Last year around this time, I was having lunch with a friend I’ve known since I was 11 or so, and his wife and kids. I hadn’t seen them in quite awhile, since they now live in Kijabe, Kenya, and do very good work. At the end of lunch, when we were hugging goodbye and getting ready to go, Andy said to me, “Next year at this time, you won’t be the same person.” I don’t know if I’m the same or different — I think yes and no to both — but I do know that 2013 has been quite a year.
All years are, they are really something, these collections of days, but 2013 has been one I’ll remember forever, for the good and the bad, though now that I’m here on the very last day, I’m not sure I need to recap. I’ve done a fair bit of recapping already this year. There were big things, like not having cancer but having to go through all the steps necessary to find out that I indeed didn’t have cancer. There was the death of my father, which I guess I’ve made as much peace with as I can — since there wasn’t a funeral or a monument to visit, I decided I needed to come up with something on my own, and found an artist on Etsy who makes jewelry from photographs of handwriting. I’d found, in my old wallet, a note my dad had left on my door one day when he came to see me and I wasn’t home (it didn’t say anything other than his name, along with a phone number and the time he dropped by), and asked her to create a piece from his name. It’s a lovely bracelet now, and reminder that we usually didn’t connect, but we tried.
But like any year, it was mostly small things — going to work and coming home and spending time with friends and spending time alone and going to concerts and going to museums (and being simultaneously irritated and amused by the astounding number of people who walk through galleries with iPads in front of their faces taking photos — let’s face it, they won’t be good photos — of the artworks instead of ever putting them down for a second and, I don’t know, maybe just looking at the art they paid to see, but then everybody enjoys things differently, I suppose) and and and.
And now it’s over.
Tonight, I’m going to a small gathering, and tomorrow will be the first day of 2014. I’m not usually one for making resolutions, at least not at the turn of the calendar, because I think it’s a fairly silly exercise, but I do have a few things I’m looking forward to doing and not doing this coming year.
1. Approach my body with kindness instead of criticism. It’s diet season, and dammit, I am not jumping on that bandwagon in order to spend all of January hungry and grumpy so that I can fall off the wagon in February and hate myself, because that’s already been done, and I’d rather be original. I’ve been fatter and thinner than I am right now (I’m sort of hovering at that weight my body rests at when I mostly don’t eat particularly well or move particularly much), and no matter where I’ve been, I’ve always looked at myself so critically. Everything I’ve done for the physical shape I’m in, all my life, either good or bad, has always come from a negative place, and I realized (while having a little think about how much kale can go fuck itself) that I’m tired of it. I’d like to just take care of myself, not based out of fear of going up a size, but because when I like something, I take care of it, and I should extend that courtesy to myself. And also because I am seriously never giving up chocolate for anything ever, and in my world, eating chocolate is a kindness.
2. Create more. In general, I think I’m a fairly creative person, but this year, my artistic output has been pathetically small. I made a series of photos earlier this year that I like a lot, but otherwise, I haven’t done much. I don’t like that about myself, so I think instead of passively not liking it, I’d rather just make stuff, because ultimately, it’s fun, and I’m a big fan of fun.
Those are two things I think I should work on this coming year, so basically, eat chocolate and write more? Something? I should probably also get better about answering emails, but I say that to myself all the time, and I still suck at answering emails, so I think I might be a lost cause there.
Anyway, maybe I’m a different person than I was last year at this time, and maybe I’m not. Maybe I’ll be a different person next year at this time, and maybe I won’t. I’m not going to put out any projections, like that this coming year is going to be great or amazing or terrible or anything other than a collection of days, but I hope the good will outweigh the bad, that I’ll laugh more than I’ll cry (not that there’s anything wrong with crying, but it does tend to get old), that I’ll make some great memories with the people I love. That’s good, I think.
And I wish the same for you. Happy new year.