Happy new year! Hope the evening was just as you wanted, whether that's kids in bed by 8 and butt on couch by 9 or a tequila-slamming, tiara-bedecked mosh pit of shirtless men. Mine was somewhere in the middle, and it was lovely. Especially the part where I woke up to bacon frying and sun streaming in a window by the sea. I'm not usually one to reflect on the past year, which is weird because god knows I reflect on every other damn thing. But I had a big year. Not so much with flying through the sky to Zimbabwe or purchasing real estate, but big. Mostly internal in its bigness, but when you can honestly say you're 93 percent less raving lunatic mess than you were this time last year, you get to call it a big year.
2011: Year of Less Raving Lunacy
This was the year I learned to set boundaries. To ask for what I want. Then to ask for what I really want, not just what I think I'm going to get.
This was the year I learned not to stuff my feelings so far down my spleen that it takes them three years to fight their way to the surface and then only because my iPod decided to shuffle to that one song, the one that was playing when I first felt that feeling, and suddenly I'm bawling for no good reason as I try to merge with oncoming traffic. This rampant repression is a sneaky brand of emotional epilepsy and I don't recommend it.
So I catch myself sooner. Sit still and let that feeling course through me. Even as my brain whispers "Tamp it down, just for a little while. You'll feel better. Come on, you have work to do. You don't have time for this. Repress. Just a little. You know you want it."
And I do. I absolutely want the sweet blankness of not feeling that feeling because I have an excuse to lose myself in work or bury myself alive in buttered mashed potatoes and Grey's Anatomy. But every time I tell my hamster brain to sit in a corner as I let myself feel, my life gets a little better. Sure, I still repress. The brain hamsters aren't vanquished because they're sly and patient, waiting for exhaustion or an unguarded moment to pounce. But it's better. So much better.
And all of this has made me bigger. That means I get to love bigger, do bigger things, take bigger risks, start wondering if bigger is really a word because it just looks funny when you keep typing it out like that.
In less overtly internal news, 2011 was the year I performed my first marriage ceremony. Got my first lap dance. Skiied my first black run without finding myself snuggled in the welcoming embrace of a stoic pine tree. The year I learned the joy of roof jumping and came nowhere close to winning that pool-side limbo contest in Vegas. Was thrown my first ever surprise party. It was also the year I left my favorite neighborhood in my favorite city and moved to Los Angeles. The year I started settling into working for myself and began learning how to make the most of it. The year everyone bought me pandas for Christmas instead of moose.
It was also the first time I figured out my life purpose. Isn't that the most pompous, self-congratulatory thing you've ever heard? MY LIFE, IT NOW HAS MEANING. But yanking this one deceptively simple thing out of the depths of my soul - and, yes, that is how far I had to go - has grounded everything else in my life. Any time I get anxious or scared or feel like I'm not doing it right, I can remember there is one thing I'm here to do and it doesn't much matter how I do it.
That Life Meaning Thing, In Case You Care
To love the world through my writing and my life. Share my experience, because we all need stories and maybe my stories will help someone else. Live my screwball, whimsy-ridden life as best I can.
Fine, three things. Hush.
Also, did I just say that blogging is my life purpose? PRETTY SURE I DID. Well, someone else already discovered penicillin and winning the Nobel Peace Prize probably requires staying off Twitter for months at a time, so we all know I'm not doing either of those. Blogging seems a reasonable alternative.
As for 2012, it holds... who knows what. Sure, I have Insane Person Spreadsheets stuffed with goals and plans and numbers. But the only meaning all that holds is how it applies to my keen and ever-growing desire to love as best I can.
I would like to learn how to let the world love me back. I'd like to stop holding it at arm's length because I'm convinced that hurts less. I want more electric possibility. More adventures of the small and big kind. More love. For myself, for my work, for my people.
Whatever's coming this year, I'm looking forward to it.