As 2014 becomes blurry and tinged with nostalgia, I thought I would get a little personal on the blog. It felt necessary to express how thankful I am for That Worn Book Smell and the people who read it. Having a place where I get to talk about the things I love most — books and writing — has made me a much happier person.
Sometimes I find myself incredibly cynical on New Years Eve, and other times I can be a little sappy and drunk on inspirational quotes — I think this year may be the latter. Whether 2014 was your best year yet or one that nearly crushed you, I hope you still have hope and find something to look forward to in the new year. I hope you find the thing that makes you happiest; the people who treat you the best; the self-love you may have never allowed yourself. I hope you welcome the new year as not a beginning, but a continuation; a chance to unfurl further; to bloom even on the coldest night of the year.
And if you thought I would write a post without mentioning a book, you obviously don’t know me all that well yet. So I will leave you with a quote from one of my all-time favorite, life-changing and life-affirming books I have ever read, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, which is a collection of her “Dear Sugar” advice columns.
In this particular column, or quasi-personal essay, called “The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us,” Strayed talks about our “phantom lives” — the people we could have been, but weren’t. The lives that live on the fringe of the present, shimmering and evasive and existing outside our plain of reality.
The column ends with a beautiful mixture of hope and finality; not the closing of a door, but the passing through; the quiet acknowledgement of a “what-if” life without the regret.
“I’ll never know, and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it is important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”
And that’s what I plan on doing this year: letting my ghost ship finally leave harbor. Stop asking what would have happen if I did this instead of that? What choices I could have made differently? Who would I have been if had I “insert anything here?”
So goodbye Sister Life, hello New Year. May you be filled with books and reading and love and acceptance of all the things that are ours. Salute your ghost ship and let the year be beautifully and impossibly yours.