Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 Recap: Counting Our Blessings

In an effort, perhaps, to cheer myself and see the blessings in my life, a practice I feel to be particularly poignant during the Christmas season, I thought I might write about the year. Though this is something I normally reserve for the New Year's holiday, I need it more now than I might in a few weeks. Instead, for the New Year's holiday, I'm hoping to write about my hopes for the year to come--which I'm still somewhat formulating in my mind. I guess the trick will be trying to keep the pessimism out as I try to talk (write?) through my thoughts.

Above all, this year has been a really good year. It's been productive, a year for beginnings, but also for endings. We've had good health and much more success this year than we have in a long time, and though I suffer some pretty serious depression, which might lead to the belief that my life is somehow compromised or unsatisfying, 2012 has been our best year in many years. I'm not so gloomy that I can't see, quite clearly, that 2012 is just the beginning of a much more fulfilling life than we've had before.

I worked the first half of the year as a graduate assistant, teaching freshman English, and finishing up graduate school. It was an experience like nothing else, that's for certain. What makes it significant, of course, is that it was an ending but was also a time for me to do some pretty heavy self-evaluation. I never, in a million years, thought I might be teaching, so to have done it for two years--and at the college level, no less--was nothing short of amazing. And honestly, I was sad when it was over. I was also relieved. I'd done it, exceeded my own expectations, and proved I was capable of something I never thought myself capable. Something others, too, thought me incapable of accomplishing.

Turns out the power of disbelief and the drive to prove the doubters wrong is quite the impetus. Maybe that's petty, but to accomplish something, knowing others believed you couldn't do it, it's a wonderful feeling. It's the feeling that carries me into my second ending of the year, graduate school. I finished my master's thesis in June, successfully defended in July, and graduated in August with a 3.82 graduate GPA. And let me tell you, I'd never felt better. I'd never felt more accomplishment. I was proud of myself, particularly knowing others were proud of me. I was proud that I'd done something "the little dyslexic girl" who wasn't "smart enough for college" couldn't have done. Jokes on them, because I did it! Apparently, more than smart enough for college, dyslexia and all.

We've also had some pretty important beginnings. In February, Matt got a pretty good job with an large, national (and in fact, international) company. Of course, like most jobs, he started at the bottom of the ladder and has had to work his way up, but he's done that brilliantly. He went from doing the most difficult job they have, to doing something he's quite good at and is fulfilling for him--he's had three promotions since he went permanent with them in May. I think he's quite content. He doesn't complain about going to work, he's quite talkative about their performance and takes a good deal of pride in the success of his crew. The job is stable, providing us with enough to pay our bills on one income, as well as insurance, a 401k, and very attractive quarterly bonuses. It's helped us to grow up a bit, in all the right ways, and is something we're very, very thankful for.

But one of the best beginnings, for both of us, is going back to school which, I suppose, is actually not a beginning until January. Still, we were accepted this year, so I'm counting it. We're going to be going to graduate school together--along with my best friend, Melanie. Something I'm very much looking forward to as it will bring structure back into my life and allow me to pursue a business degree that will compliment my English degree, making me more marketable--I hope. For Matt, it's a chance to do something he very much wants to do in his life, to attend graduate school. Though I'm a little concerned about his ability to work full-time and attend graduate school, I'm also certain that his desire will compensate for the fact that this will push his free/available time to the very limit of doable.

Best of all, though, I feel like this year has been a blessing because we've been together. We've had our 13th year together this year and in February we'll celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. Lucky number 13! Every year we share is a good year, even the bad ones. So to have a successful year, as 2012 has been, is truly a blessing. And of course because another of our relationships, that with our president, for whom I've voted twice, will carry on for another four years. Amen!

Truly, I'm so grateful to have had a good year, despite my inability to find suitable employment and my stormy head-space. I'm so glad, at the end of a year of success, to have a wonderful holiday season, with a beautiful Christmas tree and the ability to do our part to infuse the economy and give to those we love this season. It hasn't always been within our grasp to gift to our friends and family, but this year we're taking advantage of the ability to enjoy the holiday to the fullest--and do so love to buy gifts!!

I hope your year has been equally filled with blessings, whether those be beginnings or endings, and that your heart is full this holiday season. It's raining as I write this, a blessing in itself after a long year of drought conditions. We haven't seen rain in months, and it'll probably pass soon, but it's wonderful while it's here. Finally, I feel truly blessed to have found blogging so many years ago, and to have fostered a long-time love of blogging, because just writing about the good things we've experienced this year has done wonders for my outlook tonight!