On a year of adulting
Adulting: I’m not sure when it happens; I mean, when it happens for real, that point at which you accept the Fates and appear for duty. Adulting, for sure, is a process… an incremental accretion of roles and responsibilities and experiences and been-there-done-thats, landing us at what…Our 15th anniversary of the 35th lap around the sun?
Truth be told, I don’t feel exponentially different than I did at 35. Sure, the joints are creakier and I’ve turned into quite the pumpkin by midnight on any given day. My tolerance for time-wasters has dwindled to next to nothing (tho maybe that’s not a new phenomena). And to those pesky little indications that biology is, in fact, in control: my inner idiot tells me you are immune to all of it, the graying, the wrinkling, the weakening, the widening (respectively: unkind, unprovoked, unimpressed, uninterested). Yet the calendar reminds us that it’s coming, and that we have accumulated these learnings and experiences; we’ve absorbed these bits of wisdom to carry with us to the next page on the calendar (or fling into the sea, if that better suits).
So, what of this year in review business? 2018 remained a continuation of 2017 and its inconceivable surreality. #MeToo left me battling some of my own demons, summoning parts of my past long-shovelled over; dragons I thought I’d long ago slain. I wrote this.
I finished 25 or so books, plowing through the entire works of a few authors; protagonists battling their own Furies and firestorms. My favourites included Circe (Madeline Miller), the story of the Witch of Aiaia, where myth and legend are fantastically woven into fiction and told from the Nymph’s perspective. I read Home Fire, and followed that with the rest of Kamila Shamsie’s novels, my heart breaking with her words of love and loss and soul-level friendship. I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi’s Americanah and learnt more about my white privilege than I expected. Sir Terry lulled me to sleep most nights: I’m now more than 2/3 through the Discworld series. Those that stood out: The Truth (the truth shall make ye fret), Feet of Clay (words in the heart cannot be taken 💖), The Fifth Elephant (I don’t have a favourite quote, it’s just a great story). I’m a sucker for castles and dragons…and commentary on the socio-political landscape nestled into fantastic adventure stories (bonus if they have castles and dragons). If you know me, I guess that’s not news.
Oh, yes, there were adventures: I met living dinosaurs and saw beaches so exquisite that I’d say they weren’t real had I not taken the photos myself. My adventuresome Calvin and I got lost in souks and found ourselves the only kayakers on the Djurgården canal. Adulting doesn’t mean you can’t learn new things: I backpacked for the first time, making all the trail meals in a new food dehydrator (also spent much of the summer testing recipes: fruit leather and veggie masala, breakfast frittatas and knäckebröd for the win!). I revisited what has become one of my favourite cities: Istanbul. And I landed on the moon…or at least that’s what Iceland’s stark landscape felt like. I enter the dregs of December with an urge to get deeper into the natural world, to see more of this planet’s fragile creatures before man’s greed makes that no longer a possibility. Weshallsee, as they say, a Grand Scheme brewing in the depths of my mind’s darkness.
Much of 2018, I spent in my own head, blasting words out on paper here and there to quell the chaos of an overactive mind. But the next thing, the 275-page thorn that has been sawing at my side, remains a sleeping dragon. It’s as if once released, the Fears and Furies warn, every long-held anxiety has already conspired against me slaying it. This thing, I alternately fear and hope, is my 2019 quest. My 2019 Holy Grail.
It’s the little things that truly matter, this tumultuous 2018 so vehemently proved. It’s the simple pleasures and the luxury of true friendship. Nature’s magic winning out over shiny new things. As I write, I’m craving an 8-hour night of sleep, a week without an imperative deadline, a walk in the woods, the woofs of my aging pup as he looks for his nightly tuck-in, that hug that feels like home…
I’m writing this on a plane that’s bumping and jostling its way northward and eastward, torpedoing me from client site to home turf in time for the weekend. I’m done. 2 weeks remain in this year I’d sooner forget, tho I’d be hard pressed to itemize the specific things that made it suck any more or less than last year.
All that said, I end the year ever grateful for health and home and work and play. For 2019, I hope for peace; I hope for hope. I’m hoping for headlines of things saved rather than lives lost; that an orange nightmare is finally exposed and brought to justice for its monumental sham; that justice starts working for those that care for others, rather than just for those who believe it applies to them alone. I’d like 2019 to feel a lot more promising than 2018 did.
So bring it, 2019: I’m ready to turn the page on the calendar, even if I haven’t ordered one yet.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you and yours (and theirs) the happiest of holidays, the warmest of New Years, and a brighter (lighter) 2019 full of little things that matter. 🌟🕯️🍪⛄🎇☮️💖🕉️