Sunset can be the most beautiful part of the day. Brilliant coral hues seep into one another, clothing the sky in other worldly beauty. A period of time is ending, melting away before your eyes. Sometimes it makes you stop and catch your breath, whilst other times the sun slips away without us even noticing. When we do pause to really absorb a glorious sunset, we can be struck by a sudden moment of poetry, a desire to voice joy, sadness, longing, or gratitude. A lot of the time those feelings well up within us and then go by unexpressed.
Now that the sun is setting on this year, I find myself reflecting, looking back to see what I gained, where I fell down, where I could do better. This type of reflection is often saved for January, but I have to say that when the new year begins, I want to hit the ground running. I don’t want to be looking back. I feel as though if I do that, I’ll already be starting out behind.
In 2012 I learned that life is not a race to the finish line. So often as another calendar gets ticked off, I feel panic. Have I done everything I wanted to do, have I reached the peak of achievement that I was working up to? At some point this year, whilst well meaning yet anxiety fueling thoughts whirred relentlessly about my mind, something inside me was getting wound up so tightly that it finally broke and splintered in all directions. I felt sad, really sad. Like nothing I could do was good enough, and I was never going to ‘make it’. (What IS making it? That’s a whole different story…) It was quite a low. I thought, I should probably quit music, quit writing, quit being creative. Why continue with something that hurts me so much? But I realised the only thing that was hurting me was me. I piled my plate high with so many different hopes and ambitions and dreams. I had lost sight of a strong, healthy, grounded foundation that I needed to have rock solid in order to give those hopes and dreams the chance that they really deserve. My heart, my mind, my spirit. I had pushed them out of the way in my haste to conquer all, to be successful, to be… happy?
Since then I went back to taking baby steps. Bit by bit I’ve been shrugging off my home-made pressure cape – that thing gets heavy don’t you know – and being gentler with myself. I have so much to be grateful for, and although I have a lot more to learn, I feel that I have gained in experience and insight. This year has brought wonderful people (and cats!) to me, and beautiful relationships that I already had have flourished. Life and death has found me. I’ve said goodbye to my Grandpa and my Pop, and I’ve considered my own mortality. Times have been tough but I’m still here, and I’m getting to know myself better each day. I’ve written songs and stories and shared them with others. It has brought me a lot of joy. People have been kind to me, they have been so generous with their time, wisdom, and companionship. They have given to me freely and without reserve, and I hope I have been able to give back to them with just as much goodwill.
So, now that things are drawing to a close, I’m taking a moment to say ‘Thank you’. It has been a year full of many ups and downs but I have lived, learned, and loved. As the sun sets on 2012, I will allow myself to stop and catch my breath, and take in the majesty of life’s ebb and flow.