The Learning Curve Year

When it comes to the new year, I like to buy in all the way. I get restless the week leading up to it with all of these grand ideas and vision for what the new year holds. I want to let go. I want to make space for new things by getting rid of the old stuff. I want to be a better, newer version of myself. I want that do-over. Maybe not a do-over but a do-right. 

2015 was unexpected. It swept in like a tidal wave of chaos. The year was a vociferous declaration that life sometimes down right hard.

I would make a list of all the dates this past year that broke my heart. And you would notice that in between, there was hardly any time to heal. In April, it had been raining and I took a less than twenty-four hour trip to Chicago. When I landed, I heard the news that my fellow adventurer Dan had died. Only weeks later, would the news of my friend from university passing away in a cliff diving accident have me on the bathroom floor of work while I cried. After the summer of mourning came a fall of being lost. It was uncomfortable, messy and there were some moments that were so unbearable I was convinced I was going to die right then.

I keep telling myself all of this is important.

It will change my heart into the shape the world needs it to be. 

Since I was a little girl, I always had this idea that the burdens I faced in this lifetime was strategically placed in my life so that my pain could help others. We would grow and learn and heal together – whenever the calling comes. Earlier this month I wrote to my confidant saying, “I am truly humbled that the universe has trusted me with such lessons and equipped me with the strength I need to navigate it all.”  If the universe is reading this, you didn’t have to be such a bitch and break my heart so deeply, so many times this year. But since you did, thank you for placing a wonderful man into my life who has held my hand and tears through it all.

My best friend and I have this ritual where we as each other before ringing in the new year what we learned this year. The week leading up to this conversation I would practice a one sentence, philosophical answer. This morning, I gripped my coffee mug a little tighter and whispered, “nothing.” After sitting I silence for three minutes that was the only word that came out of my mouth, as my bottom lip quivered and tears welled up in my eyes. 

By nothing I mean, that I learned that I don’t know anything. I don’t know what’s coming or where I’m going or what’s around the corner.

I don’t know what is around the corner, but something is – because such is the inevitability of life.

2015 broke me. I felt like I totally lost control of my entire life. Fear crept into my veins throughout the year so much so that I don’t dare go one mile per hour over the speed limit. I have checked all of my candles and air fresheners for toxic chemicals. And I wash all of my vegetables twice, just in case.

Sigh.

It is hard. It is hard not knowing how to navigate this life.

 There are some nights when I cry so hard I dry heave, “remember when you just moved to a different country? And how you found a zebra farm one day in southeast Colorado because you packed up and didn’t care? You were free. Where is that girl?” This conversation has several different variations and I feel defeated after each version. 

Have I mentioned how change is hard? And that different seasons of your life are going to be mapped out differently?

Ringing in 2015, I decided to get rid of all the things that were a heavy weight of the previous year. I wrote everything I wanted to forget about and tossed them out of my window as I took a road trip across the west. This year I want to do something different. Hang with me as I say this, I don’t want to get rid of 2015. I know I just spent the past ten minutes bitching and crying over how hard it was but just listen – I want to take 2015 into the new year, because I know things are not resolved. And I especially know how the change of a calendar page is going to make everything better.

I proclaimed that 2015 was the year of the learning curve, and goodness were there so many curves. I couldn't think of a more proper name for these past 365 days. Going into the next year, the events of this past year will be a subtle reminder that I was made to be soft. Everything that happened to me has an importance. And maybe, just maybe if I stop trying to run from it all and try to sit down with it, open myself up to investigating these wounds I just might learn.

Rainer Maria Rilke once said, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

With hands open, palms exposed, willing to try again.

And again.

And again. 

I want to be remembered as the girl who tried and failed and was okay.

2016, we are going to be okay.