After months of silence, I decided to put fingers to keyboard today in honor of the eve of 2011. It’s easy to talk about life when circumstances are good, but not as much when circumstances are tough. Two months ago, my life was ripped apart when I found out my mom is sick with cancer. I don’t know exactly how long that I’ll have with her, but it is short enough that I needed to leave AmeriCorps immediately. That drive back to Virginia was one of the longest weeks of my life. I was crushed by the news that my mom only has a short time left, and also by the separation from friends and team mates that I was leaving in Sacramento. Mostly, I was in shock mentally and exhausted physically. The NCCC lifestyle is incredibly taxing, and this both added to and surpassed it, leading to a sort of crisis I have never before experienced.
Upon returning home, I was relieved to see my mom and all of my wonderful friends (many of whom I consider as close as family) here in Williamsburg. The care and support offered by every one of my friends here was overwhelming, but a great comfort to be sure. It’s been a joy to see how our little community has come together to be there for my mom and me. This has been one of the most special times of my life, in that regard.
Mom and I have also gotten the opportunity to do some talking, some crying, some planning, and a lot of exciting events around the area! We spent a weekend at the museums in DC, a day at the Norfolk Zoo and the riverfront at Yorktown, and an afternoon in Richmond with my grandparents. We’ve hosted a holiday party and seen tacky lights around town, and I saw my first production of It’s A Wonderful Life. We even got a white Christmas and two fun-filled evenings – Christmas Day at Ginny’s and the following day at Will and Terri’s for dinner and games. It’s been a pretty magical holiday season, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
Despite what I lost in Sacramento, I gained so much more. And what I’ve discovered is that those two months with my fellow Team Leaders were enough to build friends for a lifetime. The only thing I really lost was the relationships with my team. But what I gained in returning was an incredibly close connection with all of my friends in Williamsburg that I would have missed had I continued with NCCC.
There have been other developments in my personal life as well. I connected with a really wonderful guy right as I was leaving W&M. In fact, we really got to know one another on a Spring Break service trip down to North Carolina. However, given that both of us were graduating a few months after that, it seemed improbable that we would have the time to enter into a relationship. Sure, we hung out most weekends – going to movies and other events – and he took me to the W&M “prom” in the spring, but we really didn’t know where things stood by the time we parted ways in May. We wrote letters and talked a little over the summer, but when he finally confessed how he felt about me – right after I arrived in CA – it came as a bit of a shock. Still, I had wanted to date him last spring, so we decided to give long-distance a try.
Of course, all of this happened as I was in the throughs of my 14 hour work days at AmeriCorps, and we were 3 hours apart (9 when he left for Corsica a month later). We didn’t have much opportunity to talk then, just due to those complications. However, when my AmeriCorps experience ended so suddenly, I was granted the opportunity to really connect with him – as much as Skype calls can offer. It was a positive consequence of the bad news that brought me back home. As a result, we have gotten closer than ever, and I was actually able to see him earlier this week in his home in NJ while he was back on holiday. Without going into all of the details, it was a wonderful visit, and we’re following that with a trip to Barcelona in late February. That will be the only other time I see him before he returns in May, so though we’re getting off to a slow start, I feel good about it all. I could really go on and on about him and how great he is and how wonderfully he and his family have treated me… But I’ll try to contain myself so that I may close this entry and not keep you reading for weeks. I’ll just say that he is a terrific guy and a wonderful boyfriend, and I can’t wait to see him again!
I’m also here to write some New Year’s resolutions that I intend to take more seriously than I ever have. I feel as though I am at a very serious crossroads in my life. This time is so precious and so important that I need to prioritize it so that I don’t waste it.
1. Cherish my friends, family, and close relationships above all.
2. Improve my health and financial organization so that I may remain in a position to accomplish number one.
3. Practice patience and appreciation of the little things. Life is too short to waste it getting angry or frustrated, or to miss the roses.
4. Challenge myself mentally and physically to be the best that I can be. Particularly, I’d like to read more, practice my guitar often, and train for 5k run.
5. Never shy away from telling those around me how much they mean to me. Never put off a phone call or letter.
6. Increase the documentation of my life through journaling and photography, and spend less time on facebook and other sites.
With these, I hope to make this the best year yet. I have some long-term plans that will soon be in motion. I have wonderful friends who mean the world to me. I have am in a relationship with a great guy. And I have confidence in myself that I can take anything life throws at me and find the positive.