It's funny how we all turn so nostalgic on New Years. It really is one day. One bitter, cold, sometimes snowy day that turns the clock on one month unto another and we all celebrate and reminisce somehow imagining that after the clock strikes midnight we start all over again. We wipe the slate clean. We put bygones behind us and forget old acquaintances with the promise of new and improved acquaintances appearing in our lives. In reality it's a day after hangover that awaits us and a lazy day of football after the headache subsides from all that damn champagne or whatever else we decked the new year with. We are the same person in the same situation, maybe with some renewed optimism and a list of resolutions that will be filed away January 2nd never to be seen again.
Well I'm as much a sucker for symbolism as the next person so I will play along with this year in review angle. I had a surreal year in 2010. It was everything I could have hoped for and against. It started with a trip in February to Havasupai and the Falls in the Grand Canyon. That would be the harrowing portion of the year. The life changing trip that still sticks out in my head more than Europe even. It was reckless and crazy and even more spontaneous than quitting my job to travel to Europe. It was a one man journey into the a canyon on a ten mile hike that was necessary and ridiculous all at the same time. I camped out for one night, saw some waterfalls that were truly stunning but less so than the youtube clip that prompted the trip, and hauled back home the next day in writhing agony and stupidity. I climbed a mountain, dug deep within myself, and deemed the journey a success. It was my Mt. Kilimanjaro minus about 12,000 feet.
The trip overseas was amazing and I won't forget the experience and look forward to getting back there. I am appreciative I didn't travel alone and enjoyed the time that was spent there. Italy is not to be missed if I get a chance again. Spain will be visited again, France..not so much. I think I have exhausted my ability to keep talking about it though. I've become one of those obnoxious people who relates everything to my 4 week experience abroad. While amazing, I didn't see as much as I should have. Didn't stray off the chartered path, stayed within the comfort zone, missed far too much. Next time I will be more adventurous regardless of the events outside.
Hired back by my the job I left in April it feels as though I never left, yet I feel refreshed. I'm not anxious or flighty. I feel more settled and balanced. I don't know if it was the break from work, the travelling, or the anxiety of not working but I feel in a better place even though technically I am in the "same" place. Maybe seeing lifestyles elsewhere makes me realize it is not a race to the finish line. There is no set destination, it's the moments and experiences we need to hold onto. When we catch them we want to bottle them up forever but it isn't supposed to work that way. Some memories grow stronger over the years and some fade away. The same holds true for years. 2010 will stay longer than most because it ranged like the valley I live in. High mountaintops, low deep ditches, and more balanced climbing gets me to where I am today. Sometimes we need to sink to depths to find depth.
I do write resolutions. Maybe it is hokey. Maybe they will get shoved into a drawer or left unopened in a file on my computer the week after I write them. I did it last year and many of them happened. Sometimes it is just planting the seed and letting life provide the dirt, rain, and sunshine for them to grow. Sure, life is about writing goals everyday, following through everyday, not just one cold bitter day in the beginning of January on the calendar. Yet the beauty of that day is that together we all look back at the good and bad, and we take the eraser and wipe the annual whiteboard clean. It's a collective exhale of optimism, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Happy New Year.