I’m a bit ambivalent about New Year’s Eve. I’ve never done it very well. In past years I’ve tried too hard and been disappointed. Or steadfastly ignored it, going to bed long before midnight. But this time of year never fails to make me reflective. Never fails to get me pondering the year that’s passed.
This year has been a diamond. I needed this year. This year I have earned and outwardly accomplished less than possibly any year in my adult life. But it’s been golden. A vintage year. One to cherish, enjoy and wallow in.
It’s been a year of meaning, of getting lost and letting go. It’s been a year of daring, of growing, of reaching out – of watching, observing and revelling. I’m less able than I’ve ever been to say for sure what it is I “do” – and I’m more comfortable with than I ever thought I could be.
I’ve been more lost than I thought I could bear to be. Yet I’m still heading somewhere. Definitely not where I thought I’d be heading, but somewhere nonetheless.
I’ve looked some shame in the eye – I’ve given a voice to it, rather than swallowing it down. I’ve looked fear in the face too – a good many times. I’ve learnt from that – I’ve learnt a ton. I’ve been breathless with it. Paralysed at times.
It’s been a year in which I’ve learnt to ask, in the face of challenge, what’s the lesson here? I’ve learnt to sit and not know. I’ve learnt to sit in the spiky discomfort of uncertainty and wait to see what emerges. And every time – every single bloody time, something emerges. Every time the struggle has pushed me to an unwelcome edge. Every time the tears have flowed, or despair has raged – a glimmer has emerged.
It’s such a different end to the year. Such a change. Such a difference. It’s nothing like I thought it would be. Because it’s better. It’s richer. It’s more joyful. Even though there’s fewer answers. Less outward security. More risk. A heap more vulnerability than I’ve ever dared acknowledge before. Yet it’s the end to a year I could never have even dreamed of. The end to a year that leaves me more peaceful, more grateful, and brave enough to feel hopeful about what’s to come in the next.
This year, like any other, has had its challenges. Some of them have been a little bigger than I’d have liked. My life’s no shinier, no more or less perfect than it was before. I think I’m just looking at it through slightly different eyes.
I’ve adopted a ton of mantras this year. I hope I’ll adopt a ton more in 2014. Hands down my favourite comes from Leonard Cohen, and it’s with this beautiful truth in mind that I’ll welcome in the New Year:
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
I hope the light gets into your year. Albeit through the cracks.