some thoughts about 2014 and also 2015

First thing’s first: it’s absurd how excited I was about getting a new desk this year.

Another ending that is simultaneously another beginning! I love that most of us get irrationally excited about every new year—tomorrow won’t necessarily be any different than today, externally speaking, but we’re able to feel fresh and clean and inspired by all of the possibility. I love starting fresh; perhaps it’s because when I was a student, there were so many opportunities to begin anew, with each semester change and seasonal shift. I think this goes hand in hand with working in an artistic field—one project completes, another begins. In 2014 I finished some big projects (a play, and a thesis) and concluded a journey (sayonara, undergrad education!) and also started some new things (including but not limited to a job, a new city, a play, another play, and a musical). With most of those things, I was able to set the parameters on when they began and when they ended; with a calendar year, the parameters are set for me. How generous!

I really do feel that I learn more with every passing year. In 2014 I learned more about how I work, and why I work, and what I want to do. The process of becoming an artistic human and also a citizen of the world is ongoing, and my hope each year is that I make more strides in figuring all of that out, whatever that means. 2014 asked a lot of questions, and provided a lot of answers, although I think for me it provided more questions than answers, and sometimes the answers didn’t even correlate to the questions I was asking. What is that quote about God laughing?

Every year when I sit down to make a nice organized list of resolutions I am immediately overwhelmed by the recollections of previous resolutions I scrawled out and never completed. Forgive me, I was distracted! It’s challenging to stay committed to a plan—and I love a good plan—and also be open to the unexpected at the same time (which I try to do). One thing I learned more about this past year was how to take life one day at a time. Big dreams are good, good things, but sometimes they are so overwhelming I want to crawl into a hole and hide for a while, and that doesn’t do anybody any good. Someone posted this quote from Sophocles, which is attributed to Antigone but perhaps that’s incorrect; in any case, I stuck it on my wall in hopes of remembering it—Sophocles, please forgive me if I’m misquoting:

“Tomorrow is tomorrow.

Future cares have future cures,

And we must mind today.”

Today! My today, 12/31/2014, is beautiful and chilly; I’m wrapped in a blanket my mother gave me for Christmas and drinking coffee, which is one of my favorite things to do. This year reiterated to me that not everyone’s days are good, and while no one’s days can good all of the time, there is a lot of unnecessary hurt and injustice that is going on, and so many courageous and eloquent people are speaking out and keeping me tuned in. Again, I have the option to hide away and pretend that I don’t know what’s going on, but that’s the last thing I need to be doing. I became more informed this year—my English teacher would never let me get away with passive voice, so this year I want to actively inform myself. Stay present, stay focused. Nancy Keystone taught me this year that focus is a muscle that must be trained. I’m working on that.

No matter how good I get, at writing, and music, at patience, at advocacy, there is always more. I did more this past year—I took some steps forward. So in 2015, I want to take a few more steps forward. More writing, more music, more reading, more friendship, more speaking out and standing up, more information. When I’m frustrated with myself, I yell in my head “BE BETTER!” which is harsh but I think is at the core of what I want—I want to be better. Not overwhelmingly better, I know that’s not realistic, but I’d like to be a little better on 12/31/2015. And even a little more better on 12/31/2016. But that’s worrying about too far ahead…so I’ll try and be better on 1/1/2015. That’s my first order of business.

2014 was filled with amazing artistic things—I’m still buzzing from my encounters with the creations of Annie Baker, Maria Irene Fornes, Suzan-Lori Parks, Pina Bausch, Ivo van Hove, Meredith Monk, Marilynne Robinson, Zadie Smith, Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston, Pablo Picasso, John Irving, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Susan Sontag, V.S. Gaitonde, Imani Uzuri, the bluegrass band that rocks my world in the Times Square station every Thursday morning…some were familiar presences from years past, and some were brand new encounters. All are heroes…some people say you can have too many heroes but why would I want to limit myself in that way?

So here’s to a new day of a new year, with brand new unimaginable things. Here’s to carrying over the lessons, challenges, and joy of 2014 into new uncharted territory, and doing better, one day at a time.

The view from my room, 12/30/14. Astoria, you charming neighborhood, you.