It was around this time last year that I found myself in the corner of my favorite coffee shop, Americano in hand, snow falling and quickly turning to a dirty slush.
I distinctly remember fast-forwarding in my mind, imagining and wondering where I would be a year from that moment.
I wondered if I’d be watching the snow fall, if I’d still be working at a few part-time jobs I didn’t care much about, if I’d still feel withdrawn, removed and generally lost.
It was at that point that I started writing a letter, not to myself, but to the year that had brought me to this point of borderline desperation; a constant quest for answers to all of the questions bombarding my soul.
I was searching for what I picture to be a “bubble” of happiness, looking toward anything that could potentially pull me out of patterns of the past toward actions for the future. I started writing a letter to the year, titling it “A Love Letter to 2013.”
I wrote to 2013 as though it were a person, thanking it for the highs and the lows, the struggles and the smiles. I thanked it for bringing about life-altering challenges, amazing friendships and even for the heartbreak I experienced at times. I thanked it for being a roller coaster of emotions and experiences; for teaching me, yet again, the beauty of the fall and the grace of the pick up. I wrote to 2013 with a general sense of hope for what 2014 would bring (and an unfortunate gratitude for the year coming to a close).
As I begin to reflect on 2014, looking back to that moment in the corner of my favorite coffee shop, Americano in hand, snow falling and quickly turning to a dirty slush, I find myself overwhelmed with humility.
I think back to packing up my apartment, saying goodbye to my friends and family. I feel the excitement seep into my bones when I think about the plane ride to San Francisco, knowing that my previous life was packed up into two bags and having little-to-no idea what was in store for me. I recall the four different places I lived in a matter of seven months and now, here I sit, looking out at the water and the glimmering lights of the Bay Bridge from the seat in my kitchen, smiling with thoughts of gratitude for 2014—the highs and the lows, the struggles and the smiles.
That “bubble” of happiness is no longer an elusive object waiting to be held, because if 2014 taught me anything at all, it’s that happiness is not something to to grasp or to ever fully conquer; it is the embodiment of grace, love and acceptance for what is and for what could be.
My letter to 2014 will look different than last year’s letter. I’ll likely be writing from a different coffee shop, sipping an obnoxiously expensive almond milk Americano and certainly will not be looking at slushy snow.
However, the letter will still be one of love and gratitude; for showing me that there will always be missing pieces in the puzzle of life and that the more answers we find, the more questions we have.
Through the ups and the downs, we can, however, find a way to be gentle with ourselves by making choices rooted in trust and love rather than fear and doubt. When we allow ourselves to embody this sense of ease—both in how we live our lives and who we let into our hearts, we can access a state of being that transcends the mundane and the mediocre; we can begin to live intentionally, intuitively and passionately.
2014, your letter is coming, but in the mean time, thank you for being the teacher of the curriculum I now call: Lessons in Love.
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Author: Lauren Cohen
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Anthony DeLorenzo/Flickr
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