2018 was a veritable crapshoot of a year. From tooth extractions to head injuries to funerals and changing jobs, it’s not really a year I’m looking to repeat. 2019, I’ve decided, is going to be my year.
It’s been three months since I’ve written anything. Sometimes the thought of sharing my life with the world feels a hollow and soul-sucking act. I don’t always want the intimacies of my life to be sprawled out on a page, presented before the world like a poorly-formed art installation. Sometimes I just want to live through it privately, quietly. And so I have.
2019 has brought some changes, and good ones thus far. Right around Christmas I moved, and slowly over the next month my house transformed from an empty shell to a warm and homey place. Without my friend Carissa I’d probably look like a homeless squatter in an empty house, but her design skills and a lot of donations from work have turned my place into a lovely little oasis in the city. My fish, Alfonso, and I are finally livin’ solo. I got him a plant and he sleeps in a measuring spoon cave and we’re really living our best lives.
I like living alone. I lived on my own in Thailand, but I didn’t really have any stuff. I rented a furnished apartment and didn’t have the resources to decorate it to my tastes. It was really just a place to sleep. My first 15 months in San Diego were spent in a shared house, which was great at first, but eventually I found myself longing for a place to call my own–a quiet spot that was just mine. Now, I come home to a place that feels like me. My book collection, now much smaller than it was before years of travel whittled it down, has a place on my living room shelves. My handcraft supplies have their own little nooks, carefully organized and easily accessible. Even my piano and cello have their own spots in my home, though I don’t play them nearly as often as I should. And yes, my home is similar to both that of a teenage girl and an 80 year old woman. But that’s always been my aesthetic, hasn’t it?
I passed my 6 month mark at work at the start of the year, and with that came a raise and increased responsibilities. After a decade of working odd jobs all over the globe, it feels good to be in a position I enjoy with a clear potential path upward in the company. It helps that I love my coworkers and work in a super supportive environment. The contrast between that and my teaching job in Thailand is immense.
In an effort to expand my social group and my skill set, I signed up for a woodworking class. I’ve done some wood carving here and there but have never gotten very good at it, so I’m excited. And yes, I realize that my expanded social group will likely be old men who like woodworking, but that’s cool.
These days, the only hint that my brain was ever damaged is my occasional tendency to bungle words and forget the names of things. General forgetfulness encompasses my life, but no longer to a noticeable extent. I’ve become adept at keeping lists and setting reminders in order to avoid forgetting important things. My new normal is one that necessitates paying more attention, being careful, and trying to be gracious to myself when I inevitably forget things.
The traumas and losses of the past year have set my heart on edge. This life is a precarious one and so often it feels too much. But these days, my life is good. And I always come back to that. The love of family. Laughter with friends. And the unshakable beauty of the earth. And so I breathe, and the year of Caitlin begins. Here’s to a hopeful 2019.