For months now I've had a gratitude-style post rolling around in my head, waiting to be written. I can't think of a better time for it than the end of the year.
I've always been blessed by the company of nice people. I have no idea why people choose to let me hang around. I'm none of the things good company is supposed to be. In recent years, adding to my general blowhardness, lack of celebrity gossip, acute lack of awareness of how others around me are feeling and dearth of interesting stories, I can add creeping deafness to my list of reasons to not be my friend. Inexplicably, I nonetheless always seem to have interesting and kind people to talk to.
This year I have been blessed 100 times over the normal number. I want to acknowledge some of the new and/or rekindled relationships of 2008. Many of them came about through the internet, as you'll see, leading me to suspect that all the hype about the internet isolating us is a load of bullhockey. These are in absolutely no particular order.
Nancy is the parent of an Ultimate frisbee player on Annie's team. Nancy and I both went on a trip to Seattle (in the snow), and were the early rising parents, up and in the hotel breakfast room hours before anyone else. Because of this, I got to spend some quality time with this stranger, and enjoyed her company immensely. She cries even more easily and often than I do, and laughs at the same things. What fun to find someone like that by accident. She also turns out to be a whiz at finding an orthodontist who will handle emergencies. Nancy is hosting a teenage NYE party tonight, and I wish her all the best.
Laura is a Marathon Maniac (although she wasn't when I first met her). She is a fantastic running blogger based in New York...fantastic in that she's a fun writer to read, and fantastic in that she runs more than a little. The number of marathons she's put away this year amazes me. She's also been extremely kind (remember, she's a total stranger) in offering advice to Annie about Cornell University and to me about consulting as a career choice. Ya gots to love the internets.
David is probably the most unexpected find of the year. David was two years ahead of me in high school, and hung out with a few of the cool kids who later let me hang out with them. In other words, we barely passed in the halls. Somehow we ended up as friends on Facebook, and he now brightens my life almost daily. He is a great blogger, playwright, drama teacher, dad and husband to the exceedingly cool Erika. Over Christmas break, when he was offline, I have found myself frequently missing David's IM box on my screen.
Heather is in my program at Cal. She is considerably younger than me, currently planning her wedding (in Switzerland!) this coming summer, and hoping for children not long after. She's just the kind of person I knew I'd have nothing in common with at school. I was looking for some other "advanced" students, like myself. But Heather is my favorite other student to talk to. Just one example: when I told her about wanting a job with the GAO, she did not say the obvious, "What on earth does that have to do with epidemiology?!" She said, "COOOOOOOOL!"
Thomas is also a student in my cohort. I wrote about him a little earlier. He does not get my sense of humor. He is much, much smarter than me. He sees the world very differently than I do. But he seems to want to try to like me nonetheless, and I appreciate that enormously. I like him a lot, too.
Christy was my office mate for almost all of 2008. I got to attend her wedding, which was quite a thing. She's a lovely person, a great friend, a sympathetic ear, a huge supporter of those in need, and funny as heck. A good nurse, too. I moved offices in October, and miss her a lot. She also is my 100th friend on Facebook, which is huge. Huge.
Rickey Roy is a dog, and I've still never actually MET Rickey. But I have spent considerable time talking with him on Facebook. Rickey lives with one of my favorite people, Vickie, who is another Ultimate mom. Vickie doesn't count as a new in 2008 friend. But she did give me my new favorite pair of earrings, and lets us borrow her son regularly, and those are both new things.
Believe it or not, I had to work hard to get my list down to just these folks. 2008 was a rough year, for a lot of reasons. But looking back, I have to count it among the luckiest for me.
May 2009 bring all the joy your heart can hold.