Back when I was a kid (and by kid, I mean 20), old people (and by old people I mean 35 year olds) used to tell me that the older you get, the faster the years go by. I smiled politely and waited for them to leave for the early bird special at Coco’s. Unfortunately, now that I’ve turned the corner on old age, I’ve realized that their wisdom of the ages is painfully true. The years have started to fly by like the strobe lights on Space Mountain. But what those geezers didn’t tell me is that while the years pass with an increasing rapidity, they also seem to contain more. Not more “stuff” (though stuff accumulation is something I struggle with), but more meaning, more memories, more laughter, more tears, more depth.
I’ve never been a big “new year, new chances, new choices” kind of person. Fall has traditionally been my time of self-reckoning. I think New Year’s resolutions are generally a recipe for bad self esteem (admittedly, that might have something to do with my impressive lack of follow thru). But as this New Year approaches, I’m struck by how this one feels somehow different. Maybe it’s just that I felt this year more than past years. Maybe the more years I get, the more I appreciate each one. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the tequila.
This year, more than any other I can remember, I’ve laughed so hard I never thought I’d catch my breath. I’ve been overcome with such profound sadness it’s felt like nothing short of drowning. I’ve been content and restless and my heart has been so full of happy it actually felt as though it might burst. I left the first house I shared with B and celebrated the holidays in our new home with (most of) our nearest and dearest.
This year, my beautiful sister-in-law married a great guy on a balmy night in March. My best friend and I got to see each other twice in one year! Too many friends to count made tiny humans and the heavens received a new angel. I left a whirlwind trip back east with fresh perspective, a soundtrack in my head, and, after almost two decades of dormancy, a rekindled friendship that is one of the highlights of my year. It’s amazing the things you find when you’re not looking.
This year, I looked in the mirror and really saw the years. The millions of smiles and the hours of laughter buried in the wrinkles around my eyes. The late nights and early mornings. The red-eye flights and too much wine. The amazing summers spent lifeguarding and lounging without the company of my friend SPF. Everyone (including me) complains about wrinkles or aging from time to time, but there is a lot of living reflected in our faces (and hands, and bodies) if we take the time to appreciate it. This year, I did. I do.
This year, a new love helped heal a broken heart:
This year, I met famous people:
This year, I felt at home on an island:
This year, I took a metal chicken on a road trip:
This year, I took a whole lot of photos of things that made me say “what the CRAP?!”:
This year, I saw the sun rise and set on the Atlantic and Pacific:
I think there was some cooking and baking in there too.
As the sun sets on 2012 I leave you with all the cliches (though I actually mean them). May 2013 bring you peace, laugh lines, balance and love. Hug the people you care about. Say “I love you” often and without reservation (to people you love, not strangers…that might get you arrested). Slow down. Life is short, difficult, and wonderful. Enjoy the ride.
And the bubbles.