au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été.
in the depths of winter, I discovered within myself an invincible summer.
— albert camus from return to tipasa
in general, 2013 was a great year of sporadic bouts of madness. reading the rum diary again in january properly set the tone for much of the year. I had several stretches in boston with fantastic co-workers, a few stints in portland, a great many in DC and of course an epically bad visit to vegas. outwardly, 2013 was about stumbling into random situations with varying degrees of sobriety and sorting things out on the fly. careening through life and trusting that things would sort themselves out if you did your best to be good. to be sure, sometimes things didn't sort themselves out completely and needed a little help, sometimes we needed a little help ourselves.
in the first third of the year, another great relationship gradually came apart. it's worth mentioning because this one highlighted a lot of aspects of my personality I tended to dismiss or disregard as insignificant. I can be critical and unfair, unnecessarily snappy and sarcastic, generally moody and hard to please. I can also be optimistic, hopeful and extremely supportive. I learned that sometimes I need to consciously choose who I want to be to people I love instead of letting temporary stresses, frustrations or agitations choose who I'm going to be. I learned a lot about what I'm like in a relationship and began to discover more about what I'm like outside of one as well. I'm thankful that we still remain very good friends.
the second half of 2013 became more about self-discovery and internal development. I think I became a bit more scattered than usual. travel (and probably endless drinking) began to take its toll. without a significant other to anchor me in place, I think I mentally and existentially drifted much more. I read a lot about work, programming and social subjects I'm interested in. I wrote in private journals and blogs. I was surprised by the fact that it was the first time in 16 years that I was single on my birthday. the realization made me think a lot about how I've changed my trajectory for various people in my life and made me wonder more about what I'd like it to be in the coming few years. I still don't really know, but my resolutions are adjustments to habits that will hopefully push me in the right direction:
create: the same woman who had that camus quote asked me what I created. I think I replied with some platitudes about writing and code as art, but the more I thought about it, the real answer should've been "not enough of anything in particular." this year I want to make more public posts (of varying lengths), take more pictures, code more random projects, learn a few more recipes and maybe even play more music. more tinkering and more noodling in general.
consume: I find when I revisit places that I have a tendency to resettle into previous routines. the same set of bars and noodle joints, the same hotels, the same places to get food. to be sure, I think repeated visits let me savor things in different ways and I think periodically resting in habit--especially given so much travel--is necessary. but, I also think I can rest somewhat less than what I've been doing. I can explore more, eat more (maybe eat healthier too), read more and listen to more music.
connect: I've started doing this already and want to continue it in 2014. I love connecting-- moving past the standard social barriers and formalities and being close. this isn't to say that I don't have or don't believe in boundaries and privacy. I mean that my favorite moments are ones of "resonating" with another. being. evoking emotion. it can be a great word jam, jazz session of a conversation, it can be a shared excitement over a miraculous meal or it can be simply (silently) absorbing incredible piece of art together. I love talking to cab drivers and bartenders, acquaintances and close friends. I like meeting new people and hearing random life stories. I think I can feel even less hindered to do so moving forward.
privately or publicly. in person, online, with many, few or every solitary, whatever the case may be, I think 2014 will be about finding that indomitable warmth and spirit within myself and others. cheers to discovering an invincible summer.