Ending a Year

Contemplative in front of the Parthenon in Nashville or just wondering why Nashville built one.

Although I’ve begun to think—fleetingly, in momentary snatches of ideas akin to sketches not the whole picture—about New Year’s Resolutions, something I admit to taking seriously, I haven’t really taken the time to have a big think on it. Instead, the snatches come as they come (I am struggling to see tiny numbers, so I think I’d better put go to the eye doctor on my list, right?).

The thing is, the days are kind of busy. We had a billionty people on Christmas Day. We went out a couple of evenings later to celebrate the dear husband’s birthday, and I realized how baffled I am that he could select fruit topping, fruit ice cream, and sugar cone bits to constitute his special birthday sundae. Not a lick of chocolate, not a scintilla of vanilla, not even a little toffee in the container: it was all… fruity, not even chocolate whipped cream. So, over two decades in, marital mysteries still abound. We’ve played and we’ve cleaned and cleaned and cleaned (and made more messes).

The purpose of this blog post is to hold the thought, a placeholder if you will. It’s busy, sure, but there’s intention—slow it down, take time to think and feel, to listen. That’s why I love New Year’s. I dig any moment that allows for a pause, a contemplative breath. You don’t have to take one; you can just blow a horn and watch a ball rise or fall and that’s absolutely fine. But I want to honor the notion that you can pause.

Before I get there, three things I’d like to note about 2014:

  1. I so adore how 2014 sounds, as in each number two-oh-one-four or twenty-fourteen. In some ways, the year met the beauty of the number; in other ways, it sounded much better than it felt. Years are like that, sometimes.
  2. I did not read as many books as I’d hoped, but wow, did I read some gorgeous, jaw-dropping, show-stopping essays. I’m not about to end the year without acknowledgement of that fact. And I found a tribe amongst writers, my little far-flung group of essay writers banded together through our shared experience as contributors to Full Grown People (where many of the jaw-droppers from this year can be found). What an amazing thing to work with your peers, to feel them as your peers—it’s sisterhood of the highest order, that (and embarrassment of riches, I have a real-life, in-person group, too, that rocks).
  3. If there’s a theme to this year, again and again, I did discover how very much it helps to notice what matters. I have worked at this particular kind of listening. I’ve found camaraderie in places I expected (say, the loveliness of friends who are neighbors who are family-esque) and unexpected (I totally enjoy the moments shared with other gymnastics moms—who KNEW?). I’ve noticed where I’ve found camaraderie and no longer discount connections I imagined I would not have cared for. The more you notice the more there is to love—or something like that. It’s a kind of awesome discovery. I’ll leave you with that—and check back in early in 2015 (maybe even tomorrow). Cheers.
Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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