This Wednesday marks, in my opinion, a rather inauspicious anniversary. I'm sure plenty of people would disagree with me calling this occasion inauspicious, and I respect that. I'm talking about the beginning of the Iraq War: March 19th, 2003. Since those first bombs hit, Saddam Hussein has been tried and executed; President Bush has been re-elected (good Lord); and a historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination this year could result in a fractured political party.
I'm not terribly interested in using this space as a political soapbox, but I do find myself wondering how the lives of everyday Iraqis have changed during this time. That I can read about. Instead of writing about it, I've decided to behave like a typical self-involved American and steer clear of politics by looking at how my own life compares with what it was in March 2003.
Employment. Early spring 2003 saw me holding what I thought was the best job of my career. While it did provide me with a very good resume line, the job was far from perfect. For one thing, I worked for an incredibly dysfunctional company. For another, I was growing increasingly bored. When I went to my 15-year high school reunion that May, I found myself a little embarrassed to tell my former classmates what I did for a living. Well, I didn't have to be embarrassed for long; I was fired from that job at the end of the year. Now I work in the same industry but in a significantly better position. My current job also isn't perfect, but it's better. On every level.
Body. Oh, the glory days of 2003. I was so thin. I'm hardly fat now, but I was in incredibly good shape five years ago. I had lost a chunk of weight in late 2002 (due to depression, but whatever; I'm over it now), and before I could gain it back, I began working with personal trainers. Nine months of training combined with a newfound love of jogging and a much better diet than the one I currently maintain rendered me about 12 pounds lighter than I am today. Plus, I was much leaner. At least I still love running and my gym. And I still look good, if a bit curvier.
Boys. As the Iraq War began, I was dating a geologist eight years my junior. For some reason, I did a lot of shopping for men in the junior section that year. This particular gentleman and I had met just over a month before at a Valentine's Day party. I had volunteered, along with my friend Marissa, to man the party's kissing booth. It seemed like a good idea until I actually had to kiss a couple of guys. I quickly realized how horrible making out with totally random strangers can be. Ick. The geologist wandered over, and I latched on to him in an effort to scare off kissing booth Romeos. Happily, it worked, and the geologist and I hit it off. We didn't date very long, and it never got at all serious. In fact, I think it was over by late April or so when he faded away without actually telling me he'd lost interest. Typical, but the geologist was still a nice fellow. I stayed in touch with him off and on for about six months after we stopped going out, but I have no idea where he is now or what he may be doing. I should hit Google and look him up. I'll do that if I ever remember his last name. Had I been asked back then, I probably would have guessed that I'd be married by now or at least in a serious relationship. Not so much, so I guess my love life is pretty much the same as it was five years ago. Except that the boys and I are all older.
Home. I live in the same apartment that I did in 2003. I still love it, but the building, as a whole, is a little worse for wear. It was sold that September, and the new owners are not very good at fixing things or keeping up with improvements. I'd move, but I love my little home. Besides, rents have shot up in the last year, and I probably can't afford to live anywhere else.
Okay, that's all I can think of. I know my experiences pale in comparison with what the Iraqis and American soldiers serving in Iraq are going through. Let's just hope that we can soon mark the anniversary of the end of this war.