There's a Nora Ephron quote I have been repeating to myself over and over this year, a quote so important to me I've practically memorized it, making it my unofficial mantra for 2013.
"What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: You can always change your mind."
I'm not sure where blogs are going these days. I don't read them as regularly as I used to; when Google Reader died, I bookmarked my favorites, and I visit them about once a week to see if anything new has been posted, to see what adventures some of my long-off kindred spirits are having. But I don't read with the dedication and fervor I used to.
Perhaps because I am reading them less, perhaps because I am living more, I find myself writing less, blogging less. And when I do make the time to write, it is frenzied and fury-ed, as if I won't be able to type fast enough the words pouring out of my brain and heart.
I still love writing here. And I know, the past year my posts have not all been rainbows and butterflies. I could have remained silent, could have waited until life was some semblance of normal before blogging about all of it: the new business ownership, the house hunt, the move, the hurts, the goodbyes. But I just don't function well that way. Writing is my way of coping, and it's my hope that by writing through my journey and my struggles, I've ministered to -- befriended, really -- some of you.
We need each other's honesty. In a world where so much is filtered and broadcasted, it's nice to find pockets of the Internet, of the world, where authenticity is valued and praised.
So that's why I keep writing. It's why, all throughout this crazy, up-and-down rollercoaster of a year, I've kept posting. Even if it was sporadic, even if my words were scrambled on the page, I kept hitting publish.
We'll remember each year for something, some major event or another. It would be wonderful if we could remember our years for what they were: highs and lows, the significant and the meaningless. But as we age, it's more likely the years will blur together, and certain years -- for better or for worse -- will stick out for just a reason or two instead of for what they were as a whole. I won't always remember every detail of this year. I won't remember every road trip or every celebration. I won't remember dinners cooked or eaten out, won't remember late nights or early mornings. I won't remember sickness or health.
I'll instead remember the goodbyes. I'll remember saying yes to entrepreneurship, taking on new responsibilities and all the excitement and heartbreak that comes with them. This is the year I became the Kathleen Kelly of my dreams, and it's the year I realized even dreams have flaws and cracks and aren't always what they seem. As it turns out, they're often better, but harder. And they come with trade-offs.
Life is a give and take, a mixture of bitter and sweet. This is the year I learned that, I think.
I love that Nora Ephron quote so much because as 2013 draws to a close, I'm still uncertain about so many things: where we'll live. How long this dream will last. So often I look forward to the Decembers of each year as a chance to close the door, a chance to move forward to the next goal, the new adventure, the turned-over leaf. The truth is, so many of the decisions we made (and didn't make) in 2013 will have repercussions into 2014. The consequences, good and bad, won't disappear when January 1 rolls around. I'll have a pretty new planner, but the old won't have died off just yet.
My brain and my heart might be ready for fresh beginnings, but life doesn't always abide by the calendar we've set.
Instead, then, I'm making peace with 2013, with all she's held and with all she'll bring into the new year. I'm already mentally making resolutions and goals, trying out new words to replace the "choose" that followed me around all 2013 long. I'm looking forward, but I'm doing so with more perspective than before. I'm looking forward with the knowledge that I won't always get to leave everything behind. Some baggage, some decisions, follow us even into our newest days, our brightest resolutions. That, too, is life, and I'm becoming okay with it. I have to, don't I?
So I'm trying to take Nora's advice. I'm trying to abide by her wisdom. I'm embracing the mess, rejoicing in the complications. It's taken me 12 months (or perhaps 27 years), but I'm learning surprises are good for me. And if all else fails, I can always change my mind.
These are the things 2013 was good for, and they're the things I'll remember about her long after the calendar's pages have turned.