I felt the need to post some sort of deep reflection, a look-back on 2012 and look-ahead to 2013. I mean, I have a blog, and you’re supposed to write shit like that on blogs, right? The truth is, I don’t have a ton of well-formed thoughts about the past year of my life or any concrete goals and dreams about the coming one. New Year’s has never actually been a huge thing for me. I mean, yeah, it’s cool to mark the start of another year of the earth and I respect people for forming resolutions and aiming to better themselves when the year begins, but…what’s so special about January 1st? Why can’t you aim for self improvement any day of the year? If you want to change something in your life, just do it. Does it have to be some sort of ritual, drenched in the frills of some lame New Year’s Eve party?
(Speaking of which, can we all just agree that New Year’s Eve always sucks? I remember watching a How I Met Your Mother episode about this, and it’s so true. We get these high hopes about a night filled with sparkly dresses, never-ending champagne, warm fuzzies with friends, and magical midnight kisses, but it never lives up to the hype. Every time I’ve made exciting plans for NYE, they’ve come crashing down in one way or another. This year, I’m hanging out at my parents’ house, snuggling my dogs, drinking wine, and — let’s face it — potentially even going to bed before the ball drops at midnight, and I couldn’t be happier at these prospects. Simple, relaxed, easy. The perfect way to ring in 2013.)
But all criticisms about New Year’s aside, I guess I will do a little bit of reflecting. Yesterday, I finally got to catch up with my best friend, who lives across the country, and whom I hadn’t really talked to in depth in several weeks. When the topic of New Year’s came up, she simply said (forgive the vulgarity, because this is a direct quote), “Yeah, 2012 can suck my dick.” I laughed, but in all honesty, I think I agreed with her. Sure, 2012 certainly wasn’t the worst year it could have been, but at best, it was a weird one. It had this strange mix of consistency and confusion for me. I finished out my first year at my first post-undergrad job, a job which I genuinely enjoy and feel good about. Then I worked at the same summer camp I’ve worked at for four years, but I got promoted to a higher position and had to learn a different perspective on a place I was so comfortable with. I came back to my job in the fall, and I had to learn how to approach it from a different angle, as an experienced staff member and without many of the people who had stood by me the year before. I started re-evaluating my life and re-learning how to balance work and personal growth. I invested more energy into exercising and playing music again. All year long, I struggled with balancing my personal relationships. I finally let go of the ones that were hurting me, and I cherished and built the ones that made me feel like the best version of myself.
I turn 24 in two weeks, and while I know there is no way 2013 will bring me more consistency than 2012 did, I hope that I can at least have the flexibility and strength to handle the punches it throws at me. I will give 2012 credit for the fact that I am certainly not the same person I was a year ago, and I have learned a lot over the past twelve months. But looking at the year ahead of me is still seriously daunting. This is the first year where I haven’t had a plan in front of me. When I move on from this job in the spring (something that I need to do but know I will struggle with), I have a completely blank slate. After May, my life is completely open and unmapped. To some extent, that’s great, and it gives me the freedom that I think I’ve been wanting ever since I graduated college…but it’s the scariest position I’ve ever been in. I could move anywhere, get a job doing practically anything. I love that and I hate it at the same time. I know there are people everywhere who would kill to have the kinds of endless possibilities I do, but that doesn’t make it less scary. Part of me wishes I was more settled down, more planned. But I know I will learn just as much from having to find a path this coming year as I have from following the one that was placed in front of me over this past one. Maybe 2013 will suck, maybe it won’t, but it’s going to happen either way.