When you look back on 2011, I hope you look back with love.
2011 was when you spent three hours walking around the city, searching for an obscure pizzeria that only he had ever heard of (and which you suspect no longer exists, if it ever really did). The side streets seemed like some lost and unknown kingdom, and you two were there to uncover its secrets. Or maybe just each other’s secrets. You talked and talked and talked, and it felt like you would never run out of things to say. An endless stretch of sidewalk and a nonstop stream of conversation, and you didn’t even give a fuck about the pizza.
2011 was when you locked eyes across the dark, crowded room, and you just knew that he and you would be something special. You were so busy falling all over the dance floor that you didn’t even notice you were falling in love, under the strobe lights and booming bass. “I looked at you and I knew I had to meet you,” he said. So he did. And from the first time your hands touched, there was that electric feel that seemed to warm you from your toes to your nose. It was maybe the first time you ever truly believed in destiny, because how else could you explain it: you could have been anywhere. And yet there you were.
Look at the highs. The little moments that made you smile, the big moments that made you catch your breath, and everything in between that made you so thankful and happy and at peace with the universe – take it all and hold it. Keep them in your heart, deep inside you, a keepsake of all the good times and all the good things: friendship, family, love. Now leave some space for all the new adventures you will have.
When you look back on 2011, I hope you look back with a sense of peace.
2011 was when you found yourself at your desk, blinking at the computer screen, hoping against hope that you would see his name pop online, and chiding yourself for that stupid irrational part inside you that wouldn’t let it go. He will write you a letter, short and sad and sweet, and you’ll reread it in a locked bathroom stall and try not to cry. You will shove your feelings down deep, safe and locked away, until he writes you a letter at Christmas and those old feelings will rush to the surface unbidden. It’s not that you didn’t want to, it’s that you didn’t really believe you could do it. You’ll tell everyone a neat, simple “long distance relationships are just too hard,” and soon even you will believe it. “You were one of the best things that happened to me, and I’m glad I had you even just for a while,” he wrote. You will reread it in bed and not give a shit about how hard you cry.
2011 was when you disappeared into a dream world, population: 2; and when the bubble burst, it hit you hard. First he’ll stop being sweet, then he’ll stop texting you, then he’ll just stop talking (really talking) to you completely. First you’ll be confused, then you’ll be angry, then you’ll be sad, then you’ll be numb. You will marvel at how you thought you were playing the game, when really it was playing you all along. You will find yourself wondering if any of it was ever really true, or maybe you made it all up in your head with sunshine and flowers and expectations that could never be met. You will replay everything that happened, and you will wonder if you could have done anything better, anything more, anything at all. It will be a long journey to the realization that he was just the most colossal asshole, and an even longer journey before you realize that it wasn’t okay, but you will be. Still, he’ll always be your unfinished business.
Look at the lows. They made you who you are, and though you may not believe it, you will be grateful that they happened. All your mistakes and regrets, all the shoulda-woulda-coulda‘s, all the shame and pain – take it all and hold it. Now let it go. Stuff it in a locker, and bury it in the ground. You’ve been carrying it around with you all year, and there’s no room for excess bagagge on Flight 2012.
When you look forward to 2012, I hope you look forward with hope.
You will face 2012 a stronger, wiser, better person. All the greatest fireworks in the sky couldn’t hold a candle to you. Here’s to a new year filled with promises, with surprises, and, as always, with hope. xo