2015 was a big deal for me. This was one of the most eventful and exciting years in my whole entire life; I felt joy like I’ve never felt before. I also felt melancholy in ways I’ve never felt before. With a broader threshold for happiness comes a deeper potential for more contemplative, often painful emotions, and that’s been a particularly interesting life lesson this past year. Yeah.
I fulfilled my long-held dream of traveling, and happened to open up a huge, disorganized pile of future hopes and aspirations in the process. I spent a couple hours in Iceland, walked miles and miles and miles in London, and fell hopelessly and blissfully in love with England’s countryside. I spent a few nights in the Netherlands, scaled a Scottish mountain, and bought a traditional love spoon in Wales. I explored ancient passages in ruined castles, abbeys, and Roman forts. I spent enough time in Paris’s catacombs to become suitably freaked out. I took over 3000 pictures in four months. I ate some really fantastic, life-changing foods. I grew to love custard creams and giant plates of fish and chips. I learned the necessity of reading good poetry and appreciating fantastic art on display on every corner.
I turned twenty in London, and began to feel the nuanced emotions of adulthood a little less accessible during the somewhat-self-absorbed teenage years, and it was pretty weird. Empathy means something to me now. I feel like more responsible and caring. I’m careful-er with my words. This occasionally makes life a little more difficult, but that’s what growing’s all about, right?
I came home and sulked for a month, and watched a lot of Mad Men.
As jet lag slowly evaporated into American oblivion, so did my reverse culture shock anxiety. America would be okay, at least for the next few years. I was where I belonged.
I moved into a new apartment, and attended a new singles’ ward between weekends visiting friends and family. I worked all summer long, feeding obnoxious teenagers and saving money for nothing in particular. I celebrated the fourth of July and it made me squirm a little. The post-study-abroad “where do my loyalties lie?????” struggle is all too real.
Classes started in September, and I read more British poetry and wrote more British essays while accruing more student loan debt. I finally declared an English major and creative writing minor, and accidentally wrote a Mormon fringe piece. I kind of learned how to write literary criticism and almost learned how to enjoy it. I took a choral conducting class and now I can’t watch anyone conduct without going into arrogant-snob mode. It’s pretty much a constant party.
I got really angry a couple times. Often, when the world doesn’t go in the direction I want it to, I lose all coping skills and freak out a little. I’m a highly opinionated person, and it gets me into trouble sometimes. Alas, I’m still as stubborn as ever, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Addressing that character trait isn’t a battle I’m ready to fight. Here’s to avoiding change FOREVER.
And I’m sure you ALL want to hear about my relationship status. This year I went on two all right dates, a mediocre one, and a pretty terrible one. I’m trying my best, but I’ve found it difficult to be attracted to 20-25 year old LDS men from OKcupid, and I think they’re having the same problem with me. “Socialize!” you might say, “Date someone from real life! They’re not nearly as ridiculous!” I tell myself over and over again. Unfortunately my socialize-with-everyone skills are lacking, and between working with 80% women and studying a subject with similar eligible-male representation, I’m pretty screwed – but only figuratively, of course. Regardless of the disaster that is dating in Provo’s short-on-men environment overrun with spicy, charismatic women as a not-spicy, emotionally-guarded girl shaped like a Swedish grandmother, I’m all right. I’m young. I have goals in life that don’t include a man. Everyone I know is getting married, but THAT’S OKAY. Right, ladies? NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, PROBABLY.
In other news, I started reading the New York Times. I got tired of reading poorly-written, sensationalized Buzzfeed articles and decided to read the internet like a stuffy adult. As a non-subscriber I’m only allowed to read 10 free articles a week, but somehow I go way over that all the time and I’ve never been punished in any way, so there’s that.
I registered for a scuba diving class, because why not? Maybe I’ll discover a new passion. Experimentation in college is important, and since I don’t drink or do drugs or sleep around, scuba seemed like the next best option.
I’ve been keeping up on politics, too. The entirety of the 2016 election absolutely terrifies me, but I’ve finally realized that even in a democracy, I have almost zero control over practically everything that happens in my country. Nice.
I sort of learned how to french a rack of lamb AND what duxelle is (also that it’s not spelled duck cell). I watched some Great British Bake-off and spent hours and hours doing cooking-related things which isn’t anything new, but it certainly took up a lot of 2015.
I read some books, and watched some movies. I also bought some clothes (CAN YOU TELL HOW EXCITING MY LIFE IS RIGHT NOW???). The other day I got a new punch in my PNW-Hippy card by purchasing my first Eddie Bauer flannel, which for some reason fits really well even though it’s made for a man and I am definitely not a man. This confuses me (and entertains me) to no end.
Beyond the Seattleite rites of passage, the past three weeks have been productive. I took finals, which all went relatively well. After coming home (which was a glorious moment – I’ve already vowed to never spend a consecutive 6 months in Utah ever, ever again) I went to the dentist, got a tiny cavity filled, got my hair cut, saw a primary care doctor for the first time since I was eleven, started on asthma medication I don’t have to steal from my asthmatic kid sister, renewed my driver’s license, resoled my Birkenstocks, and gained three pounds. I’d say it’s been a productive break.
As the New Year approaches, I’m feeling . . . a lot.
I feel gratitude because I’ve been so immensely blessed in the opportunities I’ve had this year. I’ve made so many new friends and have been able to reconnect with some old ones. The year, for the most part, has been marked by sweet memories sure to influence my life in countless ways. My family is doing well, and I got a new sister-in-law. I have a job, a school, an apartment, a car, and a well-padded bank account (mostly because I didn’t have enough free time last semester to spend money…). I have an occasionally-updated blog that people read sometimes, and that’s pretty cool.
I feel anxious and excited to start classes on Monday. That’s all I’m going to say about that, because I’m trying not to think about it too much.
I also feel really, really conflicted because I’m not headed for England at the end of this week like I was a year ago. Going back to the “new adult emotions” thing, I feel this weird happy/horrifically-depressed thing that I think is called “nostalgia,” but that doesn’t quite cover it. On one (highly-illogical) level, I am deeply, deeply upset that I won’t be strolling through Hyde park and eating biscuits whenever I want for the next four months. My reasonable side is telling me that I need to move on with my life and realize that I don’t actually get to return to England any time soon because I have priorities that don’t include spending all my money on plane tickets and hostels. It’s difficult, but I do have a lot to look forward to. I’m still trying to balance my missing England to the point of emotional dysfunction, with acknowledging that I should be happy and really pleased with the experience I had there. It’s both a joy and an ongoing struggle. For the time being, I’m frantically grasping at possible UK internship opportunities – and praying for a British husband – all while making the most out of my time at BYU. It’s not bad, actually. I think I will survive.
Thank you for my blog readers who have followed me through 2015 and all of its ups and downs. May you all have a wonderful New Year full of blessings and adventure!