Hiatus is over! Holidays were wonderful, I love everyone, etc. etc.
New Year’s is a particularly contemplative time for me. Partially because it comes just after a time when you’re exposed to family members you usually haven’t seen in a while, partially because last New Year’s was so monumental for me. Not only did it mark the end of an awful year for me, I was facing an imminent move. I was about to be truly on my own for the first time, and I was moving a thousand miles from home.
I called it “breaking the metaphorical bone“: cleaning out your life to start over.
One year later, I’m happy to report it worked.
Better Than a Fortune Cookie
There’s an idea that makes its Facebook rounds at the end of December: you take a jar and fill it up with good memories of the year as they happen, then read through them all a year later. It’s very Pintrest and sounds like one of those things that you forget about after a week, but my family and I tried it out.
New Year’s Eve of 2014-15 my parents, my now-girlfriend, and I all sat down with mason jars and decorated them for the new year. Over the course of the year– hell, over the next month— those jars have spread over the country. My girlfriend took hers back to Illinois, I moved mine to Iowa. My mom took hers with her when she moved out. I’m not sure what happened to my dad.
Easy thing to lose track of over the year. But 2014 was such a shitty year that in 2015, I really needed those little moments of affirmation. I wound up doing more than just notes, too: I wrote letters to myself whenever I needed a reminder that I was doing okay, or a little support from inside my own head. I’d sit down and remind myself why I was doing the things I was doing: why I write, why I moved, and in one memorable case why it’s okay to love people.
These are the things that happened this year: I moved to Iowa. I made and lost and made more friends. I loved my work. I rekindled a fantastic relationship with someone I love. I moved to another place in Iowa because I wasn’t getting any sleep in the first place. I saw a lot more of my family than someone a thousand miles away should ever expect. I travelled all over the country.
I lost my grandfather, although I made it in time to see him pass. My parents moved out of and sold the house I grew up in. I’ve been really, really poor, although I’m privileged enough to have support when I need it.
I learned to cook. I wrote a lot. I applied to graduate school. I got back in touch with a ton of friends I hadn’t spoken to in years.
I wrote all these things on tiny notes and put them in the jar, and when I opened them they made a pile as big as my head. The jar was full. And the goals I’d written about (write, apply to grad school, write) hadn’t been forgotten, either: I was either in the process of working on them or I could check them off entirely.
Whole process was amazing. 10/10. Can’t recommend it enough.
So Bring It On.
I’m lucky. 2015 was hard. It was full of hard work and hard lessons and more death than I’d like. But it was good, possibly the best year of my life thus far. The last year was spent mending a broken bone: I think this year’s going to be learning to walk on the previously-fractured leg.
I started out the year by writing out a letter to myself again, just like last year. I’ll end this post the same way I ended that: 2015 was a year of hard work and growth. May 2016 shine just as brightly.