It began, as a year always does, with a countdown and some drunken cheering; but nothing worth noting particularly. I learned to ski in the beginning, plummeted to my death a few times, got bruised up but still got up. Hiked Mt. Eldon all the way to the snowy windy tip, and I didn’t get blown away at all though I thought I might. Fallen stoplight. Ha. Decided on my major, determining what path my young wayward life would be roaming. I learned to love sushi and a little grass every once and a while. School and its associated events droned on; and the snowy months lingered until late into May. All of this, these months, are a clumpy blur: Thai food with Kaitlin and Riley, feeling too much panic, getting sick a lot, dreary dorm days, late night breakfast at the union, walking around in the freezing under the stars, peering into windows from the parking garage. Breathing deep winter air, walking alone and thinking, learning about tea, music absorption, new true blue friendships, discovering love. It was a fond time, but a confusing time. The days felt endless, but thanks to iron and wine I deep down knew they were numbered.
I was ready for summer as I longed for time alone and apart from all that I was comfortable with. I thought I was ready. But upon the arrival of summer, the release of friends and school left me feeling as empty as the town itself and I realized that all that had been surrounding me was an illusion of what I thought was my independence. Ran away from this e unexpected empty for a small time, ran all the way to South America. Thanks carnival, thanks mom, thanks dad…I had the best food of my life, and the most memorable vacation of my time. That part of summer brought me a full belly, opened eyes, longer hair and as golden a tan as I can achieve. The latter half of these warm months brought summer storms, thunder and tears and panic. Bon Iver and meditation helped. Wrote a lot, walked a lot, listened a lot, cried a lot. Summer wasn’t what I was expecting, but whether I realized it in the moments or not, it was a time of exponential growth, an intangible thing, an inexplicable thing. A lonely time is always a growing time. And so I discovered a small portion of myself that I had never known before.
Nearing the end of the summer all I desired was to be rid of obligation, rid of commitment, rid of expectation and anxiety caused by all of this. I wanted to be free, but I stayed. Stuck and immovable like a bird accidentally landing in wet cement without the slightest inkling, the bird realizes it’s ready to fly again. But then comes the understanding that the cement has already been dry for hours. Days. Months. What could have been? Eventually the bird got out, I got out. I’m not sure how, or why, or when I gained the strength to bust through the hold but I did it. I was free, easily and carelessly and school was in session again. Another semester, a harder semester, a real semester had begun. Dorm life was so far removed and everything had changed. Summer house, new roommates, cooking for myself, making collages, journaling, thinking I all that I had and all that I wanted.
Then the winds shifted unexpectedly and in a realm of unnoticed vulnerability, I fell again... hard and fast. I was happy in it, but I was a fawn in it, new legs, trusting. Young. The holidays came and went, Amelia Earhardt, trailer trash and a peacock. Holiday cookies and itchy sweaters roamed. Late night movies, spilling eggnog and viewing blinking lights filled the blistery days. The lights were probably telling me something. Morse code. Warning me how I was undoing the progress of independent gain I had gathered through the sweaty months. But I continued regardless. It was short lived, a shock. Way fun. Too sad. And now over.
And this is how I ring in the new year… a little bit broken, but much relieved. A little confused, but looking forward. This is my exaltation, the joy of having a blank slate, of being hurt but accepting it. Twisting to the sun, I am open in arms.