Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Airing Out 2010

I want to sit down and churn something out about 2010. I want you to read it and be astonished at what you’ve read, be in dismay about the year I had because maybe it was boring, but I made it sound like so much more than that.

2010 was anything but boring, but I don’t know if I can convey that anymore. As it did like the year before, 2010 started off with a trip to Florida, but through January, February, the birth of my nephew, and a conference championship my mind was with my MFA applications to ten schools. I had labored over them for almost a year and I felt like I applied to the entire spectrum of writing programs out there. Starting in late February, or was it early March, the rejections started to trickle in. First, was Wyoming. Then I can’t remember who came next. But I do remember there were nine more and the agony of going to the mailbox every day was sustained until the last letter arrived in April. I took it—the last letter—up to the apartment with me. The blinds were drawn. It was dark. I lied on the couch. I didn’t weep. I didn’t tear up. I yelled. I fucking yelled.

March is a blur. I had the whole month off. I don’t even know what I did. I wrote about the rejections. I did an annual spiel on the Oscars, self-published of course. There was a power outage and I wrote about, writing, what I believe to be, some of my best words in 2010. On the way to work one day I pulled over and threw the key to the Longmont house into Lake Michigan, cursing it in the air and hoping some feelings would sink to the bottom of the lake with it. And then Kate and I went to Wyoming and Colorado. It was cold and snowy and being in Laramie was tough knowing I wouldn’t be going to school there in the fall.

I wandered aimlessly through April, wallowing in failure (a little like I am now, but hey, that was a huge chunk of 2010). I not only coached practices, I did practices. I threw myself into them, destroying my body and finding out that I can still be fast in the pool. When I do my best in sports I tap a vein of aggression and I get lost in it. I had plenty of fuel.

The venting continued in May, one of the most stressful times of my 20s. We had made our plans for the next two years and they were denied from us. In the middle of it all we went to Mexico to escape it. We were successful in that, but the stress was waiting for us the day we got back. What next? What now? Then I went to Colorado and spent a few nights with good friends looking for our new home. Then, a wedding in May for two people in love. But it was tough and weird at times, stages of the healing process. Getting everyone together again felt right and wrong, stages of the aging and living process. Instead of a strong bond among all of us I was acutely aware of an aging history held together with feeble attempts to reestablish community. Honestly, I thought the shit was going to hit the fan this week. It didn’t so much. Some things went better than expected and for the other things, well, words went unsaid and feelings unshared, traits once rare among this group.

Like Milwaukee knew we were leaving, it threw us thunderstorm after thunderstorm in June, ephemeral, but breathtaking and humbling exhibitions of power. I searched everyday for jobs. I didn’t land one and started to doubt the wisdom in moving back to Colorado. My Mom visited us one last time in Milwaukee. Kate and I started watching Lost this month on Hulu and we never looked back. Concerning movies and TV, Lost was easily the highlight of 2010 for us. It was outstanding and our devotion to it was respectable.

July started with another vacation. This time we were off to California to see friends married, to see family, and to breath in some salty air. And then we were back in the Midwest for a few more weeks of packing and thunderstorms, one of them giving us seven inches of rain in three hours. Imagine if California got that? In our final days in Milwaukee we shed tears, took a lot of pictures of our apartment, and welcomed my Dad to Wisconsin so that he would help us move to Colorado.

I blogged twice in August. We settled into our new home, not the home we thought we would be settling into, but we thank God every day it wasn’t. We drove up our first fourteener. We went to Wyoming. The West opened its arms for us and we basked in its warm, dry, sunny climate. The proximity of friends and family helped ease the joblessness on my part. And after working for a week, Kate was offered a full-time job.

I wrote a love letter to Milwaukee in September. I witnessed Boise St. give Wyoming an ass-kicking. We finished Lost, with a blitz of 3 episodes, plus a two-hour finale, in one day. And then I got a job and we started P90X.

October: I worked some. Spent some time catching up with friends in Colorado. We had visitors. Colorado proved to be as beautiful as ever. Life went on.

A lot of people voted Republican in November. I didn’t. Are you kidding me? We spent our first Thanksgiving as a married couple with my parents and grandparents. Kate worked through the holiday and it didn’t seem relaxing for her at times, but my busy holiday schedule started at 4:30 the morning after Thanksgiving. November was warm.

In December I’ll tell you now, publicly, that I celebrated a private accomplishment. The month flew by with busy work schedules and the time to relax and celebrate our Creator was upon us in a matter of hours. We had a new camera to document it and the years ahead. The wounds sustained earlier in the year have partially healed, yet I still sometimes find in me a crushing doubt, chanting, “Failure, failure,” at me every time my hands rest on this keyboard. In the waning days of 2010, Kate’s family joined us as we welcomed 2011 into our lives, a year that can’t possibly contain in its 365 days what I want it to contain, but I will greet its every sunrise and toast its every sunset in search of it.

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