It’s not quite the end of the year, but it’s incredible what a difference an almost-year can make. The story of this year is quite a bit more monotonous than 2011, but I have traveled much further down a single path than I have since I graduated from college.
The year began with the loss of my grandfather, at age 90, after a stroke that left him hospitalized for a month for the first time in his life. I was lucky enough to be able to visit him often while he was sick, in addition to having spent the previous Christmas with him and his wife. I miss him so very much, but he had a good, long life, and I’m glad he only had to suffer for a few weeks after his stroke. He passed away during the first week in February, and after his memorial service, my life returned to a state of relative calm.
During the same time frame, I began my pre-nursing courses at the community college. I also helped welcome my friend’s new son to the world by hosting two parties…one was a post-birth baby shower, and the other was a winter crafting party. I also reconnected with an old friend from years past in a rather unexpected manner, which is noteworthy because we went from literally no communication in over 5 years to communication at least once a week, and sometimes every day.
By March/April, several exciting things happened. My college Roomie visited me (my visit to her, as of this writing, is unfortunately still unscheduled), I started making friends with people in my community college classes (one in bio and my “gang of 5” in psych), and I hosted a visit from my friend Alice over her spring break (she’s a music teacher). I also met Randall Munroe, the creator of XKCD with my friend Jen, took my Little for a day at the nearby theme park, and started running 4-5 mile distances for the first time ever.
At the end of April, life took a pretty rough turn in a business-related way. In order to remain as vague as possible, it started a 7-month saga of annoying things I had to deal with that won’t officially get wrapped up until the beginning of 2013. It was awful, and it cost me a lot of money and faith in humanity, but I learned some valuable lessons.
In May, I focused on finals for my spring courses and starting my three summer courses, which were much more intense due to the abbreviated semester. Also, my Little graduated from her teaching master’s program and (which made me very sad) and my summer roommate moved in (which made me very happy). I ran a 5K, visited my friend Purcella for her graduation party, and took Lyds to a Flogging Molly concert.
The nutrition class I took this summer gave me a lot of great information about eating that has made me paranoid about certain types of food. I really noticed this on a camping trip I took with friends when I wasn’t in charge of the food I was eating. I have gotten less vigilant about it since the summer, but it was a really interesting awakening. I also started biking a lot more, possibly as a result of the class, but also because it’s fun. In July, right after my summer classes ended, I started working at a local hospital. I attended a two-week orientation, after which I started working part time.
In August, I took a trip to visit my friend Jess in grad school before my fall courses began. In September, I spent nearly all of my spare time planning my birthday party and applying to Nursing School, but I also had a fun weekend with friends at The Color Run 5k. In October, I turned 25 and had my Safari Murder Mystery Dinner Party. I also found out that I got into Nursing School (!!!), enjoyed seeing many friends over homecoming weekend, and ran my first ever 10k race, which was Halloween-themed.
By the time November rolled around, I was mostly focused on finishing up my classes and completing all of the final things necessary for Nursing School after our orientation like vaccinations, ordering uniforms, and arranging background check. I took a trip to visit my Little and her family over Thanksgiving. In December, Lydia and I visited Jess and we all went to the SYTYCD tour. I also went with Molly to an alt rock concert. At the same time, I managed to take all of my finals, mail all of my Christmas cards/packages, and get my house decorated for Christmas. I celebrated Christmas/Hanukkah locally this year, with many of my friends, because I had to stay in town for work. Interestingly, a really bad thing that happened to me (a speeding ticket) has led me to make a lot of positive changes.
As I look back on this year, I have noticed a few key themes. First, it seems like it is possible for me to balance fun activities with my school and work responsibilities. The balance was leaning a little more towards the work/responsibility side in 2012 as compared to 2011, but that is definitely a good thing, and I will be better off if I push it even more in 2013. Second, it is important that I write about all the different parts of my life, because I really enjoy looking back on a complete picture, not just at my most emotional moments. Third, it is really easy for me to get completely lost in unimportant things and completely lose focus on my larger goals. To be honest, writing helps keep me accountable, so I say again that I need to do more of it.
Looking forward to 2013, I have a tough spring semester ahead of me with more credits than I have taken at once since I started community college. However, unless something unexpected happens, I will have all summer off of classes. I plan to travel to AZ as well as FL over the summer, and also to pick up more hours at work than I have had while I have been in classes. I have also signed up for a half marathon in September, so I plan to spend the next 8 months training with that in mind. In the Fall, I will continue RN classes and I also plan to start BSN classes online (if I get in to that program). I predict that 2013 will be full of challenges, new friends, and an avalanche of nursing knowledge. I hope the groundwork I laid in 2012 has adequately prepared me: only time will tell.
I think I’m migrating to a new blog. I’ve started it, but I haven’t shared it with anyone, so if someone happened to find it, that would only be an accident. Really what I’ve realized is that this blog is getting tough to keep up because I don’t have a theme. The theme is everything. So I start to feel guilty when I don’t write about anything, and then the problem gets worse. But let’s give it one last hurrah and maybe I will change my own mind. Either way, I’m planning to move forward with the new blog because it will be thematic and purposeful. The role of this blog would become a home for whatever doesn’t fit there. And hey, it’s tough to be any less regular than I’ve been. Okay, let’s begin the end…for now.
So yesterday I finished up my huge block of four tests, and to celebrate, I baked dozens of cookies. I’m not really sure how many I ended up making, but I had a guest to keep me company, and lots of tupperware to mail them off to my relatives. Now, the genius in this plan (if only sarcasm could be less bluntly alluded) is that I decided on Friday night to bake fresh cookies for people I care about. FRIDAY NIGHT. Do you know what a bad idea this was? I’ll tell you. I had to not only put together their whole Christmas packages, write all of their cards (which involved futzing with the photo printer for almost an hour), and pack all of the boxes. I ended up at 1:30am with cookies made, letters written, boxes packed, but no packing tape in sight.
The other factor that made this plan even more perfect is that I had plans this morning which required me to be up by at least 8am anyway. So what did I do? I got up at 7:30, took care of the dog, and then hustled out the door (forgetting breakfast on the end table) to go mail things! But did you know that it’s nearly impossible to mail things on a Saturday morning? I sure didn’t! Kinkos, usually open for freakishly long hours, decides to sleep in on Saturdays. The post office in my area didn’t open til 9am. I discovered this at 8:20 when I had to be somewhere 50 minutes away at 9:30. So I drove and drove to my destination, hoping to stop by a post office nearby before my planned arrival. So it’s about 9:15 and I’m feeling great, and then when I drove up to the post office, I saw this BIG SIGN that says they don’t open til 10am! It was a continuous catastrophe! Fortunately, my friends were understanding and we waited around until 10am rolled around and my pumpkin turned back into a chariot. They even gave me some packing tape so I could just drop and go at the actual post office! Huzzah!
From that point on, the day was amazing! It was just like in that song “I can see clearly now the rain is gone…” The fog lifted (literally) and we enjoyed an unseasonably warm December day at the zoo! It had been awhile…about two years…since I had been there, and they had opened up a brand new exhibit! My favorites were the giraffes (obviously), but we saw a baby siamang nursing and a squirrel monkey in another exhibit came right up to the glass and interacted with me (giving me an adorable picture to boot).
Once I left the zoo, I gave a call to another friend of mine who I’ve been out of touch with in the past few weeks due to poorly timed unavailability. We had a surprise impromptu get-together including lunch (for her….salad for me since I technically ate an early lunch at the zoo) and a quick Christmas shopping trip.
And then I booked it back home to make it to the dog park in time. Bonnie was sure happy to be there (as she always is). She especially likes playing with her dog friends Mindy and Arrow across the fence, and I like talking to their owners, so it all works out! And then, to round out this delightful day, I had a nice relaxing evening at home watching Boy Meets World. I forgot how adorable that show was, and I’m counting it as research towards the upcoming reboot, Girl Meets World. I have high hopes that it will be great, but only time will tell!