Thursday, December 29, 2011

a year in review, 2011

I absolutely love the New Year. I love the opportunity to make a cognitive break and compartmentalize the last twelve months into their own little box and open up a new empty box for the next twelve months. I love making new year resolutions; I always have improvements in mind but I usually need something to push me into doing them. The first three months of each year are consequently some of my happiest and most productive.  I also like the opportunity to look back and take stock of how I've been living my life. This year I'm not too pleased with myself. I had so many great experiences, but something kept me from feeling happy for most of it, and I'm pretty sure that was my negative attitude.

Last New Year's Eve I was in Munich with my best friend. I was sick and we were exhausted from our Germany Christmas so we decided not to go out. We had spent most of the day in Salzburg Austria, where Mozart was born, and by the time we got back we couldn't even imagine trying to find something to do for New Year's. Fortunately our hostel had a pretty fantastic view of the city, and I have never seen so many fireworks in my entire life. As soon as midnight approached they started going off everywhere and didn't stop for a half an hour. It seems that every family in Munich had they own little firework show. So we sat there and ate fancy chocolate and watched the fireworks. It was a lovely way to start the new year.
Christmas and New Year's in Germany

I went back to London and had some productive few months. I spent nearly every day in the British Library, I went on long walks throughout the city, and I ate very well. But I complained all of the time, and there's proof of it on twitter and Facebook. In January I got the worst grade of my life on a paper. It was barely passing and it destroyed me a little inside. I didn't start the year off right in regards to my attitude and it just went downhill from there. I was lonely and put no effort into making friends. I let myself feel gloomy all of the time and I had a couple of little emotional breakdowns before the end of February. But the month ended on a high note when I did well on a major presentation.
My second home, the British Library
March was the best. I went to the most amazing concert and I met the band and some other really awesome people who I hung out with. I visited my good friend in Oxford and then I got ready to come back to the US for the month of April.
Me and Mary in Oxford
 I was really happy in April. I found out about the fellowship awarded by University of Louisville, which actually freaked me out a little, and then things got a little rough again when I went back to London at the end of the month. But May turned out ok; I saw my favorite band again and I got to hang out with them after the show, which is probably one of the highlights of my life. I went to Scotland to present a paper, and the conference went well while the actual trip was pretty horrible. I have never ever stayed in a hostel so disgusting in my whole life, and it was cold and miserable. But I made up for it when I went back to Edinburgh with Brittany in July.
Me looking serious in a cemetery in Edinburgh
I think June and July were my favorite months. I went to Manchester to visit a good friend and I met Judy Chicago and had a fantastic weekend in the city. London was beautiful and I took weekend trips to Canterbury and the coast. I did lots of research at the British Library and I had some great spiritual experiences. June was fantastic, and then Brittany came out in July and we had a huge road trip which was just the most amazing thing I've ever done. We got to see some incredibly beautiful things all over the UK. I was so lucky I could do it. I feel bad about not really blogging about that trip, so I think I should do that sometime soon.
Brittany hiking in Scotland
I got back to the US on 15 July and then moved to Louisville on 15 August and had the most difficult two weeks of my entire life as I found a place to live, started school, injured my foot and couldn't get around, tried to make new friends, tried to be involved in church. I was thrown from lovely London to a train yard in a hot and humid little city I've never seen before. My attitude took a huge dip there, and that is what I need to recover from now.

Adjusting to Louisville was far more painful than I thought it would be. It was much more difficult than adjusting to London, funny enough. But I've learned some lessons. In London I could do everything on my own and I could spend days without seeing or talking to anyone. In Louisville I can't do anything or go anywhere without finding a ride from someone. I needed a place to crash before I found an apartment, I needed help when I hurt my foot, I even needed help with my Halloween costume. And there has always been someone there to help me out. I went from doing everything for myself to often feeling helpless and frustrated, and instead of being grateful for the people who there to help me, I just got bitter about the fact that I needed the help.  But that is ridiculous, and I began to see how lucky I was in November to have people around me who care about me and are there for me.

Me (dressed as an Ionic column) and Brandon (as James Joyce) on Halloween
My number one resolution for 2012 is to stop hating everything so much. Looking over this year I can see how my negative attitude has made things more difficult for me, and I see where my positive reactions have helped not only me but the people in my life. I've had the chance to share a lot of my personal philosophies with new friends, and I know that I generally am a positive person and that those ideas have been helpful for them. I need to live my own philosophy more.

I have allowed myself to settle into a dark little crushing box of negative thoughts that I feel like I can't escape. But why? What more reinforcement, support, praise, love do I need? The last few months have been filled with some painful soul searching, and for a moment I thought I had completely changed, that I wasn't me anymore, and I didn't like who I was becoming.  But the other night I spent a few hours with a couple of really close friends, people who have known me for years, and after that evening I felt like me again, like the me that they like and that I like. I was myself and myself was not bad.

So what will 2012 bring? What experiences? What adventures? What new friends? I already have a few plans: three conferences in one month and an article to publish. It will be a good year. Probably not as eventful as this last year, or even as eventful as 2010 (remember New York and London?) but it will be good. Hopefully I won't let the little things get to me, and hopefully I'll remember to be happy.


  1. I'm glad I met you in 2011! :-) My year in London sounds a bit similar to yours. Some real low-points, but highlighted by some good times as well. Great blog, Jasie! I sooo should've gone on that road trip with you! Wishing you an amazing 2012!

  2. Hey girl. I really, really miss you. Let's talk sometime maybe please?? I would LOVE to be part of your 2012. Love it.