Warning--this post is really just me rambling and word dumping.
I measure my life in school years. As a kid, it was, "In my 7th grade year," or "in my junior year..." My college memories are all enfolded into neat little school years. I left college to become a teacher, so it makes sense that in the twelve years I've been out in the real world, I'd look back at my life and think of it in school years. For me, the New Year isn't really in January, it's in August, when all the stores put out sparkling packages of pencils and notebook paper, when back-to-school sales are all over.
This most recent school year, the one just drawing to a close with a lazy bit of summer vacation, has been one of the wildest and weirdest years of transition. I've had some incredibly wonderful things happen...but also some incredibly horrible things. As I look back on it, I sometimes feel a little dazed, but I wouldn't necessarily change anything that happened (except, you know, a few deaths).
Last August, just after beginning my new job at Petite School--and realizing that yes, indeed, I was born to teach music--I met a guy through online dating and we arranged to meet. I'll call him Jim--he's as much of a gymbo as I am. Jim and I have been good friends--never a couple, never a great romance. I think we both needed someone to talk to, to have a bit of fun with, and we had a lot of great conversations about politics and world events. Our friendship remained mostly text-based, though we got together here and there. I admit, perhaps I used him to help take my mind off someone else I'd been interested in--someone who had his own relationship.
Jim sent a text last night, and we happily chatted for a few minutes. He told me he's seeing someone new, and I'm honestly happy for him, though I admit I had a moment of shock. I knew, all along, that we were not a Great Romance, but I suppose I always held a soft spot for him and a little hope that we could maintain the status quo of flirtation for a while longer. The irony of the timing of this is not lost on me--he let me know he's moving on at exactly the same time as I start another school year, and a new adventure in my own life...perhaps the universe's way of telling me to walk into this free of old ideas about myself and open to new possibilities.
I'm ready for new possibilities. I've been in a holding pattern for a long time now--basically since I lost my job in 2010. From one school year to the next, I've waited to see what would happen--job? No job? This year, I broke out of the cycle of unemployment, step by tiny step. ESL Arts last summer. Petite School. Private lessons. All of this has led to the opportunity I'm about to begin, going back to being a high school choir director.
This school year was full of the craziest ups and downs. I made goal weight. I started dating a lot more--not just Jim, but quite a few "first dates" stuck in there, as well, that didn't go anywhere, but boosted my confidence. I even had a date--just last week--get cancelled by the guy because I wouldn't send him a picture of my breasts. No big loss, there.
I lost my sweet Harley Dude, and reeled in shock from that. I gained a couple of jobs, and started turning my finances around. A choir friend died suddenly from breast cancer. Then my niece, Echo, died suddenly on Easter/April Fool's Day.
I saw Keane in San Francisco and cried during "The Starting Line" and "Somewhere Only We Know." I even gained their drummer as a follower on Twitter. My weight loss story was published on Huffington Post...and then I stupidly read the comment section. I pulled off a very successful spring musical, and lived through the school owner telling me it wasn't good enough (whatever, the parents loved it, the kids loved it, and I loved it). I voted in my fifth presidential election, leg-pressed more than I weigh, and bought my first pair of knee-high boots. Actually, two pairs.
I sang my second season with Sac Choral, watched the moment Rosie Pro hit 100,000 miles, and even when my cat and then my niece died unexpectedly and far too young, and when my birth control made me a jerk all through January, and work stress left me feeling raw, my friends and my family resolutely stood next to me and supported me.
The last week or two, I've been feeling that scared-but-excited feeling I get when a new adventure is starting. It's a roller coaster of "I can do this!" and "What if I can't?" August is approaching and I'm looking at it as a beginning--my own personal New Year's celebration. The unknown is not easy to walk into.
But I've done this before, and I've come out of each adventure wiser and stronger for it. And I have a good feeling about this new one, that, with a lot of work and passion and positive attitude, I can make some really amazing things happen. You know me, I thrive on this stuff.
Happy New Year, friends. May it be Wild and Absolutely True.