Y’all, let’s be serious. I did not love 2013. The first half of the year was really hard. You may have noticed that there wasn’t a lot of blogging, and that was largely because there was a lot of feeling sad and lonely and overwhelmed. Even though things are a lot better for me now, I still feel a little bit bruised from those days. No, I won’t be remembering 2013 as a banner year, at least not for now.
But as I reflect on the past year (as I seem increasingly prone to do around New Year), I remember that in spite of how very hard it was, 2013 had some truly, spectacularly wonderful moments. I had dinner with Salman Rushdie. I met Seamus Heaney and got to hear him read. I was fairly certain that getting meeting my favorite poet was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and since Heaney passed away this fall, I was right.
My parents visited me at spring break and I got to explore some of Atlanta with them (finally). Aside from just having them around, highlights from their visit were the aquarium (WHALE SHARKS) and the Botanical Garden (probably my favorite place I’ve been to in Atlanta). Mom and Gail (her best friend and my second mom) came for a short visit at the end of April, leaving me with a clean house, enough food in my fridge for a couple of weeks, and lots of love.
I took a few classes that I loved, most notably a class on Foucault this fall. It was an incredibly intellectually productive course of study for me, and I’m telling you now that if you haven’t spent a 15+ hour drive intermittently considering the real-life implications of biopower on ALL OF THE THINGS, you haven’t lived. Or, more likely, you’re just a lot less nerdy than I am. I keep waiting for side-effects of intensive Foucault study to wear off, but they haven’t yet. On the bright side, I’ve gone at least a few weeks now without interjecting, “You know, Foucault says _______” into at least one conversation each day. I mean, I’ve thought it a few times, but I haven’t said it out loud and that’s real improvement.
I also got a job in our library’s incredible special collections this year, and I’ve really loved it. I have enjoyed the people I work with and what I do there and I’ve really enjoyed getting familiar with the materials in our collections. I’ve also enjoyed my paychecks (no joke, y’all). But what I’ve loved most, I think, is having something non-studenty to do that’s still related to my profession and my academic intersts. It’s been good for me.
In the summer I got to go back to Boston for a short trip (too short, really). I had always planned on going back for a visit, but my friend Kate’s wedding provided the occasion. And what a wedding! It was beautiful and intimate, with a really wonderful wedding sermon and the best reception food I’ve ever had! I even danced with the bride, and yes, this is photographic evidence that I’m a totally awkward dancer (and that I was having loads of fun). This trip also featured a sunset harbor cruise (Kate’s bachelorette party), a lot of walking around Boston and food at my favorite restaurants, a perfect evening in the North End with the Lollars and the Gibsons, and church at Brookline. And Katie and Jeremiah were such gracious hosts that they picked me up from the airport twice–once when I arrived five hours later than scheduled (thanks Delta), and again when I the check-in time for my flight by 5 measly minutes and had to stay an extra night. But that wasn’t so bad, because we played a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit, which I almost won.
Definitely the most fun I had in 2013 was going to DragonCon with Grace. We had a blast going to panels, seeing people from some of our favorite sci-fi/fantasy tv show stars, going to academic panels, and–most of all–watching all of the cosplayers. You wouldn’t believe some of the awesome costumes we saw. It was like these people had walked off a movie set. We loved how uninhibited they were. Age and body type didn’t stop people from having a great time as whatever character they liked. And everybody was have a great time. Now, you probably think of The Big Bang Theory when you imagine who goes to a Con like this. And yeah, there are folks like that. But you know who else is there? Your grandparents, your accountant, your yoga instructor, your high school math teacher, your college English professor (ahem), your 12-year-old niece. All kinds of people go to DragonCon. I’m glad that this year, I was one of them.
But the best thing that happened this year was Grace coming to Atlanta. We’ve had such a good time together and it’s been such a blessing to have her here. Gone are the days of feeling lonely and sad. Now have come the days of sword fights with rakes in the backyard, discussions about Foucault and composition theory and God, tandem geek-outs over all the same things we like. Even watching tv is more fun with Grace–partially because she makes great sounds of surprise when something shocking happens. Having her here as made a huge difference in my life in Atlanta.
There was a lot of good in 2013, even if the hard times have tended to cast a long shadow on the year for me. And I’m planning on 2014 being better–more smiles, more laughter, more fun. Here’s to 2014. May you be blessed in the new year.