Thursday, December 31, 2015

Things that happened in my life this year

So maybe this is becoming a thing. And maybe I secretly love that it is. At the end of every year, I have this strange pit in my stomach similar to the feeling one might get late August, realizing what an unproductive summer they had. I don't know about you but before every summer, I expect to land an internship with Vogue or CNN or something. Anyway, I digress don't I?

I don't exactly sit down when midnight strikes to reflect on my year or write down resolutions (I don't believe in them anymore) or stare into the sky wishing I did things differently. It's really not dramatic, but when the ball drops I do get overwhelmed. At the thought of a clean, new year and the idea that like the previous year, so much could happen. So much you don't know and haven't prepared for. But that in itself is silly, too. There is no way to know. On the flip side, if you just look back and THINK of all that already happened and all the life you experienced, it's a very filling feeling. You acknowledge that you had a purposeful year contrary to the lack of tangible things you've collected or earned. You know? It's extraordinary how many moments happen in 12 months. And for someone like me, who helplessly measures life and happiness by what was "accomplished," it's a comforting and exciting realization that even though nothing earth-shattering occurred, I still LIVED. A lot. So, before I squiggle off into an unnecessary tangent... here are SOME of the things that happened in my life this year. I'm having goosebumps wondering what could happen if everyone on earth made a list, too.

1.   I got an internship at Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. Last year between November and January, I pretty much applied for any and every internship in the entire city. And I had only two, perhaps qualifying resume tidbits to rely on (Columbia Chronicle reporter and an UNpaid internship I did with a fancy, Gold Coast magazine that made me want to jump in a pile of mud). So after a month of sitting at home (jobless and wasting away), I applied for the creative services department before the Spring semester began. I got called for an interview and remember sending a screenshot of the email to my brother within a second..... it was wild! I wore high heels to the interview.... I can barely walk bare feet so you can imagine how far behind I was walking from Justin, who would be my boss two weeks later. I didn't prepare for the interview because I knew Chicago sports and hoped every question had to do with the Bulls or the Bears. Justin and Jim (other boss) asked me about.... me. My likes, my dislikes, what I want to do in life and why really I'm sitting here. It was so honest. And actually, if I wasn't nervous as nervous as I was, I probably wouldn't have gotten the job. (Also, four months later, I asked the Digital Director if I could also get a shot in their department. And I'm still here!)

2. Taylor Swift birthday. "I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22...." La la la la. Confession: While I got ready for the day, I had "22" on repeat and sang at the top of my lungs. Luckily no one else was home but I don't think it would have stopped me. Twenty-two has been adventurous to say the least and not just because of my internship or India for my brother's wedding, but the amount of feelings I felt in ONE year. I loved 21, too... in fact, I wrote a blog post on turning 22 because I was having attachment issues with 21. I'm a mess. A happy, free, confused and lonely mess.

3. Best friend got engaged. I knew the day was bound to come some day, but when one day it actually does come, it's such a slap in the face. I can't tell if it's a possessive thing or if the whole growing up situation is just a lot to handle because it wasn't long ago that we were biting teenagers who vowed to be together forever. Whatever prompts the Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding falling off the bed reaction even though you were relatively  prepared... THAT. It all happens so fast! AND she's getting married in two weeks..... SARA don't leave me! (I know this is a very hyper reaction to an otherwise exciting time, but I no joke. Why do people have to get married gosh!)

4. My brother got married! It's nice to write that now because last year I said he got engaged. The best part of this was that it was really such a big fat Indian wedding. The Akbarbagh "flat" we all stayed in, the shopping, the last-minute auto hails to pick up lace, the lights...... ALL the things. And no matter how much I try not to be a sap, I truly cannot wait to spend the rest of my entire life with my new sister.

5. India trip what up! Hope that didn't make you squirm. This is separate from my brother's wedding because it was SUCH an adventure it almost felt like two different worlds. The wedding part separate from the late nights at Ram-ki-bandi parts. Sometimes literally because we'd slip out of our wedding gowns and into any random kurthi, squish into Akmal bhaya's car and drive off into the sunrise. Once, we ended up somewhere in Jubilee Hills at the top of a cliff overlooking all of Hyderabad. And that very morning, I got to do something I thought would never ever happen, ever. I ran through a gentle flock of birds.... and it was in fact one of the most magical moments of my entire life. Barbeque Nation, an exquisite land of all you can eat shrimps and fish and char boiled chicken and lychee cakes and pots of "firnee" and dancing mariachi servers, was also something I crave on the weekly.  I wish I could drop my memories in a Pensieve and have it mystically translate to words so I could justly capture the essence of our month in India. But for now, just know that it took me two whole weeks to recover once I stepped foot back home in suburban Illinois. (Ew, why did I have to say it like that?)

6. Cut my hair reaaal short. And since then, my entire family double-takes me for Fareeha, who is 14, at least twice a week. So anyway, I wanted to get a bob around my birthday (you know, new age new look etc etc) but my mom intensely talked me out of it, saying I would stick out more in India aka the land of misfit matchmakers. (Just kidding. A little.) And I too would have hated not being able to do cute hairstyle for my brother's wedding. Anyway! In September, I woke up one day and decided it was time....I was going to chop my hairs off. *dramatic build-up on purpose* My hair was past my chest and after it wasn't even touching my shoulders. Snip snip and down went my security blanket.... isn' that true? Our hair is something we so easily hide in. I felt so new and fresh and different, almost like I signed a sparkly new lease on life or something. I would get a haircut everyday if I could.

7. I made a new friend/mentor! Never thought I'd actually use the word "mentor." Siera is one of the new TV anchors at CSN and since meeting her, we started a sort of book club and have promised each other we'd find and eat every donut Chicago has to offer. I never thought I could connect with someone who is where anyone would dream of being. Not just because she's on TV, but because for a person who has "made it," she's as grounded as it gets. And... first Latina sports anchor in Chicago? You bet. She's been such a great outlet for all my last-semester-of-college doubts and anxieties. I hope she never reads this.... or if she does, hi Siera! just don't tell me you read this.

8. New family members! My couins Amir and Naushad got marrried, too! Wait wait, not to eachother. And just like that, we have two sister-in-laws that clicked so well it hurts my heart. In the best way a heart can hurt out of fullness.

9. I realized what it means to move on. Okay, now this one is kind of ambiguous and slightly dramatic but I don't know, I just felt like last year I naturally developed this habit of holding on. Dadi passed away last November.... and of course I'll never let her go and there'll always be an emptiness inside of  me, but because of that experience I went into 2015 with a stronger grip on life (if that makes sense). I used to cry in the bathroom for months, but I like to think it's a normal part of the recovery process. But at the same, I hated keeping it to myself. So I slowly started opening up to my cousins and my mom and said 'no, I'm still not okay'... even 8 months later. And it helped, a lot. Talking it through, accepting life.... meant I was moving on. But it didn't mean I was letting go.

I know I missed hundreds of other moments, big and small. But in the end, and probably always... every year is just miserable and magical...at the same time. (10 points to Gryffindor if you follow every T. Swift reference ever made.)

Happy New Year, my three readers!