>In the funk and a recap

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Its the last day of 2009. Looking back at the year, I can’t honestly say that I have any idea what’s in store for the new year. A year ago, I was optimistic, excited and ready for whatever challenges would befall my way. Now? Hmm, not so sure.

Back early in the year, I experienced a fantastic moment of happiness which turned out to be short lived. I met an excellent group of fellow soon to be teachers and had a great two months from January to February learning nothing particularly ground breaking profession wise, but rather, I felt the sense of collegiality that I had been searching for pretty much all of my undergraduate life. I had an amazing instructor, Ada Wynn, who was incredibly inspirational and provided that nurturing shoulder for our inquisitive minds. This was then followed by an incredibly tough two months of practicum experience, learning how much more there is to the profession of teaching (even if it isn’t considered an official profession- a small technicality), and small realizations of where I wanted to go with my life. There were a few important things that happened in this time period. I received the most important letter (IMHO at the current moment) in my life, the acceptance into my psychology program. I would not understand the gist of this letter until much later (try Fall term), and its significance was not known yet to me. I also realized that I was not yet at the current life stage for a career, and my practicum really emphasized that even if the work was interesting, the mentality for that work life was not there yet. Probably the biggest thing I learned at this time was how important team work and the often scoffed at term “synergy” was. Having colleagues to support me through the toughest times made the work bearable. If there ever was respect for the profession of teaching, it was there now. The day our APT class came together mid-practica was an incredible day of emotional unfurling. I cannot appreciate the support my colleagues and instructors gave me enough.

2009 was another year of celebrations and goodbyes. It was an appreciation of the support friendships provide, and just how interdependent a person I really am. As friends left, it became more apparent how much I needed them, and I began to appreciate relationships as things much more than just some wise humor sessions. As a fairly relaxed casual kind of guy, I found myself needing to be much more serious and proactive in order to maintain the support I cherished so much. I also found myself having to be more assertive and at times, an asshole in order to stand for myself and what I believed in. It was a disruptive summer for sure, and there certainly are situations that were regrettable but seemingly necessary in order for growth.

I also finally left the undergraduate life, after six long, but wonderful years. It was an incredible ride, in a very polarizing sense. I experienced some very tough debacles/adversaries and also some incredible moments that I will cherish quite dearly. I won’t go into the details, but my highlights include studying with friends till the wee hours in random obscure corners of the university, hanging with my bests at the dorms, getting totally effed by program requirements, getting totally effed by Astrophysics and Genetics, completing my 499 honors thesis, rocking the shit out of the curve in 4th year, enjoying my downtime in sixth year and of course dominating the university gym. Thats another paragraph right there. At any rate, it looks like I am in the saddle again, and I’m very much hoping its going to be all highs, with minimal lows.

I also managed to turn another year older. Which began to weigh in heavily as to when exactly I would get on with my life and you know, settle. Its not really as big of a deal as it seems to be with my girl friends (read: friends who are girls), where the biological clock seems just a little louder and demanding. But it has now come to my attention that being a dilly dally is not quite going to cut it these days, and the intense nagging from my parents to look beyond my current obligations and go out and start a family (or at least the beginnings of a possible one) started to actually hit home a little.

At the very least, I do feel that there is a method to my madness, and that I do have a sense of direction. At the end of this program, for whatever extent I decide to put into it, I feel there is a wonderful career life ahead and that I really can have the time and ability to settle down. And yet there still seems to be a void inside my affective state, and as much as I seemed to have fulfilled part of that, and proven that there is a reason for a higher state of self efficacy, I can not help but feel still empty and bitter. I suppose that’s why there is the saying “the first cut is the deepest”. I just never understood just how damned deep that cut can be.

This year was a year of experimentation and exploration. I tested new waters, placed myself in situations I never thought of standing in, and really pushed my ethical belief system. I won’t go into detail as to what exactly I was testing, but suffice to say, 2009 was a year blown completely out of proportion in terms of experience (and I speak regardless of relativity in how fresh the year feels at the moment). I think Howard said it best, you need to risk in order to gain. Just how much you are willing to risk depends on how far you want to explore. Although the future may be more cautious and careful, relative to my previous mentality, I think I am on a roll.

This was also the year where I revamped essentially all of my HD music collection into a sexy mass of 320 kps love. I became a patron of HMV, did my bit to support the artists I loved and began using uTorrent as a music taster, rather than consumer. I have never felt more drawn to music, and the two CDs that started this whole tumble back into the near lossless quality I have come to love still resonate well with me- Fantasies and Its Blitz. Music is the rescue to my affective losses, and a drug that makes my gains that much higher. I could not have received a more approrpiate gift for Christmas, the Shure SRH840s. They have yet to leave me unimpressed, and I often turn off my speakers to lose myself in the acoustic ocean, instead the usual reason- triple subwoofers piss the household off in wee hours.

This year I also saw incredible gains across the board in terms of my strength. I managed to completely surpass my 100 lb dumbbell press goals, nearly doubling the number of repetitions at 118 reps vs. the initial goal at 64 reps. After breaking my hand and being out of the gym for three months in 2008, and shrinking down to the size of a typical Asian build, it was an incredible journey for me. It was not just with my dumbbells, but also with the barbell as well, and benching two plates for 64 reps became a norm, although that has now dropped to 48 reps (albeit much more controlled and effective ones). This coming January, I am still hell bent on my bicep strength goals, as well as getting back into the running circuit, so it certainly looks promising.

Probably one of the biggest things for me this year was finding myself in a wonderful learning environment, just like in my APT preparation class, but with much closer collegiality. I have found the start of many wonderful friendships and the start of a career which seems to be near perfect for me. I certainly do appreciate that acceptance letter much more now. As hard as it seems to enter school again, after the events which unfurled pre-holidays, I look forward to being with my familiars again. Its going to be tough, tougher than I have ever experienced, to sit in class again, but I still look forward to having the time of my life again. I cannot put into words just how bittersweet I feel about starting class again. My ability to articulate my affective state seems to be limited to bolding particular phrases and hoping that I have conveyed some sense as to how I feel. In this way, I really don’t know what 2010 holds, and how ready I am for it. I don’t have a gung ho attitude or a plan. I just need the new year to start.

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