27 December, 2013

the year in review

as it's coming up to that time of year, and as i'm up rather early to get in my shower before some sort of plumbing maintenance shuts the water off for the day and have a couple hours to spare, i thought i'd write my year-in-review a few days early.

it's been a hell of a year, hasn't it? it began, auspiciously enough, with a bout of stomach flu that had me and crusty juggler* languishing on couches and taking turns hobbling to the kitchen to provide ginger tea for whoever was weaker at the moment. as soon as the vomiting ended, school began.

second semester must have been fine, because my recollection of it is hazy at best. there were courses that featured finance, excel ™, maps and other things that interest me not at all. there was one course that was interesting but ended up with my one patently unfair mark, a subject that you can feel free to bring up if you want to see me instantly turn into an angry bitter thing.** this semester solidified my awesome partnership and friendship with c.

when school ended, i took advantage of a ridiculous seat sale and flew to new york where i spent a week drooling over their public realm, drinking great coffee and catching up with the ever lovely d.

following the big apple adventure, i started my summer job at stantec - likely my best summer to date. i have liked jobs in the past, but i have never loved them to the point of absurdity. i suddenly understood how people could be passionate about work, how they could voluntarily stay after hours and work over lunch. i fell just a little in love with almost every one of my co-workers, i jiggled with joy over even the most mundane projects, and had only one day of doubt. i became a subscriber to the TGIM*** club and drove my friends crazy with my constant blather about how fucking awesome everything was. i suspect that during this period people began to avoid me, or change the subject when work came up. luckily, i lost no friends though i fear it might have come close: nobody wants to be around a negative nelly, but a perpetually positive penelope can be just as annoying what with the constant gushing.

when my summer job ended i celebrated by doing something i'd never done before - i took a road trip to vancouver island all by myself. this proved to me that hey, i can navigate a mountain pass AND a huge city by my lonesome. it was a good trip - i caught up with old friends, got to spend time with newer ones, and learned a hell of a lot about myself in the process. driving the coquihalla, singing along to your favourite tunes is a pretty damn fabulous thing to do by yourself: the views are spectacular, the driving smooth, and the opportunity to gaze into your own soul unparalleled.

ah, yes, the opportunity to gaze into your own soul… this brings me to the part where i fell off the edge into the abyss. following the incredible summer and the educational road trip i fell into a deep dark hole and my long time readers need no further explanation - this blog became my therapy. from september to mid october, i was lost at sea, wandering in the dark, trudging through the vale of tears and all sorts of other metaphorical badnesses. things were profoundly Not Good. then came amsterdam.

despite the utter lack of organization in my faculty, c managed to get himself signed up for a course in amsterdam and then dragged my reluctant ass along for the ride. beginning of october found me, mister monkey and c crossing the big water and meeting up in brussels. aside from the waffles and the grand place, brussels failed to really impress. we also hit bruges, which did. then mr. m headed east to the old country while c and i took the train to amsterdam where i promptly fell head over heels in love. while coming back to canada was tough, i seemed to have left my sadness somewhere over the atlantic and lo, there it stayed.

the rest of the semester was punctuated by awe and respect for the great work of some of my classmates, and awe and disgust at the quality of some of the others. we worked our collective butts off and managed to get everything done and lo, the semester ended, i grabbed crusty juggler by the scruff of her neck and we drove north for the holidays.

and now, having done a thoroughly dull recap, let's see what lessons i have learned:

1. this bout of depression taught me to take things one day at a time, as cliched as that sounds. i took the good days and wallowed in them because they were so very precious in the midst of the darkness. it also meant that the dark days were less terrifying, because i knew that they would come and they would go and i would be left standing among the wreckage.

2. speaking of cliches, a very wise friend told me to not dismiss cliches because despite our society's attempts to cheapen special experiences by turning them into caricatures, they remain worthwhile and important. thank you, b.

3. two people from my program, c and k, have separately told me that they consider me their one friend in the class. because i feel strongly about both of them, this is beyond touching and humbling and awe-inspiring. if not for them, my school experience would have been a hell of a lot less fabulous.

4. although some days it's pretty close to impossible, it's essential to focus on the positives because the negatives can destroy your sense of equanimity: no matter how stupid some of my classmates are, there are enough intelligent and talented ones to make my own accomplishments count. i suspect this is a lesson i shall need to continue to revisit over the coming semester.

5. soul searching will only take you so far. there comes a point where you need to pick up the shovel and get on with life. some things can be thought out; some need to be put on the back burner after a while for life to sort out in its own time.

6. i might want to do a PhD! who knew?!

7. my babies - i loves them. no news here, but man, i really really REALLY loves my babies! despite this, i am more than ever certain that motherhood is not something i would ever want to attempt. waaay the hell too much work, commitment and all that jazz. two houseplants and my second-hand babies are pretty much where i want to be.

8. my roommate is fabulous. i shall miss him a tonne when spring rolls around.

9. the people in my life are a bloody miracle, and that includes all of you who have been here with me through the darkness. thank you for your kind words, your emails, your support. i couldn't have done it without you and thank you for your patience with me.

10. when all things are tallied up, life is good.

and on that note, i hope the new year brings you health, love and peace, my poultries, all the rest is secondary.

*alas and alack, right around that time, crusty succumbed to the charms of my good friend d and is no longer spending christmases chez nous, but is instead cozily ensconced three blocks to the west. i wish them well - having two of your favourite people hit it off swimmingly is as fabulous as it is rare.

**more than usual, i mean.

*** thank god it's monday - and yes, i realise how annoying that is.


Tom said...

So, all in all, a fairly humdrum year, uh? :) May 2014 bring you all that could wish for, or not, as the case may be.

Åpent hus said...

first of all: to feed your ego: I think I love your blog :)
I randomly fell in here, and started to get to know you a little. Love the way you think (and write)
And there, in the righ column, I find a link to my own shallow blog.
I am profoundly humbled. :)

Wish you all the best.
Open^house blog, Norway.

polish chick said...

Åpent hus - hi! welcome, welcome! this is an absolutely lovely surprise, because i've loved your blog for a long time. i'm a huge fan of scandinavian design and you dish that out a plenty! not shallow, not shallow at all.

thank you for feeding my ego, and thank you so much for your kind comments.

happy new year to you as well!

Geneviève Goggin said...

Sounds like you got edumacated in more ways than one this year. This is a great review. xo