I spent the last few nights of 2014 staring wide-eyed, unseeing, under a 1970’s ceiling fan in my childhood bedroom.
On pain medications.
and the days and the nights will pass, and still, there will be silence, but for the screaming caricatures of you
A rare bout of insomnia had settled in my skin, and I couldn’t seem to rid myself of an uncomfortable prickling every time I reflected on the year.
2014 contained some of the most difficult, and rewarding, moments of my life. And finally, at its end, I felt as if I had been slammed into confronting everything at once, as if the shift into 2015 signaled the end of my allocated time to neatly package and compartmentalize all of 2014’s complications with glittering Christmas bows and shiny boxes. That’s it, time to move on.
As a society, we seem to have fostered this “out with the old, in with the new” mentality. A New Year is a Blank Slate – a time for possibility, for hope, for resolutions, for moving on from the past.
Along with millions of others, I have made my resolutions, and am eagerly awaiting this coming year’s adventures. But I believe I’m not alone in thinking that this January obsession with the “Fresh Start” chops up our lives into awkward, incomplete segments.
For those of us unable to compartmentalize – and, thus, sleep – the Blank Slate can become an impending deadline – not fresh, but threatening.
2014 has been a year of confrontation and adaptation. I’ve never been good at either one, and while I love change, I’m admittedly quite uncomfortable and a little sassy during transition periods of my life. We don’t mesh well. 2014 made me learn how to mesh, much to my displeasure.
As I discussed in my One Year Blogging Post, I didn’t plan on moving back to Milwaukee. I had expected to be in grad school, and had been caught in bureaucratic hell that largely prevented my expected move to London.
2014 was also the year I rode camels across the Sahara Desert for the first time. I explored the forest where the Grimm Brothers lived, my mom and I shopped our way through Paris for a week, my best friends and I picnicked all over Paris, my two college best friends visited me, we finally said goodbye to Joffrey, I made it to Canada for a necessary lighthearted girl’s getaway weekend, and finally, at 2014’s end, everything seemed to settle. With new relationships, new friends, and exciting 2015 adventures planned, Milwaukee finally became home again.
And now, of course, I’m about to leave, but that’s a post for another time.
I would never label 2014 as particularly “bad,” just challenging, and with 2015 approaching, I realized I couldn’t package it all away with everybody else. I would never compartmentalize and move forward into the new year with my blank slate; instead, I’m carrying a mess of torn wrapping paper and lopsided bows into 2015. But I do have resolutions, plans, hopes, and grand ideas for the new year – and they will all be rightfully colored by the memories I’m simply not ready to let go of.
I couldn’t have possibly predicted I’d be here a year ago, and the year before that, I couldn’t have possibly predicted I’d be celebrating New Year’s Eve with my best friends in London. All I can hope for, and wish upon you, is that the year is filled with love, risk, and exploration, just as mine was. 2014 may have been a complicated mess, but it was my complicated mess, and that in it of itself is something to be grateful for.
Instead of recapping everywhere I’ve been this year, as I already did that to remember my one year blogging, I’d simply like to remember where I was a year ago. I will look forward, but for now, as my final farewell to the year that brought me around the world and home again, here’s a snapshot of my life in early 2014.