2012/13 in Review

In 2012, things changed in so many ways. Theoretically, that's supposed to happen most years, but this particular year...was a flood.

In a lot of ways, 2012 was my favorite year to date. It was a triumphant finish to my undergraduate career (Booyah Summa Cum Laude Thesis!), a testament to years of hard, hard work, a farewell to the life I'd known in school since preschool, a year filled with travel, laughter, and exploration, and the start of post-college, working life.

It was also a goodbye until the afterlife to two Grandparents, my Godparents/closest Aunt and Uncle, and a Great Aunt, all in the span of six months. Coupled with the start of my new job, Grief 101 was one accelerated course I didn't want to take.

Building off of that, as a society, we're not so good about working through painful things. We're great about keeping them present right after the fact when something is still bleeding, but after a few days, a few weeks, or a month, the attitude switches to, "Why aren't you over that yet?!" as though cures are magically going to come with time. In looking back at 2012, I took that perspective to heart a bit too much and tried to force myself to get over things before I was really ready. Despite writing about "the importance of taking time to evaluate and reflect" and thinking that I was, I instead threw myself into expectations (perceived or otherwise), pushed the emotions down, and put myself on a rather dangerous path to internalization. It's funny how our own medicine is often the one we most need to take.

In attempting to put this post together, I looked back through past records--76 posts in 2012 with a dropoff around August, yet only 18 in 2013. 18 in 2013 that took a lot more time and effort to put out than any of the 76, not from a content perspective, but from a "how do I balance who I was and what I thought I wanted from life pre-April of 2012 with what I'm experiencing and questioning post big, scary life changes" one.

Optimism is such a big part of who I am and my outlook on life, yet for a lot of this year, the same sunny spin that comes naturally in interactions was noticeably dry in my writing. For that reason, a lot of my writing from mid-2012 onward ended up either in a journal, saved in a Word document but not published, or published instead on a side project focused on written paintings of small details that happened during a day. The lack of posting here wasn't for lack of wanting to--it was for lack of a voice that was ready to authentically evaluate who the Lisa was that came out of 2012.

I've been thinking for a while about how to write about 2012, yet what I thought I'd write about is turning out to be completely different from what feels right in this moment. My intent (outlined and all) was to go with last year's month by month vignettes of notable humor-laced occurrences. January's post, as an example, was supposed to include commentary about needing to write a thank you note to someone that was 2 hours late to a date because his tardiness created the meet-cute for meeting one of my best friends. That sort of humor and highlight reel recap, however, now feels contrived and out of place.

The absence of such lightness is frightening as a writer--cue the ever-present questioning of, "Will people still read this? Will it mean anything to anyone but me?"--but for this post, it's what feels real. Goodness knows that if there's anything I try to be as a writer, it's being true to what real means to me.

So. Coming back to this past year:

2012/13...were raw. Messy. Pride-filled. Painful. Delightful and beautiful and emotional, all at the same time.

Despite the craziness of the past 18 months, 2012/13 grounded me, shifted my priorities, and made me realize what was really important to me. That, at least, is a lesson for which I'm unbelievably grateful.

I still don't know what's to come as a result of these past 18 months, but as I finally come to grips with it (and start therapy for it), I know that I am looking forward to whatever the rest of 2013 and onward will hold.