I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of non-feeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and to think; to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
— The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
A turn of events at the end of the year leaves me even more contemplative and evaluative about the coming days. Immediately after the news, I went for a run. Steady feet, quickened breath, cool and heavy Houston air. I realized again for the umpteenth time how lucky I am, how marvelous it is that my legs work. I haven’t forgotten to have gratitude for it, and I hope I never will.
Sometime in the middle of last year, I wrote my 1,000th post on this particular blog. I finished with 154 posts in total for all of 2015. I created a new website, became a New York City subway expert (I can guide you anywhere, really!), and was lucky enough to eat at a lot of new restaurants. I did my first handstand, which has been a goal since 3 years ago. I learned more about cooking. I read a lot of books. I practiced being okay with feeling deeply, instead of fighting it.
Meanwhile, somewhat unintentionally, my writing here has changed. Instead of a hodgepodge of quick notes, it’s turned into a collection of longer, more edited entries. Over dinner one night, a friend encouraged me to publish more. I resist publishing at times because I feel censored in what I say and pressure to edit out imperfections. “Publishing makes you a better writer,” he insisted in response.
So with a deep breath, I’ll try to publish more. With intent. I thought about a few other things that I would like to work on in the coming year(s), and I’ll think about ways to make them measurable:
- Be persistent.
Debbie Millman said, “Expect anything worthwhile to take time.”
- Leave room for uncertainty and creativity.
My entries here have become more formal, but I want to retain a balance of whimsy. Don’t engineer the art out of life. Don’t plan a trip so specifically that you miss the chance to wander and get lost. Don’t compose so strictly that there is no room for the improvisation in jazz. Imagine immensities. Even if you’re scared. Even if you’re uncertain.
- Be brave enough to find stillness.
It takes a lot of bravery to be still these days. The “fear of missing out” can feel overwhelming, but sometimes the richest adventure can be found in the quietest, stillest moments.
- Speak up.
There’s a reason why communication is so important in life. In conversation the other day, a friend and I talked about how “language is the bridge between our hearts.” It’s not always a perfect bridge, and it takes courage to cross it. The times that I have been able to find you on the other side, it’s been worth the risk.
I’m still cautious and working on opening up. I am so grateful to the people who have inspired and supported me. The ones who continue to encourage me daily to reach toward passion and beyond my hesitations.
The only thing holding me back from doing my first handstand was trust in myself. I was strong enough, I just needed to believe that I could do it and let go of all my fear. I still find myself wondering, “What if I mess up? What if it’s not worth it?”
But hasn’t it all already been worth it? Isn’t it amazing? Falling is part of flying.
Paraphrasing Anaïs Nin: the risk to remain closed becomes much greater than the risk to open.
Life is gigantic, and we don’t have much time. It took stepping away from my computer to find the words to finish this post. So let’s get lost together, let’s play some jazz.
Cheers to 2016, and living fully. So it begins, again and again.