Friday, January 01, 2010

Holy cow, it's 2010.

So, it's a whole new year.

I had a wonderful time last night. Hung out with the old crew (it was, after all No Pants New Year, season 8), stayed up until 5am, laughed, talked, remembered why I adore these people so much.

I thought a lot yesterday about the changing year. It's sort of arbitrary, like a birthday - nothing is really different about the day to day, but in a way, that's also not true. Because for whatever reasons, we associate these things culturally with new beginnings, taking stock, and moving forward.

2009? Wasn't all bad. It wasn't generally all that good, mind you. The last few weeks in particular were amazingly stressful. But some very wonderful things happened in 2009. Life keeps going; it's blissful, horrible, awesome and terrifying all at the same time. You can resist the flow if you like, but in the end you have no real choice but to keep moving with it.

I frequently can't believe I'm a third year resident. Partly in the sense of, whoa, where the hell did the last two and a half years go? But also, you'll remember that my entire first year I couldn't convince myself that they weren't going to turn around one day and fire me. I couldn't conceive of the possibility of being promoted to second year. And yet, time goes forward. I'm still employed. I'm halfway through my tenure at Baby Blue, exactly, and somehow two and a half years seems both like a heartbeat and an eternity. I love my job. I know psychiatry. I know what psychiatrists *do*. Three years ago, I couldn't have said any of these things.

And I'm continually amazed at the caliber of the people around me. I'm perpetually marveling at all the good people in my life, frankly, local or otherwise. I have wonderful people close to me - the family I've created in my life and the family created for me. I have amazing friends, colleagues, and people that touch my life everyday. I also have somehow acquired better skills for dealing with the toxic people or interactions that sometimes lurk in my life like depth charges (although, let's be honest, I still have a good deal of skill to obtain in that arena).

We were waxing nostalgic last night on how it's been a decade since the Y2K scare. None of us could believe it'd been 10 years. I was thinking, later, as I lay on my friends' couch in the dark, about what a decade it's been. Thinking about where we all were ten years ago, how much has changed in these years that have just flown the hell by...it makes me think I can't even imagine what we'll be talking about on the eve of 2020.

I've been thinking this week how my life at times feels almost unrecognizable from what it was 10, 15 years ago. One of my relatives posted an old picture of me on Facebook a while back; one of my friends came into my office the next day and was like, wow, I almost didn't recognize you. And I said, yeah, well, those were different times. He asked if I had the same personality then that I have now, and I honestly wasn't sure of the answer. Similarly, I had coffee this week with a very dear friend whom I haven't seen since we graduated from medical school, and she commented that I seemed very different from then. I asked her to elaborate, and she said she noticed how "anxious and tired" I seemed.

I can't argue with that.

She reminded me that the girl she knew in medical school was confident, put together, always on top of things. What she didn't know about that was two things: A, it was a ruse. I'm still the woman who keeps her shit together in a crisis, still the one who puts out fires, still the girl who gets it done. Those things are true about me, and they're part of who I am. But I've been able to get much more in touch, for better or worse, with the side of me that is, frankly, a mess. Who isn't so good at being a grown-up some days. Who drops the ball occasionally, can't find the floor of her closet, and has learned how to live with (shudder) a low census of roaches in her apartment. Who sometimes is too passive, who often gets her feelings hurt, who internalizes everything that goes on around her. Who's funny and neurotic and is sometimes a spaz. Who is uncoordinated and imperfect. Who tries not to throw stones in her glass houses and who sometimes finds the storms of her own emotions to be completely overwhelming. Who attaches fiercely and faithfully to people, even though she thinks she rarely lets them see that. Who finally believes that happiness is an attainable reality.

The other thing my friend doesn't know about this, this has been a very significant source of angst for the past year or so, feeling like I don't maintain that facade of Ms. "Everything's under control, here." I feel like it makes me seem weak. In truth, I feel like it makes me weak. But the reality of it is, it's only because I've started allowing that shell to weaken that I've started to understand the many layers of who I am. And, that those components of myself are from where I draw my strength.

And so, we move on into 2010. A new year, a new chapter, and (arguably) a new decade. I have great things in mind for it.

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