Metaphors

My mother says January 1st is a metaphor for the whole year – the way you spend this day sets the tone for the way your year will go. Having spent most of my childhood with this mantra, I’ve grown accustomed to making careful, curated choices for how I spend the first day of each new year; reading books, spending time with people I love, making home-cooked meals, journalling, learning something new – all of these are oft-repeated in the way I spend January 1st every year, because I want the rest of my year to be filled with moments like these.

This year, my January 1st began a little differently. I woke up and switched on my kettle to make a cup of chai. The extension spike guard spritzed, flames burst out and my kettle was completely fried. IMG_20190101_092252188_HDR

This threw me completely. If what happens on January 1st is indeed a metaphor for how the rest of your year will go, what on earth was 2019 going to be like for me? Was this a sign of more disaster and trouble headed my way?

Here’s the thing about metaphors though – they can mean what you want them to mean. So, when I envision what might lie ahead for me in 2019, I choose to think my flaming spike guard and fried kettle are metaphors for

…  the importance of perspective. Yes, I had a kitchen accident first thing in the morning. But, it could have been so much worse. Most days, I put the kettle on to boil and leave the kitchen to do other things. Today,  I was standing right there and could quickly stop it from turning into a bigger disaster.

self-reliance; realising that things may blow up (or, more mildly, go wrong) – even with the best-laid plans – and that I have the capacity to deal with them.

letting go of attachment to possessions. The kettle was gifted to me by someone dear, and it made me sad to see it fried. Even so, I know my connection to this person is deeper and that’s worth holding onto more than an object I own.

… (as my best friend put it,) a year that promises to be full of sizzle and adventure!

Happy new year! I am excited to meet my 2019. May yours be everything you want it to be :)

 

There’s nothing good about goodbye

This past week, someone very close to me moved to another country. As someone who lives geographically distant from most people she loves, this is not an uncommon phenomenon in my life. Like most others, this goodbye was poignant in the moment and devastatingly heart-wrenching after. In a moment of levity-laced-pathos, the person said to me, “There’s nothing good about goodbye.” And that got me reflecting.

When someone you cherish goes away, a piece of your heart goes away with them. Your heart can never truly be the version of itself it was before, because there’s that gap, that hole, that void. There’s a part of you that will never be the same again, because there’s a part of your life that has gone away from you. And there really isn’t anything good about that.

Then again, if someone leaving wrenches your heart in this way, it means you truly had something beautiful with them – something that brought you joy and laughter and warmth. You may not be able to have that again with them once they leave, but those are memories you’ll always have and be able to hold onto. That is a part of your life which will always bring a smile to your eyes, and no one can take that away from you.

So maybe there is good in goodbye – the comfort in knowing how special someone has been to you and the warm fuzzy feeling they will always evoke in your heart. Because  a goodbye might mark the end of proximity, but not the end of love.