Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 You Say?

At the moment I'm in the country. At a spot that I've had the privilege to enjoy for a little over three or four years. My mother died in a bit of a lull in what is usually the most busy time of my professional year. I think I took perhaps a total of five full days off before I got back to work, but I took many more days off in terms of location. It was almost impossible to fathom returning to an office environment with that grief, and so at least the first week of my returning to work in spirit, if not physicality, also took place in this location.  It is special to me. And who I get to be here is pretty much an unfettered version of myself at my best and worst. If you are a long-time blog reader, you'll know of this spot. I allude to it often enough, taking photographs of the mini-woods walks, field reading sessions, and culinary adventures I take. In any case it has become a very important place to me. Place.  Somehow it needed to be in bold. Earlier today I was internet-chatting with L. and at some point I typed (I would like to say uttered, but it's not technically true) the following:
"on top of ollllld smokey
alll covered with wine
I shot my dear turkey
with a wink and a shine
he squawked like a bansheeee
too surprised to fight
that's when i knew forrr sure
that it was a good night"

Actually, that's not the real quote I wanted to use. But I did also type this set of lyrics, which I was making up as I went along. And I was quite amused by them so thought I'd add them into the mix.

No, the relevant quote (of myself) was:
"god. i sometimes wish i wasn't so satisfied with my own company"

L. and I both reacted to this thought with laughter. Because what the hell does this even mean?...Except we both knew exactly what it meant.

The paradox or weird dichotomy of my life is that I actually love hanging out with other people...but I hate meeting other people and while I can be charming to strangers, I take a fair amount of time to actually decide whether I find them charming. And so I often feel like I don't have enough friends. Or not the right ones in the right place. And so I often feel, not alone, but lonely. Or maybe switch that around? Yes. Switch it around. I don't feel lonely because I have connections to people near and far, and I know others think of me in the same way that I think of them. And yet in my daily life, I have a pretty small pool of folks (grateful for the pool I have, don't misunderstand) whose company I get to rely on or enjoy. So  having a great idea for an evening out, but knowing barely anyone to ask to participate, let alone would be interested, in that great idea makes one feel a little iffy in the social life department.

This, on New Years Eve, is not a missive of what is wrong with my life or that I am some sad depressed person. But it is a recognition of the struggle I've had since leaving my mid-20s to find a true group. Or maybe that's actually a struggle I've always had, and I'm just not really the "group" kind. It means missing out on interesting things because I'm not brave enough to go to them alone. Or I am brave enough, but I hate being the girl alone, listening to other people's conversations, knowing that I could add something to them...but then I would be the weird girl by herself trying to push herself into some other group or conversation. And so I stay silent. Or, more accurately, so I often just don't go at all. It should be said that those I do know and love often tell me I think too much/overthink such things entirely. I see their points...and yet.....

Tonight, however, I'm having a fine evening. I am drinking champagne. I am by a roaring fire of my own creation and tending. Going outside is a bit cold, but the stars are peeking out from the clouds and the overall view and sound is right up my alley. The occasional nocturnal bird. The whoosh of a car driving half a mile away. The rustling of undetermined animals...I assume skunks, raccoons and possums. If a new year in the traditional sense is a time for reflection and resolution, I am at the very least reflecting. I actually made a number of resolutions about a month ago.

I am reflecting not only on this evening. But of New Years Eve pasts. Honestly it was never that big a holiday for me. Ha, most aren't. I do not believe that my NYE dictates the tone of my year. Nor do I think that the calendar year switch from December to January is the best gauge for progression in my life. Frankly I think June first is a better New Year, but that may just be my love of summer.

I don't really remember my early years of ushering in the New Year. Perhaps a glimpse of a family or neighborhood memory could be unearthed if I tried hard enough, but the fact that they don't readily come to the surface suggests they did not create any kind of precedent. I do, however, very much remember the change from 1999 to 2000, and the lovely time I had with a diverse bunch of high school friends in the mountains of North Carolina deserves its own recollection. The point here is just that I remember it, and I remember it clearly - or at least numerous events from that time clearly. I'm sure there are things I don't remember at all, but on the whole my memory is usually pretty solid. I will say this: that was officially the year that I ended any last bastions of vegetarianism I was flirting with, as Mr. Ass was also there and he was cooking what looked like very special steaks. First bite of steak I had had in probably four+ years.

Next up in terms of New Years remembrances would probably come from my years with my ex. Then I would meet up with him at his family's spread in Georgia. Maybe it was only two years. Perhaps three? In any case, there wasn't a lot of spectacle, but I feel like (and maybe I'm wrong) the tradition I thought we were creating was one of drinking a bit of champagne and then lighting firecrackers/works off with the younger of his cousins (ugh, in thinking about this I just realized they're probably teenagers now). And that, a night of country, fireworks and champagne, was pretty much all I wanted then. Honestly, that's kind of still what I want. I don't get the urban NYE thing. Packed into a bar with overworked bartenders. Hoping to meet strangers? It's just not really my thing. I sometimes wish it was, but no. I would prefer a holiday in a rural environment with folks I already know over a bubbling and bustling metropolis full of strangers I will never know any day. The potential of meeting people under those circumstances is, for me, not enough of a draw to make up for what usually comes to be. And so here I am, slowly marking the hours til 2014 alone. And I don't regret it!

Now this may be in part because big changes are, in fact, in the works for me. I will be leaving Philadelphia in about a month and embarking on what can only be considered a very risky new venture. I haven't written about this on the blog in detail, and I'm not sure I'm going to do so now. But the point is that I don't need this night to be a big deal. The big deal is imminent.

Well I don't know what my point was, other than rationalizing my decision to spend my NYE in the country by myself. And to put it on record that big things that are a'foot in my life. 2013 has generally been a solid year. The dart team did well...until it didn't. I've gone on some fun adventures. I've certainly eaten some good meals. But right now most of my brain space is looking onward, not with any true sense of knowing how it's all going to go...but knowing that I'm finally shaking things up and trying a new path.

I honestly can't wish anything more on anyone else than might come across this rambling thought missive. The last day of December and the first day of January as a revelatory moment in my life, or the life of any one else, is too arbitrary. Those deciding and lifechanging moments come when they come, and often are predicated on reasoning and thoughts and wants that surpass a 12-month calendar.

That said. I do hope that 2014 will be a very different year for me. And I hope that it is the same for those looking for such change. But for those who are quite content? I hope you have 2013 all over again!


Huck said...

Wishing you a very different 2014!
Happy brand-new year.


nc catherine said...

Oh my what a lovely post. I too sort of wish I weren't so comfortable with my own company as it does make finding a group a bit more difficult. I am hoping that for me 2014 does not look anything like 2013. So far at least in terms of geography I have that nailed!