January 3, 2009


2008 was something. It was hard, and I'm not sorry it's over. Usually New Year's feels like no big deal to me -- since I'm not a winter person, it always seems like the wrong time of year to make life-changing resolutions. But this year the change to 2009 means something to me, because there was so much in last year that I wanted to leave behind.

I started the year with a knee injury that left me without running or riding, my two main ways of coping with stress. I began to seriously date a guy I had started seeing in November, although I never felt particularly strongly about him one way or the other. I adopted a cat from the humane society -- a beautiful lilac siamese named Sophia. The marathon season started without me. In general I felt unbalanced and overwhelmed, close to unraveling.

1/26/08: otherwise there is nothing. work is work. rehearsal is rehearsal. rain is rain. it is january. soon it will be february. today training started for the spring marathons. it poured cold rain all day, and I, vengefully, was glad.

The opera season swung in again full force, and I was living and breathing rehearsal, never coming home before 11 PM. The cat and I were a terrible match for each other, she being highly people-oriented and I never being around. I fell in love with the opera we produced in March and got into a horrible fight with my boyfriend when he bailed at the last minute from the performance he was supposed to attend. I was lonely, missing friends and feeling at odds with everything.

4/6/08: last night I suggested to aaron that we take a train ride somewhere and he reacted very negatively. "like amtrak?!" he said in disbelief. I had thought the notion rather romantic. is adulthood a lesson in compromise?

I took the cat back to the humane society. I worked every day for weeks on end, with scarcely a day off between March and June. More than anything, I craved a few days' vacation, the lull of summer, the imminent freedom of the end of the opera season. I eagerly anticipated my birthday, being taken to dinner by my boyfriend, and all the related festivities.

The day we closed the opera season, I got very drunk at a party and had to stay at the opera house late, napping on the couch, to sober up. While I was there my boyfriend called to say he had a kidney stone and desperately needed me to drive him to the hospital. Instead of spending the next few days sleeping until noon and loafing around -- which, after five weeks of work with no day off, was exactly what I had intended -- I spent the next week taking care of him, using all my vacation time.

On the day before I turned 27, my boss was terminated and my job at the opera was reduced to half-time. On my birthday, all my friends were out of town, and everyone in my department at the opera was away. No one even knew it was my birthday, and so I missed the customary singing and cake that had accompanied everyone else's day. Late that afternoon, my best friend sent me flowers from where she lives in Texas, knowing that I was feeling down. When I got them, I locked my office door and cried. A coworker noticed the attached balloon and asked me about it, which is the only way anyone found out that my birthday had been forgotten. That night, at a softball game I had nearly not had the energy to drag myself to, one of the girls I work with brought me a cake and flowers, and I was nominated to receive the weekly game ball.

6/8/08: this afternoon when I returned home the entire apartment complex smelled like hose water in the most simple, remarkable way. at the top of the steps the wood planks smelled sweetly of cedar or oak: whatever boards they use as boardwalk planks. olfactory and memory interminably intertwined. hosewater and wooden boards! the simple things. at the end of the day I planted seeds and herbs, and the ice cream truck drove by. I cannot believe it is nearly mid-june.

I spent the summer in a deep depression. I was jerked around at work, where they kept delaying my inevitable switch to part-time, even going so far as to tell me I had the summer off and then to change their minds three days before the end of my contract. I missed my yearly family trip to the beach, which I have been a part of all my life, and it was like missing Christmas. some days it was a struggle merely to get out of bed. I cried at the depression medication commercials. I lost weight. I had no interest in anything.

In August, my boyfriend went on a solo vacation for 12 days. I surprised myself by feeling the best I had felt all year. I called the barn where I had not ridden a horse in 9 months, and scheduled a lesson. I went out with friends and felt full of potential. When he returned, I felt dull and doldrummy again, which is how I realized our relationship would never be right for me. We broke up over Labor Day weekend.

In September, my job was finally reduced to half time. At the same time, I was offered intermittent employment at the symphony, and a substitute job at the ballet. I began cleaning stalls at the barn in exchange for free lessons. I regained my confidence on horseback after sustaining several falls in late 2007 which had left me skittish. I helped our barn owner make a video of a horse she was selling, who I subsequently fell in love with myself.

I was offered stage management work with another local orchestra, and became a full-time freelancer. The opera hired a new assistant stage manager and we were quickly thick as thieves. The new studio artists turned out to be a likeable, cohesive group of friends and I found myself out more than in. Friends finally came to visit my apartment.

In general the year was dominated by uncertainty and depression. But there were some good moments, too, of course: running the Rainier to Pacific with Nick in July, where we cracked jokes, and laughed, and barely slept, and had a fabulous time; running the Hood to Coast for the first time; the night of Election Day, when I threw a party for my friends and dressed up in a child-sized Betsy Ross costume; Thanksgiving; Christmas. And buying my horse, of course.

So here's to 2009, which, I sincerely hope, will be a dramatic improvement.

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