It’s so easy to focus on the negative.
As 2015 relentlessly marches toward me (only an hour away, at this point…), I have been forced to reflect on the past year. My knee-jerk reaction was one of ambivalence, heavily leaning towards negativity. The “bad” things that happened this year (big and small) are the first things to pop into my twisted little head. Robin Williams passed away! The Colbert Report ended! Oh, and a great deal of painful (and expensive) health problems have plagued me since the beginning of the year, and they are bothering me as I sit here and type this.
Moreover, there is the matter of Percy. When I lost Gary last year, I was absolutely heartbroken. He was 12 years old and I couldn’t stop repeating “he was too young!” (Looking back at this, I could just choke on the irony) Eric convinced me the best way to move past my grief was to get a kitten. Almost exactly one year later we got Percy, 2 month old Exotic-Shorthair — my first cat that I didn’t get from a pound or find on the street (out of the 12+ cats I’ve had in my life), but a breed I’ve wanted for an incredibly long time. Gary’s death gave me a new respect (fear?) for the brevity of life; when we got Percy, I made an active decision to love him with my whole heart, every.single.day., and devote as much love and attention to him as I possibly could.
Then, 2 months later, we suddenly had to rush him to the emergency vet and put him to sleep. Even though it has been about 7 months, I am still swinging between overwhelming heartbreak and numb disbelief.
This is all very sad. And easy to dwell on. But forcing myself to sit down and write out of the “good and bad” of this year made me realize: 1) how many AWESOME things happened this year and 2) Percy’s death and my health problems shouldn’t overshadow all of these things, but rather make me thankful. Because life is fucking short.
I am so thankful for the amazing things that happened this year!
Click below to see an awesome-ly long list!
I graduated with my Master’s in Art History.
After all the papers, and exams, and hoops, and conference papers, and exhibitions, and TAships, and RAships, and Internships – I did it! Somehow I managed to pull-off the mythical “Pass Without Revisions” for my manuscript, and had a few publication offers lined up as well! Boom. Oh, and when I had to return the 60+ library books, I only cried a little bit.
I went to Europe for three weeks.
To celebrate my art-history-ing, Eric and I went to Europe for three weeks – and it was the best trip I’ve ever been on! We went to Belgium (Brussels, Antwerp, and our favorite, Bruges), The Netherlands (Amsterdam), and France (Paris and the Loire Valley). In Belgium we gorged ourselves on beer, chocolate, waffles, and fries. In France we gorged ourselves on wine, cheese, croissants, and macarons. We saw an obscene amount of art. I cried in the Van Gogh museum. I gaped during most of the private tour of Versailles. We wandered through the remains of 6 million people, miles below the Paris streets. I shopped in a small French village market and tasted wine at small family-owned wineries. We explored the medieval streets of Bruges at daybreak, before the town woke up. We sat by the Seine at midnight, watching the lights of Notre Dame reflect off the water while nearby French teenagers smoked and sang American pop songs. I bought books at Shakespeare and Co. Ugh, we did so so so so many amazing things, I really can’t even begin to enumerate them. Maybe I’ll elaborate on another day….
I got a new job.
I had an RAship for a research institute at my university during my last year of graduate school. After I graduated they not only hired me as staff, but I got the perfect position! Somehow, I managed to find something that combines my best skills (writing, art/design, administration, and communication) with my penchant for being annoyingly-overly-organized. I can’t believe I get paid to do what I do! Best of all, I work with some truly incredible people. Being surrounded by a veritable army of strong, intelligent women has been an inspiration.
I got a kitten, and he’s disgustingly cute.
After Percy’s passing, the breeder offered us another kitten. I didn’t feel emotionally ready, but it just… happened. And I am so incredibly happy it did!!! His name is Archibald (Archie for short), and I’m obsessed with him. He is so sweet and so dumb as so cute and OMG I COULD JUST SQUISH HIM. He is the light of my life.
Eric and I spent our wedding anniversary in New York.
We spent a week in New York, where we ate an incredible amount of delicious food (most of it street food, oh yyyyyeah). When we weren’t eating, we were in art museums. We went to the Met, MoMA, the Frick, and the Cloisters. Overall, my favorite was the Frick. But the best exhibition I was was at the Met – Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire. I cried in an art museum of a second time. (Victorian & Edwardian dresses + Faure’s requiem = tears in public, sorry.) I also did a lot of book shopping, because the Strand Book Store is my mecca. And what did I do with those books? Read them in Central Park. Amongst all the fall leaves and strolling couples. HEAVEN I TELL YOU. We went to the Top of the Rock, Time’s Square, etc etc etc. Oh, and we celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary while we were there by going to a French café. It felt just like Paris! It was a great way to celebrate this milestone — Eric has put up with my shit for a long time, and that deserves celebration!
I met my fitness and weight goals.
I not only lost a good amount of weight, but – more importantly! – I got in better shape this year. Eric and I worked out 6 days a week in preparation for our trip. By the time we left, I could easily climb to the top of medieval bellfrys without feeling like I would keel over – success! I incorporated a lot more healthy recipes into my cooking repertoire and managed to get a lot more pro-active about making lunches for us to take to work. We also started hiking on a regular basis (until the unforgiving Arizona summer heat temporarily paused that hobby….). The past couple of months have been a bit lazy, but hey.. that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for!
My life continued to grow in all the ways I hoped it would.
Eric (who just passed his last Fall exam ever!! I AM SO HAPPY FOR HIM!!!!) and I are happier and stronger than we have ever been. I thank my lucky stars every single day that I am married to this man – my rock, my everything! We both continue to motivate and support each other as we constantly better ourselves. Looking back to where I was a year ago, I realize how far I’ve come in my confidence, knowledge, strength, and sense of self. I wouldn’t have made it here without Eric beside me.