2013

So. As a person who keeps a blog, I’m supposed to do a wrap up post about 2013. That’s how it works, isn’t it? Or… I’m supposed to write about my resolutions, right?

But I don’t make resolutions. Frankly, I admire people who do. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around the idea.

And it’s tough to work out what exactly I can say about 2013. Too much has happened. Too much has changed. How do I write about all the doubt and fear I had about leaving? All of the uncertainty I’ve had in my job? By the same token, how I do I write about those moments when I was – inexplicably – completely and totally happy? How do I encapsulate all those moments when I walked back to my place from the subway, feeling lighter than air? How do I explain the feeling of having my students like me, like being in my class, and saying that they hope I’ll teach them next year?

And there are all the feelings in between, that are so mixed. I love living alone, but I miss my family. I love my job here, but I’m often very homesick. I’ve met some extraordinary people here, but there are days when all I want is to see the people I left behind to come here.

(How do I explain the fact that I never expected homesickness to hit me as hard as it did? Not just missing my family, and my friends, as I expected to do, but also missing the city I was born in, the roads I used to drive, and the way I so seldom felt out of place there.)

How do I explain all the things I’ve learnt about myself, about my job, and about others? Do I start with all the things I expected to change, or the things I thought would never change? All the things that did? Or all the things that didn’t?

All the high points (so very, very high) and the low points (so very, very low), and how they compare everything that comes before… how do I write about those?

Where do I start?

I tried and failed to write this post in a way that would make that clear. And I think I know why: this marks a big division in my life. From the moment I turned away from my family toward the airport gate, my life changed. From now on, there will always be before Korea, and after. The highs will be different, and so will the lows. From now until forever.

I cannot give an overall rating to a year, like to a film or a book (and I’m so terrible at doing that anyway). It’s not in me to give a period of time one basic analysis. In truth, 2013 had been better to me than any year before it. Compared to the two years before it, it has been made of solid gold.

But without everything that came before, how could I be what I am now? How would I know how good this year has been if I didn’t know just how bad a year could be?

In truth, there can be no scale to rate it on. I have nothing to compare it to.

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