Exit, stage left.

I know I should write something here, but to be honest I don't know what.  Looking back over a large chunk of time and trying to give it a plus or minus sign is unfair to the experiences you've amassed, as though we're eulogizing.  To make a list, or assign a label, only seems to be a use to us to mark time.  It's comfort food for the brain to have things sorted and named.

Usually I have the journal to look back on and see what happened in a year and get a feel for how things fell into place.  Given how there's usually no great emotional involvement (it's mostly recaps of weeks or months at a time and about singular accomplishments) it's difficult to glean any positive or negative state.  There's also the problem of how little was written in the first part of the year.  In six months there were just a handful of entries.  It would appear as though things were going well all around or that life was just too crazy to put much down for posterity.

All that said, I'd like to erase most of 2013.  I'd almost like to erase everything from 2008 until last Friday.  I know that's not possible, and it's unfair to the rest of the universe to think that way.  I know empirically that there were times in the past year that were fun, joyous, climactic, challenging, and remarkable.  I don't regret the things that I did.  I don't fault any actions taken against me.  I have sympathy for those people who have suffered greatly, love and admiration for those that had joy brought into their lives, and gratitude for the breadth of kindness that was supremely evident not just to me, but anyone who needed it.  Loss, pain, sickness, and unwanted change seemed to be a prevalent theme in the past year.

As always, there was balance.  The good with the bad, the yin with the yang.  For all the actions, there wasn't always and equal and opposite reaction.  But in the end, the net result was one of equilibrium.  Such is the way of the universe.

I am not going to make any resolutions in 2014 save one; that I will not set any expectations.  If there has been anything I've taken away from the past year, it's that you are only in control of your own actions and your own mind.  Expecting something from anyone or anything else only creates disappointment and life is entirely too short to be wishing something would happen.  Life is too wonderful and precious to have your vision clouded by false hope or crippling regret.

A friend recently told me that, among other things, taking chances, making your feelings known, expressing yourself, and finding ways to make yourself happy are things you should own.  One should feel no shame or regret in letting the world know how you're feeling or what you want.  Above all else, you have to love yourself, otherwise there would be very little in the world that you could truly appreciate.  This sentiment reminds me of inmates finding religion.  When all else is removed from a life, all that's left is faith, self, and love.

As someone who prides themselves on being a Pleaser, this is going to be drastic change.  I've always been more concerned about the happiness of others above my own.  It's only recently that I've begun speaking out when something doesn't feel right or DOES feel right.  It's going to take some fine tuning because I don't know how to do it.  I'm still too tied into how it might affect other people.  I have a feeling I might lose friends, but if I understand this right, that loss won't bother me.

I realize this has been a very introspective entry.  There is no doubt that the past year was full of events that shaped a great many of my friends and family.  I'm not so solipsistic to completely ignore the accomplishments and defeats of others.  Even in my close circle of friends and family, life changed drastically this past year.  It was indeed a challenge for most and I hope they received the recognition or support they were due or was needed.  I'm also very grateful to the new friends I've made and I hope they are lasting friendships and ones that grow deeper and stronger over time.

And to you, dear reader, I wish the best for you in the new year.  We're in an age that is seeing sweeping social change.  There's a great sense of a more intertwined social consciousness and I hope we're all able to take advantage of that.  There's a lot of good in this world.  For myself and all of you, I hope we can find it.