requisite end of 2011 post

This has definitely been the year of the most change, transition, growing up, getting my ass kicked, learning what’s important to me, freaking out for the first time about my future, etc etc. It’s been a year. Whatever. So are all other years. I don’t really do New Year’s Eve stuff if I can help it–last year I went to dinner with friends and then refused to go to a party, went home, and got a really good night’s sleep, starting at about 10:30pm. It was awesome. This year I’ve conceded to at least partially celebrating, but I never really cared for celebrating holidays much (by never, I mean for the last six or so years), which is why I try not to do stuff for my birthday, Halloween, etc. It’s never as fun or meaningful or what I want it to be anyway, and I don’t like forced sentimentality when random moments that are good or bad or whatever are so much more meaningful anyway.

That said, I do like to keep track of how many books I read in a calendar year; I do my taxes, so I keep track of how much money I make in a calendar year; and between semesters is as good a time as any to reflect on how my life has changed most recently.

So behold: my list of stuff that 2011 was made of. Tomorrow I’ll tell you how many books I managed to finish, and what I plan on doing with my 2012. And then I’ll get back to my normal, Scroogey, unholiday self.

1. I didn’t go to school for EIGHT months and instead worked a bunch of part time jobs. I learned not only that working sucks when it’s all you do (previously I was a workaholic, but apparently that was because school wasn’t totally fulfilling and because I like being busy), but that jobs that sound like tons of fun (children’s museum) are actually full of lazy full time people and bitchy full time people and bad management all around and a generally crappy time to be had by all. I also learned that I can’t just assume that the whole world knows that I am generally a rather intelligent person. This was the first and only job where not only was I not assumed to be smart, but I was treated like I was stupid. I will never let that happen again, because sorry, but I’m nowhere near stupid. I now know what it’s like to be at a dead-end, unhappy, unfulfilling job, and I’m sorry for the many Americans for whom that is a reality that will never end, but in Scarlett O’Hara fashion, I will never let that happen to me again.

2. On January 1st, I “gave up” gluten (with a few accidents as I learned all the secret places it lurks) and by May had followed that with a no soy and no gluten and very little of lots of other food recommendation from my doctor. I’m still nowhere near perfect with my health, but I’ve said goodbye to bimonthly colds, chronic bad breath, constant nail breakage, bad hair health, nonexistent immune system, and depressive moods. I’ve also retrained my body to think that not working out means a crappy, uncomfortable day, and healthy food tastes better than unhealthy. Win!

3. I got rejected from a graduate program at a school which, when I was a high school senior, had desired me A LOT. And I it. That was hard. But I got in everywhere else I applied, and then I was hit with the hard facts of how master’s degrees are the most expensive and thankless ones out there. And then I decided to go for two of them in a city I spent about 48 hours in. Probably the most seat-of-my-pants thing I’ve ever done.

4. That leads to that time when I got a moving truck and put ALL my loads of crap in it and then someone drove it across the country, where I met it and moved into an apartment all by myself. So I moved across the country alone and started grad school alone out of the apartment where I live alone. So I learned (it’s a work in progress, really) how to be my own, singular person with no attachments and no family nearby and it’s all very strange and I’m not sure if I like it yet. Some days I do, other days I don’t.

5. I hosted a couch surfer for the first time. And then for the second time. And neither time was I raped, murdered, robbed, or anything bad. Nice girls, both times.

6. I started grad school and had all of my expectations of it turned on its head. Am liking it so far, but don’t totally have my people or my places or routines yet. Thought I would be overprepared for the library program and underprepared for the lit program and learned that the opposite is true. Went to my first professional conference for librarians. Volunteered but didn’t have a job for the first time in more than six years. Learned an incredible amount of stuff and felt like I really stretched my brain in new ways. Felt disappointed with the lack of more people like me in my programs. Lived for the first time in a new city and felt for the first time in awhile very aware of my status as a minority. Felt incredibly lonely. Felt very alone. Felt independent. Felt autonomous. Felt powerless.

So a lot of what this year was was anticlimactic, disappointing, hard to adjust to. It was probably good for me, in a bad tasting medicine sort of way. But it was nowhere near as exhilarating as I expected.

Here’s to something–anything–interesting happening in 2012. Not that it means anything different than 2011.

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