[As with years passed, I have written a reflective piece on 2009 (well, my 2009). Other years were broken-down by topic; this one will be chronological. Here it is.]
2009 started in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Partying with Steve's band and a couple friends from Boston was fun, but then again, New Year's Eve celebrations are never what I dream up in my head. The Eve was certainly better than New Year's Day-- I can tell you that much. After we sent Theresa and Darren on their way to Florida the afternoon of January 1st, Steve and I sat down on our couch. He told me that he'd been meaning to talk to me about something. I thought, "Oh my goodness! This is it! A New Year's proposal!" Instead, though, he told me that he wanted to see other people.
Although within hours he had changed his mind and we were determined to stay together and work things out, the relationship was damaged beyond repair. On Easter (April 12-- only days after returning from a lovely vacation in Savannah), Steve and I officially broke up.
I needed to get away. I took a 3-mile walk (almost) every day. I put in extra time at work. I went for hikes and to happy hours and dinners with friends. I made plans to move out of the house I shared with Steve and Rob, and in with my friend Sara on Philly's historic South Street. Before Moving Day 2009 (Memorial Day), I was fortunate enough to take a week-long vacation to Eze, France, where my uncle owns a house. It was me, Bobbie, Heather, Brother John (who spoiled us so much), Uncle Johnny, and his wife Lyn. The weather was perfect, the food was perfect, the excursions were perfect, the company was perfect (love you, Hobs!)...the trip was perfect. It was EXACTLY what I needed to feel comfortable with myself without Steve. And man, life was good.
One amazing thing that happened in France was meeting my uncle's former neighbor, Angelo. The poor man had been a wreck after his partner of 10 years left him (one year prior, even). The way he talked about her, the way he cared for her really opened my eyes to what kind of relationship I would like-- and what kind of relationship I didn't have with Steve. With Angelo in mind, I had somewhat of a mental checklist for a partner, and learned never to settle.
So on Memorial Day, I was off to a new life in Center City, Philadelphia. The weather was amazing, and the city had so much to offer. I wasn't teaching anymore, so I could walk to work, to friends' houses, ANYWHERE! It was exactly what I wanted.
...And then, however premature and impulsive, I got curious about the single men in the city. I quickly realized that I was not going to meet anyone through friends, and those sidewalk glances rarely get you anywhere, so (after doing an appropriate amount of research) I joined an internet dating website. When a creepy divorcee immediately IM'd me (even before I finished creating my profile!), I blocked instant messages and wondered if I had done the right thing. About a week later, I realized I had. Going out on dates was just another great way to meet people and enjoy everything Philadelphia had to offer!
I didn't want to get into another relationship...I just wanted to go fishing.
That's when things got tricky. One particular gentleman was in it to win it. Our first date was one for the books. The amount of topics we covered was astounding, and we really clicked. In late June, I got the flu and had to cancel all of my dates. Immediately after recovering, I was taking a Personal Leave of Absence from work and spending three weeks at home in California. While the other guys I was seeing sent me an email saying, "Have fun in Cali, call me when you get back," this guy asked if it was okay to call me, and did. I got sick again while I was home, and he sent me a card and a mix cd.
When I returned to Philly, it became clear that even though I wasn't looking for a relationship, I was about to be in one.
I talked to my mom about it. I talked to my friends. There was a mixed bag of opinions, ranging from, "Don't let this one go!" to "Are you crazy? You need to shop around more."
My good friend Jay used to scold me for trying to plan out my life. "Don't tempt fate," he would say, and I learned my lesson. When trying to decide whether to jump into another exclusive relationship, I realized that planning to stay single for at least a year after a 4-year relationship is the same thing as planning to get married in 2010.
So I stopped planning and fell in love. (Awwwwww!)
At the same time, cohabiting with Sara was not going well (from her slovenly tendencies to her need to be babysat). I desperately needed to live on my own, so within a week of telling her, I found a place. I signed a lease and gave my notice. What ensued was a stressful battle that pitted me against Sara and her father/my landlord. They made erroneous claims and didn't have a legal leg to stand on. Anyway, I moved out in October and never looked back. Probably needless to say: Sara and I are no longer friends and haven't spoken since. My new place is adorable, in a great neighborhood, and most importantly, ALL MINE.
Another newsworthy item for 2009's reflection is my job situation. I learned in the fall that
1. funding for my program was being terminated at the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2010) and
2. the Special Events Coordinator position was opening up immediately.
After interviewing for the Events position, I agreed to an arrangement between my department and Development for me to continue teaching, but also train for the Events position, so that I may take over on July 1, 2010.
The mess that resulted is still being worked out, and I imagine that the solution will be to forget about the arrangement entirely. That would be ideal for me, as I'm just fed up with the agency and want to move on anyway-- as long as I get another job offer by July 1.
However, whatever I do will be temporary because (and here's the final news item of 2009): I have decided to go back to school to earn a Masters and a PhD in Communications!!! The end of 2009 was all about my searching for a new job as well as a graduate program that will suit me (both searches have continued into 2010). Because my revelation came late in the year, I will not be able to start until Fall 2011. But that's certainly something to look forward to.
So 2009 was turbulent, in good ways and bad, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I learned more about myself in 2009 than in 2008, and I'm pretty sure that's the whole point of growing up.