On the last day of last year I went down to the beach, spread a blanket and stared off into the Pacific Ocean. In my journal I sketched out my annual reflection, an internal recap of where I’d been and where I was going.
In Mexico at that time there was a popular toy, little plastic men that you could shoot into the air and they’d waft down to earth on tiny parachutes. As the last light seeped from the sky above the ocean, I looked above me and saw a dozen of these toys drifting towards the ground. The toys glided downward in the breeze and grew bigger and bigger, life-sized, and then landed on the beach. Real people that I was sure, just moments earlier, had been plastic molds. It felt symbolic, somehow, a sign that my certainty could not always be trusted, that there were chambers and dimensions and beating hearts in forms that I was convinced were hollow and lifeless.
In a lot of ways, 2015 was the most important year of my life. I birthed not only a daughter but also a book, or at least the promise of one. Brian and I stopped traveling and moved to Ohio– the state that we come from but have not lived in for many years. I have been flung with such force into this new way of being that I haven’t properly digested it all (Here is a fact: no one tiptoes into motherhood).
2015 was heavy with transition. The biggest transition of all, though, has been internal. I spent the first three quarters of the year fighting my own ego. An ego that begged to go home and then, upon arriving, loudly proclaimed that I could not live a creative, inspired life in the midwestern town I came from. An ego that claimed that I’d outgrown this place, though life was showing me otherwise. But I am learning to accept my own happiness, even if, just like those skydivers, it took awhile for my brain to recognize what it was actually seeing.
If 2015 was a year of turning and tuning inward, than 2016 will be a year of creatively bursting forward. During my pregnancy I lost my creative spark. I contribute this to directing my energy towards growing a baby, but I did not feel like myself without it and I was afraid that I’d lost it forever. But it’s back and it feels fantastic to have that buzz again, that itching just underneath my skin that begs me to just sit down and write for godsakes.
I have a lot of work to do in 2016. And I will have to find a balance between the energy I give to my baby and the energy I give to my work, the work that feeds my soul and makes me a happier person and a better mother. I’m scared because I don’t know how I’m going to do it all, but I’ve got good people here and, somehow, I’ll figure it out.
2015 gave me the greatest gift of all, my daughter Juniper, and for that reason alone I’ll tally it into the ‘good year’ column. But overall 2015 was a rough one for me and I am not sad to see it go. But I have this uncanny feeling that 2016 will be a year that answers questions, a year that shimmers, an illuminating year. 365 days. Today is the first. The sun is shining.
I wish you all a new year filled with joy, adventure, love and so much light you have to squint.
(I also just realized I haven’t shared too many pictures of Juniper on the blog yet (I do post them on the S0 Many Places Facebook page) so here are a few of my favorites.)