In all, 2014 was not a flashy year for me. There were no big overseas trips or grand romances to write about. Instead, the moments that made up this year were mostly quiet and simple, marked by loud bursts of laughter or hushed weeping or late-night texts, emails and live in-person conversations with friends and family that made the year memorable.
The year started with a big woosh that more shoved me forward rather than calmly ushering me in. One year ago, I had recently begun living by myself for the first time in my life, purchased my first car and received a big promotion. All that change was wonderful and dizzying and, in fact, because of it, one year ago today I sat thinking, believing, that I was in for a year of equally big, dramatic life-changing events. But I wasn’t.
I quickly settled into a pattern, into a new routine that, funny enough, felt quite normal and regular, like it was what I’d been doing for years. I went to happy hours with friends, hiked on my favorite trails and embarked on road trips and vacations. And, while it wasn’t a year where my own life changed dramatically, it was a year where life changed dramatically – for better and for worse – for some of my nearest and dearest.
There was the text message from my college roommate one summer afternoon asking for prayers when her best friend, her person, went into hospice care. And the message a few weeks later that she, at only 31, had lost her battle with breast cancer.
There was another text message, sent from another dear friend – a member of my Vail family – late one evening, announcing her engagement to another member of our group. And the sweet September day when we gathered together on top of a mountain under blue skies and surrounded by golden aspens to watch them say “I do.”
There was a phone call with my dad late one snowy night a couple weeks ago when he told me my aunt, my mom’s sister, had passed away earlier in the day after suffering from a sudden and severe illness. There were the heaving sobs and intense hugs with parents, aunts & uncles, siblings and grandparents that followed, tainting the holiday, making the idea of Christmas seem wrong and out of place.
There was the moment on Christmas day, in the evening after all the extended family had left, when I sat in a circle with my sisters, brother, brothers-in-law and parents opening gifts, when my sister gave one last gift each to my mom and dad, coffee mugs that read “Grandma” and “Grandpa”.
No, this wasn’t a big flashy year for me, but it was an important year. It was all at once mundane, beautiful and heartbreaking in that crushing way life can be. It was the year I learned to value work-life balance and that cars are freaking expensive. I was the year where I realized the importance of having people in your life who will make you soup and ensure you take your pain meds after surgery and that there’s no better way to recharge than spending a week on the beach with my family. It was the year I lost a beloved aunt and learned I’m going to be an aunt.
2014 was a year of important moments. And isn’t that what makes up a life? A year of mundane day-to-day living that is marked by moments that change everything, moments that beat you up a little sometimes and others that bring inexplicable amounts of joy. It’s because of all these moments that this year will stick out in my memory and because of these moments that I enter 2015 with a heart full of gratitude for all the people I love and with a resolve to hold all of them a little bit tighter in the days ahead.
Happy New Year my friends.
This post is dedicated to my dear friend Lindsey, for whom I’m so grateful, and to her Lindsay whose spirit will live on through her. And also to my Aunt Nancy, who was so loved and will forever be intensely missed.