Everyone gains perspective at the end of a year. This time is tailor-made for reflection, soul-searching sipping chamomile, curled in a sweater, tucked under blankets. When you live in Los Angeles, it looks a little different. It’s sunny, with flip flops and frayed shorts, a chilled glass of bubbly, and a pair of sunglasses slipping down your nose.
The feeling, though, is very much the same.
Every year we are alive, we face new challenges to our way of life. If we are lucky. If we are really living. We make gut-wrenching choices. We take dangerous steps, make bold moves on the living chess board of existence. We do and feel and touch moments we never have before.
2017: I woke a beast.
In January, I broke my knee cap. It was my breaking point. Faced with confinement, I faced off the secret, quiet, creeping feelings my insides had refused to divulge to me until that moment trapped on a bed with a planet for a knee.
There was a certain writhing beast that I had never let loose. It awoke in that quiet place and did not go back to sleep. Not for most of the year. Not until I made a sudden, painful, life-altering choice in the middle of December. Not until, finally, I was brutally honest with myself, unafraid to look away from what I knew I really felt. Only then did the beast bow it’s head, subdued for another season.
2017: I fought for my future.
In November a longtime friend asked me, does Los Angeles feel like home?
No. I said. Nowhere does. Nowhere can.
This is the truth about being restless: you are always, forever, in search. It is not unhappiness, though it feels that way sometimes. It is a quest.
When you believe you are made to do more, you cannot live with anything else. It makes you unbearable. The person in the room that never sits down. The one with a million ideas. The one with a drink in their hand. The one looking out the window, or over a shoulder. It is never about where you are, it is always about where you could be.
For me, the search has to stop. For a moment, at least, I need to be right where I am, living without running. The way to the future is wriggling to life today. I don’t want to miss it.
2017: I let people in.
I wrote a book this year that felt like putting my heart on a page. It felt violent and vulnerable. It revealed me. It contained me. It was me.
I took an acting class that was a stare down with the past. It was me in a room with strangers living for a moment without a shield. It was terrifying and altering.
I fell in love with my friends. Women who saw me and loved me and listened. Women who would not let me settle. Women who are my allies and confidants and partners.
I listened to my son cry and my husband fume as my family leaped toward a new life. I let them be who they needed to be and I learned to live with myself while they did.
2017: I made choices.
Hard ones. Fast ones. Painful ones. I am living with every single one. I am still alive.
Soon we turn over the calendar. We countdown. We sing and cheers and make commitments to next year us. If you asked me what 2017 would look like last year I would have given you a very different answer.
What do we know, then, about our future?
All we know is today.
Live mindfully, with purpose. Let yourself believe in magic. Let others in on the journey.
What about you?