This has been a crazy year. There were good, bad, and bananas things. To say that I’ve learned a lot is an understatement. Because, honestly, if I’m not learning – I’m doing life wrong. Because life is about trying. It’s about making mistakes. It’s about putting yourself out there, in whatever fashion that might be. Making art, for instance. Trying a new hobby. Saying I love you. Traveling somewhere all by yourself. Meeting people.
To me, that’s the important thing about life: living it. Being present. Finding, stealing, and savoring moments. There are three things I couldn’t live without: love, laughter, and coffee. Let’s face it: no one wants to be around a non-caffeinated me. It’s not pretty. But, to me, those are such vital things. Without love, I’d cease to exist. I am nothing without my idiotic, somewhat spastic, completely willful heart. A sense of humor, too, is a must; there have been things, over the years, that I would not have gotten through, if it weren’t for a sense of humor. I’m not going to list them. You don’t need to hear my scars. Suffice to say, finding humor in the dark parts will help pull you through.
But I feel like I need to say thank you, here (feel free to skip this, if you’re easily bored or pressed for time). To my family and friends, who love and put up with me (even when I’m crazy…which is a lot). To anyone who has ever read something I’ve written – and even liked it! To everyone whose life I’ve been lucky as hell to be a part of, who has touched my life in unexpected, but beautiful ways. To the mad ones, who light up life like stars in the blue-black night sky. To my people, my lost witches, my Gilmore twin, my partners in crime, my Wonder Twin, my darling gypsy witch, and my best friend. To the agents who have blogged, tweeted, and generally been awesome. To my fellow writers and editors who live in this ocean made of words.
It has been a year, darlings. There are moments I wouldn’t trade for the world. Although it has been an especially crazy few days, I’m grateful. I keep thinking about this time, last year, where I was and what I was doing. What was I feeling? Like I’d lost everything and nothing would be the same again. I was reeling in a soul-deep, earthquake way. Since then, I’ve seen, been, done, and loved a lot. I’ve been true to myself. I’ve tried new things. I’ve been open, honest, daring, and probably a wee bit bonkers. I’m proud of everything I’ve learned over the past year.
I hope that 2014 is filled with so much joy, laughter, magic, art, adventure, wonder, love, and honesty. May you face all your shadows bravely. May you always remember you’re not alone. May you kiss someone with reckless abandon, someone who adores and cherishes you. May you make good changes. May you walk right out of your comfort zone and discover new things about yourself. May you laugh until your face hurts. I wish, for you, unexpected blessings, strength, and resolve.
In 2014, be good (and true) to yourself. Believe. Allow yourself to hope and dream, then act on those things. Wish and want, and then do everything within your power to attain those desired things.
For all of you who are in my heart, whether or not I’ve said it lately – I love you. Carry that with you in the new year. Tonight, I’ll be raising a glass to you and making wishes of my own.
*Title pilfered from the incomparable Neil Gaiman.
The other morning, as I was driving, I saw the full moon suspended over a large field. The sunrise’s vibrant colors had waned to pastel displays of beauty – a different kind of pretty than the emphatic colors of a just-risen sun. The ground beneath the moon spoke of changing seasons, but the moon itself reminded me of hope. The moon goes through its cycle, stretching itself into fullness before spinning itself dark. Regardless of how visible it is, though, the moon is always there. It doesn’t disappear from reality. I think that’s a fair example of faith, of hope, and of the act of believing.
I am, possibly, slightly more contemplative than normal. It is, after all, the Christmas season. And the holidays often make me extra sentimental. I’m a fairly demonstrative person to begin with, but when December rolls around, I really just want to hug all my people. This is where I remind you that if CareBears were real, I’d be one.
The older I get, the more clearly I realize the truth: the important things in life don’t come in a box. They have no price tag. And they sometimes, they don’t make to anyone but you. For me, I never give gifts to get them. I never try to out buy anyone – because it’s not about the cost. It is about the thought.
That said, I occasionally do want impossible things. Wildly and with abandon. I am, at my heart, a very impossible girl – in the best way. Because I don’t know how to not hope. I don’t know how to not try. And I’m pretty comfortable hurling myself in a fire for the right reason. In a way, my heart is a lot like that moon – always full, even when you can’t see it. So much of life is dependent on perspective. Most lament the moon when it’s gone dark – but with that darkness, the stars are given a chance to truly shine. It is, I think, a reminder that just because something seems bad, or hopeless, doesn’t mean it is. And that even when everything’s gone dark, it is only a temporary thing. Sometimes, that’s the simplest way to get through anything – to remember that it’s not an infinite condition.
So, for this Christmas, I wish you hope and magic. May you get everything you wish for — and everything you’re too afraid to wish for. May the world be full of good surprises, bravery, and believing in the things you cannot see.