What I learned in 2014 and what I hope for 2015

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I believe the past, present, and future are all woven together in ways I can’t fully understand.  I also believe that a central task of adulthood is accepting, making peace with, and celebrating our individual pasts and histories.  This is the only way we can embrace what is, let alone what lies ahead.

So, onward into 2015.  Last year I opened the new year with some reflections on what I’d learned the year before (as well as with that paragraph above, which I think bears repeating).  I wanted to do so again.  Some of these are new lessons, others are continued of lessons that I seem to need to need to re-learn over and over again.

What did I learn in 2014?

No amount of being here now helps ease the essential pain of time’s passage.  It gives me rich memories, yes, but it doesn’t change my sorrow at how fast this life flies.

The cliche that raising a tween and teen is the most difficult part of parenting seems to have some truth in it.  That I feel I can say that as I embark on this new phase fills me, I’ll admit, with something approaching dread.

The best way to clear my head when I feel sad or angry or upset about something is to go for a walk.  To gaze up at the sky and the branches, to feel the air around me, to observe the familiar streets near my home.

40 is officially the age when you start taking your health seriously.  That means that when something’s wrong, all the what-ifs rear their ugly heads and suddenly have credence.  The worst could be.  But it also means that on a daily basis I feel aware of the great miracle that the human body is.  I strive not to take my own health for granted.  I’m sure I don’t do nearly a good enough job, but I do try.

My soul speaks in poetry.  It’s not an accident that so many years ago, I chose to write my senior thesis in college on poetry (and I love the instinctive choice that I recognize now as some kind of deep, essential knowing).  It’s most often poetry that runs through my head, and it’s in reading poetry that I feel most at home, most soothed, most comfortable.

Let go.  I must keep learning to let go.

There’s no marathon in my future.  There’s probably not even another half marathon.  30 years of running has accumulated on my knees and the wear is beginning to show.  I hate, hate, hate this fact.

Perhaps the biggest thing I learned in 2014 is how dearly I love my own life.  What I most devoutly want in 2015 is more these days, more of my shining, painful, ordinary life.  My wish for the new year is as simple and as arrogant as that: more of this.

What did you learn in 2014?  What do you hope for in 2015?

 

 


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17 Comments

  1. Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    2014 was a HUGE learning lesson for me in reclaiming my understanding of what I am capable of. 2015 is going to be all about walking tall in that awareness and carrying it out into every aspect of life.

  2. Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Happy new year, dear Lindsey. Walking with you.

  3. Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Beautiful post, Lindsey. As ever. As 2014 was coming to a close and 2015 was dawning, I learned how very much I need to practice love, really and truly engage in love. I’m hoping love sees me through 2015. xoxo

  4. Tina
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    At 42, I, too, feel like it’s the time for making peace with your past. I also struggle terribly with the speed at which life is flying by. My daughters are almost 16 and 14, and their presence in my life each day brings me tremendous joy–always, yet at the same time, there is always that uncomfortable undercurrent of deep sadness as well, that our time together like this will, indeed, not be for much longer. That thought takes my breath away and leaves a perpetual lump in my throat, preventing me from fully enjoying the time I presently have with them. I most certainly need lessons on letting go.

  5. Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I can already imagine what it will feel like to hug you when we finally arrange that meet up.

    xo

    Happy, happy simple shimmers to you.

  6. Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I’m always taken aback by the realization that nothing much has changed over the past year- in the big ways. Nothing grand happened- I didn’t run a marathon or write a book. Still me, still searching. But yet, nothing bad happened either. I had a whole year of ordinary, which is it’s own kind of miracle.

    2014 for me was a time of transition (I quit my job). I gave myself a year off from expectation- I just tried to enjoy. I did, but now I feel a sense of needing to move forward a bit. Maybe give myself a few expectations this year.

    Happy New Year- I look forward to your words in 2015.

  7. Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It does fly by so quickly. We had a tumultuous year, one that put into relief just how tenuous life can be. So my goal is very similar to yours. I just want more, too.

  8. Posted January 5, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I love this. What a truly peaceful thought–to want more of your existing life. The shimmer, the pain, the ordinary…all of it. Thinking that way must help you sink in, be in the moment, or at least try, which is all we can really do. And endless, immeasurable thanks to you for helping me do the same.

    (Oh, and yes to the walking! xoxo)

  9. Posted January 5, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I love this Lindsey… I too am heart wrenched at the passage of time and how it seems to slip like sand through my fingers, even though certain days go at a snail’s pace. I just glanced at pictures on my computer and gasped at the sight of my son as an infant. He is three now, but I still *think* of him as a baby… but he is clearly not.

    Yes, as I approach 40 I am realizing how much I do take my health for granted. I always have… but not anymore. I am so grateful that I have the ability to move through the world without pain, unlike my own mother who suffered many years with multiple sclerosis.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom in your posts, and your favorite poems. I always love the ones you pick.

  10. Posted January 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    All the New Year’s posts, tweets, and articles I’ve seen so far… I didn’t read a single one about someone loving where they are and wanting more of that for 2015. It’s always about changing something or making something better.

    I love this. “the biggest thing I learned in 2014 is how dearly I love my own life.”

    Also, your “The bitter part of my life’s bittersweet core” post is beautiful. Thank you for linking to that.

  11. Posted January 5, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I love this. “the biggest thing I learned in 2014 is how dearly I love my own life.” The thing that I learned is that I am grateful for evolving, growing and loving every struggle as much as I do the joy in my life.

  12. Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    It’s a cliché I guess, but the older I get, the less I long for things I don’t have and love the things I do. Truly. Best wishes to you this year. I look forward to reading about it!

  13. Posted January 6, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Another gift of life near, at, past 40 is insight. And this post is truly insightful in its wisdom, clarity and honesty. As a mother of teenage boys, I too live in that transitional space of soaking up the present while trying not to dread the coming new normal of an empty nest.
    And yes, health and wellness, forgiveness and acceptance felt in an otherwise ordinary life are tremendous gifts indeed!
    Blessings on your new year and cheers to more of the same all around. 🙂

  14. Posted January 6, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this poignant post. I’ve been reflecting on what you talked about. For me, 2014 was about overcoming my decade-long struggle with anorexia in order to conceive a child (after months of infertility, likely attributed to undereating and overexercise), and then have a healthy pregnancy. I had to face my fear of my most hated body part – my stomach – getting bigger and bigger. I had to stifle the worry that I wouldn’t be a good mom or that I wouldn’t know what to do, since my own parents weren’t very emotive or affectionate with us.

    Then I had my little girl in November 2014. She’s 2 months old now. I love being a mom, and so much of it was (thankfully) intuitive. 2015 will be about enjoying my little family, and continuing to take joy in parenting.

  15. Posted January 6, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    My four-year-old is obsessed with the Lion King soundtrack, and this morning when she played it for the thousandth time, I heard for what felt like the first time the words,
    “From the day we arrive on the planet
    And blinking, step into the sun
    There’s more to see than can ever be seen
    More to do than can ever be done.”

    Standing at the kitchen sink washing carrots for my first grader’s lunch, I got verklempt and then had to laugh at the source of my feelings. I never know when these emotions are coming or exactly why, but I guess what I’m saying is that I identify with your bittersweet milieu. Your first paragraph is what draws me to your writing. Simple, elegant, and true. Here’s to more of this! xoxo

  16. Posted January 6, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I love this, Lindsey! I agree with so much of what you’ve written. And I agree, I love my life as well. It ain’t always easy, but I love it. And I am so grateful for that fact.

    Your writing, as always, is beautiful.

    Happy New Year!
    xx,
    Ali

  17. Posted January 10, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    One of the things I love about your writing is your grateful and thankful tone. I love that you love your life; it makes me appreciate my own, in turn. I find your voice so intelligent and thoughtful and deep, and it never fails to make me feel calmed. You are a mother I love to follow. xo