It’s January 2020. Outside, the California sun is moving through a pale blue sky; it illuminates the houses and palm trees and pavement and the stretch of sidewalk where once I dreamt I saw a ghost.
That’s perhaps the best description for 2019 that I can come up with: the dream of a ghost.
In the past year, I published three more short stories. I won a contest. I did a number of readings. I quit my job. I threw a party or two. I somehow ended up applying to grad programs. Now looking back at it, it feels as if for the first time, I am waking up. As if everything that happened between 2018 and now, happened to someone else, happened at a distance, in another room.
It was a strange year, a restful/restless year, and, to my core, I am grateful for it.
In the United States especially there is a tendency to under-value reflection; as if quiet and solitude and thoughtfulness were antithetical to “progress” rather than essential for it. I don’t even know if “progress” is something in which I’m very interested, but I am clearly very interested in reflection and internal growth.
It might have something to do with age or simple continued experience or finally paying attention to my nutrition, but I feel more centered than I can ever remember feeling in the past. I feel more certain of who I am and of what I am doing. This isn’t to say I have a clear sense of direction, but rather that regardless of movement, I feel now that there I am an essential being holding potential.
Even two days into 2020, the dream that was 2019 is fading. It becomes less and less clear and all that remains to me is a feeling of wakefulness. I am grateful as always to the people in my life – to my family, who support me even when I don’t feel worthy of support, to my friends who remind me that humanity is interesting and complex and beautiful, to the new people in my life who bring their stories and experiences so willingly along.
I have no idea what 2020 has in store, but I am awake, I am alive, and I am excited to see what happens next.
Thank you as always for reading.