Lest I not forget, we closed out an entire decade on Thursday! That one kinda came out of nowhere. OK fine, the nerd in all of us will say, “well, technically, the decade starts next year…” but ignorant pop culture likes to call the decades as the numbers change, which isn’t necessarily congruent with technical reality. I’m going to go along with society on this one, for once in my life, and call yesterday the start of a new decade.
Time and probably a gazillion more media are predictably going to run their Decade-In-Review-themed time capsules, and in the exhibition of a rare Sheep Moment, I’m going to follow suit, only with my spin on things. Voyeuristic? Perhaps. I’d like to think not, because that’s not my intent. I’d like to think that I simply offer a perspective, that I calls ’em as I sees ’em, and that reality is essentially a collective experience as perceived by the aggregate of individuals. I’m just but one individual, nurturing my inner couch potato while spilling my life experiences to the whole world.
So whaddaya say?
A long time ago in a galaxy near you… New Year’s Eve 1999 (the eve of Y2K): My now-husband and I, still a fledgling couple, sat in his warm Anoka apartment and placed half-assed bets on whether or not the world would simply nuke itself. The Ensure hoarders, I’m sure, were inwardly disappointed; about the worst thing that I can remember happening is that the phone lines didn’t work for a few minutes, probably due to the load on the system. Yay panicked freaks.
A move (back) to Texas in March 2001 proved probably to be the highlight of the decade, because it’s simply where we belong. We returned home and we’re tickled pink about it. Our home state has received us very well, too. We snuggled right in. Keeping consistent with nearly all things monumental in our lives, it was bittersweet, for our cat of 15 1/2 years passed away a month before the move.
I wound my way through dead-end and modestly-paid waitressing jobs in various bars and restaurants for the first couple years of the twenty-ohs. I supplemented where I could with whatever opportunities presented themselves at the time: construction, mall retail, election judging for my local voting precinct, you name it.
In 2002, we adopted our first cats together. Not far into 2003, our boy cat, then 7 months, was found to have elevated liver enzymes (meaning faulty liver function) and was given till about age 2 to live. Never being the type to simply accept news like that, we did everything we could: we changed his food, which normalized his liver enzymes completely, and then we started getting them adjusted by a vet who also does spinal chiropractic adjustments, and I couldn’t believe the change I saw. His health not only recovered from where it had been, but improved even greater.
The year 2003 was interesting. I was fired for the very first time, which actually ended up to be a blessing in disguise. In a fit of rationalism, I decided right then and there to pursue the massage therapy plan I had been considering and enroll in school in January. I also discovered Hinduism during a Comparative Religions night class in college, and began researching in preparation for conversion.
2004 proved to be an interesting year, as I clawed my way through massage therapy school–classroom and internship–while still taking regular college classes and working part time. I obtained my license late that summer and opened my own private practice that fall. That was also a fun year, in that I had what every bipolar wants: a state of hypomania.
The year 2005 started out with a bang: my now-husband confessed to me that we were deeper in debt than I had ever thought (he had always taken care of the bills so that I wouldn’t worry, because I worry easily over money), and so I had to formulate our own debt-restructuring plan and pick up supplemental income. This was the first real shakeup of trust, as I could no longer look at my then-fiance exactly the same way. This growing-pain-turned-turning-point proved to be decent for us in the long run; I boosted my income and built what became a thriving massage therapy practice, gaining lots of experience in many different facets that I benefit from to this day and will continue to forever.
In 2005, I converted completely away from Christianity (as if I ever really was) and instead to Hinduism. An Indian and born-Hindu friend of mine conducted a cozy, special unofficial naming ceremony. It was a casual and impromptu event, but every bit as special as anything conducted by Hindu religious leaders. Hence, I took the name Jyoti, which is a Sanskrit word for “light”, which embodies everything I strive to be. It serves as a constant reminder of the goal of spiritual evolution.
My best massage year ever was 2006. Unfortunately, that was also my worst emotional year ever, as I reached the nadir of the depressive episode (half of bipolar disorder) begun in early 2005. It was very strange; it was all I could do to function and hold it together, and yet here I was, very decently successful, and as a fairly new therapist at that.
January 2007 saw us embark on the hellacious journey that is chiro med school. It was a shock to several different systems: nervous, GI, sleep-wake, adrenal, and more. I had a special relationship with Netter’s Anatomy atlas, and even though we had envisioned the kind of practice we wanted, we felt perpetually confused. Surprisingly, the massage therapy practice really didn’t see much of a decline until late July as the economy first started to soften.
My health continued to deteriorate in 2008. It was tough finding out that what I thought had been a temporary hearing loss due to a wax buildup in the way of the soundwaves reaching my tympanic membrane was actually, instead, a nerve deafness, which tends to be permanent. I also grew increasingly pissed at myself for the continuation of the annoying habit of falling asleep in class that magnified in 2007. I was irritated at the idea that I had missed any information.
Also in 2008, we started adjusting real patients. We had a caseload of a few files that we were responsible for. We had to examine, diagnose, and properly formulate treatment plans, and then treat accordingly. Although it was student clinic, with staff docs and their personal philosophies (that sometimes interfered with our ideas/standards of quality patient care), it was still all about real patients, and it was fun to see them get better under our care.
2008 saw both the birth of an intense interest in Wicca, and probably the most important event of the decade: our wedding! A beautiful and spectacular event, unlike anything anyone had ever experienced. Multiple ingredients came together perfectly that night, to create a complete aura around the entire room, one of magic, mysticism, and significance. It was magnetic and exquisite.
By 2009, the last leg of our education, we had escalated into the rafters of the upper echelon, safely segregated from the innocent, corruptible lower tri students. Life became less about grades and more about patient files. We were now treating real patients from the outside, and having to recruit our own. Some were skeptic, some more impressionable. We dealt with all kinds and we got to see a variety of problems. Not as much variety as I would’ve liked, but hey, it was something. Any experience can be decent experience. It’s at least partly what you make it. We entertained the idea of relocating to Mexico, but settled on San Antonio, at least for now. We shall see.
Also in 2009, my parents broke their first bones ever, and boy did they break them good. Plowing into them with nary a tire’s skid mark, a large pickup (ironically the same one we drive) completely blew a stop sign and slammed into them so hard that everyone involved ended up in a ditch on the side of the main highway, a 15-foot drop below the road surface. Spending 7 weeks bedridden, they were finally able to start physical therapy in a facility closer to home, only for Mom to develop a hernia and have to stop. I am extremely bitter about this whole thing–toward bad drivers, Canada (although not its individual citizens, especially those who are my friends and practically extended family), government-run vehicle insurance, socialized (“public option”) medicine, and even cold weather (because it makes their joints hurt). My parents were forced to part with a large part of themselves–who they are–in the ditch that day, and for that I, too, will never be the same.
This year was interesting for many other reasons–solving medical issues, adopting Buddhism as another religion by taking vows of the precepts during the wedding ceremony (imperceptibly sandwiched in – how sneaky!), graduating with 3 degrees (one being a doctor degree), taking and passing boards, contracting the stomach flu, juicing, Facebook, working out, finding a mentor (!), reuniting with several old friends and contacts, and more.
We start the year 2010 with practically zero answers. As of now, we have no idea (yet) where in San Antonio we’re going to practice. We have no idea exactly how our practice will take shape. We know we’ll live at my parents’ ranch, but we don’t know for how long or where we’ll end up after that. We don’t know what it’ll be like staying in San Antonio for longer than a week. We don’t know how long it’ll take the cats to adapt to the move. (Laugh if you want; it weighs heavily on my mind.)
What I do know is that I’ll be closing down my massage practice (and my role as an MT) for good. I also know that I’ll hate to leave our house, but I have to get out of Dallas for the sake of self-preservation.
But really, it’s OK to start out without any answers. This way, the slate is clean. Answers will come when they’re supposed to. We’ll be guided where we’re needed. I’m not scared of the decade; I’m embracing it. I might as well; it’s hurling at us at the same speed anyway.