In the last moments before our annual sunset, I can’t help myself but sit in the warm glow of dusk and reflect on what’s been. Numerologically, 2017 was the first year of a new cycle. It broke anew from the rough — and for many, painful, torturous — end-of-cycle that was 2016. It was like that for me; a rebirth on so many fronts and in a lot of wonderful ways.
2018 is going to be the year of living each day for that day’s sake. This is not necessarily in the numbers, but it is in my heart and in my resolve. That means I’m going to untether myself from all of the lovely things I’ve just finished gathering, raise my eyes to the horizon and walk, as bold-footed as I’m able, towards the next thing.
I feel like I’ve always speed-dated my way through life’s archetypal adventures. In my late twenties, I threw a party that was simultaneously a housewarming for the first home I owned and a farewell as I headed off to America. Ten years and many experiences and memories later, the month after getting my US citizenship, I packed my life into 57 boxes and left New York to return home to Africa.
Right as things settle down, I feel the need to unsettle and claim the next prize. I somehow don’t seem capable to maintaining a singular focus. Always a wonderer. Trying to take the most juice out of the fruit d’jour and equally keen to seek out the next season’s bloom.
New York Marathon: Check. Circumnavigated the globe in a single travel adventure: Check. Got sober: Check. Career change: Triple check. Marriage: Check. Divorce: Check. Being published: Check.
A seeker, always. Finding, for some of the part.
I sometimes pause to puzzle over why the restlessness. Is this restlessness? The constant quest to accumulate life experiences like diploma certificates that hang on the inside walls of my mind. The constant questions that require some kind of running after the answers. Does that make me ungrounded? Why can’t I just find my way into a waterproof eight-pack of solid friends to have dinner parties and co-host book clubs with, to hell with the outside world? Why only tangential intersections of friendship circles?
I seem to relish in finding my gold and silver in out-of-the-way places. Constantly on the move, following a Treasure Map that seems to haste me on in its rapid scene changes. Open to all, selector of some. And I love that about myself, even though, paradoxically, I also crave community and connection. An oxy-moron for not being able to just sit in my space.
But if life is about acceptance and finding serenity in the noise, then my conquest is not to quell the storm but to try and always place myself in its eye. And to continue within the swirl, armed with blind faith that what I’m doing is not wreaking havoc. Hopefully it’s not doing anything, except causing disruptions of awakening.
This feels like a wholly ego-centric piece. Maybe it is. On some level, I think everything we do is in the Service of Self (which, I know is not the same as Service of Ego). I woke up this morning — two days before the clock strikes twelve to bring another renewal — and sat with these thoughts of my enduring restlessness — agita? — and wondered what to make of it all. What to do with it.
I choose to make nothing of it. It is part of who I am as much as my Irish complexion and my insatiable sweet tooth are.
That doesn’t mean I can choose to ignore my perpetual walking. I will walk for as long and as much as I can; sometimes from one distant point to another; sometimes on exactly the same spot lest lethargy and emotional rigor mortis set in.
2018 feels like it is going to be a momentous year. Monumentous, except that I don’t expect to build any monuments. Just moments. And my committed refrain — resolution — is to let each 24-hours be their own entity, their own unit of progress and fulfillment. I want each day to dictate itself to itself and not blindly be in service of some multi-year plan that a younger me thrived on achieving.
Life feels so much more manageable and alive that way.
I expect to move cities, for a while. To get lost in the undercurrents of my continent. To find more of and bond more with my people; to get a better sense of what that tribe looks, feels and lives like. I plan on birthing a few books and other baby things. To more deeply explore land, possession, ownership, agency and appropriation. And to aim, if not always directly, to get to know myself just a little bit better.
Happy, New Year.
As if the Universe was giving me a thumbs-up, after I wrote this piece, I came upon an empty wasps’ nest, blown about by the wind and having landed inside the house. It turns out that wasps are a symbol of evolution and control over our life’s circumstances. They represent productivity and fertility; a continuation of plants and flowers. Wasps are primarily associated with spring, symbolic of new beginnings and starting new projects. They’re social and communicative. It may mean I need to express myself more clearly, in fact #theironyisnotlostonme. The nest shows the wasp as a master architect; a builder who knows what it is doing. I like that very much.