yes, a week has passed since the beginning of 2015 and as far as new years essays go i realize i may be writing this at the eleventh hour. however, as with most aspects of my life, i have a tendency to wait things out instead of jumping the gun in order to reflect on them properly (and an unshakable tendency to find any and all excuses for my procrastination - some things never change).
perhaps i fear (and therefore avoid) the wavering disappointment found in the immediacy of, 'did i do everything i wanted to do by the stroke of midnight on december 31st' and all the unchecked boxes of personal goals i just couldn't reach (slash photodocument) in 365 days. the cumulative influence of every-single-person-on-instagram-is-taking-another-fabulous-trip-eating-sushi-and-getting-engaged-and-scoring-their-dream-job-while-rocking-a-hot-bod-and-taking-pictures-to-prove-it can lead to a disgruntled retrospective on my part and a sense of envy like somehow i ended up in a time vacuum and wasn't afforded the same amount of hours in a year as everyone else was. while comparison truly is the thief of joy, this Battle of the Memorable Experiences left my little humdrum 2014 pic stitch photo collage sitting in my camera roll and not in your news feeds because how could i expect to reach 100+ likes with pictures of my cheeseboards and nights in drinking wine with friends sans photos of private planes or red bottoms or summers in ibiza. #disappointment, amiright? besides, a girl just wants to shake her tail, get really sick and eat some fabulous undocumented brunch the next day when that clock strikes twelve.
this is not an essay on the fascinating impact social media has on our happiness and personal self worth or the FOMO / keeping-up-with-your-followers culture it evokes. this is not an essay on the peter pan syndrome that has crept up into every single last one of us privileged enough to own a smart phone / instagram machine and left us all a little less, "Just Do It" (because sometimes you just have to bite the damn bullet and do it) and a little more "Just Do What Makes You Happy". this is not an essay on any of those things because i'm not about to stand on a soap box and point fingers like i am not a direct product of my environment. i love the motivational quotes, i like all of your super cute selfies showing me your new toque (#stunner #toqueonfleeek #gorge) and i can lose two hours on any given day scrolling through pictures of cute puppies and all the cool photos of your latest budget friendly trip to angkor wat.
what this is, is a reality check.
the positive reassurance that teeny tiny cumulative experiences throughout 2014, or any year for that matter - are not mundane or boring, in their totality they are life and if you let them, they are fantastic memories to hold onto. we are not stagnant between our bucket list entries or sharable experiences. we are just as transcendentally tied to those experiences, to the present, here, in the in-between. while i didn't get to see all the things i may have wanted (for your viewing pleasure as much as mine) i was blessed to put the visual stimuli on the back burner and nurture my other sensory experiences in 2014. this year has been filled with so many hugs, tears, smiles and laughter that connected me to friends (both old and new) because i decided this was the year i loved harder and more passionately than ever before. a year filled with so many mediocre tasting cabernets (and unexpected, surprisingly delicious ones) because it was more important to be present and keep good company (with less, "we'll have to raincheck's") than it was to read the wine labels so i could photograph myself drinking this or going here. i nursed so many bruises and blisters at the hand of learning new things and sharpening my skills and for those lessons i am forever grateful, beyond what any #blessed image caption could ever convey. how could a single image ever describe what it feels like at the pit of my stomach to hear my grandmother sing me her favourite song and wonder how many days we have left together, or hear my nephew tell me he loves me while we dance around in circles. there are times when cameras are not warranted; while saying final goodbyes to a dear friend, while holding your sister as she starts to cry or making love to the person you've shared every part of yourself with, these are the authentic moments i will cherish because i didn't have to search for them or seek them out, they just happened to me. in their own, respective time i decided to be present. to feel, to live authentically.
the primary life i live, the primary life we all live and not the curated identities of single snapshot images (or ten, if you're one of those annoying people who think it's okay to post 15 photos in a row) is found somewhere within the social life we are all expected to be a part of.
i didn't take as many trips as i said i would, but i did take an incredible journey into what it means to stay in your own skin and be happy with where you are, always.
i didn't make all the money i hoped i would, but i did make more than i needed; enough to always have enough to eat, enough to continue to live in the home i've created for myself and enough to share time (and presents) with loved ones.
maybe i didn't do all of the things i said i would do; but i did continue to spread love to the people around me, both dear friends and strangers alike, i did tell everyone who needed to hear it how special they are to me and to this world and i did try and make my little impact on this beautiful place nothing but positive.
so my commitment to 2015 - less resolutions, because we are not resolving anything; we are evolving, changing.
we are growing with every moment and mistake, that is, if you choose to stay present.
we have all been given the ultimate blessing of seeing another 365 days, live your next 365 authentically.