Calendar years are arbitrary. But they give us a way to mark our days and reflect. It’s uncommon for a year that lacks major milestones to be significantly transformative. Usually it’s just another year.
I did not get married or meet my love this year. I did not have a permanent change of station (military move) although I did make a short move on-island. I did not have a child or even gain a new pet. Yet despite the lack of milestones, 2015 has been one of the most difficult and rewarding years of my life.
I’ve had seven jobs in the last 12 months. That must be a record. In the past I’ve topped out at 2 jobs, and that was mostly from working a steady job and teaching SAT classes on the side. This year I wrote for the Humane Society while also working at the publications department at an engineering firm. Then I took some time off before landing yoga classes teaching at two different facilities. After that I transitioned to teaching yoga, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking at a resort in Kaneohe. In October I took on a new violin student, who can now play three songs. I also started working at Honolulu Publishing as the editor for Spotlight on Hawaii and Waikiki Menus.
So, in essence, I was paid to manage people, teach yoga, entertain tourists, teach violin, write and edit. Phew. I’m a gal with lots of interests, to say the least. Thankfully, I’ve also had the support of my amazing husband to pursue different avenues.
It’s been a treat. In June I did an intensive yoga teacher training. It was 3 weeks of 10 hour days. “Intensive” was an understatement. I had wanted to do a yoga teacher training for years though, and this training not only led me to meeting some amazing individuals, it also helped me to connect to myself and heal. Because by June, I needed healing.
In March, an old friend from Monterey committed suicide. I’m still heartbroken. She and I had lost contact in recent years, and that was my fault. That sort of thing happens sometimes, but I still absolutely loved her.
As soon as I heard of her passing, I booked a flight to California in hopes of attending some sort of memorial, and an add-on trip to New York to see my best friend. The memorial ended up happening after I was in town, but it was good to go back and see friends and family. The trip helped me to feel a little better.
Less than a month after that trip I was back in California to attend the memorial of another friend who had also taken his own life. He was close with my first friend to pass. It was terrible. I had anxiety about attending his memorial, because I’d mostly let that group of friends go. I assumed my presence wouldn’t be welcomed, but it was. Remembering those friends and that time in my life was painful but necessary.
My one hope is that both old friends have found some peace. I know their families always will feel their absence.
The coupling of those losses left me, and many others, reeling. Thank God I was able to take 3 weeks to myself in yoga training a month later. In all honesty, it was the thing that helped me get through.
Teacher training ended with June and in July I submitted my first article to the Huffington Post. It was about my firm belief that a couple’s fertility issues and decisions are private. Not only was my article accepted, HuffPost posted it to their main Facebook page with 5 million followers. The article was shared thousands of times, and had nearly 30,000 “likes” on Facebook. It was later translated to German, and also posted to an Australian online publication.
Prior to this article, I had only been published in local publications with a small circulation. This was my first publication in a national platform, and I’m still in awe of the reaction and aplomb I received as a result.
Of course there were also people on the Internet who told me to stop whining, but I’ve learned that people on the Internet can be jerks, and I’m developing thicker skin.
Since that first article, I’ve published several more pieces with Huffington Post, and with elephant journal. Building my writing portfolio is what led to my hiring at Honolulu Publishing as the Editor for Spotlight on Hawaii and Waikiki Menus.
I write and edit for these magazines. They may be free for tourists, but they’re mine creatively. That feels good. I love knowing that I live and work in Hawaii, working as a paid writer. I thought getting actually paid for writing was a myth or reserved solely for the Stephen Kings of the world. But I’m doing it. I can’t say how good that feels.
As the year draws to a close I’m thankful. I really have been lucky. I joke that I’m full of luck- both good and bad. I never do things in half measures. I’d say this year has proven that. I’d like to hope the luck will hold through 2016, but I won’t push it. I also know that I’m starting to make my own luck through working towards goals I never honestly thought I’d achieve.
2015 has come and now gone, and while it may have been an arbitrary mark of time, looking back shows me just how much one year can change a person.