2014 started on a small hill in East London. There were friends who became strangers, and strangers who became friends. There were conversations about life and the universe, and a fair amount of inebriation. It started off with a walk through old rainy streets, and banks almost over-flooded by the Thames. It started off without clear intention, and certainly with no resolutions, but with oh-so-many turns of events different from this one – some, perhaps, coming true in other lives, in other universes.
There were road trips to places I will probably never step foot in again. Rivers witnessing life. Still-life, remaining before those waters, like a well-preserved hologram. There were trains, buses, and trams, and this strange feeling of being so close to something that isn’t quite it just yet. There was wishful thinking, and feelings overflowing. Happiness. Lust. Anger. Sadness. There was heartbreak that lead to the realization that I am enough, I am whole. See, there were the old clichés that planted a sense of inner peace. There was self-love flowing with novelty through my every pore.
2014 was the year during which I learned to give selflessly – things, feelings, vulnerability. It was filled with incredible people with beautiful and inspiring stories and traits. There were conversations about life and death, existence, and the ability to share the existential dread that takes over even the most optimistic of beings in precious old pubs over pints of Blue Moon.
There were beaches with pebbles, and melodies sang out loud through the streets; yoga classes attempting to quiet a busy mind. There were plays, many plays, in old fringy theatres, and places claimed by people who will never be forgotten, with beautiful hearts that I am lucky to know and call friends.
2014 was a year of summer picnics and cider-drinking in high grass – Parliament Hill, Primrose Hill, and the city landscape before the sunny skies, still so vivid in my head. It was the year of music festivals, and road trips across Bavaria. It was the year of green juice, and plans that ended up never being.
There was the urge to retain everything that was, and keep it intact – the walk to the tube station in the early hours of weekday mornings, weekends spent strolling through Brick Lane, lunches in cat cafés, or vegan places, views of monuments from the double decker buses, the night bus stop in Trafalgar square, the search for the best cake through the Covent Garden streets, the busyness of Oxford Circus during any given day of the week, Christmas lights, mulled wine, and classics sold by a homeless man, and spread on an off-white blanket where two streets meet, somewhere in Islington.
There was a flight across the ocean, so many tears, and absolute sadness. And in that great sadness, there flourished reinvention and love, like I never knew it before – stripped from pretenses. Love, simply loud and clear love. The kind that makes you do and say things that would normally make you cringe or want to throw up. The kind that looks you with clear certainty in the eyes when you’re at your worst and tells you just how beautiful and unique you are. The kind that makes you happy, and that you make happy, just through sheer existence, but that you want to do so much for. The kind that makes you want to build a nest and call it your home, the kind that plans travels with you, and makes you coffee in the mornings before your eyes open, speaks to you of history, and shares books with you, the kind that doesn’t know how to cook, but tries so hard, and that buys you flowers just to see you smile, the kind that is good to not just you, but other human beings too.
For in their eyes you are worthy of importing original paintings for, and waking up early on Christmas morning to set up neighborhoods of London in a play-pretend fashion, because they know how much you miss the place, you’re worth of being reminded about how the world is a better place with you in it, and for the first time in your life, you start to believe it too. You’re unafraid to come undone, because there are no doubts, and no underlying fears, you know you will still stay intact in their eyes, and they in yours. And every minute of the day is so valuable, and every word they say is so precious. And it makes you put your pride and ego, and superfluous pass-times aside and realize that it is exactly what life is about: to love and to be loved.
2014 ended with a train ride through Canadian landscapes, all the way to an old city filled with history and grand landscapes. Happy New Year to you!