I am no Pollyanna, barely even hopeful most of the time. I try to dwell somewhere in the realm of realism and function best when my sense of humor, if not the absurd, stays firmly intact. But, as 2013 draws to a close, like many, I tend to reminisce and become a tad introspective.
To make this exercise a largely positive one, I thought about listing all that was good about 2013, all that was affirming, noteworthy, and ultimately memorable. I scanned my calendar and felt fortunate that I could come up with a hearty, if not incomplete, list. But as I started to write, it became apparent that for everything that was good about the outgoing year, there was plenty that was not.
And it would have been easy, so easy, to stubbornly inhabit that space—to focus on the negative as I squarely kicked 2013 out the door, determinedly declaring “good riddance.”
But I don’t want to bid adieu to 2013’s challenges. The challenges of 2013, indeed of every year previous and every year to come, are what define me, what make me better, stronger, smarter. A life of nothing but pleasure and ease, while perhaps initially intoxicating, is not a life.
We are here to learn and to grow and to become the best versions of ourselves possible; and to do that, I believe, we can’t always get what we want when we want it; it means that sometimes we are dealt a hand we weren’t expecting, never even saw coming. It means we have to struggle and to cry and to feel pain and negotiate loss.
So, I will not start 2014 with a belief that it will be the best year ever—because it won’t be. It will be a year, like every other year, with a balance of tears and laughter, sickness and health, struggles and comfort. Some moments may be devastating and some may be astounding. But if I am lucky, it will be a year of learning and growing; and instead of seeing the new year as a “fresh start,” I hope what I have learned will ultimately help to shape what comes next and that I will carry 2013’s lessons with me.
I am here and you are here. To 2014, a year like and paradoxically unlike any other, and to all it holds and can hold—the good, the bad, and everything in between.