Friday, November 4, 2011

On: 24, Notes on A Magical Year

on my 25th Birthday
Time can be measured in any number of ways, and while a calendar year may be most common, my favorite is to count the days between my birthdays. August to August, I make mental notes of progress and orient myself and wherever I may be in life to the coming of the 15th.

My 24th was a very special year for me. It was magical for the single reason that that was the age at which my mother gave birth to me, in another time and world, in Tver, Russia. So, in my mind, those 365 days received a fine and invisible layer of meaning.

That summer, as I turned 24, was my first in this magical city where I've made a home. On that August 15th, I was wrapping up a whirlwind summer of moving to a new state, of knowing no one, of stumbling into the top-tier of the wedding industry and then unexpected graphic design work. How I earned enough to live on that summer is still a mystery, as I was quite bad at my job. But my boss saw potential and was very patient and forgiving. She even gave me more work. By that birthday, I went to Ohio for a friend's wedding where I designed the invites and learned an important lesson.

And then - fall. Networking, working, long hours, weddings. Some art, then winter, more of the same, more design, Facebook-ing, social media and more. Then more and more and more of the same. And it was glorious and wonderful and while not always fun - it gave me quite a base on which I am working off of now.

Here are the highlights.

• Seeing Shara Worden perform at Millennium Park with a full orchestra on my 25th birthday - a life-affirming, mind-melting performance.
• Being in the wedding of my best friend from college- I was the "maid of honor" and it was quite an honor to see her walk that aisle. And yes, I cried.
• Also, this year I've met some truly great, talented, inspiring people - several of whom are now my friends.
• Seeing the amazing Zoe Keating. While the music is haunting and beautiful, hearing her speak about finding success was the most wonderful gift.
• Networking. So. Much. Networking. There are so many amazing people in the wedding industry - and they all love hanging out, drinking wine and passing business cards. Working at a venue meant they all wanted to know me.
• This was also a year of a lot of self-discovery and while I now see and know myself better than before, there remains a lot to work through - I suppose that's part of the bargain, when it comes to life, and although the process may be daunting - there's little to do but roll up the sleeves and dive in.
• Spending my first Christmas and New Year with my mom in Chicago - and Thanksgiving with dear friends in Columbus.
• Mom & I also took a two-week road-trip to Colorado. Outside of seeing many people once very special and close to me, the trip also felt like a closing of a huge and terrible chapter of my life. My first 9 years living in America came to an end there, as mom & said goodbyes, took all our things and drove into the sunrise.

It was quite a year. But I'm glad it's history. The year I'm on is a different, more difficult, beast, but I am happy to be living it. Every day.

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