Now that my "book entry" posts are done I figure I'd give you some back story on not only "Jenniac", but also on my tumultuous 24th year...well technically 25th because your birthday is really the anniversary of your birth, so turning 25 will mark the beginning of my 26th year on earth. Sorry I tend to go on tangents a lot, get used to it. Back to Jenniac, it was a nickname my dad gave me when I was little. He used to sing that 80s song "She's a Maniac" to me, but instead sing "She's a Jenniac." I started using Jenniac for things when I was a freshmen in high school as my screenname, so I've been Jenniac in a sense for a little over 10 years, crazy! Many of my friends think I used Jenniac because it rhymed with the name of my undergrad, which yes I am obsessed with, but it was just purely strange coincidence that it rhymed. So there you have it.
I also really enjoy Jenniac because it's like a mini tribute to my dad who passed away in November unexpectedly at 58 years old. Let's rewind, just a few months prior to my 24th birthday I graduated with my masters, I moved to Texas to work at a college there and be close to my dad who was only 2 hours away in Dallas. I moved to a new town to start my first full time job ever which was exciting and stressful all at the same time, but my dad was close so I felt okay about everything. My actual 24th birthday was a lot of fun. I went home to New York and spent the day in the city. My sister I went to see the matinee of Rent which had the original Roger and Mark in it - Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp. Being a big Renthead it was really exciting. Then I met with a ton of my friends at an awesome Chinese Restaurant on the Upper West Side to celebrate my 24th birthday and one of my best friend's 25th birthday. This Chinese place served free wine... dangerously amazing. Then we went out and had good times in NYC...not that I remember all of it, but hey it was my birthday. I thought since I had such a great birthday, I'd have a great year too. Well I thought wrong.
Once I get back to Texas my social life picked up, but so did work. I wasn't the biggest fan of my boss and I was loving my job as much as I hoped I would. In late October I was at a conference in Dallas and I was presenting with my boss, who totally talked over me and treated me like a grad student. I was so mad I couldn't function. I actually met up with my dad after my presentation to calm me down. He was always so good at that. I was lucky while I was in Dallas for the conference I saw my dad on 3 separate occasions. Then a few weeks later he came to visit me and we had a great time together, I remember everything about that day. Little did I know exactly a week later my dad would pass away (more on that later). Well from there I pretty much fell apart and sunk deeper and deeper into a depression. So much so I didn't even recognize myself sometimes. Slowly in about late April I started to come out of it, maybe it's because in late April - my dad's birthday to be exact - I interviewed for my dream job. Lucky for my I got the dream job and started in June. I needed to make some changes in my life. I needed to leave Texas because it was so hard being there without him. I wanted to be a job I loved and where I felt appreciated. Good things have been happening left and right in my life the past few months.
Actually last night I was thinking about how happy I am and how I can't believe I could be this happy after the year I've had. I got to thinking about my dad - who I think of often, as a matter of fact a picture of him is on my computer as I type this - I thought about how this is my first birthday without my dad. I thought about how heavy that notion was. Someone who was half responsible for my very existence is no longer alive. I knew the day that he died a part of my died too. Sadly I started thinking about how much of me did die with him. So many early stories about me growing up, so many inside jokes, so many things that were to happen in the future. My life through my father's eyes died and that is really really sad - I'm crying now even as I type it. My first birthday without my dad will be for sure a cathartic one, like so many others firsts without him have been. I only hope it gets easier, but the fact it's so hard just means that I love so much that it makes everything so hard...so strangely I do find some comfort with that. Rest in Peace Daddy 4.25.49 - 11.18.07 I love you and thanks for the Jenniac nickname I truly treasure it.