Bairro Alto apartment ceiling
I feel totally fine about 2012. I think it was full to bursting. I'm pretty surprised! Perhaps you have noticed I am often anxious? Ha.
2011 was bloated with wedding stuff. Even a "simple" wedding (as I intended ours to be) has many moving parts to manage. I spent most of the year feeling exhausted because I had a part-time job on top of my full-time one, and I was hoarding my vacation days so that we could spend two (glorious) weeks in the Andes mountains for our honeymoon. I went ten months without any time off, excluding national holidays. I know I don't exactly work in a coal mine, but that shit dampens the spirit!
This year my time felt more my own. I planned a cabin weekend for 17 hilarious, whip-smart women. I called my own bluff and was photographed professionally as my chubby, imperfect self. I got a new job! I visited Jon in Portland for the first time, criss-crossing the Willamette on a borrowed bicycle, drinking dark beer in dark bars, shooting arrows with a bow at an archery range.
I went to Sonoma County for work and rode the ferry back into San Francisco. All the locals shuffled to shelter when the spray kicked up, but I kept my seat on deck and let it soak my whole Midwestern face.
I walked to a wedding downtown, I flew to a wedding in New Orleans, I stood up in Mark and Michelle's wedding, where my emotions were expressed via my nose which ran like a faucet the whole ceremony, into my mouth, onto my chin, down my neck. Tried to discretely wipe it away with my palm, only to unleash further torrents of weepy mucous. I helped to plan a wedding shower and a baby shower. I went to Tennessee with my in-laws. I visited my grandparents in Tennessee twice. I rode my bike every day in the summer. I started going gray.
Nick had a paper accepted at a conference in Portugal, and so a week after he flew there, I went too. He met me at the airport (eventually) after an overnight flight on which I could not, for the life of me, fall asleep. He had a closing ceremony that afternoon to attend at the university hosting the conference, but first we'd stash my bags at the apartment he was renting. Feeling dazzled into alertness by the bright glass-paneled openness of the Arrivals area, I said, yes of course I would go with him! But instead when we finally reached the apartment, two metro exchanges and an interminable uphill walk later, I collapsed into bed. I fell first to my knees, then everything else heaved forward, like someone shot in the back in an old Western movie.
That evening, having slept so deeply I may have technically been in organ failure, we breezed out into the Lisbon air in search of dinner. It was during that dinner I had a very peaceful realization. We picked some place out of the many places with tables and chairs set up in the plaza and ordered two big shallow crocks of paella. I wrapped my scarf around my shoulders; the sun was setting bringing with it a welcome chill. I'd been sweating through some soupy nights in Ohio. A mischievous smile spread across my face. I watched a seagull by Nick's feet snatch a grain of rice out from between the glazed tiles that make up Lisbon's shimmery streets. And it was very clear in that moment that I was in a different time in my life. There was this period of post-college hustle where I was trying to find and keep jobs and save money and take care of myself and not screw up too badly. I wondered if I would feel this urgent and uncertain forever, so I tried to get used to it. Things feel different now, I feel less driven to prove myself. I don't feel like I'm trying to convince anyone that I can hack it. Because, you know what, I can't really hack it! Can anyone?
It's fine, though! It is. It's fun. What a relief.
Every new year always sounds science fiction ridiculous, and 2013 is no exception. Twenty THIRTEEN, you guys. I got plans for it! So we'll see.