Well, here we are at the end of another full year and I must say, my confidence and excitement hardly mimics the lack of such going into this year. It’s remarkable, really, how drastically things can change one year to the next. When I look back on the past year it existed in the way a real life should, I’d imagine. There were rock bottom lows and soaring highs, each reminding me of the value of existing in the present.
This summary is more a chronicle for myself but also for those curious among us…
I entered the year bearing the overwhelming difficulty of being a middle school English teacher in the inner-city. I struggled and allowed that to define me and looking back, it was necessary and true but uncomfortable for everyone in my life. I knew change was necessary and didn’t know how. The months ticked on and I overextended myself with graduate classes and avoidance of everything and everyone else.
Our trip to Istanbul pulled me through an otherwise endless journey. We arrived, bright eyed and awestruck, settling in one of my favorite b&bs to date and meeting the kindest people I know. We were soothed by the pungent sea air on a cruise up the Bosphorus, intrigued by the powerful mosques, spoiled by the winding towns on the Asian side and gorged by the unbelievable food. This trip, like others before it, reminded me of who I was and most importantly who I deserved and willed myself to be.
In a culmination of dedication and hard work, L graduated from Pharmacy School in May. My heart burs with pride for him yet happiness was still a way off.
The end of the year arrived and I knew what I had to do. In the end it wasn’t a decision for my heart knew there was only one direction to follow. I left my teaching job and as I drove home that day for the last time, tears of relief poured from my eyes and a thick fog dissolved.
My focus this summer was mending and rehabilitating my relationships and myself. I fell into routine of job searching and positive outlook and effort. I took long walks and ate well. I started cooking again and the joie de vivre returned to my life, our life.
I visited the country and baked pies and lounged lakeside-shedding the struggle of the city for a while. Weddings were celebrated more often than ever. I heard the news of my brother and SIL’s new baby and was overjoyed and the coming of new life in the next year.
The hospitality, love, and encouragement of loved ones at home and far away brought me to a small village in the South of France. My kindred spirit introduced me to a world of simple beauty and experience. Again I was blessed to meet some of the kindest people that I’ve crossed paths with thus far and they welcomed me into their home and showed me the offerings of the region. We spent days walking and plucking and eating plums off the trees, lounging poolside and sipping kir. The evenings we all cooked together and my heart swelled with joy and gratitude.
After a teary goodbye, alone I continued to the Basque region of Spain to be welcomed by one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen, San Sebastian. I indulged in some of the best food I’ve ever had and spent afternoons sunbathing on the Playa de Concha and Zurriola. I hope one day I can relive the feeling of peace and certainty I had on the last days of that trip, sitting on the edge of the dock overlooking the marina as the light waves lapped against the shore.
Before coming home, I stopped in Bilbao where I witnessed and incredible, mind-altering structure of the Guggenheim. I sat inside and wrote, treated myself to a multi-course meal, a suggestion of a friendly couple I met in San Sebastian and set out for the multi-legged journey home. After 24 hours awake, I was delirious but nothing could keep me of the most loving, comforting person in my world and nothing can make me forget the look on his face as I waited in front of his company on a warm evening in September after weeks apart.
Days later I celebrated my 25th birthday at my new favorite restaurant and felt so fortunate and focused on the year ahead. 25 will be a very good year. We had a little party, big for our tiny house, and blasted music and drank champagne crowded but happy as the rain poured down outside.
A month later, after hundreds of applications and emails to contacts across the city, I landed a new job. The relief and gratitude experienced are obvious and representative of all of us who have spent months unemployed.
The holidays came and went and were the best I’ve experienced in such a long time. We decorated our little home and carefully selected and placed small gifts under it.I cooked and laughed, spending time with those people in our life we hold so dear but not always close.
And there it is, give or take…A year in review that seems so full now. And as I look back I realize the positive so far overpowered the negative and I’m so grateful, only sorry that I couldn’t realize it sooner.
Happy 2013, wonderful friends. May you be graced with love and experience home and all the faraway places.