2018, a reflection.

Today is the last day of my daughter’s birth year. This makes me sad, though not fully, because since becoming a mother, there’s hardly any time to process what’s going on. It all goes by so quickly, everyone says that, I know, because it’s true. This year will always remain a time capsule of one of the hardest (or perhaps just stressful) and best years of my life. A difficult pregnancy, career hardship, moving, buying a home, having a baby, the fourth trimester (which deserves way more discussion), learning to become a parent, learning to still be a wife and not just a parent. It’s all been complex and all been so beautiful.

And so, while after today, I will no longer have access to this year, still, I am ready.

As I mourn no longer having a newborn, each day becomes bigger and brighter, as I realize Row is just beginning to develop her personality. This is beyond exciting. Right now, our world together has been very tiny, but as she grows, I grow, and we discover how big and beautiful not only this world is, but how big and beautiful she is. Each day, she laughs more than she has ever laughed in her entire life. What a wonderful experience, to laugh more than you have ever laughed before. This happens, every single day. She is so happy. As am I.

What do I want for 2019?

Honestly, I already have everything I want. So much of my life before Row was defined by success that no longer holds much value to me. Yes, I still have my personal goals, but I don’t feel the need to broadcast any of this to the world anymore. Before, I shared online because I wanted these special moments to live beyond just me and perhaps inspire someone else in the world. Now, everything in my life feels so sacred that I simply want to keep it for myself. Any sharing is done with those directly around me: family, friends, strangers, the tangible. And here, too, I suppose, but this places feels sacred, too. My personal, quiet, little corner of the Internet.

Perhaps that’s what I want: the here and now. Having a daughter has made me painfully aware of time. It made me cry when I dropped my dad off at the airport yesterday, not knowing when I’ll see him again. It’s made me aware of my grandparents and how much time they have left. It’s made me wonder how much time I have left. I’ve always thought about this, but having a child shifts everything into focus. Suddenly I’m eating well, trying/wanting to exercise more, training myself how to think more positive thoughts, having goals and purpose each day, anything I can to be healthy for her in order to experience every bit of her for as long as I possibly can.

None of this is meant to be sad, though, for as sad as I am to leave 2018, I know 2019 is filled with entirely new wonder. I can’t stop any of what is happening, but I can be fully here to embrace it and dive head first into it.

2016

I have to admit that the first thing I thought when I woke up this morning was, I am so glad I didn’t make any new years resolutions, you know, the daily kind, which would summon me out the wonderful sleep I was having and possibly awaken the hangover I felt looming over my body despite only having half a homemade drink last night but oh no, it’s not a hangover, it’s just called staying up two hours past my regular bed time which causes me to feel like death the following day, also known as, aging, and yet, I'm still young. I rolled over and closed my eyes again, knowing I could fall back asleep, guilt free(!), not having broken the first day of any resolution.

But when I rolled over closer to where my husband should have been sleeping (ah! I love calling him my husband!), he wasn’t there, and instead, I heard him working tediously at the kitchen table on his own new years resolution. Inspired, or maybe it was the two dogs jumping on top of me to WAKE UP, I got out of bed, made some tea, and here I am now, writing.

Writing every day, this has been my new years resolution for the past several years and it goes like this: January, strong, February, twice, March, non-existent, the rest of the year, a few more times, and I’ve tried every kind of motivator or action plan there is. I’ve tried different times of the day, different computer apps, phone apps, the old fashion pen and paper. It simply never happens. And so this morning when I opened my eyes, I felt such a sense of relief knowing I wouldn’t fail this year, or even that very day, for I hadn't made any new years resolutions.

And here I am writing. Day 1

I think I’ve grown tired of trying to become a new person each and every year. Some years are better than others. Some years I accomplish the majority of my new years goals (having only set three) and other years I don’t accomplish any of them (whether having set one goal or ten). But yesterday when I was reflecting on 2015, and how it most definitely has been filed as the best year of my life–this best year being the year I got married, the year I graduated from my degree, the year I moved to Seattle, and more–I realized that I didn’t want to become a new person tomorrow because today (being yesterday) is part of the best year of my life and I don’t want to file it away and forget about it. I want it to continue. I don’t want to think that I was married last year in 2015 when really it was only two weeks ago. I only want to continue doing life how it’s been flowing each day, with magical twists and frustrating turns, the best highs and the worst lows, the ups and downs and spinning around, the all-of-its. I want all of it.

There’s this wonderful book I read many years ago called Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It and ever since merely glancing at this book title I’ve been determined to live my life that way. Not in a way where I think I am entitled to whatever I want, but rather in a way where I want to work so hard that it’s possible for me to accomplish this dream and this dream too, no matter how far apart or complex they are from one another. I want both ways, all of it, thegoodthebadtheinbetweens. 

That’s what I want for this next year. To simply keep going, keep dreaming, pursuing, working, fighting, imagining, creating, doing, giving, loving, being, feeling, breathing. I want to be the best version I can possibly be of myself and be the best person I can be for those around me not because it’s the new year but because I have, too, this is the only life I have and ever will live. 

And so, as I write these words and soon close my laptop, as I take my cup of tea back to the kitchen, stopping to kiss my husband (eee!, my husband!), put on socks, do the dishes, take a shower, run some errands, make lunch and so on and so on and so on, I want to do each of these things wholly, and to the best of my ability, because this day, this very moment, is all I have. Whether January 1st or May 28th or December 20th or whatever day it is, it is the only right now I have and may ever have. I want that moment, this moment, to be whole, no matter how complex it is, because it is wholly real, wholly happening, and wholly time. The time is right now. 

Lucky number 13.

I’m not superstitious, and yet I won’t walk under ladders, I knock on wood all the time, and I obsess over numbers and what they could possibly mean. Naturally, when 2012 turned to 2013, I thought to myself, the year of the unlucky number 13.  I wonder what could possibly go wrong this year to make all of us non-superstitious wood knockers go crazy?  

And then, 2013 happened.  It happened normally.  It happened unexpectedly.  It happened with all of its ups and downs, lefts and rights.  It happened sadly, it happened happily, it happened in every way I could ever imagine, and it kept on happening.  It happened to be the best year of my life.  The reason is simple. 

Laughter.  

You see, 2013 was also the most difficult and challenging year of my entire life.  But through some of the most chaotic times I have experienced, I learned how to laugh harder than I have ever been able to laugh.   

It taught me that life can be unpredictable, and a domino effect of omg-the-world-is-ending-except-not-really-at-all can happen to you to the point where you are hiding xanax in your flower bouquet because you are a bridesmaid at your best friends wedding and you’re one of two white girls attending an entirely East Indian wedding in a Sikh temple and if you lose your shit or pass out at the front alter where everyone else is bowing, you’ll always be deemed as that white girl and so you bow down at the alter, put your flower bouquet on the ground next to you and kiss the floor like everyone else just did and because you put your flower bouquet down you’ve just spilt all your xanax pills all over the alter and so you clumsily pick them all up and hide them back in your bouquet, smile, and resume your position hoping mama-ji over there didn’t just witness you smuggling drugs into the temple.  2013 taught me that xanax actually gives me more anxiety, and that being at peace means taking no medication, taking deep breaths, practicing acceptance, doing what’s best for you, and when things really hurt, to let them hurt. 

But then,
to laugh. 

To laugh like you’ve never laughed before, because when I look back at 2013 and how crazy it was, I now laugh at it all, and have nothing but the best memories possible.  It was all those times of being curled up in a ball on Kate’s couch because we were laughing so hard that we couldn’t breathe.  It was when the wine was accidentally spilt all over me, and Marta and I dumping the rest of the bottle on my clothing because life’s too short to care about stained clothing and spilt wine.  It was me getting overexcited about using the vitamix and realizing I had no idea how to properly cook dandelion pesto and us having to throw away our entire dinner because we were both gagging from its disgustingness. 

Laughter is healing.  It keeps us humble when things go wrong.  It teaches us to look on the bright side, to not take things too seriously, to love harder, to be silly, to put our energy towards things that really matter, and when things are overwhelming, to simply laugh. 

You know what number I hate more than 13?  14.  And so this 2014, I hope that you can learn to laugh, to let go, and then to laugh some more.  It’ll allow you to not only face challenges, and be okay with them, but to face challenges and then ask for more.  It’ll teach you how to grow and how to accept life in every colour it presents itself in.  Life is always going to change and catch us off guard.  So let’s just laugh.