This first prompt for Reverb 10 was posted just a few minutes before I left for class this morning. My first thought was "oooooooh that's gonna be a tricky one." I find it really hard to sum up whole years nicely. I'm sure this is difficult for anyone; condensing 365 days into the space of a few letters is not a simple task by any means. Over the past few years I've found it especially difficult for the student life, because the year is very definitively divided into three four-month chunks which usually involve pretty radical changes from one to another - school to work to school, new roommates, new friends, old friends leaving/returning to town, new extracurricular involvements, etc.
I spent all day thinking about what one word I would use to sum up this year... well, all day except the parts where I was reading my latest law school acceptance letter (for the regular readers: Dal, meh), giving a presentation on my research, having lunch with my secret seminar classmates, and writing an exam... but to no avail. I just couldn't think of anything. So instead I focused on thinking about how I would introduce the subject, and thought "well, I could start off saying how it was really hard to come up with something and I spent all day thinking about it... well, except for when [insert all the stuff I just mentioned]. Man, what a full day this has been!"
At that moment, I had my answer. The one word that encapsulates 2010 for me is empty.
That answer is not as sad and pessimistic as it perhaps sounds. My year has been good for the most part, and I am in general pretty happy with my life. I've just been wanting something... more.
It was largely empty because I have been a huge hermit and spent way more time with my homework and the internet than with all the wonderful (wonderful wonderful wonderful) people in my life. It was partly because my summer job could easily have been done by a trained monkey; I yearned for challenge and interest and spent a full third of my year being bored out of my mind. It was partly because I did not dedicate very much time to creative pursuits. It was also partly because I spent the first part of the year pretending that a sort-of-but-not-quite-a-relationship was yeah-totally-a-relationship (absence of a relationship does not make life empty for me (I am fully capable of being happy single: life has felt more full since I got over it) but being in a non-relationship relationship can). I also have had moments when I felt like maybe it was time to give this religion thing another shot, because sometimes I wonder if that would fill in a few of the holes and bare patches.
This makes my word-wish for 2011 very easy, though. Of course I want next year to be full. I want to see my friends more often. I want to find a job that is fulfilling. I want to spend my spare time writing and knitting and baking and generally creating, rather than on twitter. I don't want to pass up on interesting opportunities because they're scary and/or I don't think I have the time. I will make time. There has to be more to life than my homework. Education is great, but it is not everything. Sometimes I forget that.