2009 retrospective

Steve has both inspired me and quieted me. I loved his year in review article and thought maybe I should write my own. But his life is my life, and he had done his review so comprehensively and charmingly that I figured I could just point you on over there.

And so I am.

I thought I'd go for looking back at the decade, since Steve covered 2009 and I've enjoyed hearing other people's stories of where they were ten years ago. I would normally be writing my year-end summary and New Year's resolutions in my journal, but I had a brief glimpse of it the other day in some random box, and then it got swallowed by the general chaos of our lives again, so here I journal instead, in front of God and everybody.

So where was I in 1999?

I had been married a year and a half.

I lived in an apartment in Northwest Indiana.

We worked from home, Steve for The Bible League and I in a half-hearted attempt to be a freelance editor. I hadn't yet written a novel, but I was making money doing something English degree-ish.

My personal writing was more haphazard and just whatever I felt like writing at the time.

I had two gerbils, named after a goofy college in-joke.

I still have that shower curtain and those towels. We had asked for the towels on our wedding registry, but no one bought them, so we went out and bought them ourselves. Unlike some of our other impulsive, post-wedding purchases, I still greatly enjoy both of these.

On New Year's Eve 1999, we went to a communion service at Crossroads Church, which met at a middle school in those days.

We had hoped to ring in the new year taking communion, but the service was at 5 or 6, to allow people to attend parties or put kids to bed. So we went and bought our own wine and bread and had our own service at midnight. First steps toward a home church?

I had an unfortunate haircut.

It was supposed to be a glamorous 1920s bob. But when you let Great Cuts loose on your hair, you get what you pay for. I should also point out that glamorous 1920s bangs work better when you don't have seventeen cowlicks.

Steve had small hair and big glasses and wore oversized clothes.

I was 23 and a half years old.

I had no fashion sense.

I had dyed my hair blond for the first time that year.

I didn't really know what to do with it.

I still had hope that someday soon I would outgrow my ugly duckling phase and become a beautiful twenty-something swan. I think we probably peaked around 28 in terms of any coolness we hoped to achieve, and I expect it's downhill from here on out. And, yet, I hope I at least am more confident and put-together now than I was a decade ago, if not youthfully beautiful and stunningly sophisticated, goals I never did manage.

I was among the first bloggers, even though I didn't yet know the term. I would link to my earliest blogs, but most are defunct. SteveandAmanda.com in its current incarnation remains, though it has changed much since then.

We had written a Christmas letter telling everyone how much nothing had changed in the past year.

I was still considering seminary.

I had visited my new home but could only hope and dream and plan to go through with moving there.

Things that are different now: new place, new child, new cat, new career, new church, new writing, new self.

Sometimes I feel like I haven't accomplished much, and the like the years post-college have just flown by, but when I look at it spread out like this, I can see how ten years have passed and how much has filled them.

I am so much more grown up. That has to count for something, right? Look how mushy and unformed I was a decade ago. Cute and naive and adorable and hopeless. I know who I am now. I know what I want for the most part, even if I'm not sure how to get there, or always want to put the work in.

Contradictorily, having a child and constraints on my time has made me a more prolific writer, and more determined to use the time I have.

Case in point, Corin is coming down the stairs, singing off-key, and I am signing off. Happy looking back to you and to me, and happy looking forward.

What will the next decade bring?


Steven Lansingh said... Best Blogger Tips

We looked so goofy ten years ago! Selective memory made me think more kindly. :) That was a great trip back in time, and you're right that so much has changed in what seems to be no time at all.

Courtney said... Best Blogger Tips

How fun to hear about your life 10 years ago! And what a privilege it is to know you now when you have figured out who you are and what you want out of life--it gives me hope that I may get there eventually as well. See, this is the advantage of being friends with people who are a few years ahead of me. I get to tell myself, "It's okay that I'm not this or that because I still have a few years!" And you get to make fun of me for still being mushy and unformed :o).

Amanda L. Caldwell said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, silly Courtney. You know very well you're not mushy and unformed. You are one of the most formed people I know. I would say mature and self-aware, but that might sound like a veiled insult.

Steve: I'm glad you've been through it all with me!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

somehow I missed this when you posted it - thank you for sharing such a poignant overview. Your path from there to here continues to impress me as I learn more about it.

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