2009: The year in retrospect

2009 was a year of big changes for me.

First off, I graduated from library school. For my second to last semester, I decided three classes would be doable since one of them was on a Sunday. Two were fine, but the third made no sense to me for a long time. I had a handle on everything till about April, but managed to finish everything.

I capped off my MLS with a two-week e-publishing course in London, where I stayed in a shitty dorm (that was in a good location), ate good food, went to museums, walked a ton, got lost a lot, and oh yeah, went to class. While at the time I thought two weeks in London was enough forever, I’d totally go again.

I went public. First, tired of waiting to get published, I decided to be my own pimp and put my memoir online. Then I put my name to my blog. This was scary because of past experiences, but I didn’t want fear to rule my decisions anymore.

We decided to move to California. The biggest change of all. What started as an idea in June became a reality in August when MB got a job and we got an apartment.

Of course this meant challenges, like getting rid of my stuff, giving my notice, doing battle with bacon grease, and of course leaving New York. While there’d be some things I wouldn’t miss, there’d be many things I would. The restaurants of course, even my job, but most of all my friends and family.

Luckily I had lots of opportunities to hang with my buddies, including monthly photo expeditions with YP, visits from ES, a trip to Boston, and my last weekend in New York. I even ran into an ex-friend which threw me for a loop.

MB and I visited with my parents often too, like on Chinese New Year and in the summer when MB climbed on their roof. This year, as always, my mom worried a lot. I did too, but relaxed after officially moving to San Francisco, unlike Mom. At least Thanksgiving was fun, and she actually sounded happy on Christmas.

In these last few months in SF, I accomplished a lot as well. I’ve explored the city, questioned the sleaziness factor, and continued to adjust. I decided to tackle the BBC 100 books list (I’m only on the last book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), dressed up for Halloween, and did NaNoWriMo. I tried to be more social, got a freelancing job, and started writing for The Nervous Breakdown.

As for 2010, I won’t have any resolutions or even any goals. Something else I learned this year is how to deal with expectations. It’s natural to have them – but too high and you’ll be disappointed, too low and you’ll never really enjoy a positive experience.

So should you have any expectations at all, especially about other people? You can’t control their feelings or actions. They don’t know what you’re thinking, and if they did, I know I’d feel unwanted pressure to behave a certain way, instead of simply being myself. I remember reading somewhere that all you can really ask of someone is that they’ll follow through on their word.

What’s the difference between low expectations and no expectations? With low you expect the worst to happen; with no expectations, you expect, well, nothing. It’s sort of a zen state, neither negative nor positive. It’s living completely in the present, neither thinking of the past nor trying to predict the future, like willful short term memory loss.

I find the most positive experiences result when I’m distracted by other stuff. Maybe that’s why they say the right person will come along, in terms of relationships, when you’re least expecting it. Having high or low expectations may put out a certain energy that people can unconsciously sense.

Anyway, so what does that say for this year? The only thing I expect is the day to day routine I’ve come to enjoy – writing, working out, writing more, running errands, practicing piano. I’ll continue to try to get published but focus on the actions of writing and submitting and try not to wonder too much what the result will be. I’ll apply for jobs in the same way. It’s sort of like being a machine who immensely enjoys herself.

And enjoy myself I will. Happy New Year, everyone!

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