Daily Prompt: Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?
I couldn’t find any coins underneath my couch cushions and it was too cold to go out to my car in my pajamas, so I opened the change purse of my wallet and randomly drew from its contents. The winner: a dirty penny from the year 2000.
2000 was a very tumultuous year for me, and also a milestone year. It was a year that, in many ways, reshaped the rest of my life. In fact, I’ve already alluded to some of these events in a previous post.
- A year of endings, part one. In June of 2000, I graduated from high school after four years of the typical adolescent ups and downs. Overall I enjoyed high school. I had a steady boyfriend, a fairly large group of friends and I did well to very well in most of my classes (at least those that didn’t involve complex math or science). And yet I was ready to graduate when I did. I felt that it was time for something new, and I was certainly excited to get the hell off of Long Island for awhile.
- A year of endings, part two. What I wasn’t ready for was the announcement by my parents, a little less than a month after graduation, that they were splitting up…because my mother was gay. The news was broken to me on the drive home from a shopping trip for college supplies, and it was as though all the air in the car had been sucked out all at once. There had been whiffs of trouble between my parents a few years prior, but things had quieted down as of late and I truly believed that they had worked out their issues. From the beginning I accepted my mother for who she said she was, but that didn’t make it any easier to watch my parents’ marriage disintegrate in front of me as I packed for school.
- A year of endings, part three. A good friend of mine and I traveled to Orlando, Florida, that August for a long weekend of pre-college bonding. When I returned, there was a For Sale sign on the front lawn of the house I had lived in for the past 10 years. As my parents were heading in separate directions, it no longer made sense for either of them to keep the house.
- A year of beginnings. Finally, after what seemed like the longest and also the shortest summer in all of eternity, it was time for me to be on my way to the University of Virginia. It was difficult saying goodbye to my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years (although we agreed to maintain a long-distance relationship) and leaving my parents and brother behind at the height of the homefront drama, but I’ll admit that it was also kind of a relief to watch it all disappear in the rearview mirror. Adjusting to a whole new environment in a whole new state would prove to be challenging, but it also signified a fresh start for me — one that I embraced.
- A year of gains. What helped the most with my adjustment to college was that I bonded very quickly with my randomly assigned dorm roommate. Much more outgoing than I was, she brought me out of my shell in those awkward first weeks of dorm living, and before long she was my partner in crime. (Nine years later, she was also a bridesmaid at my wedding!)
- A year of loss. In October of 2000, less than halfway through my first semester, I got a middle-of-the-night call from my boyfriend that his father had just passed away from lung cancer. Several frantic midterm rearrangements and one $490 plane ticket later, I was on my way home to attend the funeral and sit shiva with the family. Needless to say, it was a heart-wrenching weekend.
- A year of discovery. Over the course of those 365 days, I believe I learned more about myself and how to find inner strength in the face of change and adversity than over the previous 18 years combined. The years to come would see my entrance into the work world, the very painful end to a very long relationship, the purchase of my first house and my marriage to the person I am truly meant to be with — but in terms of emotional growth, I firmly believe the year 2000 was the most pivotal year of my life to date.