I’m saying goodbye to 2012 with a certain sense of good riddance. This might be unfair to 2012.
It began with a car accident, a car that died, and wrapping pennies for groceries. And I actually rang in the New Year with some kind of stomach flu. That should have tipped me off.
But then in February I got a full time job teaching toddlers, and, after a summer of wrestling, Josh also took a full time teaching post. The thrill of happening upon the right path was dampened by advisors who named this the “worst decision [we] could make,” but we felt otherwise and pressed on. We took our first post-honeymoon miniature vacation, went to a bunch of wonderful weddings, started cooking things other than pasta, followed my family to a fine arts festival, secured our first house, sort of, and ditched our apartment to become nomads for a season and for a good cause. Today Josh is wading through grad school applications.
In the meantime, though, I spent about one third of the year being too sick to do very much except work (but first years of teaching are like that – right?). There was a great and long sadness. We made grand plans and watched them disintegrate. I made new friends, and rejoiced when old friends became new friends, but failed at nursing friends through their disasters.
I still haven’t gotten used to not coming home to old roommates. It was good to be known well, flaws and all. Exhibit A: Once during my senior year, my suitemate came home, happy and bubbly and jabbering, and stopped short when she saw me squarely – staring blankly, smoothie at hand. “Uh oh. Smoothie. What happened?” She knew that I purchased smoothies from our student union only on extra bad days. I didn’t have to search my friend out and find the words to explain that I was wordless and tired. (The smoothie spoke.)
Today I send texts and e-mails and call when it gets bad, to say, “Look, I need prayer. Today was a day for smoothies.” But it’s still strange to have search for each other when we break down. “I’m having a rough time, but my first free date is three weeks from now . . . can we talk then?”
I won’t trade my new roommates – the one I married and the one with fur – and my husband grasps the concept of the smoothie and all its manifestations. But there was something also special and bonding about walking with these girls through the same season together. And we need our friends.
I’m just not good at being a grownup. I’ll never get my act together, and I’ll never cope with this limited access to smoothies, and I’ll never figure out how to fit between the people with babies who urge me to catch up and the people who explain that I’m way too young to have married in the first place. So here we are, misfits, growing in fits and spurts, letting coupons expire and always forgetting which day is Bible study. I’m still too small and unschooled to face well all the problems that are bigger and older than we are, but I like to think we’re learning.
In 2013 I’ve determined not to crash and burn, not so much, and just to let myself do more of what I love – to be a servant of the right things, to share good music, to hike more, to stop smirking at people who don’t have it so hard and stop kicking myself for having it so easy, not to settle on e-mail, to say thanks more, to listen.
Here’s hoping that 2013 sees fewer occasions for smoothies, but that we share them anyway.