My Thoughts on the New Year

My Thoughts on the New Year

Finding a balance between holding tight to the past and placing hope in the future
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I’m one of those people who will recall certain moments down to the second. For example: this exact time (from when I’m writing this) two weeks ago, I was headed North for Christmas break. That morning, a little ache begged me to stay in Los Angeles for the weekend. The clouds were supposed to break that afternoon — and, when they did, the day was a gorgeously pure Southern Californian day: unobscured by smog, with its summer-like holiday spirit in full force.

I drove home anyway, because coming home too often and for too much time is what I continue to do best. That first Friday night home, I crawled into a warm bed with the feeling that all was right with the world. (All being right meaning that reality, and January, felt an eternity away.)

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In the midst of a memorable moment—however large or simple—I am intentional about capturing a photo in my mind of the sight and smell and sound. Last night, while at Twin Peaks, every word that came to mind failed the sight of San Francisco. The City sounded mostly of tourists; though when I allowed myself to be lost in thought I heard only the hush of the wind with scattered honking cars and buses in the distance. San Francisco smelled like crisp air: the kind that rubs a face red and feels clean in the lungs.

Each time I stand still for a handful of moments—in spite of my intention—the motion of time eventually speeds up — usually without my awareness. Before I know it, twenty-four hours has passed, and the nostalgic process of thinking back begins: this time yesterday, I was standing at Twin Peaks…This time two weeks ago, I was on my way home...

I assume I've held tightly enough to the moment as if I could freeze it myself, and yet time slips swiftly anyway.

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Every new year I find myself in the same predicament: nostalgic for all things within the past year. I’m all for self-reflection. If you’ve followed along on here or read my personal blog, you would know that. However, I’m at a point in my life when self-reflection requires balance. The irony is that my expectation for the future also needs balance.

I tend to hold fast to the sights and smells and sounds that come with the past. I grasp, until my knuckles are white, at the moments most familiar to me because they feel safe. I exhaust myself on the how life felt when’s… And on the what used to be’s…

And, the problem doesn’t stop in the past. I even make the mistake of going to the complete opposite side of the spectrum. In attempt to correct myself for wallowing, I look to the future with unprotected expectation — expectation rooted without hope and with entitlement, and placed with too much emphasis and not enough faith.

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For the New Year, I want to find a middle ground between holding memories and comforts near to my heart without allowing nostalgia to rob me of the joy and familiarity waiting to be found in the future. I also want to stop placing the sorts of expectations that keep the future from organically working itself out.

The future is inevitably imperfect, but that doesn’t mean it should go on to exist without any hope invested in it. I want to learn how to expect, without building walls of expectations — walls that are unclimbable, walls that ultimately scare me off or keep me in.

I do hope to continue capturing those intentional little moments, because they are the snapshots that decorate the walls in my mind. I just hope to also look out the window of my life with the intent of finding unexpected things that, however unfamiliar, will grow my perspective and change my life some more.

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In this new year I hope you can look toward something new and invigorating, while holding closely to what has rooted you all along.

Cover Image Credit: Andrajos

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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