Twenty-eighteen was the best of years and the worst of years.
This year was my first Christmas without my mom. I think of all the conversations that we never had about all the good things that were happening in my life, all the stories of mine she had yet to read, all the books and meals and time with Hannah we had yet to share, all the Christmas shows we had yet to binge-watch together (like the “Bob’s Jelly Doughnut” episode of “Wings”)…
But I know she was there–I just wish I could see her being there.
This December, I graduated with my A.A. and my A.S. and got a full-time job I enjoy at the college just before graduation–a job where my creativity is not only appreciated but encouraged.
The A.A. was what I wanted, the A.S., what I felt I was supposed to want. I will go for my Bachelor’s in Business (with a concentration in Graphic Design) in the fall at the college that has been like my second home (as well as my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing at The University of West Florida when I can swing it).
It was my work on The Corsair designing recruitment ads, as well as making Shutterfly books for Christmas gifts, that led me to seeking a degree in the graphic arts. (Besides, I can also use whatever I learn to make this blog better.)
My “passion for the college” was what got me the job (my supervisor actually said I had this thing called a “skill set”–something no one has ever said to me before), and it did not go unnoticed by me when I went in for my first day of work and saw a few or more copies of the newspaper scattered, opened to my farewell letter: http://ecorsair.com/letter-from-the-editor-in-chief/
How easy it is to have passion for something that has given me so much: friendships, scholarships, a quality education, and numerous opportunities to become a better writer (and not always with a grade attached).
I put everything I have into everything I do. There’s a quote by Mark Cuban I came across once–“Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you”–and maybe that’s why I am the way I am. I almost lost nearly everything or had it taken away, and the thought of that happening again terrifies me so much, I am hyper-vigilant about being the absolute best at everything I do (except for maybe astronomy or statistics), but it’s also more than that: I care.
I don’t half-ass things (though the amateur lexicographer in me wonders if the opposite would be “whole-ass”?). I don’t even read my own work once it’s been published–I just sort of glance over it, afraid I will find a mistake, only to obsess over it.
On Christmas Eve, my husband and I accepted an invitation to a church where we could have a fresh start. There was a woman pastor–something that used to seem strange to me, but not anymore.
That is not a change in values but in perception.
I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions (I prefer to look back and note my accomplishments); however, I’m always making To-Do Lists (as well as goal lists, be they weekly, monthly, or lifetime) because if I didn’t, I’d simply forget it all.
Because this year has been crazy, and I’ve been spending so much time finishing college while applying for jobs and trying to make a living, I haven’t been taking care of myself or spending as much time with my family as I should. I’ve still done a lot of writing, but more for this blog and the newspaper than submitting to magazines.
It’s time to read more, sleep more, and even play more (like with dumbbells, if not barbells). Managing my stress is going to be a large part of my New Year’s health goals, for once I do that, my mind will be clearer to focus on other areas of wellness.
I drained my batteries dry this past year but was able to sally forth because the light at the end of the tunnel just kept getting bigger. I feel like I have passed through to the other side, only to find that there are more tunnels. My community college experience opened those doors; that’s why I never saw them before.
But for now, I am content to just stand in the light.