A Year in Review (Part I)

Instead of doing a sappy year in review on Facebook, I’m letting everyone read what really happened last year because a lot can happen in a year and it’s too much for one Facebook post. Unlike the all the year in reviews I’ve seen on Facebook, mine doesn’t have a clear future. Most people are getting married, starting a family, starting school, or starting a new job. I don’t know why people even do these! Is it to brag? Be a part of the trend? Doing what Facebook told you to do?

I know why I’m doing it. I want to remember 2019, not let it pass by. And I want to be honest about every moment, even the bad ones. I have no fucking clue what 2020 will bring me and that’s okay. Because life is not suppose to be predictable, if it was we’d be bored out of our minds. So here is my honest year in review.

The Very Last

How do you measure the value of a year? Was it overall good or bad? For me it was a typical year of ups and downs. It started with my last semester of graduate school. I was excited to finally take a class on something fun but that feeling was match with a sense of uneasiness. After turning in every assignment and paper, all I could think of was “this is probably the last assignment or paper I’ll ever turn in” and “I wonder where I will be this time next year.” The worse thought of them all was “is this the best I can do?” I’m not sure how common it is for graduates in their last semester of school to have absolutely no clue what their future holds, even a future only six months away.

Those feelings were worse at my jobs. I had been a graduate assistant at an archive for four years and started a new public library gig. Every moment was a potential last moment that I had to treasure. How could I just leave them? They were practically family to me, they taught me lessons that would have taken me years in a career to realize. As much as I didn’t want to leave the two places that felt like home, I knew there was no choice.

I was graduating and I had to graduate. I cannot be a student my whole life, which I had been my whole life up until now. I had to move on and start a new chapter of careering.

Graduation Day

I remember my graduation day well because none of it felt real. I haven’t experienced that feeling before, where everything feels like you are treading through water. On the outside, I was my usual self, friendly, cheery, and overall happy. But inside I was somewhere else, I wanted to be somewhere else. Looking back, I don’t think I was ready to let go of my graduate life. I wasn’t ready for the great unknown because it truly was unknown.

It was also strange seeing my family together, outside of a funeral or wedding, to attend my graduation ceremony. My parents and their spouses together for the first time, my brother, and my aunt and uncle, they were all there for me. Along with the treading water feeling, I felt incredibly guilty. Did I work hard enough to have my family here? How could they be proud of me when I wasn’t proud of myself? It didn’t help that the ceremony was boring and we all left after I walked the stage.

I had walked for my Associates and my Bachelors years before and never had that feeling. I was proud of myself and unafraid of the unknown. Why did this graduation feel different?

I think it was different this time because I did not have the same safety nets as before. When I got my Associates, I lived with my mom for a while and worked with friends. And when I got my Bachelors, I had a job lined up and lived with friends. This time all I had was the knowledge of moving to Long Island with no job, no place to live, and no friends.

The Big Move

To cover for the great anxiety I felt during graduation and the feeling of loss as I left my jobs, I was excited to move to Long Island. I always loved an adventure, especially an unknown one. My partner and I scrambled to find a place to live close to his new position in Long Island. At the same time, I applied to dozens of jobs (now in the hundreds).

I was able to land a part time job at an academic library and we were able to rent a house, all in the span of a few weeks. It was the fastest summer we had in New York. And it was also the hardest summer in New York. Not only were we leaving the first place that felt like home, we also didn’t get to say goodbye. We were so consumed with packing, wrapping up projects, and moving, that we missed saying goodbye to friends and the places we loved.

On the Island

Once we moved the cats into the house, we were settled. My partner and I started our jobs and hence the new life chapter starts. We had so many plans to explore the area and go to the City (NYC) all the time. What we did not plan for was loneliness and isolation. The thing about Long Island is, it’s a pain in the ass to leave. You have to take three bridges just to get on the Island and they cost money and time. After we moved and transitioned into our jobs, we didn’t have money or time to spend our usual summers exploring the local sites.

Our schedules didn’t match either. I worked at night while he worked during the day. To kill time, and save his car on gas, I would drive him to and from work just to spend some form of quality time with each other. While he was gone, I would be home alone. And like most evening jobs, I worked alone. At first, I enjoyed the alone time. I haven’t had a second to myself since I started graduate school four years earlier. But that feeling quickly faded. For the first time in a long time, I felt incredibly lonely.
Part II will come next Wednesday.

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