Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year: 2013 in Review

I don't know how you're starting off 2014, but I started my new year watching Juno - that's right, a movie about angsty teenage pregnancy. All of the sudden I am hyper-aware of the weird words and phrases my generation uses on a regular basis like "hells yeah", and Juno just referred to music as "tunage". I'm sure it makes Charles Dickens roll over in his grave and makes Hemingway roll over and take a shot. 

I digress. 2013 was not exactly a fairytale year, but life certainly does not guarantee that each year will be a linear trajectory toward happiness. Happiness is more this amorphous thing that zigs and zags and rollercoasters around, and it takes a little courage to undergo that exploration. Courage is something I've never been too sure I possess. You see, when years are "happy", there's no real reason to self-reflect or ask yourself the hard questions. But 2013 was filled with hard questions. You remember. I took you along on many of those emotional journeys. The first quarter of my year was spent studying like a mad woman for the bar exam, but remember how excited I was when I passed? That was a wonderful triumphant moment. During the same time, I was training for the Germantown Half Marathon to redeem my 2012 experience and prove to myself that being Diabetic doesn't prevent me from accomplishing great things. Remember when I finished under my goal time? That was another triumphant moment. I mean, I even got to attend the Grammy Awards and watch my favorite band of all time perform and take home album of the year. Spring and summer were spent trying to get pregnant, searching for a house, finding a house, and changing jobs. I welcomed these changes. After all, I was living the plan - career + home + family. That is the magic formula, right?

Not exactly. I didn't think I was on a rollercoaster until things started moving in unexpected directions. The last five months of 2013 did not follow any plan of mine. In August, just two short weeks after moving into a new house, I received a phone call that I ignored because I was trying to take a nap. When I received the second call, I figured I should answer it. That's the moment I learned that David Santucci had been shot and killed in downtown Memphis. You remember, because I shared with you the emotional story just a few days later. The following weeks involved a series of gatherings with my friends designed to process David's passing together. While it was one of the most emotionally trying times of my life, it was the also the most beautiful display of friendship I could have experienced. In a stark contrast to the sadness, I found out I was pregnant. I've never experienced more emotions in one two-week period in my entire life. I was excited and nervous. Distracted and nervous. Determined, yet nervous. Well, you all remember how that panned out because I shared it with you. The year continued to take unexpected twists and turns that triggered intense contemplation of my own happiness in this life I had been so busily planning for myself.

It's 2014. I can safely say that I'm okay saying adios to 2013, but I also think its challenges have served me well in terms of personal growth. I've learned that I am capable of overcoming things - physical challenges, academic challenges, and emotional challenges. I think David would be proud of everything we have done in light of his passing to spread kindness throughout the city. He would be proud of his friends. He has become the glue that holds us together in many ways. As for my miscarriage, I quickly learned to place that within the context of my life and accept that it was for the best at that time. I've made peace with it. I have a great job and great people in my life, and my biggest new year's resolution this year is to appreciate those two simplicities. I've told you before how much I love renewal, second chances, and starting over.

 I challenge you this year to learn to cut yourself some slack. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Appreciate what is in front of you without neglecting the lessons drawn from what you leave behind. The tough times, though unwelcome, are the revolutionary times. They are the times to ask yourself the hard questions and muster the courage to embrace the answers you might find. Don't worry if you're not living the life you predicted you would live. I, for one, am discovering that the things about which I am most excited are the things I couldn't have predicted in a million years. I look at 2014 and I see opportunities to redefine happiness. That is the scariest, most beautiful thing I could never have planned for myself.

Cheers & Happy New Year :)

PS -  I promise more fashion in 2014. Promise.

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