Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Golden Year

Well, it's been a long absence, I know. I've been partying in Utah for two weeks with my family for the holidays, which are even more jam packed for us than for most. Instead of just the usual Christmas and New Year's festivities, we cram my birthday and our anniversary into that two weeks as well. Busy, yes, but I've had a lot of time for thinking, if not napping. I remember hearing as a kid that the birthday where you turn the age of the day of your birthday (ie: your 15th birthday if you were born the 15th) is supposed to be your "Golden Year," only spoken of in reverent tones where awesome things happen for you. After establishing that I would be ancient before that happened, I hadn't given it much thought ever again. "Seriously, 24?! Just put me in a home!"
I realized a few months back that 1) 24 is not old at all, and I feel too young in fact to have any knowledge about anything, and 2) Christmas Eve marked the official end of my "Golden Year." Basically 2008 (excepting the last week) was supposed to be my golden year, and what did I have to show for it? After hearing the New Year's newscasts talking about 2008 as the "worst year ever"--the economy took a huge swan dive, and we're all going to explode from pollution and lack of proper attention to greenebrities (environmentalist celebrities) and blah blah blah, I started to feel a little bummed about my promised and long-awaited awesome year. Even the "plus sides" they reported dampened my mood--"'The first black president!' Yeah, that's good on a civil rights level, but on a political level, Holy cow, I'm a republican, this year was the pits!"
So I decided to flip off the TV, ignore the majority of the rest of the planet and actually think about my year. Not what everyone else wanted me to think about 2008, but what I thought and felt in 2008.
As most of you know, I'm a pessimist, so retreating into my brain doesn't usually yield an "up with people" special, but for some reason, this year brought nothing but gratitude and happiness to my mind. I decided to think about what made the year "Golden" and instead of coming up empty, I came up with a lot. Most of these aren't major, and maybe they wouldn't make a fantabulous Christmas brag letter, but because they meant so much to me, here we go.
My husband finished his bachelor's degree this year. He may not be done with education completely, and the masters will be harder, but I remember when finishing that degree seemed endlessly far away. Nigh unto impossible, even, and now it's done. That was a happy wonderful event, watching him walk across that stage. Big points to 2008 for that.
Daniel had a job the entire year, and I chose to leave mine, meaning I wasn't laid off. My parents still have their jobs. In this scary economy and crazy world, the fact that we are all still okay is something to cheer for. No matter what happens next I am extremely grateful for the protection we have had so far.
I got to spend a month living with my sister and introducing her to her niece. When you are over a decade and 400 miles apart, it can be easy to let the closeness slide, but I got to be reaquainted with my little sister all over again. That month saved both of us a lot of loneliness, and taught me what it was like to be a teenage girl (I was never very good at that). It was more fun than I imagined and we can't wait to have her back this year.
I was able to speak to my brother for the first time in 18 months. It seemed the universe was keeping me from speaking to Andrew from his missionary assignment in Mongolia for a while there--he can only call home twice a year, last Christmas it wasn't our turn to be with my family, and on Mother's Day I was unable to travel to Utah with a 3-week-old baby. Hearing his voice and having him hear me and talk directly to me this Christmas meant more than I had anticipated it would. I had no idea how much I missed his personality shining through and I will carry that conversation with me until he returns home in July. My siblings are my best friends and I can not wait until we are all together again. 2009 will get points for bringing us that.
Mostly though, this year gave me Samantha. Becoming a mom was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I can not even express what she means to Daniel and me. She is silly and drooly, and yes, she can't help but flirt with strangers no matter how paranoid her mother is about germs and weirdos, but she is just the absolutely best thing in the world to us. I wouldn't trade her for the fulfillment of my job, fitting back into my skinny jeans, and the money we spend of diapers, formula, and smelly pureed foods combined. I wouldn't trade her to end global warming. Heck, call me selfish, but I wouldn't even trade her for world peace. As a teenager I didn't think I would ever have kids, not because I didn't want to, but because I didn't ever see myself getting married. The general population bugs me, and I didn't think I was patient (or, hey, popular) enough to pick out a diamond from all that rough. I didn't expect to fall in love with Daniel, and once that happened, I figured that was as good as it would get for me--it would be greedy to expect more. God does have a way of working miracles, whether we think we deserve them or not, and I shouldn't have been so shocked that I would get Samantha too, but I really was. I am so immeasurably grateful for her, and even if 2008 turns out to be the worst economic crisis ever, even if history books end up treating it like the gateway to Armageddon, and everyone else hated it, it will always hold a special place for me. I may be alone in this, but I'll miss you 2008, you were good to me. You truly were my "Golden Year."


Kym said...

Amen, my fellow pessimist, amen. My "Golden Year" was when I was seven. Maybe that was why I freaked out and almost didn't get baptized the next year because I didn't want to stop being seven. Hee, hee, hee...Well, I wouldn't mind turning 8 instead of 30 this Wednesday!

Natalie said...

Beautiful! Glad you are back, I have missed reading what you have to say.

Crow Family said...

Welcome home!! My "golden year" was when I was 3... figures.... but 2008 was a memorable one. I am right there with you, I wouldn't trade Keely for anything either.