You know what? Lately I've been feeling pretty good. The last year and a half have been kind of stressful for me, first personally (rotten awful break-up), and then professionally, as I faced down my comprehensive exams (barf-aroonio) and then leaving the town I love to live in Managua for four months in the rainy season. Not that it was all "poor Cheasty," of course. I had many wonderful times and wonderful experiences during that year and a half, but a lot of those days I lived with this sort of icky cloud of doom over my shoulder. "Sure I'm having fun right now," I'd think, "but ugh, broken heart. Or ugh, comps. Or ugh, Managua in the rainy season. I just can't wait for this to be over."
Well my comps exams are over, I survived living in Managua in the rainy season, and my heart is feeling a lot stronger and less cynical than it has in a long time. I've had a few personal breakthroughs.
Personal breakthrough number one: While I look forward to being back in Austin for the long-term at some point this summer, I'm actually excited about being up in Matagalpa for the next couple of months. Imagine that; I don't dread doing my work!
Personal breakthrough number two: Also, I'm excited about April, which is when I will move in to my own place for the first time in my life. On a dream-inspired impulse (long story), a few months ago I called a friend of mine who lives in a completely adorable, tiny, cute, pretty, lovely, affordable little one-bedroom loft house in Austin. "Hey," I said, "if you ever decide to move out of the Elf Palace, could you put me first on the list to take over your lease?" "Why, Cheastypants, funny you should mention that..." she responded. I signed the lease while I was home, and when I return to Austin I will have my own place. Roommates can be wonderful (hello, Penata!), but I really feel like living on my own. I'm so thrilled about moving into the Elf Palace that I am nervous about it, like I might jinx myself or something. But more than nervous, I just feel tremendously pleased. I can't wait to decorate and plant a garden.
Personal breakthrough number three: Not so much a breakthrough, as much as it is just realization of a long-held desire. When I settle down this summer, I'm getting A DOG!!!! I've wanted to get a dog for three years now, but with this year of work abroad pending, I always put it off until "after research year." Well guess what. In July it will be officially "after research year," and I'm getting my dog. Ooh, I can't wait!
Personal breakthrough number four: While I generally make it a policy not to discuss my love life, this next breakthrough is general enough and wonderful enough to merit a mention. Since horrible-awful-break-up of a year and a half ago, my position towards dating anybody has been, to say the least, defensive. The disappointment, the shock, the heartache, it seemed, was inevitable, so why bother. And if I bother, wouldn't it just be easier to push the guy away once I start to care even an iota about him? l've been struggling with this for a while. I was "over" the last boyfriend, but I couldn't really even countenance trusting anybody else. I guess I was too scared of getting hurt again.
Well I was stressing out about this with Penata while I was home, and in the midst of all my dramatic "I can't! I just can't!" a line from a song I used to sing in church Bible camp popped into my head. Church bible camp being what it was (life-threateningly boring), I don't normally spend a lot of time re-hashing memories, much less singing those songs (except for Kum-Ba-Ya, which is sort of inevitable). But there we were, walking around Town Lake, and right after I'd finished some grandiloquent statement about how I was just afraid to start anything with a certain guy because of x, y, and z, all the sudden I started humming "Love Is Like A Magic Penny." You know that song? Probably not. It goes like this. And it was like I felt something sort of let go inside me. Love is like a magic penny! If you give it away, you end up having more! Of course! If I hold it tight, I won't have any! Naturally! But if I lend it, spend it, I'll have so many they'll roll all over the floor. I couldn't have said it better myself. So that's my new M.O. I am the magic penny of love. No jokes about "giving it away," please, as you know very well I'm not talking about that. I know I sound silly, but I'm still sort of happy for myself.
So this is how I've been feeling. Optimistic, I guess is the best word for it. And you know what? It turns out, according to my horoscope, that this feeling of optimism, of happiness, of contentment, is all pre-ordained. Some Chinese astrologer could've told me this would be a good year back when I popped out in 1977. I got this in my inbox today:
Snake Overview (2009)
The Snake has an incredibly favorable year ahead. The year of the Ox provides many opportunities for the Snake to fulfill long awaited career goals and achieve more than he/she ever imagined. Your wisdom and patience are tools that prove successful in all aspects of your life. Relationships could be taken to new heights and deep and meaningful friendships are acquired. This year proves to be one of action, the year that all of your planning and waiting pay off for you. The later months prove to be especially successful, tying a year of arduous work into an extremely blissful culmination.
79% (10 favorable and 2 neutral months)
Well that sounds all right to me. Happy Year of the Ox, Cheastypants.