Never before have 12 months transformed me so thoroughly. I’m closing this year a completely different person than the one who started it.
I learned to be okay with leaving some things left unsaid. I learned to cast aside doubt in favor of whole-heartedly honoring the promise I made to myself five years ago to say yes to every opportunity. I learned to take what I need for myself, mostly in the form of time, but sometimes in the form of more espresso shots than I’m comfortable admitting.
In 2014, I spent too many days and nights feeling like I was, incredibly selfishly, on the wrong side of the country. Then I returned to Kansas City and found that I still felt that way. I began to understand the fluidity of the concept of ‘home,’ and how the more we stretch and explore, the harder it becomes to give just one place that distinction. No matter where I go, I will always be homesick for somewhere. I’ve found that to be a blessing; homesickness is a reminder of all the people and places I have loved.
I decided to start being direct. I told people how I felt. I asked for what I needed. I was honest with myself. With my friends. With my coworkers. I think some people prefer the quieter, more accommodating Caitlin. Too bad.
I wrote for myself more. Not by much. But I tentatively tapped out a few blog posts here and there, started digging through feelings and memories and words too-long unused. I stretched creative muscles and remembered that, just like my shoulders ache with tension the day after rock climbing, so too does my heart throb a bit after asking more of it than I have in awhile. I am so glad to have remembered what it feels like to be alive.
I took planes and trains and ferries and cars across prairies and up mountains and through choppy bay waters. I listened to new music and old music and bad music and life-changing music. I didn’t see enough concerts. I reunited with friends who are closer than family and met strangers whom it feels I’ve known forever. I went a little crazy trying to eat every squash I encountered, sampled a dozen incredible coffee shops, climbed every rock wall in my path, and watched one of my dearest friends get married in the most beautiful outdoor wedding on a perfect May afternoon. I made lots of bread. I ate so much falafel. I geocached. I wake boarded and surfed. I finally started mailing things. I finished editing a novel. I went galactic bowling. I met a ten-year internet friend in real life, and it was the best thing ever. In 2014, I went everywhere and did everything.
I wouldn’t change anything.
My 2014 goals were to eat fewer eggs, put my phone away at the dinner table, and to do more: cooking, reading, making, doing, living. The unexpected success of this year with such simple aspirations makes me feel good about my single resolution for 2015: use more limes when cooking.
Let’s go, 2015.