The year is taking its last breaths. The light of the future is starting to shine through the gaps in the tapestry of time. Again, we begin to reflect on the past year and make promises with ourselves for the upcoming 12 months.
This morning on my way to the gym I heard "Hey Jude" on the radio. Suddenly I felt an emotional surge at the sound of the familiar chords and lyrics. I love this song, and I have a few key memories surrounding it, and the Beatles in general. But today, the Lyrics "Hey Jude, don't make it bad take a sad song and make it better...so let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin, you're waiting for someone to perform with. And you don't know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do, the movement you need is on your shoulder."
This is such a perfect example of the power we all have to look back at our lives with gladness instead of sadness, and to look to the future with a power that is all our own and not dependent on outside sources. 2011 was, overall, a hard year for me. I struggled a lot this year to wade through some severe personal downs and a soul-sucking, coma-inducing job. I lost my last paternal grandparent and I gained 15 unwanted pounds. I had moments of disillusionment and anger, lethargy and apathy.
But when I look back, I also realise that 2011 was a year filled with some amazing highs as well. I ushered the New Year in with a bang in New York City with some wonderful people, I visited new countries and caught up with old friends. I celebrated the wedding of a beloved cousin, the engagement of a close friend, and became more open with my thoughts to those around me. I cooked delicious food and saw amazing things. I visited new parts of Scotland and made new friends. I learned to deal with my problems in a constructive way and I finally grasped the thread that will lead me into the next stage of my life.
Because of all these things, I cannot look back in anger on the year that has been. I can only take my song and make it better, which I what I am working towards for 2012. I have decided to return to school to undertake my PhD in Anthropology. Specifically, medical anthropology-I will be studying the effect of a nationalised standard of bioethics on traditional health care systems in Mexico. Presently, I am waiting to be accepted at the institutions I have applied to. All are in the UK, so I am planning to spend a few more years across the pond. But due to visa restrictions, I will be staying in California from now until I return for University in the fall.
This brings with itself a new host of challenges and opportunities that take me to the second bit of lyrical wisdom that John and Paul offer. The movement I need to get where I want to be is here, with me. I will be accepted into a University, and I can get funding to pay for my research. I will take the time I have in California to re-connect with friends I have not seen and to spend more time with my extended family. I will take the time to write more, and practice my Spanish for my upcoming time in Mexico. I will get back into shape and I will find a job that allows me to do all of these things while I'm here.
I feel like I'm at the edge of a great precipice, but instead of feeling frightened of the fall, I feel enthused and empowered to take the leap and arrive at the next stage of my life with a proud stance and a happy heart. There is no room for fear when you have pure intent and confidence in your abilities. I might not get through 2012 in perfect form, but next December 31 I will look back and take the good with the bad, and hopefully the song of the year will be just a little bit sweeter.
Remember to look back at the year that has been with an open heart. Regret is a useless feeling and a terrible thing to get stuck in. I will look back at 2011 and remember the lessons learned, the laughs shared, the love felt, and the pages turned in my own story. I hope the same for all of you, and I hope that song of your year has some sweet and soothing lyrics to carry you into 2012.