What is one word that you would use to describe your 2011? Why does that word sum up your year?

Looking back on #reverb10 from last year, it really doesn’t feel all that long ago. However, the year has flown by for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, I’ve been terrible with National Blog Posting Month last month, so here’s an attempt to realign those penultimate yearly blog experiences for this month of December.

Enlightening

This past year has done me a wonderful job of learning about myself. I’ve built some order into my life, developed some new relationships and friends, and learned more about what has worked and what hasn’t through it all.

Work has solidified itself into a realistic project. My committee meeting coming up on the 15th will very much be a presentation of the work I’m publishing in the immediate future. From that, I’ll be platforming my (ideally) next paper, and start discussing how soon I should setup another committee meeting to evaluate when I can start writing my thesis. It’s a little creepy and unnerving to think that I’ll be done with that degree this soon.

I spent 2010 being hypercritical of myself and my potential for relationships. That very much changed in March when I met Rachel at a random party my friend Virginia threw. That quickly swung into a relationship that I was not expecting nor quite ready for in retrospect. It was good to realize what I had going for me still (and what good qualities I still find in others), but it was also good for learning what my faults and drawbacks still were.

I watched my hometown flood. Saw my parents’ house covered in water up to the 2nd story. I’ve still yet to get back home on a vacation to help them, and I feel terrible about it. I really do; I’ve had a hanging guilt inside me because I meant to do this back in September, and experiments have held me back ever since. I didn’t know how I’d react to this event; I was a bit surprised and shocked when I was choked up and nearly crying a couple times reading and/or watching about the event. I know my family was fine…but a place that I called home for twelve years of my life was being inundated by water for months.

I ripened a friendship into something grand, unfortunately to watch her leave. Susan was an amazing person as I got to know her more and more from the year previous. I spent last Christmas with her, just enjoying good wine after I put in a half day in the lab. We’d kill the occasional afternoon/evening at McGarrett’s, a few times in the gracious presence of The Writer Chaz himself. I even got to take her fabulous self to the Buffalo Philharmonic one evening last spring; I felt totally underclassed for the evening, bringing her bombshell self to a formal affair! Despite that, there were also the couple evenings where we splurged on Jim’s Steakout, too. Amidst all this, I learned about her strifes in life, but even more importantly, how to get through life despite all them. How to push on, push past, and conquer what’s in front of you, despite what it may be. She will definitely rank up there among the strongest women I know, and I miss her occasional company sorely.

Then along came Cori. She hasn’t taught me quite as much about myself as the rest of the year has, but she’s taught me just what kind of a catch I can attain. I could splurge more, but I’ll save that for a more relevant post, if it hasn’t been covered already. She simply reminded me how to be entranced with a person again.

2011, despite its up and downs, has been grand. Educational. Uplifting. Sorely missing. But wrapping up amazingly. I’m very much happier with the way this year has turned out, despite what I was expecting. It seems I managed to take my own advice from last year, with good reason. I need to listen to myself more.

🙂

It’s a sad memory in retrospect, but I really thought I had it all together once. I thought I had life made, and it felt glorious.

In the rare event you didn’t know, I used to be married. I’ll spare the details on why it didn’t work; it is present in mostly large pieces in my blog if you really need to go look it up. Anyhoo, I really thought I had it all back when I got married. Let me recap things for you:

  • I graduated college, double majoring in chemistry and microbiology (both subjects I love)
  • I was working a delightful job that I never expected to get, learning about the fascinating field of material science at a very respectable pay fresh out of an undergraduate degree
  • I had been accepted to graduate school programs both domestic and abroad, and had settled on moving to the eastern coast to pursue a Ph.D. in Buffalo, NY
  • I spent a week in Germany and was dying to go back
  • Holly was back from a year abroad in Germany, and I couldn’t wait to get started with my life again in her in it

I really thought I had it all together. Even though the wedding was tiny (just a ceremony in a courtroom and a small reception in the park), it felt surreal; it was too good to be true.

I don’t mean to sound snyde, but it was to a small extent. I just learned the hard way that I followed some emotions blindly farther than I should have. It was an amazing relationship, just not one that constituted a marriage. But that build-up to that day was remarkable. I felt like I was on top of the world, and ready to steer it wherever I felt like.

I have fallen far from that pinnacle. Graduate school has taken longer than I would have ever expected. The marriage went onto rocks and has since dissolved. I’m amidst financial woe as long as I continue through graduate school, subjected to an adequate but far from my previously very comfortable ‘real job’ wages.

I missed something when I was last atop that pinnacle, however. Being back down in the valley, I never saw the other peaks that I have to climb. Satisfaction is arbitrary in each situation. I’m on my way up another peak. I don’t know if it’ll be the ‘most satisfied,’ because it’s hard to gauge just how high each one is on your own. But I think I’ve got a long way to go up yet…*smirk*

During my undergraduate days, I used to entertain a slew of side projects in my head that I wanted to attempt and/or accomplish had I ever found the time. Among that list was making a homemade railgun1, attempting to smith a sword/axe/sharp weapon and/or some plate armor2, and all kinds of random psychologically-related experiments. The psychologically-related experiments are not as menacing as one might expect; they were really more aimed at understanding how some people view things or themselves.

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