new year

On 2014

In 2014, I lived in eight different homes.

I’m using the word “live” generously, but I’m quick to settle into a spot, so I think it fits. Three of the eight were apartments across New York City. Another three were short-term rentals in South Africa. The final two were with family. Throw in a cluster of hotel rooms, friends’ couches, and a floor or two – and it’s been a lot of roommates, a lot of addresses.

To match, it’s been a year of bits and pieces: a week here, three weeks there, three months over there. Each new address meant slipping on a new self, crafting an identity to match the neighborhood, navigating a new walk to work and a rapport with roommates and kitchen supplies and how communal wine purchases are consumed. 2014 was constant motion. Constant change. Constant self-reconsideration. Who were my friends? Where did I fit? How should I dress? (My Williamsburg, East Village, and West Village looks are all pretty different, naturally.)

The latest spot.

The latest neighborhood I get to call my own.

Despite my insistent wanderlust, I’m no nomad. I crave putting down roots; I’m an earth sign, after all. And it’s roots I return to, again and again. Which is why this year closes right back where it started: spending time with family in Idaho and California, places that I love but fight with because they don’t change with me. Instead, I revert back to them. Whether I’m 23 or 17 or 10, so many things are the same at home: mom’s fudge-frosted banana cake; uncertainty about the future; my dog Lincoln; a sense of not having accomplished enough; my favorite ratty sweatshirt; a desire to be and do more to fix the crises swirling outside our doors. Home brings up classic young adult angst, nothing special here.

But maybe it’s not wholly the same. Maybe this year’s angst is different, as this has been, objectively, the most different year of all (for me, at least). I mean: first interviews and first jobs, first times paying rent, first apartment-cooked meals, first jolts of the reality of our generation’s place in this country… I could go on.

Or maybe the world spins on its own crazy way, and each year is – in the grander scheme – a little smaller, a little more repetitive. Hard to say if our problems and pleasures are any truer and deeper as we age, or if they simply feel more pressingly present, and then by the time the next New Year’s Eve rolls around they’ve inevitably faded away to be replaced.

The least I can do is try to keep track. So, in keeping with last year’s New Year’s Eve post, a reckoning is in order. I didn’t always live up to the goals I set: My yoga handstands got worse, not better; my Portuguese is miserably rusty; I still have 50 pages left of Moby-Dick; and I’ve been a bad blogger. I did complete a few: I know how to use Pinterest, I figured out where I was living, and I found myself a job. So we’ll call it a wash, shall we?

Things I did in 2014: Moved into six apartments and out of five; met an eclectic group of people and made new friends; explored vineyards; designed a website; flossed more; started wearing red lipstick in the daytime; bought, consistently, only black clothes; became a coffee-drinker; learned a new language (well, the jargon of media work); drank a summer’s worth of rosé; figured out how to work a PC (and how to add things on Excel!); listened to great live music; bounced around various cities with good friends; developed a low-level SoulCycle addiction; spoke publicly in presentations; made small talk; had fun.

Things I’m working on for 2015: having longer conversations; planning a trip to somewhere new; finishing Moby-Dick; cleaning the bathroom regularly; productively running errands on the weekend; writing more; cooking vegetables; being there for friends who’ve been there for me; arriving on time; not being afraid of change. And maybe getting back to that Portuguese.

And so the cycle begins again. Happy New Year! Thanks for sticking around. Drink your champagne.

On 2013

FIRST, PLAY THIS. IT WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE FEELS:

For the sake of remembrances, please indulge me briefly.

Things I did in the second half of 2013 (because the first half is too long ago to remember): turned 22; graduated from college; read 35 books for pleasure; re-taught myself to play the piano; spent a lot of hours on the road; fell in love with One Direction; tasted a lot of wine; started running; slept; snorkeled with giant sea turtles; finished all five seasons of Friday Night Lights; galloped on horseback in the Andes; backed up my files to Cloud storage; went on a solo road trip and loved it; flossed; organized my closet; read all 5 Song of Ice & Fire books (those are 1000+ pages each, y’all!) and re-read all 7 Harry Potters; became an Instagram pro; ate a lot of vegetables; spent a good deal of time with family; soul-searched and self-actualized; figured out the kind of person I might like to be—for now, at least.

Things I’m still working on for 2014: completing a yoga handstand; finishing Moby-Dick; going to sleep regularly at a reasonable hour; learning how to properly use Pinterest; deciding where January will take me; brushing up on my Portuguese; finding employment; cleaning my desk; blogging more often.

I’ll end this with a favorite quote.

“Philosophers like to point out that ‘place’ is as much within us as without us. You can demarcate a place on a map, pinpoint its latitude and longitude with global positioning satellites, and kick the very real dirt of its very real ground. But that’s inevitably going to be only half the story.The other half of the story comes from us, from the stories we tell about a place and our experience of it. As the philosopher Edward Casey writes, ‘Stripping away cultural or linguistic accretions, we shall never find a pure place lying underneath.’ All we shall find instead are ‘continuous and changing qualifications of particular places.’ When we travel, we fix a place’s meaning in our minds. It is in the eyes of a pilgrim that a holy site becomes holiest. And in being there, he affirms not only the place’s significance but also his own. Our physical place helps us better know our psychic place — our identity.

—Andrew Blum, Tubes

Happy New Year y’all. Breathe deep, pop bottles, and play hard.

AND – most importantly – a big thank you to those of you who drop by this little smidgen of space on the interwebs & read what I have to say! You are golden.

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The road will take you wherever you want it to go, you know?