2016 feels like a year of loss. But I don’t want to think about it in that way.
When I look back on the last 12 months and read back what I was writing (not here) at the time, it feels like a rug was pulled out from under my feet in 2016, and everything I knew, was accustomed to – even loved – changed.
We went to the funeral of a friend.
My life as an undergrad student is done.
I let go of a relationship and person I thought would be around for a long long time.
Friendships that withstood the test of time, different schools and teen drama have broken down because people drift away and towards other things. Even my appetite disappeared.
I hate to get all philosophical but I suppose when there’s loss it’s never resolutely a loss, because in most cases, it’s replacement. A lot of things kind of winded me this year, I was shocked a lot, and at times it felt really really bad, because everything that was comfortable and normal was ending. I’m no longer a student, but I did become an au pair.
Then I became unemployed, then I got my first proper job.
A relationship ended but there’s no bad aftertaste. I’ve mulled on this one a lot and I owe a great deal of thanks to this person for shaking me out of a comfort zone that was really nice, but maybe a little too premature for the both of us.
A friend has become distanced, but other friendships have become more fortified.
It wasn’t all bad, it was just a lot of bad with a lot of good.
I woke up on the first day of 2016 in Ireland, a country I’d never visited before. I spent time with family in Sweden in the winter, and walked across a frozen lake. I witnessed 4 years of work pay off when I graduated. I moved back to Italy and started to fall back into myself when I met a new family, who let me become a part of theirs. I finally went to Genova. I lounged my summer days away in Cannes – twice. I started reading for pleasure again. I watched paragliders tumble over the peak of Mont Blanc when I stayed in Chamonix. I cove hopped around Mallorca. I went to Milan for the first time. I got a job doing something I enjoy. I moved back in with my family. I cut my hair off (if you know me, you get it).
Loss is change, and 2016 was just that. I think I’d grown really comfortable with my life. Actually that’s not true at all. The other day I was writing and it came to me that one reason that relationship had begun to change was not because I had fallen out of love with the person I was with, but actually because I had fallen out of love with where I was in my life. So maybe I hadn’t grown comfortable, but just settled instead.
Change shook everything up. Made me realise I’m not any one version of myself. And no version is necessarily better than another because they’re all one and the same in the end no?
When I’m a student, when I’m abroad, when I’m home, when I’m working, if I’m sad, if I’m lonely, if I’m glowing with happy… I’ve got to love it all because if I don’t I’m scared that one day I’ll read old diaries and letters and I’ll wake up to realise I’d had a lifetime of never being truly satisfied with where I was.
Where I am is exactly that – where I am. Present tense.
“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there ever is, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
Maybe next time things change I won’t be so surprised, but then I almost hope I will be.
Here’s to 2017.