Some time ago, in the middle of summer it may have been, back when there was heat in Wisconsin and I still worked at a place that ate my soul, I walked out one night to a road not far from our apartment, a silent and rarely-driven road, and I lay down in the middle of it. There were stars out, the kind of clear points of light that seem to lead you somewhere. The kind of clear points of light that are so much brighter down in the southern hemisphere.
I lay there for minutes or maybe hours and I thought.
2015 has been the best year of my life so far. It has also and not coincidentally been the most difficult. For the first six months of this year, I was surrounded by the people I love, studying ideas that I loved, and in the best relationship of my life. I knew absolutely who I was and where I was going. For the past six months, I’ve felt absolutely un-moored, a diver at sea who no longer knows which direction is up. I went through a messy and complicated break-up (my bad), quit my first job out of college, and had multiple serious break-downs. At one point the therapist I was seeing at the time asked me, “Who are you?” and all I could think of to say was, “A sad girl.”
But that isn’t who I am. I am a writer. I am a fixed point of light. I am a believer in the greatness of humanity for all its flaws and short-comings. I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a champion. I am my best self and my worst self, controlled by inner demons, riddled with inner light. I am learning from every mistake I make and growing from every obstacle adulthood places in my path.
In 2015 I was broken and defeated and I was resplendent and triumphant. I walked across a stage to accept the culmination of four years of hard work, and I cried alone in my office with no one around to hear me. I ran down a steep hillside straight into the Pacific Ocean and I lay down in the middle of a road in Wisconsin. I was alive and numb and hurting and growing.
In 2016 I will do all this and more. I will travel the country again. I will move cities again. I will start new jobs and make new friends and hopefully see the old ones as much as possible.
The things I’ve learned: I love people, I receive the most joy when I can be outward facing rather than inward facing; I am strong but most of the time my strength comes from my friends and family; I am not motivated by money although I don’t mind having it around; when I act out of emotion I end up hurting other people; blackbirds can be territorial; I love biology; I love recommending books to others; I love being painfully and stupidly alive.
It has been a year, an idiotic, cruel, and amazing year. What a terrible year, what a beautiful year. Let’s make 2016 better. Let’s be kinder. Let’s be less judgmental and more forgiving. Let’s be our best selves. Always.
Let’s look up into the clear sky, with the pavement against our backs and the wind in the trees, and become the people we were meant to be.