As the end of the year approaches and a new one begins, I reflect on the disappointments, hardships, dreams, and accomplishments that have past in the last 12 months. The past few years have been tough ones. The recession has been hard on us all. Millions on unemployment and watching their bank accounts dwindle away, and still, at the end of 2010, without much hope for change. I miss the “golden days” where my life as a blossoming adult was not dragged down by economic hardship and didn’t revolve around money . . . the next job, the next paycheck. It’s a good time to be in grad school they say. I’m not sure yet if it’s a good time to be graduating from grad school this spring, but we’ll see what 2011 will bring. It’s what the celebration of a new year is all about: renewed hope in the future and in our own potential.
Though I am more than ready to put 2010 behind me, it wasn’t without it’s small moments of glory.
I enjoyed New Year’s Eve among old high school friends I hadn’t seen in years (January) when a friend, now living in San Francisco, threw a subdued bash at her mother’s house in my hometown of Lanesborough. Then, although I spent another cumulative 6 months sans husband in 2010, we’ll always have Paris (February). Even cold and gray, Paris still stole our hearts (for the second time). So did the Louvre, the Mona Lisa, and the lovely ladies at The Crazy Horse cabaret.
March and April brought an infuriating and completely unnecessary battle with my landlord over a leaky roof and lack of heat that landed in court (the sensation of fury running up my spine as I write this). Nonetheless, by the time Tony returned in May we settled and enjoyed a newly reconstructed bedroom. By June we were basking in the sun on the porch and reveling in warm summer nights and relaxing times with friends.
The laze of summer ended too soon though and I was right back into my grad school work, staying in New Hampshire 3 to 4 days a week to run around in the woods alone on hot, sweaty afternoons. Looking back on a busy and difficult summer, I have to remind myself that I climbed a 4,800 foot mountain in the Whites (July) and in August succeeded in completing my solo field work, even coming to enjoy the last few weeks of my accomplishments. We stole a few days of R&R at a quaint B&B in Vermont run by an elderly couple before I started classes (September) and was lost in a flurry of readings and endless homework.
It also became a stressful autumn as we approached the difficult decision for Tony to leave the country again. But I did the best I could. Fall is my favorite time of year, after all. I even bought a devil’s costume and decorated the porch (of our new apartment) for Halloween (October). By November Tony had gone again and I lost myself amongst group projects, papers, and field trips. A stroke of luck at last when I landed an internship with the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, a local land conservation organization. I completed my semester, and began preparing for Christmas just in time for our first New England winter Nor’easter that dumped 16 inches on North Adams (December)! Christmas brought in my uncle from Chandler, Arizona and my aunt and cousins from the MA coast, gathering at my grandparent’s home in Richmond for one of the largest Christmas dinners we’ve had in years.
And here we are . . . 2011! I have so many wishes, dreams and hopes for this year. But what I know now is to take the lessons of 2010 to heart and move forward. Through trials and tribulations we persevere to authenticate ourselves.
May your 2011 be blessed with insight and triumph! Happy New Year!