I'm Gonna Make It, Through This Year, If It Kills Me

I dated this guy named Sam in high school (as much as it’s possible to date someone in high school when you have a blanket rule to never ever tell your parents about anyone you’re dating. My parents and I function on a kind of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ system when it comes to my romantic life. What they don’t know can’t freak them out) who was kind of a horrible human being, but had an amazing taste in music. He introduced me to a lot of the music I still love today, including my favorite band- the Mountain Goats.

While Sam and I don’t really speak anymore, the Mountain Goats have been a fairly constant presence in my life. Getting to see them in concert at the 9:30 Club last year was a real dream come true, and one of the better, more exhilarating nights of my life.

The Mountain Goats have a song called ‘This Year’ that I am kind of obsessed with. The song has the band’s sort of trademark pessimistic optimism.  The idea that things are rough, but worth fighting for. That times are hard, but there are good people, and good drinks, and road trips to take, and broken hearts to heal with friends who are with you in the places that seem the darkest.

The chorus of the song goes “I’m gonna make it. Through this year. If it kills me.” and repeats and repeats. It’s more of a promise then a lyric. A hope, a wish, a plea. An acknowledgement that times are hard, and things ca be rough, but the end of the hard times need to come eventually.

I’ve had a crazy year. A year of ups and downs and in betweens. Of some of my highest highs ever, but also some of my lowest lows. A year of things I never want to forget, and things I am trying my very hardest to ensure that I don’t remember.

Last New Year’s Eve I was in Chicago with a couple friends from Hiram, watching movies and laughing and feeling very at home in a strange place with familiar people. I brought in the year with hugs and love and much too much mac and cheese.

This New Year’s Eve I’m going to be in Cleveland, in a friend’s apartment, cuddled in to couches in our pajamas, surrounded by the kind of friends who feel like family. Friends who I’ve only become close with this past year, but friends I can’t imagine how I ever managed without.

I turned 21 this year, and spent the day convinced all my friends hated me and the night convinced I couldn’t have friends who loved me more. Sitting alone on the internet, sitting surrounded by friends with homemade cakes and alcohol bought at a Walmart in the middle of nowhere at 11 pm.

I transferred schools this year. I’m still adjusting, but I think I’m doing ok. I miss my friends from Hiram fairly desperately, but I’m making new friends- good friends- at Salisbury. I’m taking interesting classes and writing for the school paper, and photographing campus events. I’m on the executive board of the Hillel and the Campus Democrats and I’m able to walk across campus and see faces I recognize mixed with the faces that I don’t.

I had knee surgery this year. I had my ACL and my Meniscus repaired, but not before spending months on crutches. I was in a lot of pain for a very long time, unable to walk, and even when I could get around, I was so sore by the end of time attempting to walk from class to class that I would just collapse on my bed in tears. I had rashes from the crutches, and tan marks from my giant brace, and those have faded, and been replaced by three small surgical scars. I’m almost walking normally now. I’m a little bit slow, and stairs are still hard, but I can do it. I can make it.

I took on a new job at camp this summer. The summer was emotional and weird and fun and hard, and so different from any other summer I’ve spent there before. This was my 13th summer at camp, but it opened my eyes in brand new ways. I worked hard this summer. Really, really hard. I wrote programs and helped staff, and ran from corner of the grounds to corner of the grounds to drop off supplies with an alarming frequency. I made new friends, and spent great times with old ones, I gave an obscene amount of hugs and wore ridiculous coustumes, I did water Zumba with 10 year olds, taught 12 year olds how to make pita, and taught 15 year olds the importance of tradition and culture when it comes to Jewish food. I taught new songs, and led services, and had a summer that was different and exciting. It was hard, but sometimes the hard things are what help you grow.

This year I’ve climbed mountains. I staffed NFTY convention. I worked tech for plays and made friends and write paper after paper and blog post after blog post. I got a new camera, and took pictures that I’m proud of, that I got to see hanging up in friend’s rooms and feel a swell of pride. I’ve written front page stories, and tweeted dumb jokes. I’ve read great books, and horrible magazines. I’ve gone to some really incredible concerts.

I’m embracing the up and the down. I’m embracing the years I’ve lived and the life I lead. I’m embracing this year. Even if it kills me. 

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