Looking Back, Looking Forward, Beginning Again

By: Autumn Elizabeth

When I look back on 2013, I don’t quite know how to sum up a year of so many highs and lows, of so much loss and so much growth. As I look forward, I still have very little idea what 2014 will hold for me, even though I know it will hold a mid-year move to Paris and lots of continued work in graduate school. As I look back and as I look forward, I find more questions that answers, and yet, the new yer has begun, and I must begin again with it.  

I think that perhaps it is a blessing that I cannot distill the past year into a neat and tidy list of the top events, or a quick two-sentence summary worthy of a late Christmas card.  Surely the years in which we grow the most, the years which forever mark our lives, cannot be so easily summed up.  I have felt deep loss this year, losing several family members and friends. I have felt this lost keenly as I begin a new year in which none of these loved ones will share. I am beginning again, but they are not, at least not in the same way I am.

Yet, this past year has also held some brilliant moments of joy. I enjoyed several publications, I was accepted and began a graduate program, and I flourished in a country that was utterly foreign to me. As deeply as I felt the loss of my loved ones this past year, so have I felt the immense joy of my successes.

This past year has also marked world events of both pain and promise, as I believe many years do. Some causes for which I have prayed and worked have achieved great success, like the end of DOMA, and the return of the Arctic 30, and other causes have seen nothing but sorrow and violence, like the war in Syria.

And what does the future hold? What does it mean to look forward after a year of such uncertainty? As I look forward into 2014, I do see more uncertainty, and yet this does not disquiet me as much as it used to. I could not have predicted many of the events in 2013, and yet the happened and I survived, grieved and rejoiced in them. Looking forward, I expect 2014 will be no different.

I know that loss may come again, but that doesn’t stop me from hoping for joy in the new year.  I still feel the losses from 2013, I am beginning to see how much growth I experienced, and how greatly 2013 will mark me. I am just beginning to comprehend the enormity of last year, of each year and so I begin another year, with all the wisdom, love …and yes even lint, I can muster.

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About Autumn Elizabeth

Autumn Elizabeth is a writer, scholar, and outlaw. She is the author of My Life as Herbst and the Editor In Chief at Searching Sophia's Pockets.

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