I'm sitting on the floor by the fireplace, alone in a house tucked away in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. While the number of hours left in 2016 continues to decrease, I'm trying to process all of the things that have happened since this time last year. 2016 was unlike any other year so far, but I guess every year is different from the last. Between my own personal growth and setbacks and the massive shifts caused worldwide by political decisions, collective human behavior, the environment and so on, the past 12 months have been more unsettling than those that came before them.
I started off in January by moving out of the house I had lived in for a few years. I really didn't want to leave, but the owners of the house were moving back in, so I had no choice and not much of a warning. January was also the first time I spoke in front of an audience. I sing in front of people all the time and I love doing that, so this will be the same right? NOPE. Ha. I thought it went pretty terribly, other people said it was fine..but now at least I know that if I have to speak in front of a crowd and I totally suck, I'll survive. The embarrassment is now a memory and a story rather than an uncomfortable physical feeling. Most feelings do tend to fade in that sense over time. January did bring me my first real panic attack in years though, so that was fun. Especially because I was on a boat at the time, so there was no way for me to chill the F out. Thankfully this wasn't how I felt for most of 2016.
The rest of my year was full of travel, both international (Italy, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico, Thailand, Greece, England) and domestic (CA, NV, GA, FL, OR, TX, ME, MA, NY, NH) It was thrilling and it was exhausting. It was a mix of anxiety, serenity, hope, fear, confidence... confusion. I wouldn't change a thing. This part of my experience was so meaningful and so wonderful so I feel a little guilty hating on the whole year. Bad things happened, but those don't cancel out the good ones. They are two separate entities. It's not 2016's fault, right?
One thing I did realize was that I needed to have a home base when I returned from my travels. I had some things in storage, some in the trunk of my car, some at my friends houses.I had gotten so excited to travel the world that I just threw everything everywhere and hopped on a plane. I was staying on friends' couches between trips and I really didn't like imposing. Being unsettled in a foreign country feels appropriate. Being unsettled in the place I call "home" doesn't.
I got back and immediately started to overcommit myself. Between work and moving and catching up with everything that piled up while I was traveling, I just hadn't had more than a minute to myself for as long as I could remember. This sounds kind of negative. It's not. A lot of the things I was busy with were great, but the less time I have alone, the less my brain can calm down, and then things that could be really exciting start to feel stressful. So, I ran away to quiet my mind and recalibrate. That brings me to this moment. Sitting on the floor, drinking coffee mixed with chai spiced eggnog, trying to figure out how people keep a fire going for more than 10 minutes.. because I kind of suck at it, and with 15 inches of snow outside blocking the door, I'm afraid I'll run out of firewood before midnight.
Tonight I'll spend time alone; reflecting, meditating, playing my piano. (well, the piano that I rented from Guitar Center last week because I couldn't actually get mine here from LA.) Maybe I'll go to bed early and I won't even be awake at midnight. Who am I kidding, I'll be awake at midnight. Haha. I hope everyone has a night that inspires them. For me this time it's silence. For you it may be the same, or it may be family, friends, champagne, a concert or volunteering. Whatever it is, enjoy it. Smile at someone. Look in someone's eyes. If you're alone, smile in the mirror. Look into your own eyes and tell yourself it's going to be a great year... and really believe it! Be present. Try to remember the good things that happened this year. Try to think of what lessons you have learned that you can bring with you into the new year, and be proud of those you may have helped to teach others. If there are things you regret, let them go by deciding to act differently from this moment onward. I learned so much this year from old friends and new. I met people and saw things that I never could have imagined. Thank you for your wisdom, your patience, your support. Thank you for your truth, your love, your criticism. Thank you all.. for all of it.
Happy New Year.