2014, what a year you've been.

Here we are, once again balanced on the cusp of another new year where we can stand on our toes and peer over both sides of past and future with a little bit of clarity - or I assume that's the goal.  I, like so many others, am in the thick of cleaning out those strange little corners that get packed with things we don't care to find a place for at the moment, wiping down, shining up, and generally tidying the house while making notes - this we can toss, this we can put into storage, I think I'll rearrange this area, etc, and as I vacuum over those two new stains on the carpet - the two enormous new stains - I think about how I should really get the carpet cleaner back out or the steam cleaner from the garage all the while knowing that I won't.  It seems like a diluted form of self-loathing.  I see the stains every time I go from the kitchen to the living room and I cringe.  I think about dealing with them and I cringe.  I think about how lazy I am that I cringe when I think about cleaning the stains and I cringe again.  It's the vicious cycle that resides within.

Cycle, cycle, cycle.  I admire people like my mother who see the stain and clean it up.  There is no cycle, just action.  It's such a house-wife metaphor for the two classes of people - thinkers and doers.  I'd like to think I'm a bit of both, just as I like to think I'm a bit of both everything.  I enjoy swimming the murky waters.  This is a new revelation - a 2014 revelation. I am a fleshy contradiction of Scorpio Monkey, builder and destroyer, vicious compassionate, and boisterous introvert.  As I've transformed this space from on online format for my random inner musings to glossed over professional face for that singular knitting part of me I've pulled away - maybe in quiet protest of this change I imposed upon myself.  I've been thinking a lot about that and how I can find middle ground.  

It's lovely to feel lovely and share lovely things but to reside in sunrays without shadows is too idealistic.  I do tend to lean toward the sunny side because always dark does no good either and so in keeping with the theme of my Instagram post this morning:

This was a year that gifted us new friends, new babies, and a deeper, bolder, and in the case of our teen, infinitely more complex love that has made the fabric of our family stronger and more resilient.  Throughout it all I managed to knit the far-off dreams I had for myself at exactly this time last year into physicality - which I'm still trying to absorb.  I don't make resolutions, as some of you already know, but I do set a mantra for myself.  2014 was simply "stay steady" and 2013's "be brave". I haven't quite settled on one for 2015 yet, but the past two years have served me well and have been years of personal and professional growth, and unexpected adventures.  Truly, I want to continue on in this way - staying steady, being brave, and pushing those two tasks further than I ever thought possible... and I wish that for all of you, too.  #pushitfurther

I do want to stay steady and be brave - and I certainly do want to push it further - all of it.  And so, perhaps in that simple little slideshow of pics from the past year, and my rambling reflections, I found myself spot on the mantra I was looking for.  I will continue to tell myself to stay steady, be brave, and push it further.

2014 was truly exceptional in that at 11:59pm with the mantra "be brave" echoing in my head, hammering any other thoughts that may creep up, I ran downstairs, flipped open my laptop, and finally hit "send" on the email I'd written weeks before with my book proposal attached.  It was my final act of bravery in 2013 and less than a week in to my stay steady year, I had a new message in my inbox with details for moving forward with my book for publication.  I suddenly needed that new mantra more than I could have foreseen.  The elation was short-lived for me though, and as soon as the boxes were packed, samples shipped, and manuscript delivered, I felt my stomach sink.  It's a hard thing to explain.  I don't tend to revel in my accomplishments, I simply do the work and move on to the next task - the next goal - the next wall to scale, but that book!  That silly book... it had been the wall for so many years that when I conquered it so quickly I forgot to look past it.  I found myself at the top with nothing set out in front of me.  I think it could easily be described as "work-aholic problems" actually.  And so, since October I've been keeping busy with new designs for magazines and I found my way back into the rotation of calls for submissions more gracefully than I thought I would be able to.  

However, at the risk of sounding like a total ass, I hope this year brings more.  I think if I had read something like this three years ago when I was still working a day job and toiling over how to make my dreams of writing a book a reality, I'd curse the author's name with a spit and a scoff and so I want to be very clear that I - in no way - overlook the weight of my blessings this past year, I'm simply ready to see how much further I'm willing to go.  I need to build myself a bigger, badder wall off in the distance - a new battlefield.  I feel well-equipped with one foot in shadow and one foot in sun, less emphasis on personal perfection, a hunger for the future, and a budding voice that squeaks out oppositions and squawks in the face of complacency.  It should be an interesting year!  I'm hanging on tight and I'm ready to dive into those murky waters that await.

So, now I'll leave this year reflecting on the highlights of the past couple weeks and pics of our brief trip to my father's ranch over the holiday.  Here's to 2015.