Every year about this time, I become introspective. No matter what I busy myself with, the thoughts intrude and feelings are stirred up. But never before has it seemed more important to give a voice to my ruminations. Perhaps it is my age. This year I became 63 years old. I am wiser now I think, and as I look back I understand how every experience, every choice I have ever made has led to who I am in this moment.
All of my experiences over these many years have been characterized by extremes. Raised by wonderful parents in an upper class suburb in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, educated in private schools, a high school drop out, a hippie and a rebel, married at age 17 and a mother at the same time, divorced, an addict on the streets of Center City and a life in the underworld, entered recovery at age 37, college and a master of arts degree, a career and a relationship, physical illness–close to death, loss of freedom, freedom gained, health renewed, and more. These are the things I brought with me to 2014. To have lived though it all is a gift. To have the drive to survive is my nature. This year saw me 27 years in recovery, 19 years cigarette free, 2 years vegan, and 4 months cured of Hepatitis C. And in this year, I suffered with ill-health, extreme depression and some of the best, most exciting moments of my life when a new adventure as an author began, all because I laid eyes on a rare yellow lobster.
I realize that I see things differently these days. My life is simpler now and my mind is peaceful because I no longer have the incessant need to understand deep existential matters. I think that for the first time I have an understanding of what contentment is.
I was supposed to write! Everything in my life has led to this one thing! My experiences and my interpretation of them pour from my very being to tell a story. This will be my legacy. I will leave something of me behind and others who find my writings will perhaps know they are not alone.
A quote from my beloved son, David, sums up this year for me. He said, “I bet it wasn’t that long ago that you thought you’d never even see 2014, and now look how amazing it’s been for you. That suggests near-limitless possibilities for 2015.”
I look forward to it!