With a hop, skip and a jump this year reached its end, and I have been glad to be at home. There was none of the craziness leading up to our departure for the US, no frantic tying up of loose ends. I have had plenty of time and space to enjoy the final days of this year and to turn all the events of 2013 over in my mind. And whenever I do, there is a smooth and unwavering sense that this was very simply and undeniably an exceptionally good year.
In fact, 2013 has been one of the best years of my life.
What made it so? Ah. Is there one event that stands out plainly among the others? Are there a few? When I pick one to examine, it squirms away from me and I think “No, it can’t be just that. It’s something bigger and deeper and less noticeable, it’s the underlying thing, the sense created by all the days combined.”
I worked less this year, tipping the scales in that impossible balance towards my personal life, and that has undeniably contributed to a general sense of well-being and, dare I say it?, happiness. Add to that my children who have had a very good year, who are thriving, and there is not one life experience as profoundly satisfying as seeing one’s children thrive. Training for my marathon this year gave an immense sense of purpose to my days, and it was the training that sustained me more than a mere marathon could have done. Although, that day in Turin, I was nothing but pure joy and incredulity for hours and hours: sheer, unadulterated happiness and lightness of being. Running and swimming have brought me unexpected gifts, and one of these has been the opportunity to meet people who are very different from each other and from me, and the time we have spent together training and racing and talking about training and racing and joking about it and everything else has thickened the ties between us into friendships. Discovering these different people, what they are about and what drives them, has moved me. And then there was a magical summer in the mountains with the people I love best in the world. It was a year of excellent books, a handful of good movies, so many sometimes silly, sometimes serious conversations over dinner with my friends. And with my photography group this year I have been working on a self-portrait project, which has naturally involved much, much self-conscious navel-gazing in which the answer to my recurring question, “Am I the person I aspire to be?” remains “Not yet”, but although self-acceptance is a long and potentially endless road, it is not necessarily one that cannot be enjoyed. (And I hope to get a little closer before the fast approaching deadline.)
I cannot think of one thing that was not good about 2013. Even hurting my heel in the spring brought its rewards.
If all the years could be so good, for all of us!
Goodbye, my dear sweet twenty-thirteen, I’ll never forget you, you were so good to me.