I made a mental note to remember July 2 because today is exactly the halfway mark of the year. Wow. Half a year gone by in memories and adventures, and yet another half year to be lived in good days, bad days, and lessons learned. How strange it is to be caught in between the mundane and the extraordinary—the unwritten.
I find myself looking back to another time in my life when things were blurry and yet I saw meaning in it so clearly. I wanted to share it today because it’s still one of my favorite things that I’ve written but mostly because it’s nice to know that it’s never too late to write a different ending to your story:
2013 in words and in moments
It didn’t seem right to leave behind 2013 without at least looking back on the sometimes-beautiful but mostly crazy mosaic piece of work that it was.
I don’t know how else to put it other than it was an incredibly real year: a year of disappointments and lonely nights, but also a year of getting back on my feet, of pushing my limits and finding reasons to laugh. A year of success on the outside, but also a year of exhaustion and tired days. A year of stolen moments and forever fighting the curfew. A year of great company and misadventures. A year of can’t-get-enough-of-each-others, a golden summer and the daily grind. A year that felt like a movie, yet sometimes seemed to be stuck replaying all the bad parts over again.
2013 was a year of learning. 2013 taught me that life hardly goes the way you want it to, but that sometimes it brings you to beautiful moments you never expected in the first place. I learned the hard way that no matter how much you wish for something to happen, usually life has other plans—but the real test is in how you learn to deal with the curveballs that come your way. I learned that sometimes I really can get things wrong, but that my mistakes don’t define me. I learned that running away from your demons doesn’t make them go away, but makes them come out in ugly ways. I also learned that forgiveness from yourself just might matter almost more than it does coming from those you’ve hurt.
I learned that just because somebody literally drives you crazy, makes you smile like anything—makes you feel alive, really—and tells you what you need to hear doesn’t mean they’re right for you. Just because you can’t get them out of your head doesn’t necessarily make them good for you. I learned that intense, fleeting moments don’t make up a friendship, and words exchanged don’t always add up to communicating. I learned that deleting a person from your life doesn’t guarantee that you can delete them from your thoughts, although you feel safer knowing you can’t drunk text them anymore. I learned that “I miss you” is nothing but words until you do something about it. I learned that in some cases, even forgiveness can’t smooth everything over when you’re spilling vulnerability and they’re completely fine. I learned that sometimes insane courage doesn’t always cut it when someone’s already made up their mind, but at least you can walk away free, knowing you said what you needed to say.
I learned that it only hurts you to dwell on failed plans and could-have-beens, and that maybe the best way to deal with your disappointment is to create something beautiful. I learned that finding meaning in negative experiences doesn’t make it hurt any less, but it sure makes you feel like you didn’t go through it for nothing. I learned that the sooner you can bounce back from your wounded dreams and from hearing the word “no”, the sooner you can say “yes” to the moment in front of you. I learned that the present is exactly that: a gift. And it is completely up to you whether to spend it looking back on the past or to grab it for all it’s worth and capture it in all the mental snapshots—or real snapshots—you can manage.
But most of all, I learned that it always feels better to let somebody in. To share your story, to open up and be brave enough to admit that you’re not okay, to invest a piece of your heart in someone else—it brings a kind of healing that you just can’t imagine by yourself. Whether that somebody is God, a friend or even a form of art, you’ve already won half the battle in admitting that you don’t want to be alone, and you don’t want to be invisible, and that you’ve got a story that needs to be heard. Because maybe in the end we humans are all like that: we need to know that we matter, and we need to know that we’ve still got something to give because someone else cares about us enough to pour a little bit of love back into us and help us remember that in the end life is life and it will always go on.
And I could go on forever talking about everything I learned in 2013 and as I do I realize that maybe the year wasn’t so bad if I was able to come out of it with all this wisdom. Maybe just because I started it off on the wrong foot doesn’t mean that I need to come out of it limping. Maybe every year is really like that: full of millions of fleeting moments of clarity, wedged in between what seems like days and days of mindless exhaustion and night after night of aching anxiety. Because maybe without the bad days, we’d never know the beautiful ones even if it hit us between the eyes.
And for that, thank you 2013, for teaching me what it means to find joy no matter the circumstance.