Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Don't Know A Lot, But I've Learned A Little -- 2009 in Review

History has proven that life is full of on-going struggles. Great battles between mind and spirit take place daily. The movies during the holiday season are proof of this. I most recently saw Sherlock Holmes. Granted -- the story didn't have much of a plot but it kept you on a mental journey that goes as close to full-circle as it can.

As a child, most of my lessons were learned from Disney movies, the (original) Power Rangers, the Disney Channel, or books read in literature class. While I'm not sure whether or not they were the cause for my mental preparedness in life, I must give these muses much credit for helping me get to where I am today.

My life's greatest struggle to date was the year of 2009. Never before had there been such a lengthy time span that's sole purpose was to beat me to the ground the second I got back up again.

The first punch was a sucker punch. Circa 12 a.m., I do believe I may have been drinking the night before. I had finished writing a speech I had wanted to give for over three years for one of my sorority's functions. Then I got a call telling me my dog was dead. Tears of sorrow ensued. Gasps for air followed. The life was being sucked out of me.

This isn't to say Coco was my "best friend" -- but she came pretty damn close. There were times when I was growing up that I would sit atop the staircase leading to the second floor in our house. There's a huge skylight there and it makes for quite the echo, so I would sit there with her while playing guitar and singing songs. I'll never forget doing that. She always seemed so happy to just be sitting with me. It's as if I never had to say anything, she just knew what I was thinking.

Then there was the shot straight to my gut followed by a quick rip to my heart. It was around 6 p.m. when my Bubbe (may she too rest in peace) called. I was babysitting. She told me I'd need to call her right back as soon as I was finished. But I couldn't. I knew something was wrong. So -- for the first time in my ENTIRE life -- she yelled at me, telling me I needed to sit down and to also get out of my babysitting engagement for the night. My dad had passed away.

This was on January 17th, not even 12 months ago.

Today, however, is another occasion all on its own. 10 years ago tonight, my dad got the call that changed my family's life forever.

If my memory is correct, I was rocking out to a VHS recorded version of 'N SYNC's visit to the Rosie show earlier that day. My cousin Hannah and sister Hilary were upstairs doing something. My parents were sitting around, watching TV I assume. And then the flood of frenzied hysterics. He got the call, he tried leaving, I was a bawling mess. All I can still remember is bawling my eyes out and then racing to our basement fax machine to use the phone line. I called three people: 1 - my ex-boyfriend/close friend at the time Luke, my best friend Lily, and my other close friend Keegan (may she too rest in peace). I'm no longer close with any of those people but there role in my life that night will never be forgotten.

The rest of that night feels like a blur. I was so convinced that Y2K was going to become a reality that the thought of my dad having a heart transplant on New Years Eve 1999 felt like a joke.

It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed. An entire decade is now history. I was standing by the bus stop on my way home from work last night when I realized, "I am 22. I am a woman. And -- between the years of 1999 and now, I grew up."

The past 10 years have been the some of the most memorable of my entire life. I will never forget them. They are the years in which I graduated 8th grade, record 2 CDs of original music, walked the warning track at Fenway Park, sat in the Cubs dugout at Wrigley Field, played lead trumpet in jazz band, studied at one of the most world-renowned music camps, studied songwriting with John Mayer's old professors at Berklee, saw every tour 'N SYNC ever did, met Good Charlotte three times, saw Christina Aguilera live, experienced what it was like to be at a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Concert, got into my first choice college (and 10 others), pledged a sorority, traveled to three countries, lettered in a varsity high school sport, boycotted watching the White Sox in the 2005 world series, went to all four parks at Disney World in one day, learned to drive/got into a car accident, saw the Cubs at Spring Training, became buddies with George Clooney's dad, graduated college ON TIME and -- finally -- survived the biggest amount of any pain/suffering I've ever had to endure.

So as this decade and year come to a close, I ask you to take a moment for yourself. Sit there. Pause whatever it is you're doing. And think: how have I changed in the past decade? Who was there for it? Who's still here? Then ... I beg you savor all of the bad and realize that without it, the good wouldn't have felt nearly as good.

I don't know much, but I know this -- If I can survive this year, then anyone can survive anything.

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