2013: a year of lists. Too many lists. Life distilled down to the best 10…, the most 31…, the top 60…..It was a year where the bullet points mattered and the little space in between seemed to vanish. This was a year where complexity and subtly and nuance weren’t allowed to even arm wrestle with obvious and I wondered if they might just shrug and go home.
And maybe because of their forced absence, we spent our time looking for them. Maybe we paid a little more attention, not in our ever-present online presence, but in our heads and hearts, to the things that are quiet but everlasting and meaningful. Maybe we stopped to realize that life isn’t lists and bullet points, but it’s really everything that happens in between.
It’s a family waiting for their sister, daughter, niece to arrive from surgery safely, it’s the dog with a cheerio on his face, it’s my dad laughing to the point he is crying or my little cousin trying on my sparkly shoes. It’s the dinner with a friend where you think your friendship will end, but it only becomes stronger. It’s your sister learning how to FaceTime and your dad asking: what is a Tweet? It’s the smile on a friend’s face when she meets the author she so idolizes. It’s the friend who remembers Hamborghini and sends you a photo of a stuffed animal pig, the friend who donates so much of what she has to help out a stranger, the woman at the store who shows up and hands you a basket when your hands are full and you’re drop-dead tired but trying to make it to the cashier with a load of stuff that reaches above your head. It’s the lobby security guard who always has a greeting, the new, beautiful, strong women you’ve met when you escaped your daily grind for a minute; it’s the dog who fishes by spending all day staring down into the waves. It’s the new friends who, when you are alone and pushing yourself so hard see that you’re alone from across the room and cheer you on…yell your name…make you keep going. It’s endless and un-list-able, but it is breathtaking. And sure, most of this might sound a cliché, might sound like something we already know. But so what? I needed to remember these things and find these things and I am so grateful I did.
2013 was not an easy year. It’s one that I want to leave behind for so many reasons; but it is also one that I could never replace because it made me believe in the goodness of people, the thoughtfulness of people, the strength of stepping away from the bullet points and into the in-betweens.
It made me pause to recognize those huge moments but also be quiet enough to absorb the small ones.
For that, I am forever grateful.
May 2014 be a year of the novel and not the list and may you all have the time, strength, and health, to read every last letter of it.