My Year of No Life/Full Life

31 12 2007

2007. What a year. So many milestones, transitions, and multiple count-downs. But damn, I’m glad it’s over.

I started the year calling it my “year of no life,” as I signed up for full-time graduate school, attending 4 classes at a time on nights and weekends. It was a bit much at times, but I soon learned that I found THE BEST GRADUATE DEGREE ON EARTH, because, well, it wasn’t really that much work! (which led me to do some double-checking as to its credibility, which all checked out ok, but this recent scandal doesn’t help its reputation much). So I plowed through the excruciatingly boring and annoying 4-hour classes, and actually learned some things about teaching. All in all, it’s exactly what I wanted (thanks to E. who discovered the program!)

Career-wise, I spent the year knowing I would be leaving at the end, which is a really interesting mindset in which to go to work every day (and perhaps the longest notice I could give an employer!). I took that time to fully appreciate what I liked about this job in my 3 years here, and also solidified why I’m switching gears to go into teaching. Being able to volunteer regularly at an after-school program was such a blessing – to be able to connect with students and form a relationship with local schools.

I had the wonderful milestone of my 10-year high school reunion, and took a solo trip to my hometown to see close friends as well as classmates I hadn’t seen in the full 10 years. It was an amazing experience to re-connect with these people who shared a great 4 years together (we have some intense school pride), and it felt really cool in a growing-up-come-full-circle kinda way.

Then came the news in May that forever changed our lives, that our 2+ years of trying for project baby ACTUALLY WORKED. I think I was in shock for the first few months, and then I let it sink in how extremely happy I was to finally create our family. It also started to sink in how much our lives are about to change, and leaving 2007 means leaving the “just the 2 of us” portion of our lives together (6 years). It’s a big change, but one we are both so ready for, and going into it we know our incredible bond will get us through all the midnight crying, the dirty diapers, and the years of watching in awe as our child grows up into his/her own person.

Perhaps because of all these huge life changes, I also spent some introspective time thinking more about community, connecting and giving to others, and my own spirituality. This is still in process, of course, but one thing I discovered is a deep connection to a church on the Cape where we’ll be moving next June, which seems like it will be a starting point for all three needs.

Moving! Right! 2007 also brought with it the BIG DECISION to move closer to E.’s family, perhaps the first decision in my life which feels completely grounded in this visceral need to be connected to family and to provide that for our child(ren). In other words, I feel SO FREAK’IN GROWN UP. And that is a WHOLE LOT about what 2007 meant for me. BIG transitions, BIG decisions, and BIG growth.

There was a year that E. and I coin the “nothing” year. When we count back to try to remember something and we hit this year (2002), our minds just go blank. We figured out it’s because in that year we didn’t move, switch jobs, or make any BIG decisions. We just were. Day in, day out, just lived. I’m sure that 2007 will be just the opposite, a very BIG year that laid the groundwork for the whopper 2008 promises to be, what with arrival of BABY, the BIG MOVE, and work transitions abound.

Bring it on.

Wishing you new inspiration, hope and promise of a fantastic new year.


Heavy Heart

8 11 2007

Like many things we think of when we are young, I think my view toward having someone in your life pass away was very simple: that it only affects you as much as you were close to that person. As an adult, what I’ve experienced is so much more complicated than that – and so much less self-centered. Along with your memories of that person, you carry around that person’s loved ones and what they are going through – spouses, children, brothers, sisters, grandchildren. Even if you never knew the person you still carry these connections around with you, as I’m doing for a co-worker who just lost her dad.

It’s hard when these things seem to happen one-after-another and you carry around multiple people in your heart going through perhaps the hardest part of life. The fact that I feel deeply for loved ones or friends going through it only confirms for me how much we are all connected to one-another in a very primal way. I continue to feel this more strongly, and steadily, as I grow older, and for that I am thankful.

I never in my wildest dreams thought this love and caring could seep through computers as it has for E. and J. during this difficult time with their uncle, and that only further confirms that empathy, love and caring exist even when we’ve never seen each other’s face. In a time when death seems to be at many doors right now, that is what keeps me going.

May I Suggest

17 10 2007

Been pondering a lot about spirituality lately – about what it means to me and fine-tuning what is is that I believe, and what or who I turn to when I need help or guidance.  Not sure why I’m pre-occupied with it – oh, perhaps because I’m steering toward a bunch of life transitions all at once, which perhaps can have the effect of inspiring one to firm up one’s spiritual side as a grounding force in the midst of great change.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I get a lot of inspiration through music.  I’ve been deeply connected to music from as long as I can remember, and have a few songs whose lyrics seem to really speak to me on a deep level – leaving me with a feeling of prayer each time I hear them.  Here’s one of my current favorites, a song by Susan Werner, covered by Ellis Paul and Vance Gilbert, and was also played at our wedding:

From: New Non-Fiction (2001)
Copyright © Susan Werner

May I suggest
May I suggest to you
May I suggest this is the best part of your life
May I suggest
This time is blessed for you
This time is blessed and shining almost blinding bright
Just turn your head
And you’ll begin to see
The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight
The reasons why
Why I suggest to you
Why I suggest this is the best part of your life

There is a world
That’s been addressed to you
Addressed to you, intended only for your eyes
A secret world
Like a treasure chest to you
Of private scenes and brilliant dreams that mesmerise
A lover’s trusting smile
A tiny baby’s hands
The million stars that fill the turning sky at night
Oh I suggest
Oh I suggest to you
Oh I suggest this is the best part of your life

There is a hope
That’s been expressed in you
The hope of seven generations, maybe more
And this is the faith
That they invest in you
It’s that you’ll do one better than was done before
Inside you know
Inside you understand
Inside you know what’s yours to finally set right
And I suggest
And I suggest to you
And I suggest this is the best part of your life

This is a song
Comes from the west to you
Comes from the west, comes from the slowly setting sun
With a request
With a request of you
To see how very short the endless days will run
And when they’re gone
And when the dark descends
Oh we’d give anything for one more hour of light

And I suggest this is the best part of your life

Looking Within

5 10 2007

Been thinking a lot about spirituality lately, my beliefs and also my practices.  Feeling busily crazed right now and will write more on the matter later, but for now I’m reciting one of my favorite mantras, or prayers, to get me by:

Peace is every step.
The shining red sun is my heart.
Each flower smiles with me.
How green, how fresh all that grows.
How cool the wind blows.
Peace is every step.
It turns the endless path to joy.