We sat on the 34th floor of Bonaventure Hotel, bursting out in laughter every time we looked up to see the AT&T building again. Lost in conversation, we had re-capped the last year of our lives.
“Do you think maybe we’re just too hard on ourselves?” is what she said to me.
Last year about this time, our conversation was a lot more pained. You’d have thought we weren’t two independent, happy, successful women. This year, it was a lot different. We were gleeful. Gone was the conversation about our obvious lack of panini makers. In its place was glee. Glee over a year that had seen lots of changes.
I think the calendar is good for reflection. It gives definitive marking points to track your progress. I don’t think there’s anything really magical about it. I certainly don’t believe that I’ll wake up tomorrow with renewed dedication to cut my coffee consumption from four cups a day to two. And frankly, I don’t care.
But in terms of reflection, it’s giving me something to think about.
2009 was hilarious. In one of those insane, I-can’t-believe-this-happened kind of ways.
I remember exactly how it started. With a hungover hike. And the idea to start a tea shop. A couple of weeks later I watched Barack Obama become our 44th President. It was freezing and amazing all at the same time. A couple of months after that, I went to my first spring training games. It was a 48-hour, insane turnaround that left me nearly collapsed when I returned to work the following Monday. But it was awesome. I was 15 again.
From there I made my way into the Gila caves that I had sung about, dreamed about and pretty much obsessed about for a year and a half. With my aunts and uncles, we stepped into a different, simpler world.
And I returned to a catastrophe. An honest-to-goodness, certified train wreck that I was so entangled in that I had no choice but to walk away.
And by walk, I mean speed away. I sped to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge and through Phoenix over a hill to Sedona. I left Los Angeles with an odd bag of stuff that was entirely not useful for the trip I took. With a short visit to my parents to leave phone numbers, I left. I thought I needed to find God. In the process, I saw my soul. In the red rocks of Sedona, I had one of those beautiful epiphany moments. Where everything makes sense.
Slowly the sense was pieced back together. I spent some time substitute teaching. I taught 4th graders in summer school. We shot weddings and portraits. And I managed to survive a 4-month period of “unemployment”, probably working harder than I have ever worked in my life.
All the while, there was baseball galore. 41 games I made it to. We figured out that we could walk to the stadium from my apartment and it was blissful. Another playoff run and another broken heart.
Only to find a new home in a new school very similar to the one that I had left a few years ago. My brain, my energy, my stamina, my heart was challenged for the last four months of 2009. I came home every day feeling like I had had my head handed to me. I preached “zen”, and I continued.
It was technically probably one of the most unstable years of my life, but I loved absolutely every moment of it. Yes, even the moments where it looked and felt like I was making huge, stupid mistakes. I loved it because I saw what I was made of.
Still, every single night and every single morning, I was able to look myself in the eye and know that I had been true to myself, my feelings, and everything I strive to be. I can’t really ask for much more.
Even more incredible to think about is the decade. Goodness.
Two degrees, four jobs, I became a teacher, starting my own company with my best friend, gaining a sister-in-law, multiple moves (5, I think). It’s so crazy to think about….I’m not really big on all the New Year’s hoopla, but I have to say it was a very nice opportunity to reflect and be eternally grateful for how beautiful life is!