If I had to assign a theme for my life in 2010, I would use “growing up” to describe it. I have done nothing but prove to myself that I can take care of “me” and that I can do whatever I’m determined to do, no matter how scary the uncertain future may seem.
1. I finally achieved financial independence. This was more of a process than a moment, but I finally cut the strings from my parents. A fiercely independent personality by birth, achieving financial independence was a momentous occasion in my life. I realize that we all need a little help sometimes, but I prefer to take care of myself. Knowing I can do so instills me with a sense of pride, purpose, and confidence. Destiny’s Child says it best.
2. I found an apartment and roommates. At the beginning of this year, I was living with my grandma so that I could be closer to my job in Jersey City (and to Manhattan, of course). When that situation became unmanageable, I knew I had to move out. I conducted a Craigslist search and fell in love with the first apartment that I saw and the roommates who came with it. I’ve been living there for six months now and still feel fiercely happy about the decision and lucky to have found my roommates. In fact, I just signed a lease to stay for another year!
3. Someone at Rutgers University took a chance on me and offered me a part-time job as an adjunct professor of creative writing. When I got the phone call, I thought to myself, “I will remember this moment forever.” I was in Secaucus, standing outside my office building on a blistering hot day in July. And I said, “Yes! Yes! I accept!” even though I knew this would mean quitting my job and undergoing a lot of changes in my lifestyle. It didn’t matter! I wanted to teach! In addition, almost every class (especially my first class) during the fall semester were special moments for me. I was slowly proving to myself that I could, indeed, teach a creative writing class.
4. Terrified, I left my full-time job with benefits for the part-time job teaching. With rent to pay every month, I needed to find another job. How would I find a job flexible enough to accommodate my teaching schedule? How would I find a part-time job that would challenge me and pay a competitive wage? After just a few weeks and a handful of very disappointing job interviews, I did find a part-time job that I could work the days I didn’t teach. I’ve been at this job since September, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had – I’m working in one of my favorite cities, surrounded by young, intelligent people who have become my friends. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.
5. I negotiated a deal for a new car and signed the lease all by myself. When the car I’ve had since I was 17 started to fail me, I knew that I needed to get a new car, especially since I drive to New Brunswick two days/week. I did the research, asked friends for recommendations, and took some test drives. When I decided on the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, I spent a few hours of a Saturday negotiating a deal with the salesman and management. This was one of the most stressful, intimidating situations I’ve ever experienced, but I was really happy with the outcome and proud of myself for doing it. Now, I can start 2011 with a reliable car that I adore!
I expect nothing but more wonderful moments in 2011 as I continue to teach, work on my book, update this blog, and serve as the marketing coordinator for a company that makes me proud. What were your best moments of 2010?
(Pictured above: me and my brother, New Year’s Eve 2009)