It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without the internet filling up with reminiscences about the past year. I won’t fight the tide. Also, I’ve had quite the eventful year, and I thought that folks who are looking to up their excitement quotient in 2015 might be interested in learning how I did it. For once, I won’t keep you waiting as you read through meandering paragraphs full of only-sort-of-related philosophizing. New beginnings, right?
1. I reflected on the previous year and decided to outdo myself.
In 2013, I quit my job, moved to a new/old city and ended a 5-year-long relationship. I turned 30, started freelancing, got a new, more flexible job, and asked someone out for the first time, ever. It’s hard to top a list like that, but if you want excitement in life, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices. Making each year more of a roller coaster than the last requires commitment to the cause (and, possibly, a bit of a fear of committing to anything else).
2. I remained perpetually injured.
Nothing makes life interesting like a traumatic injury. Even everyday tasks like finding a comfortable sleeping position become an adventure when your back is broken or you’ve strained something in your knee and it remains swollen for WEEKS. And aren’t things like climbing and skiing more fun when you haven’t been able to do them for months? Ways to ensure you are never far from a visit to your physiotherapist or the nearest emergency room include not watching where you’re going, seeing that “8 weeks of recovery, minimum” and raising it to five only to set yourself backwards several weeks, refusing to ice things, and perpetually forgetting how big your feet actually are and catching them on everything, including roots and surf boards.
3. I dated everyone.
This might not work for you if you’re, say, married or a celibate monk. But if you’re neither of those things, you should try it. That Tuesday afternoon coffee sure is more interesting when shared with a stranger from the internet who may or may not be that guy sitting across the cafe casting enquiring glances at you, but you’re not sure because all his photos were taken from the side and also this guy has a beard. My previous dating MO was to be immediately in a relationship with someone after one or two dates. This year, I tried something different. I met guys on OkCupid, Plenty of Fish (do NOT recommend), and Tinder, but I also met them IRL (which is an acronym I have started to use IRL…somehow it’s not catching on) at bar-b-qs, on rafting trips and, memorably, waiting for a bus downtown in the middle of the night. Then there was “just the uncle” of a child at the daycare where I sometimes worked. It was arguably too much, but I wasn’t bored (very often). On the other hand, it might be even more exciting to date someone, rather than everyone.
4. I went on strike.
Aside from being new to me, and therefore, interesting, being on strike ruined my finances, which is always an adventure, gave me to opportunity to do all sorts of interesting other jobs, allowed me to revisit my past (in the form of those other jobs), and reminded me of just how good I have it when I’m not on strike. If striking isn’t an option for you, you could probably achieve most of the same benefits by being laid off or receiving a temporary, unpaid suspension. Nothing gives you quite the same rush as realizing you don’t know how you’re going to pay your rent this month! There’s also something deeply satisfying about sending viscerally angry tweets to the government.
5. I had an existential crisis.
Nothing shakes things up like contemplating changing your life and your personality entirely. I had a bit of a crazy autumn, which has culminated in me questioning everything I believed about myself. Do I really want to write? Are the mountains really where I want to be? Would I actually be happier working at a bank and going to the gym to use an elliptical machine during my lunch breaks, while shopping for purses and listening to Taylor Swift on my iPhone? You want to really mess with yourself? Question whether your entire life was built on you believing you are someone other than who you actually are, and therefore, whether you even fit into it at all.
6. I still managed to ski, climb, hike, travel and be surrounded by love.
Despite a broken back, strained MCL and complete lack of wealth, I still managed to do things I love. And despite the revolving door of not-quite-right-for-me men who probably felt the same way about me, the bad days and weeks, sometimes wanting an entirely different life or personality, and all the old and new flaws that are pieced together with some better qualities to make me who I am, I am still, on all sides, surrounded with people I love, who love me back. I don’t know how it all works sometimes, this life I push around down one alley, then another, like an old grocery cart full of broken odds and ends that I found somewhere and fell in love with and couldn’t throw away. But somehow, it does.
Well, this was meant to be funny, and turned serious. It’s also missing a photo. So it goes. Happy last day of 2014!