I know that I don't often use this blog anymore, but some things just don't fit on my new blog and this is definitely one of those things.
It’s that time of year again: a time full of reflection on the past year and promises and resolutions for the next. Looking back on this year at first glance, I didn’t see a whole lot of life-altering events for me and my family, which surprised me. And then I thought, Hanna you kind of moved two hours away from home into an apartment. And then I realized 2014 has actually been a pretty big year for my family and me. I guess throughout my 18 years, I have come to associate life-altering events with death. I hate that it is possible to be so young and feel so old. Not in a self-pitying way, but in a “what happened to being a kid?” kind of way.
without my dad, the first Valentine’s Day (would have been Dad and Lisa’s 10th anniversary) without him, the first spring break without him, the first memorial day without him (and every other summer holiday he loved), my brother and my first birthday without him, Sophie’s first birthday without him, our first summer vacation without him, our first family trip without him, Dad’s first birthday in heaven, our first back-to-school without him, and the one year mark. Looking at that list and knowing that it’s not all-inclusive is painful. There are so many little moments in the course of the last year that weren’t spent with him that I can’t even begin to write about.
But despite all of that, this year has been mixed with a lot of good things, too. My brother and I graduated high school. We started college. I got a tattoo. My brother got a girlfriend. Sophie started 2nd grade and took some horseback riding lessons. Mom has become a person she didn’t know she could be. We all have.
Yes, we’ve cried this year. Yes, we’ve hurt this year. Yes, we’ve seen heartache and tragedy this year. But we’ve also laughed this year. We’ve loved this year. We’ve survived this year.
I know that 2014 has been an awful year for some of my friends. I know that each of us have our own mountains to climb and that some of us are continuously knocked back down to the base by avalanche after avalanche. And maybe that summit is an unobtainable goal, ever extending higher and higher. But where we are on our mountain doesn’t matter. Where we’re going doesn’t matter. What matters is that, no matter what, we keep climbing.
At the dawning of 2014, I posted a picture that I’d found on Pinterest that read “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” – Neil Gaiman.
I still think that this is one of the most perfect things to share with people at the beginning of the new year. It’s not about making promises to yourself that you may or may not keep, it’s about reevaluating who you are and realizing your worth. A new year is about setting yourself free from the bondage of the previous year, about carrying the good things over and leaving behind the bad.
My 2014 was filled with magic – I felt it in the music I listened to, in the friends I’ve watched play said music, in a simple, sincere hug, in the eyes of my baby cousins, and in the cool autumn air. I’ve felt magic in very big moments and some of the smallest moments.
My 2014 was filled with dreams and good madness – I went to Chicago with friends, I graduated high school, I got a tattoo, and I started college (and got through the first semester with a 4.0!). *notice the picture of my dad around my neck and the stars & stripes Converse on my feet :D*
In 2014, I did read some fine books (not as many as I’d have liked) and I didn’t exactly kiss someone who thought I was wonderful, but if family and cheeks count, I guess I can cross that off the list, too. ;)
In 2014, I didn’t forget to make art. I wrote – as much as I could, anyway. I created a blog (shameless plug here http://heledford.wix.com/hannaledford ) in order to share what I wrote.
And in 2014, I surprised myself. This one could be a bit personal, but did I mention I got a tattoo? ;) All kidding aside, I surprised myself in a lot of ways. I’ve learned that I’m a clean freak, that I can cook more than I thought I could, and that I know who I am and what I want – for the most part. Not every way in which I surprised myself was a good thing, but it’s still a part of me.
I guess I will leave you with this: It’s okay to hurt. That’s something that a very good friend of mine has to keep reminding me. It’s okay to hurt and it’s okay to fall apart sometimes. But what is not okay is to let the things that have hurt you and that have made you feel like your world is falling to pieces consume you, destroy you, and swallow your happiness. There is good all around you, even in this twisted and often dark world we live in. There is greatness, there is beauty, and there is love. You just have to choose to see it.
Happy New Year, friends and family. I hope that 2015 brings you every dream come true. If 2014 was the worst year of your life, know that 2015 has to be better. Also know that you are loved by so many, most likely including me. If 2014 was a great year for you, make 2015 even greater.
Do something for others this year, my friends. Do something to make this world a better place. Spread light and love instead of darkness and hate. Shine on.
Hi, if you're still reading this! The last little bit of this post was inspired by a song by a good friend of mine. I know that if you're friends with me on any form of social media or if you just by chance habit this blog, you've heard of him. And I know that it might get annoying and/or old hearing/reading about him and his music, but if on the off chance you'd like to hear the beautiful song that inspired the whole "spread light and love" and "shine on" part of this post and the mantra that I somewhat live by now, I would be glad to share it with you. :) Here's the music video for the song which you can purchase and download here.