Monday, December 15, 2014

2014: A Year in Review



For some this may seem a bit early. But I assure you, I'm bound to be swept away in the good tidings of great joy...aka the Holidays and forget to post this before January 2015. So here we are, 2014: a year in review. What a year it has been. 

It was New Year's Eve 2013, I was sitting in Painting with a Twist by myself with a bottle of wine. I accidentally stole someone else's plastic cups because I thought the gallery provided cups for patrons. They do...just not the ones I stole from other participants. I apologized but it was still embarrassing. 

I went on to paint an exploding champagne bottle on a canvas. My instructor helped me make it look a little less phallic. I met a fabulous couple and shared my snacks with them. We ended up cheering each other on for the duration of the class. This was all because I had to move seats. I was sitting next to an empty seat when a couple walked in. I was the only one not in a group so I relocated to the solo seat on the other side of the table. That's how I got a seat next to the most beautiful couple...Gabby and Tim. 

After painting my masterpiece I went to my bar and showed off my artwork. I had a classy drink and then headed home to watch the ball drop in the comfort of my living room. I spent the first day of 2014 day drinking with my friend, Sarah and partying with the Mummers. It was great. I also joined a gym and went faithfully for 12 months. 

I would go on to paint three more paintings in 2014. Each a little better than the former. I got really close to a coworker who eventually became one of my best friends. We'd do paint nights together and got really into it. 

In March I ran a 5K and finally did it under 40 min. By the beginning of May I squashed my personal record running my 5K in 36 minutes. It was a fantastic feeling. 

In April I completed my comprehensive exams. In mid-May I graduated Temple University's Master's of Journalism program. I earned the Top Scholar Graduate Award and was inducted into a journalism honor society. I also received exceptional high pass on my comprehensive exams. 

Then things started to balance out. Tim, from Gabby and Tim NYE 2013 passed away. Suicide. And although I didn't know him or Gabby really well, I felt profoundly connected to them. I know someone like Tim, who had some lows, and I was worried he too might do something tragic. He didn't, Thank God...but for whatever reason Tim did. I reached out to Gabby occasionally and contributed to her in a suicide prevention walk this past summer. 

People at my work starting quitting left and right. Within three months I lost most of the coworkers I was closest too. My best friend quit too, moving down South right before my birthday. I was at a pretty low point. I had accomplished some really healthy goals, and graduated Jschool, but the wave of accomplishments had finally settled down. My Jschool friends moved away and moved on. My work friends quit and moved on. I felt pretty alone. 

I also couldn't find a journalism job. Despite experience and credentials...I had no luck in finding journalistic employment after graduate school. I felt stuck in a job I no longer wanted to be in without the people that helped me get through each day. 

I took a trip to Boston and got to spend time with my best friend and her family. Her daughter made me laugh so much. It was really great to see them but I realized something important, I loved Philly. Boston was nice but given the choice between the two I'd choose Philly. I began to question what that meant. 

As I said, my best work friend left right before my birthday weekend. So to cope, I drove to Virginia and spent my birthday with my parents for the first time in over 10 years. It ended up being a fantastic choice. 

I eventually did come close to journalistic employment...twice...but the salary that was offered wasn't a living wage. I wasn't expecting to make more than I make now, but I needed more than offered to survive. I now had graduate and undergraduate loans demanding my attention, plus rent, groceries, bills...etc. 

September rolled around and I found myself doing the same old stuff....assisting the kids with back to school stuff, running fall programs, doing all the things I've done for the past 5 years. I had a lot of loathing for...well...everything. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I just couldn't find the way to get there. 

By November I realized I had been losing weight, mainly from my obsession with the gym. I also was well into developing a friendship with a newish co-worker. We hung out during the summer and eventually WE did a paint night together. I wasn't as alone as I thought I was. I may have lost most of my friends but I also gained a new one. We have similar interests and personalities. Plus we both love dogs and the Phillies. By love, I mean obsess over. I just had a great happy hour with her last week. 

I also had the privilege to reconnect with a good friend of my past. We're talking 12-13 years ago...past. He reached out, rather randomly to reconnect with me. I hadn't seen him in over 10 years. We spent the weekend in Philly and realized that no time had really passed....at least between us. Let's just say...2015 may start off quite interestingly. 

It is now December. I started branching out in terms of my writing endeavors. I wanted to build my network so I began freelance writing for Generocity.org. My first piece was published last week and it's been gaining traction across the internet. 

This year has been a ride. It was wonderful, heartbreaking, and a learning experience in a half. I'd like to say this is the year of self-acceptance...because for the first time in a long time...I felt comfortable in my own skin. I was very happy with MYSELF. I was very comfortable with MYSELF. I was not happy with my circumstance...or my job...or my social situation...throughout various times this year, but I was always happy with ME. Confident and comfortable. 

I learned a lot about love. I learned that no matter how much you love someone, you can't will them to love you back in the way you want them to. You really can't will anyone to do anything. I've learned that I deserve good things and metaphorically...sometimes you just need someone to be there to help you clean the vomit out of your hair. That's love. I don't have that kind of person...yet. 

I have never been more sure about my future career as I am now. I can't watch The Newsroom without smiling from ear to ear. I think I'd have a heart attack if I visited the Newsuem. I think about journalism every day. I feel such a sense of pride when a source tells me they loved my story. I've never met a story I didn't like and I've met some interesting ones this year. I love everything about journalism and I really do believe there is the perfect job out there for me. One that supports my dream and supports me financially. I'm not looking to be a millionaire...but I am looking to maintain my beautiful credit score. 

For 2015....I don't have any resolutions. I'd like to continue my gym membership. Work on my few but precious friendships I have. See what happens with Mr. Re-connection and yes...get a journalism job full-time. I hope this year I will move to a bigger apartment, adopt a Boxer dog and name him Bronx, maybe even get that green Kia Soul I want so badly. 2014 was one of my best and most trying years yet. I'm eager to see what adventures 2015 will bring. 

Until next time...

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