As I’ve written probably a million times on this blog, I love New Year’s. One of my favorite traditions is something I’ve adopted for myself over the past four years – I write a letter to myself. On December 31st, I retrieve the previous year’s letter from my super, secret hiding spot and tear open the doubly taped envelope. I read everything that “one year younger Liz” had to say.
Of course, there are always some common themes. I talk about the things that happened in the past year and what I hope for the future year. I give a current state of affairs and I usually have some goofy comment asking my future self if I still like jamming out to some shameless pop song.
After I read my letter, I write a new one, to be opened in the following year. This year, because of travelling and scheduling and valuing the alone time it takes to curate a thoughtful letter, I did not sit down to write the new letter until today.
Coming home from work and immediately starting my “classical music for studying” playlist, I reread my 2016 letter. Now before I go any further, it should be noted that I am constantly writing. I journal every night, have at least one notebook in every purse, and have folders upon folders of stories and unfinished poems scattered across flash drives and email drafts.
That said, this letter writing tradition is the only intentional revisiting I do. Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon a scratch paper story about a trumpet player in Brazil that I scribed in third grade, but outside of that, I journal for the peace of it – not necessarily intending to go back to the beginning at any specific day.
My New Year’s letter is different. In the days and weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve, I am bubbling with excitement as I’ve thoroughly forgotten everything I wrote 365 days ago. I enjoyed reading my letter this year, but I enjoyed writing my new letter more.
You see, this year, as I sat down to piano concertos and quiet calm, I let myself really reflect on 2017 for all that it was. I saw unexpected friendships and unbelievable opportunities. I saw beautiful moments that I could have never imagined back in 2016. I saw the start of hope. I saw love.
In August of 2016, I started running again for the first time in years after being unable to for quite some time for health reasons. When I started running, I would stumble through a mile or two – maybe even three – and then be wiped out. In my 2016 letter, I wrote that it would be nice to do a half marathon in 2017. In 2016, that felt like dreaming big. On November 5th, 2017, I ran the New York City marathon. A full 26.2.
There is so much that I could have never dreamed would be possible when I wrote my 2016 letter, just as I am sure this is so much waiting for me in 2018 that I can’t even fathom right now – and I think that is really, really exciting.
To all the new things we can’t even begin to see yet, onward and upward we go.
Happy 2018, everyone.