2013 Retrospective

At the dawn of 2013 I could not have told you where I would be three months from then, let alone twelve. I wrote 2012 Retrospective on a brisk, clear January day in a café in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. Returned from London, I lived in a state of limbo, still mourning the move home, while also reveling in the comfort of friendship and familiarity. With my resume hanging on the inter-webs of most major American and European cities, I suffered from a combination whiplash of hope and anxiety, placing bets on which way the wind would blow me next. How nice to finally have the much awaited answer to what I’m doing now, living and working in Bern, Switzerland. the-treachery-of-images-this-is-not-a-pipe-1948 This year’s post comes again from a café, squeezed through shaky wifi in another misty and cold location – Elie, Scotland. And like last year, luckily, it looks like a few lessons have stuck.

  1. Budapest will still be there. When your grandma needs you, go. Spend time with her; meditate on her longevity, her history and her strength.
  2. Be open to anyone being your friend and actively pursue new relationships.
  3. Unless sick in bed or already engaged, accept 100% of social invitations. Enough excuses.
  4. Take the long layover and spend Valentine’s Day drinking beers and eating spicy noodles until the wee hours with dad in Singapore.
  5. Think about the meaning of each word you choose and precisely mould your message.
  6. Explore – walk down curving allies, enter obscured shops, follow up on recommendations, find out what is on the other side. Don’t just glance, force yourself to discover.
  7. Cut your favorite denim into shorts, eat plums straight from the tree and swim in the river again and again.
  8. Watch local live music even if you don’t know the band. Become a regular at the weekly late-night jam band session.
  9. You need a daily walk as much as your dog does. The same strip of beach is still wonderful.
  10. When you have a good feeling about something, go with it. Crash out in a rumpled robe and cheers bottomless champagne to your new, fabulous desert oasis.
  11. Think about what it is that you want to do with your time, and try doing it.
  12. Long, luxurious Skype calls are essential. Prioritize friendship and foster long distance relationships, even if it means scheduling it in.
  13. Appreciate the immense generosity and mentorship of people who care about you.
  14. Fondue tastes best when consumed like a voracious animal (with a few pickles served on the side).
  15. Life is pure pleasure if you care to notice – the flavors, the sensations, the temperatures, the textures every day are amazing. EAT your way through the world.

* The piece of media that has stuck with me the most from this year: This American Life – Harper High two-parter. Give it a listen. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-school-part-one

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/488/harper-high-school-part-two

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6 responses to “2013 Retrospective

  1. Always a great read, I really love this list. You so elegantly explain how to live your best life. I’m partial to #15 since that’s my motto (haha) but I’m hoping I can add Switzerland to my book of travels soon! Happy New Year!

  2. Love your writing!! “whiplash of hope and anxiety” brilliant! Love Cousin Evelyn. PS And what would the much awaited answer to what Im doing now BE? Fill me in. Happy New Year!.

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