The best of years and the worst of years

2009 has been a very odd year for me, a year of many highs and extreme lows. Of trials and triumph, of hurt and pain, of joy and euphoria, of sorrow and misery, and of anticipation and expectation. And while the fifty words I have written as an introduction may be nothing more than cliché they compactly summarise my feelings at the end of one of the most dramatic years of my short life.

My year started in January (as all years do in the Gregorian calendar); at the time I was exhausted after a year of intense stress serving as President of the Students’ Association at University. The experience of student politics had left me very bitter and in a way messed up. I was in a state where I wanted to be left alone to my own devices and at the time I was actively working to avoid people and block out the year before. I managed to find some space and time to myself in the middle of Parachute music festival in late January. It is ironic that I can find solace in the middle of 30,000 people but sometimes being around people but not knowing people can be a good form of rehabilitation.

February was a much more exciting month. I spent a number of afternoons and evenings perched on the top of North Head watching America’s Cup Class yachts race in the Auckland Harbour for the first time in more than five years. Later in the month I left NZ for the first time in my life to spend two days holidaying in Melbourne. While I was over there I set myself a goal of moving to Australia to study in 2010 (a goal that I am pleased to have achieved). However, February was also the start of an intense drama in my life that carried on as a drawn out and ridiculous soap opera until mid December. For the last two years I have been going out with on and off with Malaysian Girl. However, I was not comfortable with this and after picking Malaysian Girl up from Auckland Airport at 5am one morning after flying back from holiday I explained that I was sick of the games and I wanted things to either be going out or not going out. Unfortunately for me I was not firm enough and the games continued for another 11 months.

The memories of March, April, and May are all lost in a blur. In March I started my honours degree and for the semester I put my head down and didn’t lift it to breathe again until June.

June will be remembered most for the marks that I achieved on my first semester papers. Although I have always been relatively smart and typically get good grades I have never been a straight A student, however, this changed in June when my marks for my first semester came back with 2 A+ and 1 A grade. To celebrate I went skiing at my happy place, Mt Ruapehu. The first day of skiing was in typical Whakapapa misty shit, but the second day was a beautiful bluebird day on the slopes of Turoa after 10cm of overnight snow fell.

July saw university restart for Semester Two and the rest is a blur.

August was the beginning of the end for any friendship or future with Malaysian Girl. As mentioned I was not firm enough with stopping the game playing back in February and by August it got to the ridiculous situation where I was being played off against someone else of closer ethnicity. I didn’t have a hope and within two weeks of being told that Chinese Boy was on the radar I was flicked off like an ant that tried to follow the wrong pheromone trail for far too long. This left me in a state of intense distress and the pain of how I was treated by someone who I really cared about still leaves a bitter aftertaste even now. August also saw a nice weekend away in Christchurch skiing at Porters Ski Area where I rocketed down a 400m vertical double black diamond run, not once, but twice, it is an awesome way to get the adrenaline pumping and one of the absolute highlights of my year.

In comparison to the hell of August, September was like being in another world. Early in the month I was successful in being awarded a travel grant to fly to Sydney to visit University New South Wales (UNSW). Having spent the last five years studying at the awesome but tiny Albany campus of Massey University the experience was eye opening. I also began an ill-fated relationship with West Auckland Girl.

October was a month where the hell of August began to set back in. As the end of the semester and exams drew near I began to have nasty panic attacks (something I have been fighting for two years). In an urgent bid to get my head back I decided at 2am one morning to drive to my happy place, Mt Ruapehu for a day of skiing, this was great until a) I hurt my leg and b) four days later the panic attacks were back with a vengeance. October also opened my eyes to just how bad an employer can treat a staff member and after my workplace fired a staff member and close friend on the basis of unsubstantiated and circumstantial claims shit really hit the fan. On the morning before one of my final exams I had a massive panic attack which spelt the end of my part time work, but fortunately for me I somehow aced the test.

If there was one month that was a bellweather indicator of the rest of the year it would be November. The main stress of the month was getting my thesis complete and handed in on time. No easy task when your supervisor is on the other side of the world and because of all the dramas of August and October in particular there had been little progress on it since July. In the midst of the stress was the ending of my relationship with West Auckland Girl – the second breakup in 4 months, and when I have had less than 5 serious relationships in my life it was quite a blow. However, the good thing to come from the month was starting to play summer Hockey. I am completely useless at team sports – especially ones that involve hand and eye coordination so I was stoked to score a goal in my second ever game (and since then have only scored one more).

The final month of the year, December was by far the best, all because of a few simple words: “first class honours” and “full PhD scholarship”. Despite all the trials, challenges, pain, and torment the year had thrown at me I had made it through with a few battle scars and a massive piece of treasure at the end. In hindsight there are things that I would have done differently, there are still many things that I am very bitter about, and there are things that I am sorry about, however, in saying that you cannot celebrate the good times until you have first felt the pain and suffering of the bad times. Now the question is what does the new start in life hold?