I suppose it’s time again for some reflection of the self through this year as it comes to a close. It completely blows my mind how quickly 2012 has come and gone. I am still living and working in the same place, but aside from this my life couldn’t be much more different than it was a year ago.
At the beginning of 2012 I was freshly out of college and finishing up my student job at the library, frantically applying to other jobs, including one full-time position in the building. When mid-January came around, my student employment had been fulfilled and I moved on to work at the public library and health food co-op in my town. Both of those jobs paid minimum wage, and though it seemed I was working all the time, it really was never enough, and the job at the co-op was surprisingly stressful and NOT rewarding for the little amount I was being paid. The public library was calm and relaxing, but I soon got very bored shelving books and nothing else for four-hour blocks of time.
I went through a bout of minimalism that lasted for a few months. My friend Megan recommended to me the book this book by Francine Jay, and it became my bible. I cleaned, culled, and donated my heart out until I had gotten rid of about 10 boxes filled with material items I’d acquired over much of my life. I counted my clothing items and pared down my wardrobe to under 150 things (this felt great at the time, but unfortunately came back to bite me in the butt this fall/winter season). 150 clothing items (including shoes, underwear, and socks) really is not as much as it might seem to be. If you don’t believe me you should count all your clothing items, then proceed to drop your jaw when you realize just how many tie-dye t-shirts you really have (my weakness).
In March I found out I’d be able to quit my part-time, minimum wage jobs and rejoin the university library team! I started my new full-time, well-paying job with health insurance in mid-March, exactly three months after I had left and one day after I saw Radiohead in concert in KC (super amazing awesome concert #goThomYorkego). It felt so great to be with the people of this building again – I had really missed them so much already! Now I’d be working with a new group of people (who are lovely), but still get to see all those with whom I worked before and absolutely love to pieces.
After starting this job, the possibility of being able to find my own apartment became a reality. I called countless property managers and looked at many apartments before I found one perfect tree house that would be perfect for my dog and me. Expensive? Yes. But boy-free? HELL YES. During a fun (but basically vacation-less) summer, I moved into my own apartment for the first time in my life. Feelin’ like an #independentwoman.
When August came around I made the huge decision to break up with my boyfriend, with whom I had been for six out of the past seven years (we started dating when we were juniors in high school and had broken up two times prior). I’m not going to go down this road, because it is TREACHEROUS. All I’ll say is that while it’s been difficult, I know that I made the right decision and I am hopefully a less broken person than I would have been had I stayed. Also, being single rules (and really sucks sometimes).
All through this time I have really thought hard about what I want to do next in my life and where I will go. Somehow, the state of Oregon made its way into my viewfinder, and I started doing some research on the place. Though I have yet to go there and experience it, I am about 90% sure this is where I want to be next. There have been a lot things that have steered me in Oregon’s direction, and as I have thought about it more and more, some really incredible friends have also expressed interest in going there to live. An amazing friend and past roommate and I have started making plans to get out there after she graduates college, with both of our dogs and her son. Just yesterday, my best friend in the entire world, who is currently serving a term in Cambodia with the Peace Corps, emailed me that she and her (super hot & awesome Peace Corps) boyfriend are considering moving there as well, when their terms are up. All signs continue to point to “YES! OREGON!” and after I visit for the first time in April, I am hoping I will be able to make some sort of decision regarding plans to go there.
Something I did to step outside my comfort zone this year was to audition for and participate in a play at the local Arts Center. I was involved in theatre for most of my life up through senior year of high school, but when I came to K-State I freaked out at the theatre auditions and ran away, not looking back. Five years after my last time on stage, I decided to give it another go, partly as a way to get past some stage fright I’d developed through college. I tried out for “All My Sons,” and made the team, though with a very small role (less lines to memorize? FINE WITH ME!) I am so glad and proud that I did this, even if I never step on stage again. The people I met through the production are an amazing group, and I hope to never lose contact with many of them. I learned a lot about myself and about working with others, and a lot about why I DON’T really enjoy “doing” theatre much anymore. There are things I do love about it, but the important thing I suppose is that I understand my relationship with theatre much better.
One other crazy thing I did was, after growing out my hair for three+ years, COMPLETELY CHOPPED IT OFF. Most liberating thing you can ever do, I swear. So worth it.
At this point I am trying to work on always improving myself, for myself, and for others. Most of the time I do this in very selfish ways, i.e., staying home in my pajamas and reading or knitting (or LIT’RALLY staring at the wall for an hour), or by going to the pottery studio and flailing all over the potter’s wheel. But I want to be less selfish; I want to improve myself in ways that benefits others. One line in particular from the Fleet Foxes song “Helplessness Blues” (from the album of the same name) really stand out to me at this point in my life: “But now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be a functioning cog in some great machinery, serving something beyond me.” I could keep going, but that is the gist of that sentiment.
Here is a list of books I read in 2012:
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (for the third and fourth times…)
The Joy Of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide by Francine Jay
I Have America Surrounded: A Biography of Tim Leary by J.M.R. Higgs
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
**Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins** – EASILY MY FAVORITE OF THE YEAR
Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
Palo Alto by James Franco (just out of sheer curiosity – and it was horrible)
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter
All My Sons (a play) by Arthur Miller
Becky’s New Car (a play) by Steven Dietz
House of Blue Leaves (a play) John Guare
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (just finished for the 4th time last night!)
Wow! I didn’t realize that I had read that many books this year. 18 books; that’s about one book every three weeks on average. Not bad! My goal for 2013 will be 25 books.
Here are the knitting projects I completed this year: