"life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything's okay and everything's going right, and life has a funny way of helping you out when you think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up in your face".
What particularly amazes me about life is the circles it goes in, and the coincidences that appear so often. As a rational person I know it is mostly about our tendancy to see patterns in life, and that there are a million times when I go on a train and not run into someone from childhood, or when the very thing you wanted from the supermarket didn't happen to be on offer there. But sometimes amazing things happen, the sort of things you thought only happened in films.
As a child, I used computers from an early age, and was part of the 'computers for kids' debate -- now I work in that field, with people who know my grandad's company, with one person who worked with my dad many years ago, a boss who knows my phd supervisor, and a collegue who took the same masters as me on the same year as my boyfriend, and also went to school with a member of my boyfriend's band. Now, Lancaster isn't a huge place, so coincidences like this are not that surprising, particularly when people all work in the same field, but there always seem to be things like this going on, like when I found that archangelonline was supervised by my boyfriend's dad, or when two people I know from very different circles happen to meet on a speed-dating event. Recently, I was there wishing I could see friends despite not being able to travel home, when I found that my best friend from school has a conference in Lancaster and wants to meet up for a coffee. And even more bizarrely, a few days ago a person crossed my mind who I haven't seen or heard from in 9 years... and within a week he contacts me out of the blue on Facebook.
Actually, that last one freaked me out quite a bit, it wasn't an entirely welcome contact. Basically we went out for about 2 days before he dumped me, and said that 'one day he would explain why'. That always bugged me, but I felt that he was the one person I would probably never see again. Life should have taught me never to make that assumption. But I'm not really upset, I'm glad he got in contact really -- I have no real desire to stay in contact, but not only has it provided closure on that little niggle in my head, but it has really put my life into perspective. Comparing myself to how I was back then, I can see I've moved on so much. Life has had its ups and downs in that time, but mostly what I've achieved is distance -- I've moved forwards and become someone I'm a lot happier with, someone who can now hold down a real relationship with a wonderful guy and be the person I want to be.
And of course, just as I'm musing these things, erfalaswen posts her LJ meme...
Post 10 things that you've done since moving to Lancaster that you're proud and pleased to have done. Stuff that you look back on and remember and smile about and feel good about.
The circle comes round again, time for another meme...
In no particular order, here were the first 10 that sprang to mind:
1. Leading the Gospel Choir to several successful performances (which I will group together in this one point). The feeling of being on stage and having an audience cheer you like you're all rock stars is amazing, but also just being able to organise events that make your choir do well and enjoy themselves is a wonderful feeling. I was so proud of all my society, and I'm not saying they couldn't have done it as well or better without me, but it felt like something I could actually do, and not mess up. That's a rare thing for me...
2. On a similar vein, overcoming my shyness of singing in public to do several solos with the choir. None of my friends saw it, and listening back to the recording I can tell I wasn't very good, but I still did it. I love singing, and I always wanted the chance to sing with a band, but never got the chance. This was my one opportunity to get close to that dream, and I'm so glad I took it. The fact that I was singing the solo part to a song I had partly arranged and then taught to the choir was the icing on the cake.
3. Winning a trophy at Roses for beginners jive with the ballroom dancing society. I love dancing, I've done it most of my life in some form and I'm hoping to go back to it one day. While this wasn't a great achievement in the great scale of things, it was like a recognition that actually this was something I could kinda do.
4. Teaching Java labs. I got so much help with my undergraduate degree, I really wanted to give something back. When someone said I had really helped them when they were struggling, it was such a warm glow.
5. Giving a presentation in my department that was so packed, people were standing and crowding in the doorway. And feeling confident about my topic, giving a reasonable talk, and achieving some kind of reputation for being the department's authority on this subject.
6. Getting a job at CELT, feeling like there was something I could do, and do well, and felt really appreciated for.
7. Spending many weeks tutoring an international student with dyslexia so that he didn't fail his masters degree. Actually, every time I proof-read something for someone, I love it -- it's something I can do, that I enjoy doing, and that helps someone else. Where's the downside?
8. Helping to run the 'writing for scientists' workshops. For the same reasons as above, but also the feeling of being an 'expert' at something, and making a few people feel better about their own work.
9. My current job. There are times when I feel many people could do it better, but when I go into a school and the kids are saying "this is the best day of my life ever!", or run up and give you all a hug, you really can't help smiling.
10. Seeing my name in print. This was one of my earliest ambitions, and it's feeling like I'm finally getting there. And ok, maybe I'm writing rather poor academic papers rather than bestselling novels, but I'm still writing, and I can't help enjoy that.
...But really, the thing that I'm happiest about is that I have 10 such things to list, and many more, including all the little things like nights spent with friends, meals cooked and jokes shared. I'm looking forward to seeing what life brings in the future.