On new old things

2014 Surprise

It’s always funny (in an ironic kind of way) when people introduce their New Year posts as “obligatory” because, really, nobody is obliged to publicly write about their year. It felt endlessly weird that I didn’t close the year with a blog post myself.

I had a slight lovers’ quarrel with writing, and so put myself forth into experiencing rather than documenting, at least for the last part of the year. That’s not something I usually do, so it was a strange way to start the year. I came unprepared: no resolutions, no goals, no letter to my future self, even though I wanted to make all these things.

Still, there’s no avoiding it. Sometimes I feel like I haven’t officially begun the year because I haven’t put it into words yet. I have new books and notebooks to start the year, and they quietly demand to be filled.

Going back to what I said about starting the year differently — I used to want to be the type of person who set a “theme” or a “word” for their year. It seems to be something you can do when you have foresight, which I don’t really have. Especially considering, as a student, my life changes midway through the year.

This year, I graduate. How do you decide what the year is going to look like when you don’t even know what’s going to happen to you after the third month?

And then it found me, like words always do:

Surprise.

This year started out by filling itself with more midnights and caffeine than I thought my body could hold. That’s not to say I haven’t suffered the consequences yet, but so far it has felt marvelous and real. And I never say “marvelous.” It has been about people and coffee shops, tucked away receipts and going back to new old things.

I’d be happy if I could continue this streak of experience over documentation, which is why I haven’t pressured myself to blog ‘regularly’ again. I do still write, read, go places and feel things, the way I always have; this time, I’m just not in a rush to find the perfect words for it.

There’s some kind of freedom in it that’s becoming important to me. There’s something about the irresponsibility that allows me to open myself up to surprise.

And surprise doesn’t only have to come from new things, it can come from the rediscovery of the old. I was reading my unfinished Project 365 the other day, and it was the best strange feeling I had ever felt in a while. Which prompted me to consider more seriously restarting that project one more time. I also tried painting again, and I resolved to rewrite my bucket list this year.

The best thing about allowing my year to be a year of surprise is realizing how much freedom I have to explore. I have always had that freedom, but I had always limited it in attempts to be “focused.” But freedom means creating, and sometimes recreating. Freedom means discovery, often feeling like a child again and — so long as I keep learning — almost never being wrong.

So have at it, 2014. Surprise me.

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