What a year! When I briefly look back on this year, my gut wrenches a bit and I think to myself It’s not funny now but I’ll drink about it later.
Alright, so my low tolerance/ keenness for alcohol not to mention my trademark Ashkenazi intestinal problems will luckily most likely prevent me from using booze to cope with my problems. And in reality, it wasn’t all bad. Lots of cool things happened this year too. Let’s delve in.
I don’t like it. In fact, I sort of hate it. And I think that the amount I hate it is amplified by how acutely aware I am of how far away it is from what I actually want to be doing. That said, there are so many reasons to appreciate it. I work part time, make enough to live off of and have plenty of time to write. I live in Spain, in a city I love (deep down somewhere I know I do, even though I haven’t felt that lately), and I have Europe at my fingertips. I can hop on a plane and be in another country in an hour, and that is amazing. I know that what I probably need is just an attitude adjustment. “A lot of people hate their jobs,” my mom reasons. But that’s not good enough for me and frankly, that’s supremely depressing. I realize I’m idealistic and sometimes even impetuous, but I want to do what I enjoy, what I’m good at and let’s face it, I’m a sucky teacher. The best teachers are teachers who actually enjoy teaching. I can barely stand it for five hours a day, four days a week.
My love life
…Is really none of your business! But I’ll talk about it anyway. My first serious relationship ended this year and while it was probably inevitable, it’s still very sad. Timing was a major factor (timing is everything), as was the distance (location, location, location). And before I give away too many details of my intimate relationships, I will just say one thing:
I’ve yet to experience the miracle of being on the same page as someone who is good and right for me, yet to conquer the seemingly impossible feat of knowing for sure that they are.
*Cue Haddaway’s “What is Love?”*
I’ve got a lot of other things to figure out before I concern myself with entering another relationship. It’s so far down on my list of priorities right now that I almost hate to acknowledge that real love exists (but DOES IT? I just heard that Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter broke up so I think not.) So perhaps being “on the same page” as someone else will not be a goal for 2015, but for another year TBD.
I don’t like to count countries. I find it annoying when people brag about how many countries they’ve been to because we all know there’s so much more to traveling than crossing countries off a list or pinning them on a map. But with my year going the way it went, I find myself wanting to take inventory of all the good things that happened this year, and that means quantifying my travels, stacking them up against the shitty apartments, my break up, my dissatisfying job and waving those used plane, train, and bus tickets around in the air and saying, “This is what I have to show for myself! This is what I took away from this year, among countless lessons learned about coexisting with other humans and dealing with things that simply suck.” So my humblebrag begins here: This calendar year has taken me from my family’s houses in Florida and Maryland back home to Madrid, Spain, then off to Huelva, Barcelona, Sevilla, Cadiz, Granada, Salamanca, Segovia, Toledo, Bilbao, and Valencia, Lisbon, Berlin, Prague, and Budapest, down to Santiago de Chile and the Atacama Desert, back to Madrid and on to Marseille, Aix en Provence, Munich, Nuremberg, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. Without making any extreme assertions about “topping” this in 2015, I hope I have as many opportunities to see and experience as much of the world next year as I had this year.
If this past year has accomplished one thing, it’s reaffirmed my desire to keep traveling and living abroad and to write. My goal for my second year in Spain was to get something published–to get paid for something I wrote and to have it confirmed by an objective third party that what I’m doing is worth something. Within 1 month of being back in Spain and actually setting out to reach that first, small goal, I got something published. And then something else and then another thing and then they were all copied and spread around the Internet (at least the Chilean internet), and now I’m struggling to find the next step because that wasn’t enough.
Moving forward, I don’t want to teach anymore. I want to find a way to write for a living, or to get back to working in the music industry (and continue writing on the side) which I also loved. I want to continue living abroad, but don’t feel tied to Spain anymore. We’ve had a lot of problems and I feel like a little space would do our relationship some good. I want to get back to a place of feeling like I am who I want to be and I’m doing what I set out to do, because even though my address is Madrid, Spain and I’m leaving for Poland in the morning, I feel pretty far away from my goals. I need a next step. Something NEXT LEVEL, and I’m open to advice and suggestions.
My shitty situations
I got called a disgusting foreigner and was hated for no reason at all. I was threatened, extorted, and taken advantage of. I was heartbroken. I’m confused and lost as all hell and don’t know what to do next.
My bright sides
A few of my dear cousins got married to the loves of their lives. I got to spend time with my family—my parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, Grandma Lora, and most of my cousins (but sadly not all! I missed a wedding :-/), and my dog. I got to live abroad and travel and got paid to write. I had a boyfriend give up a lot to come be with me in Spain for a while, and then I got to visit him in Chile. I moved into a nice apartment with friends in my favorite city in the world. One of my best friends moved to Madrid. The world still contains puppies and cookies. I can do whatever I want because I’m free and don’t have kids or a mortgage or a car or debt and I can go bum around my parents’ house in sunny Florida while I figure it out if that is what I choose. I have a choice.
I can already tell that 2015 will be rife with some things I don’t like—like decision-making, for instance. But I hope I will make this a year in which I figure out how to do PRECISELY what I want. The precisely part is very important, because I feel like I’m already hovering around it, not yet sure how to zero in.
So my 2014 in conclusion: Not the best but, overall, not too shabby.
Now just give me a second to take my omeprazole and then LET’S GET DRUNK!!!