Tuesday, January 5, 2010

a slightly belated look back at the year/decade

I remember standing in outside the Sticky Wicket on New Years last year, wearing a paper party hat, intoxicated and full of cheer, screaming out happy new years and adamantly stating that “2009 is going to be the best year yet”.

Life was stressful, so it was my hope that if I made myself believe that 2009 was going to be amazing it would be. And, as probably needs no pointing out to those who know me, it was! But it certainly wasn’t easy—great things aren’t achieved without some sacrifice and hardship along the way.

Less than two hours after my proclamation I agreed to be Mrs David P--- (although if you call me that I’ll bite you). It was a pretty great way to ring in 2009.

And then it was back to reality, Toronto, a few days later and all the stress of grad school and waiting for admissions and not getting in and getting waitlisted and living near nervous breakdowns and health problems and with almost constant companions of stress and worry.

There were bright spots too, of course, but much of the time it felt like a matter of just hanging in there. And then St Anthony came to town, and we went on a little pilgrimage which it felt like all our hopes were resting on. And by the next day our entire lives had shifted and the future was wider and brighter than ever.

And we finished our degrees, and I went home and found a wedding dress, and the summer came and between the two of us we tried to scrape by as best we could, struggling all the while to find a few months worth of work in the midst of a “global economic recession”. And I was in and out of minor surgery, and feeling now better than ever but it was sure scary and awful at the time. And somehow we survived to August.

Then it was time for goodbyes, which I am so used to by now that only one broke my heart a little, and suddenly it was goodbye to all the plans I’d started making when we arrived in Toronto. We landed in Victoria, in the fresh sea-salt air, and had a glorious long vacation in which to rest and recover from the past year.

And with a good dose of faith and a strong army of prayers backing us up we made our separate journeys across the Atlantic, for me the first time I’ve ever set foot off North America, and after a horribly stressful period of jet lag, homesickness, and “global economic recession” work finding anxieties, life managed to fall into place in time for us to having a smashing good fall. Because there were also dinners at Clare, and our first taste of English Catholicism at Fisher House, and late night food from Gardenia, and wandering around a medieval town and actually living there and not just visiting, and finally having a grownup apartment WITH NO BUGS, and being able to wake up happy in the morning because things had turned out even better than our wildest dreams.

In short, then—getting engaged, becoming Ms L. W----, MA, and moving to a new country. My head spins a little looking back at the huge so-called “milestones” accomplished this past year. And yet the thing that makes me happiest is that at midnight I was sitting in David’s study, wishing him happy new year, watching him struggle to get the cork out of our bottle of champagne, and knowing that I was as in love with him now as I was with him when he proposed to me last year, even after all we’ve been through this year.

The past decade has been good to me—I’ve moved from being an insecure, depressed teenager into being a more self confident, happier adult. I’ve lived in numerous cities in Canada, spending my time enjoying things in all of them (yes, even Toronto, for all I complain). I joined the Catholic Church, a decision which has played an immensely important part in my life. I met David and knew within a week or two of us dating that it was meant to be. I certainly didn’t forsee all of this when I rang in The Year 2000.

And if the past ten years have been so incredibly life changing, and so much more full of life than someone generally placid and homebodyish could’ve imagined, can you even begin to think what joy and fun the next ten will hold?
A decade or so ago (and not too long after I made my significant statement of a new start to life by cutting off my long, long hair)
On a street in Cambridge.

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