A long December
And there's reason to believe
Maybe this year
Will be better than the last

Bryan and Ken and I were sitting around last night at my place. They had taken a bike ride together and stopped by. I like that people just stop by now; it makes me feel less alone when I'm at home. Eventually we got to talking about the upcoming year. For each of us, this last year has been pretty crazy, lots of drama and relocation, several revelations about love. Still, I can't say we have collectively gained much ground.

Ken is one of the few people that I care about that I don't really worry about. He laughs when I say this, and I'm not sure why, if maybe he wished he were someone to wonder about. He is still looking for jobs aggressively, which is how Ken approaches many things in his life, a determination and tenacity I envy. Ken didn't really comment on the question about the year. I imagine he can't really see the future unless there's a job in it, and I can completely understand that.

Bryan has more, I think, to look for, but like me he's not really sure what that is. He has a blank canvas and seems to care less about love, about having someone to share it with. Unlike me, he's been much more fatalistic about relationships. He will soon be between apartments, looking for work, trying to see if he will make the attempt to stay here. I'm not sure how long either of them will last, simply because I never know who will last around here.

One thing that Bryan said that make me think was, "In all the time you've been here, Laura, have things ever been easy for you?" Well, that's a simple question to answer. But again, most of the struggle has been my choices, the decisions that have hemmed me in. When I first got here, all I wanted to do was survive, so I had countless roommates, numerous thankless and low paying jobs. If that had been enough, I could likely have had it much easier. But I was running away from loan officers, debt collectors, and my past. In order to face them, I had to own up to things. People may say that is wise, but really it's just what you should do. If I didn't feel things looming over me, if I didn't firmly believe there is more in store for me, I could just get a nowhere job and live for the weekend. I've seen it in everyone's lives here, people who are content to be where they are or seeming so.

I tell him the brief synopsis of my 6 years here. Byran's eye widened. Before all the drama started to unfold here, Bryan and I seldom got to talk. He was always working and Suzy was always more available. I remember the night Suzy and Bryan got here and how we talked till almost 5am, and that I was mostly talking to Bryan. Now the circle has shifted. It used to be just me on the periphery, with Ken hanging out with Suzy and Bryan and Carson, not knowing how long any of them would be here, wanting to see as much of them as possible. Now Ken and Bryan keep tabs on me, now that Carson is finally gone and Suzy, well, being a bit separated for obvious reasons. I am surprised to find she's decided to stay in town but not surprised that she will be staying at Carson's place for the time being. We are still postulating where Bryan will go.

It's funny. When we were 2 couples, it always felt like a struggle to hang out together, whether it was schedules or whether things were being said in confidence from one SO to another. Once the breakups began, everyone began to speak and hang out more freely. Perhaps seeing another couple caused people to think about what they'd ended up in and how they felt about it. In many ways, I was oblivious to it. I was happy, and I thought I had a right to be.

I look at my own year ahead of me, my plans. So far, my goals are to get that stupid gym membership I've been whining about, quit smoking, and attend my high school reunion. During that six months, I will try to see Ted as much as I can. Depending on where I am once the summer starts, I'm hoping to set some money aside and get into some classes to finalize my certification so that I can look for teaching postions. In some ways I want to run right out and do it now, but I don't think I'm in the right state of mind to do it at this point. I am willing to coast in my job, get whatever promotions and experience I can, and walk out this new relationship, for the first half of the year. I used to think half a year was a long time, but I am slowly realizing that time is what you make of it. You can either spend it working to build things in your life or coasting off instant gratification. I think I've seen a bit of both, and both can bite you on the ass.

It's December and still only 60 outside. I have all the windows open. It's hard to look back on the year, to reflect in view of so many changes. I made many changes and many changes made me. I can't say what of it I regret, really. I also can't say if I invite drama by attaching myself to whirlwind people. To a point, I want stability, I want to be able to rely on certain things; if anything, I know I can rely on myself to hang in there. I am one of those who figure love into everything, the warmth of friends, having someone special to share my life with. I realized that in view of the breakup that I really wasn't going to get what I wanted in the relationship, and that that was no one's fault, really. I look at being with Ted, albiet long distance for the time being, and I have hope. He is willing, already, to do what it takes to make this happen, and already I believe he will. It is nice to not have to wonder what the other person is thinking, where I stand in their minds, whether I am counted among things of value. No one likes guessing those things or wants to need them so much as to overtake everything else. No one likes to be found wanting.