Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lucky 13

If the first week of 2013 is in any way foretelling of the year to come, this may prove to be one of the most exciting years of my life.

Or most emotional. Maybe dramatic. Definitely scary - though in the best way possible.

All of which is saying quite a bit when I consider the roller coaster that was 2012.

I had been wanting to write a reflection on the last year at some point before New Year's Eve (as if all my posts so far haven't been reflective enough). I've given a lot of thought to the many changes, adventures and moments that shaped my 2012. Alas, another wild trip to Atlanta and an inability to force myself to sit down and write meant it just didn't happen.

I could write about all of the amazing trips I took (which I also meant to do as they happened - oops), new and old friendships that all seemed to take on lives of their own, the unexpected successes I had...  but right now, my mind is racing a mile a minute, filled with thoughts of everything that has happened in the last few weeks.

Or just the last week.

In only the first few days of the new year I have already experienced some majorly magical, head in the cloud feelings, as well as received the the kind of news so bad that the only appropriate reaction is to burst into uncontrollable sobbing immediately.

Okay, I guess the bad news, as upsetting as it was, wasn't the worse news I could ever receive. I mean, its only related to my education and career... not health or family or anything as important as that. And nothing I can't figure out and turn around into a more positive outcome for myself (fingers crossed).

The point being that, this week, for the first time in a long time, I find myself tired of looking backwards, reflecting on the past and trying to figure out what it all means. I try very much not to recycle old feelings and get stuck in thoughts of "What if" and "What could've been", but I also spend a lot of time trying to discern the importance of things that have already happened and how to do better the next time around. Maybe a bit too much time.

I don't know how to describe it, but I just feel so done with that.

My bad news had to do with my research. For an hour or so after reading a three sentence rejection of six months of hard work, I entertained some thoughts of what I did wrong, what I should've done differently - basically, how to blame myself for my research application being denied.

Then I got over it.

Shit happens. A lot of the time, that shit is completely out of our control.

I'm not always the most confident about my skills, my intelligence or my education, but I know what kind of work and enthusiasm I put into this research proposal. The reasons given for its rejection have absolutely nothing to do with anything I could've foreseen or done differently. Which means I shouldn't waste any time beating myself up over it - especially when I need to jump on this chance to re-evaluate, re-work and do a more kick ass job than ever. In an odd way, it is as if I've been handed the golden opportunity to make my thesis better than ever, and the motivation to show a few jerks somewhere in Washington what I'm made of.

Woo, silver lining!

I'd like to attribute all of this optimism to my own sunny out look on life, but the truth is, if I had received this news while in dreary, rainy Washington, I'm not sure how easy it would have been to find the bright side. I mean, I would have eventually of course. But being at home, surrounded by loved ones within arms reach, its always easier to see that the grass is plenty green right where you're standing. Even when receiving what could be dramatically construed as somewhat devastating news, I can't help but want to look forward to the next step with a smile on my face.

I'm looking forward to finding a solution, another way to complete my research, with the help of my amazing mentor and colleagues, and finishing my Masters degree in May. I'm looking forward to tying up the loose ends I have in Washington, enjoying goodbyes with the mind blowing group of friends I have here, and packing up my life to move it across the country. I'm looking forward to living with my twin sister for the first time since I was seventeen. I'm looking forward to continuing to build a community of close friends in Atlanta that I can lean on for fun and support, and be there for as well. I'm looking forward to enjoying some unexpected but very welcome feelings of hope, excitement and anticipation for another person. But above all, I'm looking forward to enjoying this new found feeling of just being able to look forward at all - of finally letting go of the past - of being able to enjoy each day's hard work and happenings, for better or worse.

As just one week has already shown me, there will most definitely be a lot of good, and there may be some bad, but I can't help but feel that it will all mix together to make 2013 a truly unforgettable and incredible time in my life.

Ringing in the new year, lucky 2013, with some amazing people in Atlanta.