December 23, 2018

The second half of this year has been a fast-flowing river. With projects happening one after another, I found myself with very little time to pace myself in the season leading up to my birthday.

In some ways, the months I spent in Singapore felt like a semi-colon, and life in Toronto before and after were and are the two independent clauses connected to each other - related, but different. So different, in fact, that the first quarter of this year feels like a whole other lifetime to me.

What can I say about this year?

Two weddings.
Two deaths.
Two bunnies.
Two magazines.
Two new roommates.
Countless jobs.
Multiple lines drawn and redrawn.
Days on days.

I have been having so many adventures. This year of life has taught me so much about me and what life might have to offer me, good and bad, hard and soft, sweet and bitter. The emotions that bloom at every part of this journey are a tightly woven fabric I wear day to day but don't think too much about. Sometimes I am cold, sometimes overdressed, sometimes it feels scratchy, sometimes I am comfortable and warm.

All this to say, I feel a sense of ordinariness as I slip into the next year of life. Maybe I am trying to find a medium to protect myself in from the peaks and the valleys of these days.

I have always used my birthday to consider how to grow into the next year, to set an intention and to tease out what this might mean for me. This year I find myself strangely looking backward. I consider myself somebody who is really good at embracing much of the present and future. I really try to be tougher and tender every year. Yet, when I look backward, I find it much harder to let go and have open hands. When I look back, I find myself shriveling up again into a protective ball.

Perhaps it's because I consider my old self someone whose heart was too small and too inward-looking. Perhaps I want to redeem her by justifying her and making her better than what she really was. In that hesitation between rose-coloured glasses and dismissal, I find myself torn and immobile. In my conflict, I feel fear.

I would like 2019 to be a process of me extending forgiveness toward my past, but also nurturing the roots from that season for the possibility of new kinds of futures. I would like to be brave while turning back.