And just like that, it’s the end of another year.
2014 seemed like a flash flood and a slow roll forward all at once. And for that, I am thankful: it allowed me to savor every thought, every realization, every question and every experience like a 95% dark chocolate square or a finely aged Napa wine. Yet at the same time, January 2013 seems like just a few short minutes ago. That’s the funny thing about time – forever can seem like a day, and a moment can seem like forever. The cold nights, the concerts, the solo songs in the car. Long hellos and rushed goodbyes. The way one decision can feel like failure or freedom – or both.
Writing the final Breaking Out of each year is maybe my favorite part of December. I love how we get to look back together, make sense of the last twelve months, and collectively feel what this new year has in store. It amazes me how each year possesses a through line, a purpose, a place in the grand scheme of our existence – and how, not surprisingly, we’re all experiencing that through line together.
“Be happy now.” It’s the mantra that kicked off the year, setting the tone for twelve months of introspection, observation, change and catharsis. We realized that we had everything we needed in the moment to be happy now. But were we actually using those tools and opportunities for happiness that were right in front of us, or were we opting for routines and practices that kept us in that lethal comfort zone of sameness?
Throughout the year, we slowly shed the skin of our former selves, peeling away the layers that defined success over the years, layers that no longer served us in there here and now. We did not get over our problems or forget our worries. We transcended them.
Our vision for 2014 was for it to be our most authentic self yet. Crazily enough, “authenticity” reached buzzword status around the end of last year (or so the critics say) – meaning that not only did our vision for the new year include being our most authentic self, it meant that we needed to redefine what authentic meant to us on an individual, nuanced level. If the word “authentic” was going the way of “awesome” or “amazing,” that meant we needed to be brave and dive deep into what the word truly meant to each of us on an individual level. To become our most authentic selves, it required us to go beyond the generic definition handed to us by marketing pros.
Authenticity is more than realness, it’s more than honesty. Authentic is kind, authentic is wistful, authentic is realizing all we don’t know and all we do. Authentic is a voice, a timbre of speech that cracks sometimes when it’s nervous or rises a few decibels with confidence. Authenticity is falling in love in a way that’s not like the movies; it’s so much more. Authentic is the freedom, the vast expansive freedom, to think, feel, and be just as we are in the moment. Authentic isn’t always pretty but it is unquestionably beautiful. It isn’t always fancy but it is unequivocally show-stopping in the way it allows you to sit with yourself and be unafraid. Authenticity is the way a lifetime of gratitude can open up the tightest corners of your soul.
2014, whether we were learning how to get our best body ever or take control of our finances, how to redefine success or redistribute our clutter, you had us fooled the entire time. We weren’t just learning how to navigate a social scene or make healthy choices in a pinch, we were discovering who we are and who we want to be.
2014 was a year of introspection, of deep-set courageousness and long-held second glances. It was a tribute to all we have been, but moreso to all we can be. It was a transition year for sure – but that doesn’t mean the year just sat there waiting for December 31 to roll around. It was the year in which we did the necessary legwork, the learning and the loving needed to actually move forward in a way that’s lasting. We spoke not just our mind but our heart. We honored our past and evaluated our present so we could be ready for the future. We took the first steps, which are usually the hardest – sometimes the most overwhelming – but always the most necessary.
So what does this mean for 2015? It means we are ready to take the stage. It means we’re prepared to own our space and act on those decisions that are fully unquestionably us. My own personal resolution this year is to take every little experience, internal and external, that 2014 offered me and let them be the pillars that hold 2015 afloat. I know things won’t always go my way, but I know that whatever happens, it will be exactly what I need. I have shown the universe I am ready and I have met it halfway enough times for it to hold me in its confidence. In all my authentic strengths, shortcomings, and in-between moments, I stand proud and unwavering. It’s time.
We know who we are. We feel what we want. Now it’s time to be that person, in person, right now, out loud.
Take the stage. Feel the spotlight. Happy New Year.