On Christmas Eve morning this year, I pulled into a parking lot at dawn next to the white, silver and black trucks of guy friends. I hid my purse under a beach towel like I always do, and thanked the stranger next to me for just randomly giving me a bar of wax. Later, the dawn was pink as I congratulated a friend on his engagement while a school of minnows undulated underwater.
In the past, I’ve thought that if such-and-such happened – or if so-and-so showed up – then I would be happy. When XY&Z happened, everything would come together. Rice thrown, curtain dropped. No more questions.
I’ve thought if I moved away from San Diego… if I were fifteen pounds lighter with a jaw that could cut through a Coke can… If he came back… If I could sleep only four hours a night, and thus be more productive, but suffer none of the side-effects, like breaking my brow bone by collapsing on my desk from exhaustion. If these things happened, I would be completely happy. Then my life would be perfect.
I’m sort of convinced that we will always be asking questions. I think we’ll always wonder, at least from time to time, if we’re doing the right thing. If we’re living well. If we’ll be mothers and fathers. We’ll wonder about people we used to love. Friends included.
And sometimes, we’ll just get by. Like when your husband tells you he’s leaving you, or you went on the fifth worst date ever, and your grandma keeps pressuring you at family get togethers to get married because you’re 27. Who cares if you eat a box of birthday cake Oreo’s then and skip yoga. Hell, eat five if you want.
I’m glad we’re dynamic, and I like this time in my life for that reason. So much life has been lived since eighteen. We’ve stared at innumerable chalk boards. We’ve said “I love you” to a respectable number of people in various capacities. We’ve grocery shopped after work, when we we’re exhausted. Anyone who does that, deserves a gold medal. Night after night, we carried broken hearts, and in the morning, we plunged again into the unknown, coffee cup in hand, and we were brave. Thousands of days, we made our beds and went on dates, and we were brave.
2014 was a good year, but there have been better, if I’m being honest. Because while I interviewed a woman who was on Conan and has a new show on NBC called Cristela – I hardly dated at all. Friendships were made and deepened. Two roommates moved in and out of my apartment. But I worried a lot. I worked every weekend. Professionally, it was a good year, but quite frankly, I was happy to see it go.
Now it’s the month of new beginnings, and I’m delighting in 2015. I’m busy figuring out how to add additional stamps to my passport. How I’m going to be more graceful and polished. How I’m going to turn out baked souffles and delicious, moist stews, instead of black matter petrified to the sides of a casserole dish. I’m building this woman I want to be, which is something I enjoy very much. It just feels good to be interested. Safe and secure and interested and hopeful. Head well above water, rather than just the nostrils.
Lately, when I’ve been surfing, I’ve found myself walking out into the water, with a beautiful board I paid way too much money for, and I look around. The water is cold. Maybe my heart is pumping a little bit. And I feel really grateful. I feel very grateful to live here, to be able to surf, to be 27, and to be where I am now. My Mom told me once to, “Want what you have,” and this is the attitude I’m adopting toward 2015.
I do hope I see markets in Turkey, baskets piled with spices and colors I’ve rarely seen. I do hope I wear a wedding dress, honestly. I hope I create beautiful things and hand them over. I hope I have a love that’s more forgiving, more accepting than any I’ve had so far. I hope I act with integrity. I hope I am published in journals and magazines I never thought I’d be. But while I want these things, and hope and work for them, in 2015, I promise not to waste the moment waiting for them to arrive.
Going into the new year, I want to A) be proud of the woman I am, B) let the past go, C) have a sense of humor, D) be grateful and E) enjoy the moment. I want to go on trips, and make recipes, golf once a month, and live life to the fullest, as cliche as that sounds. And not take myself too seriously. That, too.