Every few years, Neil Gaiman (who is one of my favorite people on the planet) writes some New Year’s wishes and posts them on his website. Three years ago, he wrote this:
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
Let this year be the year in which Ally Made Glorious, Amazing Mistakes. This year, my world came crashing down around me not once, not twice, but several times. I had some Serious Stuff happen with my health, my mind, and my relationships.
In January, my panic attacks came back, which set up the rest of my year as one lived in abject fear. I did a lot of crying.
In February, I got rejected from every single PhD program I applied to. I did a lot of crying. I also did an awesome ‘snowed in sleepover’ at my friend’s house that was one of the best nights ever.
In March, I got really sick.
In April, two of the great things of the year happened – we won the National Championship, and I got into therapy.
In May, I started a wonderful new job at a bookstore, and my brother got engaged. Around the same time, I lost one of my best high school friends to suicide. Please don’t do this, if you’re reading. Please. The people you leave behind will never be the same.
In June, I got to watch one of my oldest friends get married.
In July, I got to go to a drag bingo night for a dear friend’s bachelorette party and afterward we all read erotic literature out loud to each other while drinking wine. I highly recommend this.
In August, I got diagnosed with my benign tachycardia and got put on a medication that would change my life for the better. I also started pulling myself out of the mental cave I’d been in for eight months, and officially gave up coffee and added sugars from my diet. (except for Christmas. Christmas calls for cookies.)
In September, I lost someone close to me to cancer, and then two pets that I’ve come to see as my own passed away within a month of each other.
In October, I was in my best friend’s wedding and it was one of the best days ever. Then I did an Advocare 10-day cleanse that honest-to-god changed my life, and then I was bedridden for three days with a bulging disc.
In November, I was in a wedding with the Boyfriend that was wonderful and hilarious and got to do the Ministry of Silly Walks in our bridesmaid/groomsman introduction.
In December, my brother and his fiance got a mini Goldendoodle, and I am already plotting her kidnapping. I also sent out a ton of PhD applications, and celebrated Christmas with my family.
A lot of stuff happened, but it wasn’t really stuff I could control.
So here we are. It’s the end of another year, and the beginning of a new one. You would think I’m kind of worn out, or bemoaning that there’s yet another year ahead of me, considering the year I’ve had.
I’m pumped for 2015, because all of the mistakes I’ve made this year, I assume, are going to set me up for a pretty great year to come. Especially since the past few months I’ve been working through those mistakes and I’m starting the new year feeling like I did last year – confident, at ease, and content. Although I am fighting through a pretty annoying cold at the moment, but that’s another matter.
I hope you make mistakes. Because they will clear you out for new beginnings.