival, etc. I’m not playing for anyone’s sympathy nor am I complaining (ok well a little bit). Every occurrence is an experience not to be taken for granted.
In my travels, I have met many interesting people from many places. Take Steve for instance, the affable Manxman who I met an Irish pub in Toronto before heading to a U2 concert. Then there’s the 19 year old metal head in Montreal who looked like he came from 1984. Nice guy. Even in my local life, I have met some cool ladies of beer who appreciate the craft and have a thing or two to teach me (yes, I’m talking to you, O)! Meeting Garrett Oliver, head brew master at Brooklyn Brewery, was an embarrassing treat. At a book signing, I was armed with my pimped out camera but forgot the memory card — doh! Good thing for friends and iPhones.
While the most obvious beer places are great for meeting new people and getting the word out, it’s those other times and events where the unexpected becomes a great opportunity. Take for instance, the expansion of my beer blog to writing for a local newspaper. While I was out one night at a hipster bar in Syracuse for an 80s night party, the bartender handed out free baseball game tickets to everyone like candy at Halloween. I examined the ticket and saw that they were courtesy of the paper Table Hopping. I didn’t think much of it at that time. I was too busy dancing to Culture Club and singing to Bon Jovi. A few days later I figured that if this newspaper was giving out free tickets, perhaps they would be so kind as to donate a few to me for my university job. I wanted to take about 15 students to the ball game. With no intention of trying to get a writing gig or market my blog, all it took was a friendly conversation with the newspaper’s owner and it naturally went in that direction. I wasn’t prepared with my Hoppy Nomad business cards since I was in university mode but I wrote down my information on a ripped piece of paper.
I am now a regular columnist for the paper, one that reaches a broader audience. And that, my friends, is how opportunity turns into something tangible.
Ready for more before the year ends? Part Two coming right up!!