goodbye 2008, hello 2009

Happy New Year!

2008 was a full year… full of many changes, some joyful, others difficult. For my friends, there were new babies, engagements and marriages, loved ones lost. Here are some things I gained and lost this past year:

I gained many miles. Does my daily use of public transportation balance out my air and car miles? ;) I went to Seattle, WA to visit family in June and December; Grantham, PA for our church’s summer retreat; Austin, TX for Joe’s cousin’s wedding and to visit our friend Hannah; Kauai, HI for the October wedding of Neil and Michelle, my best friend from college; New York City for Thanksgiving weekend; and Vancouver, BC for the first meeting of our families.

I gained an engagement ring and a fiancé! Joe proposed to me in August and we celebrated our 2 year anniversary in November. We’ve been growing and learning more each day how to love each other better, despite our differences and shortcomings, as we grow in our understanding of the love that Jesus demonstrated to us on the cross. Even though 1 Corinthians 13 has become cliché in commercialized Christianity, if you examine it within its context and purpose, you’ll see a passage full of truth—that love is patient, not self-seeking; that love keeps no record of wrongs; that love always protects and perseveres—basically, that love is really hard work! Being with Joe has challenged me to be a better person, and his fun, laid-back nature balances out my serious, overanalytical one. I am happy and thankful to God for connecting our lives together.

I gained technical knowledge and expertise. I started a new job in February for American University Library, working with internet resources. It was a little over my head at first, but I’m starting to feel more comfortable with the library tech lingo. My first week on the job was a whirlwind of new terminology– proxy servers? IP-authentication? xml? csv? wha? My favorite parts of the job: providing tech support to end users, doing IM reference, and working with user interfaces.

I gained ten pounds. You have no idea how much of a victory this is for me! Only problem is that the ten pounds are not in the right places (i.e. not upper body muscles) ;)

I lost consistency in communicating with my best girlfriends. My closest friend is 2 hours away by public transit and my furthest friend is 6 time zones away in Hawaii. It’s hard to communicate frequently when your friend is still at work when you’re going to bed!

I lost my motivation to work for organizations that serve the poor. My three years of work helping low-income students disillusioned me. Having few resources, little support, too many responsibilities (from being understaffed) and no power to change the circumstances, day in and day out, gradually grew tiresome and really frustrating. Experiencing this powerlessness was eye-opening. For 8 hours a day, I was able to get a taste of the poverty our students experienced: crappy computers, no heat, rat infestations, out-of-date books being held together with scotch tape, high staff turnover. Being able to share that experience with them gave me a sense of “we’re all battling this together” but it was hard to offer hope. I wasn’t able to equip these disadvantaged young women with material resources, so I just talked with them, listened to their stories, and tried to encourage and cheer them on. But it never seemed enough.

I miss my students, but I burned out and lost my stamina for the work. It’s an injustice that these women can’t have access to the same opportunities I had, and I’m still figuring out how to reconcile my heart with my actions– trying to differentiate between what I want to offer, what I can offer, and what God is asking me to offer…

I lost the discipline of reflection. My journal from this past year is sparse, and even my blogging slowed down a lot in 2008. This past year has been busy. I’ve spent more time with people and less time alone, which is probably good, but the problem is that my level of introvertedness hasn’t changed, and so it’s essential that I keep writing to internally process my experiences and regain the energy I lose from being with people. Which means my lack of journaling this past year has caused a sort of “backup” in my internal processing pipes. Journaling helps me to be more in tune with myself, what God’s doing in my life, and the world around me—so I hope to be more intentional about carving out time to write and reflect in 2009! (hence this post)

What did you gain and lose in 2008?

One Response

  1. Victoria, Good post! A lot happened in your life this year. And a lot more is happening next (this) year too! I’m excited for you. Please let me know how I can support you in this process (I know the most serving thing is to suggest ways myself, but I’m a little out of it this year, but if you make your needs known I’m happy to try to help).

    I know what you mean about not reflecting enough lately. It makes me feel kind of spiritually/emotionally constipated. Gotta start journaling again…maybe that can be one of our New Year’s resolutions! Love, Michelle

    Michelle - January 2nd, 2009 at 4:31 am

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