(from “With Arms Outstretched” by Rilo Kiley)
Well, here it is. The almost-end of 2012. And…I’m not really sure how to feel about the past year. Maybe by the end of this post, I will.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how I would remember 2012 in the years to come, what memories would come to mind, you know, that sort of thing. I’ve been thinking about splitting it up into two categories: in the first, “everything before August 1,” and in the second, “the more awesome part of 2012, aka everything else.” But this isn’t really fair. Though the first half of 2012 was undeniably less enjoyable than the rest of the time (you know, that whole ‘getting rejected from grad school’ thing left a bad taste in my mouth for much of the rest of the year, though it was my fault for putting all my eggs in one basket, as I am wont to do), it had its ups, too. Just as everything post-July 31 has had its downs, too. But when you start your new year off by looking at your bank account and discovering somebody in China had stolen $70+ through fraudulent “iTunes charges,” it might set you off on the wrong foot. It just took me until August to consistently feel like I was worth something. (Yes, I did get that money back. Still, that was a pretty crappy thing to wake up to on January 1.)
If anything, 2012 has been a year of learning how to deal with rejection. From grad school to job interviews that went nowhere, I felt like my good luck and hard work of the past eight years (since going to JCIB really was a lot of hard work) was all for nothing. Well, you probably read my “I hit rock bottom” post a while back, so you know (July 2, by the way). Even my birthday kinda sucked this year – not that the whole day sucked, but that was the overall feeling I took away from it. So, yeah, things could have been a lot better, but I did have a lot of good experiences in the first seven months of the year, as well as experiences that would lead to later experiences that would make August-onward awesome, and I don’t want to discount those by focusing on the negatives. And I always try to think of it this way: every experience, whether good or bad, has shaped me to become the person I am now. And experiences are necessary for any sort of personal growth to happen, and so in retrospect, I welcome these challenges that came my way. Progress doesn’t come from being granted admission into grad school just because I had excellent grades and worked my academic butt off for years; it doesn’t come from getting the first job I applied to in my intended professional career. Actually, all of this rejection has led to even better opportunities, so I can’t say I’d change any of it, even if it sucked to go through at the time.
I guess the more I think about 2012, the more I feel like this is the year that I’ve changed the most since my father died. I’d like to say it’s the new library job that made me more confrontational and willing to stand up for myself – a skill I really could have used many times for the first half of the year – but really, I think it was that AND the realization that saying I don’t care what people think of me and living it are two different things. Maybe all those inspirational posters finally kicked in or something. Friends who stand up for themselves and call people on their bluffs inspired me to find the inner strength to do that for myself. I read an email the other day I’d sent to a friend in high school, and it was an instant-message conversation between another friend and I, who were fighting at the time. And I couldn’t believe the Christina I found. Even if I went about things the wrong way often in high school (and who doesn’t?), I stood up for myself. I was unafraid to say what I thought of a situation that made me uncomfortable or angry. And though I like my more tactful self compared to the raging mess I was in high school, I think I’m finally getting back in touch with the Christina who isn’t afraid to say what the inner Christina wishes she would say, or what I say to somebody else in hopes they’ll handle it.
Took me long enough.
And look at all I had to go through to get here. I guess I’d say it was worth it. Overall this has been a tumultuous year, and I have no idea for any sorts of New Year’s resolutions because they’re all no-brainers I would aspire to anyway. Move up in my job, get into grad school, lose weight, manage money better (though just making more money to be able to even manage has already helped with that, which is partially the reason for #1), you know, the same ol’ generic rigmarole.
Though the last half of 2012 has been markedly better than the first half, I wouldn’t change it. I feel like I’m happier with who I am now than who I was at the beginning of the year. But I’ll also welcome 2013 happily and look forward to the next year of my life.
So long in twenty-seven days, 2012, and thanks for all the…tears?