This year, I am writing my look back on 2015 from a sleeper car of the California Zephyr, looking out over the majestic Colorado River as we wind through Ruby Canyon on the way to San Francisco. I’m also eating dark chocolate with potato chips in it and generally living My Best Life.
That has been a theme this year.
Unlike 2014, which was a pretty rough ride at times, 2015 just kept giving and giving. The year began with the email that—with only slight hyperbole—changed my life: Eire again?
It pays to stay in touch with your professors.
And so I went to Ireland in March (read all about it here and here and here and here and here and here). While there, away from all the pressures and cares of St. Louis and free to start dreaming, dreaming, dreaming, dreaming, dreaming, I started to plot a new course for my life. It certainly didn’t hurt that I was surrounded by the most inspiring and uplifting group of mentors one could possibly ask for.
Proust may have said that “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes,” but new landscapes certainly don’t hurt.
Once back in the US, I started to put my plans into action.
In May, I gave my two weeks notice at the software company I had been working for the past three years, ever since I graduated from college in 2012. I couldn’t have asked for a better first job, but I was very excited to move on to a new career in education. I started at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (yup, I’m back at Washington University) as a museum educator at the end of May, and I absolutely love it. I think I always knew I wouldn’t last long away from academia.
So what else happened in 2015?
2015 was the year I turned 25.
It was the year I became moderately proficient at rock climbing.
I rang in the New Year in Los Angeles and tried In-N-Out for the first time (animal style, naturally).
In fact, 2015 was a year full of firsts. My first pet died (RIP Fish!). My first close friend got married. I got my first flat tire. I finally saw a performance of The Pillowman and actually caught a Decemberists concert. I played golf for the first time (and probably the last).
Embracing the new came with letting go of the old. 2015 was the year I said goodbye to a four-year relationship that just wasn’t working anymore. It was also the year I said goodbye to Portland, Maine, the closest thing to a hometown I have.
I taught my first college class. My name appeared as a byline (in print!).
I took trains and planes and automobiles as I traveled to Ireland and Chicago and Columbia (MO) and Kansas City and San Francisco and my parents’ new home in Grand Junction, Colorado.
I kept knitting, and started sewing (again). I took every opportunity to dress in costume, and I made a badass piñata to boot.
I went to museums and plays and concerts and spent a day being a tourist in my own city.
I gave up and starting drinking coffee on a somewhat regular basis (although don’t worry, I still prefer tea).
I tried to spend more time outside, and sometimes succeeded.
I celebrated Thanksgiving in a different city than my parents.
And although I made a valiant effort, I barely put a dent in my list of books to read (in fact, I think it’s longer now than it was a year ago).
2015 was the year I turned 25.
I’m looking forward to seeing what 2(01)6 will bring.
*The title is borrowed from a quotation by American Beat poet Tuli Kupferberg that Goodreads emailed to me one morning. While fruitlessly Googling to find the original source, I discovered that Kupferberg was also a member of the Fugs, the rock band responsible for the masterpiece “Boobs a Lot,” which provided much entertainment to my friends and I in high school. And so the world turns.