#30: My Year of Magical Thinking

I could see the sunlight through my closed eyes, I could see it in the warmth that I felt on face, the warm hues taking over my entire body.

In the background I could hear my family talking, I do not remember what. It didn’t matter. I was happy just listening to their voices amidst the undulating sound of waves.

Hours went by, or at least it felt that way.

I had drifted away into the alternate world of my mind, into the idea of things. I wanted to take this moment into another dimension – maybe I wanted to stay there.

That was my 30th birthday.

I’ll always have this – memory.

#30 was it – the year of knowing.
And knowing is the hardest thing I’ve known.

Especially when you learn that so much of what you (thought you) know is based on repressed emotions and blindspots.

Then all you are left with, all you know – is grief.

The kind that is dark, and heavy.

It sunk me straight to the bottom.

All I know is I know nothing.

#30 was it – a year of grief – confronting and cold.

It didn’t make sense. And that made me uncomfortable.
My mind was drifting away, and not into the warm sunlight of my 30th birthday.
I was scared.
And desperate.

Was my worst fear coming true? Again?

In that instant, I remembered.In truly losing myself, would I find me – would I know me.

And knowing isn’t a destination.

It’s a journey – ongoing and not just forward.

But I had to go back to the start – to know.

I retraced the years in my mind (and my words).
I revisited my narratives – the stories I told myself.

All the labels – cerebral.

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it is better to listen to what it has to say.”

– The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

This time I chose to listen with/to my heart.

I let my feelings in.
Unsurprisingly they were not all joy and sunshine.
There was fear, lots of it.
But this fear was learned.

As a child my favourite activity was to go off on adventures, exploring the unfound corners of my neighbourhood.

The abandoned house.
The night school.
Down the river.

I was forever starring in my own Enid Blyton novel.

What I knew was to be brave, and to trust myself to pave the way – as I often did in finding new paths down to the river.

Here lay my magical thinking – believe in possibility; be the captain of my own ship.

As years went by I let the fears of the world cloud this thinking. I listened to my heart a little less.
But it never stopped talking to me.

It was the same sense of possibility that led me to New York – and New York will always be my redemption.

In New York, I learned to be brave again. It wasn’t just the infectious energy that drove me. It was the space (not physical of-course) – to be myself, fierce and fervent. New York showed me I mattered, and so did my thinking – which was inherently mine.

Funnily enough, in this past year, I skipped this very thought. Revisiting New York in my mind reminded it of this magical thinking – all my answers lie within me and I am not meant for any one corner of the world.

With this, I set an intention – to have the courage of conviction.
Believe in myself, bet on even.
Know I always have a choice.
I always have my mind – and I will choose to keep it open.
I always have my heart – and it will show me the way, as it has.

If only I can be brave to think with my heart.
Reach within to find compassion.
Then grief is not to be feared, nor is suffering.
There is nothing to be afraid of.

After the insanity of grief – of losing loved ones, and places, even myself – there is peace (in knowing).

I am worthy.
I am willing.
I am capable.

I am.
A complete sentence.

It is in knowing this that I make a choice.
To be brave.
To strip off all absolutes.
To cut off the cord with scarcity and fear.
To find hope in memories and moments.
To take stock of all the lessons, hard and whole.
Know that there will be more.
And I will survive.
With my magical thinking.

In a year where the entire world was forced to confront sudden disaster [which continues well into the new year], when choice feels like an unaffordable luxury, I will continue to believe in the power of my magical thinking.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

– The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

#30 – my year of magical thinking.

A year where I lost confidence but found faith.
Where I was let down and broken but held it together.
When nihilism made sense yet showing up felt better.
And facing it all made me stronger.

Much like Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking, and whose words have and continue to influence my life and thinking, I have learned to detach from the fixed form and meaning of knowing anything – physical or otherwise.

And so, with all this knowledge I turn the page into a new year.
#31 – my year of reflection.

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