I’m a big believer in cycles. In order for beginnings to exist, there must be endings. I imagine most people think this a grim perspective but far from it… it’s quite refreshing and grants a richer, more hopeful point of view. It makes me appreciate everything I’ve done and experienced and everyone I’ve ever come in contact with. In case it isn’t obvious, this is my New Year’s post.
I don’t have a specific message or even a lesson learned or anything like that. I’m just happy to be here and pensive about the past year, as I’m sure many of you are. I’m going to list a bunch of things that no way near covers all the ups and downs of 2013, but I need to acknowledge them nonetheless. You can come along on my memory ride, or you can stop reading right now. The best way I know how to do anything is to write about it… or paint a picture. And seeing as how I don’t paint as much as I would like anymore, writing it is!
The year started off with a couple months of self-marketing, revising, editing, reformatting, talking, exchanging ideas, early weekend mornings of nothing but coffee until late in the day, and lots of self-doubt mingled with determination to finally publish my novel. It was a hell of an adventure, but on March 5… I did it. The Closest Star is out there now. The book I started writing 6 years ago is finally in the world, and though I’m not as terrified anymore, I still can’t believe it. I tell myself that if I reach just one person with my stories, if I can talk to at least one individual and go back and forth about the characters that have been stuck in my head for years, well… damn. I’d want that feeling of connecting and exhilaration for anyone. It’s awesome.
Meanwhile in my day job of colors and chemistry, I’ve learned a lot from and about the people I work with. It’s a strange myriad of personalities and craziness, and I don’t think I’d be able to stand a regular day job if it weren’t for them. They make it delightfully abnormal. I’m privileged to work with some of the most creative, most intelligent, most inquisitive chemists in my field. They’re nerds and artists and singers. They’re quirky and cool and funny. They’re moms and dads and brothers and sisters and unexpected friends. I hope that I’ve been as helpful, encouraging, laugh-inducing, and inspiring to them as they have been to me.
This year was an especially big United States traveling year. At times I felt like I’ve lived out of hotels and airports almost every month. I’ve been out west 4 times, NYC for countless trips, and spent a wonderful week in Florida with friends and family on a vacation that will go down in the books as one of the most fun, exhausting, laughter and quote-filled trips ever. “LIPS!!!! WHO WANTS TO COLOR THE LIPS???” I love the traveling, and I hope to return to adventuring internationally in the next year or so, but damn… there’s a whole lot of wonderfulness right here in our own nation.
Music was (and will always be) a huge factor on how I live my life. The thrill of concerts and mosh pits and crowds singing at the top of their lungs to lyrics that make you feel “alive” is ridiculously powerful. I can’t imagine what musicians and performers feel when they’re up there, letting go, being free, and spreading thrills through everyone who hears. And it’s not just the shows. It’s the moments you sing to yourself in the car at the top of your lungs until your throat hurts, when you bob your head to a rhythm you didn’t realize you had, when you smile so wide, stomp your feet, and swing your hips because “Oh shoot! This is my jam!” Music is what propels, moves, inspires, comforts, and accompanies me in everything I do… from writing to dealing with the loss of 2 very loved grandparents to celebrating with friends and family.
And there have been many celebrations this year! From the exciting, illustrious wedding of my oldest friend from down the street to the birth of little babies who might as well already be little people put here on earth to gladden the big people. Partying in Disney World at midnight. Watching one of my best friends dance her heart out on stage and witnessing something that truly makes her happy. I’ve had the surreal opportunity to watch my nephews on TV shows and smile because they’re just family who happen to be on the screen. They’re kids who like to have fun, make us laugh, and are good to others around them… relatives I was proud of from the start.
Speaking of theatrics and theatre, I’ve also had the opportunity to attend and experience and “immerse” myself in different kinds of productions. From wandering around in a clever version of “Alice in Wonderland” to being spooked and intrigued in a fascinating world of “Macbeth”. Broadway shows like “Cinderella” and “Matilda” and a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Richard Sherman and Alan Menken.
I visited Sleepy Hollow (and got consequently freaked out and giddy) for the first time, Boston for the first time, completed NaNoWrimo for the 2nd time with over 50,000 words (and still going pretty strong), somehow managed to make my Goodreads goal of 55 books this year, and discovered that I can hike mountains and canyons sick as a zombie. My family grew even more this year that we could probably establish our own small country. Imagine that… a nation of funny, sarcastic, talented, smart, zany, diverse, loud, and most loving people ever.
I am damn fortunate.
Yes, it’s been a hell of a year. The end of a cycle of sorts. Of course I type this at the end of a bizarre stomach virus, but I can focus now for the most part, and after eating the little I can in this moment, some things are in sharp clarity. Still, there are a ton of things I’m missing, especially the in-between things that can’t be put into words. As we move forward into another year of ups and downs, it’s the experiences we’ve been through and the people we’ve met that make this present and the upcoming years something to look forward to. And it’s those same things that make us stronger and ready to take it all in.