As my birthday looms, I’ve been reflecting on all kinds of shit, and I realized I needed to completely jump into 2015 before I was ready to write about 2014. It was one hell of a year, and I’m still not over it. 2015 feels like a made-up number. It’s the future, and yet it’s here.
I started 2014 in the dark. After a summer of baseball-fueled night shifts, I continued to make my winter money after the sun went to sleep. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise — your social life can feel like a pipe dream when you are on a completely different schedule than all of your friends (and potential persons-of-significance). The melancholy that seems to come standard with sleepless nights tangled with other aches of mine in the chill of winter. I struggled mightily to understand how an unbelievably sweet person (who happens to be my aunt) could be diagnosed with cancer. I learned, heartbroken, I was to be grandparent-less when my Nana, whose presence and love was a constant in my life, passed away in March.
The sun started shining again, though. As the weather warmed, I took in visits from friends and family. I went dancing. I learned how ridiculously lucky I am to have parents who are willing to embrace this city, embrace new things, and (attempt to) stay out late. And dance.
As lovely as the spring was, nothing compares to the magic of last summer. Friends of mine started to get married, and I traveled to Pennsylvania and New Jersey to witness their commitments. My sister said yes to making a commitment of her own and in the process, gifted me a brother (in-law). I moved (back) in with my best friend and practiced the joy of drinking a beer on a balcony with a view. I played softball with a ridiculously great group of women (a season only slightly marred by our lack of winning prowess and my torn meniscus). And one night after a particularly fun set of games, I learned that it’s possible to meet someone in a bar who will change your life.
I traveled to Ireland (my first transatlantic journey) at the end of August for a Penn State football game and left that country with a set of memories so fantastic and pictures so green they don’t look real. I drove on the left (wrong) side of the rode, experienced the thrill of sharp rainbows and misty cliffs, and felt how important traveling is to me. Potentially most importantly, I learned that I have friends willing to trespass with me for the chance to stand in front of a relic of my ancestors (Hurley Castle below: Aunt Eileen/Pappy/Nana in 1987; me in 2014).
The fall blew in its sweater weather, and my sleepless nights grew longer, synchronized with the growing intensity of the MLB playoffs. I clung to brunches with my chosen family, saw more live music than I should’ve been able to, made a trip back to State College, and savored time (and wine) with my family in Pittsburgh. As the chill in the air sharpened, I hosted family in an apartment finally big enough to host, and I cried when I saw my sister in what will be her wedding dress. I breathed in the smell of Christmas trees on the sidewalk and cherished their lingering scent long after they left their posts. I learned how important it is to invest in those that never leave you. And I learned that somehow my heart is more patient than I thought.
Teach me something, 2015.