2014 is nine hours old. I close the bedroom door to let my husband sleep a little more, pad out to the kitchen in my robe and slippers, and lift down the 2013 calendar from its hook. I plug in the Christmas tree lights, probably for the last time, and settle into my reclining chair to begin my year-end review.
As I flip through the calendar’s annotated pages, I’m struck by its patchwork pattern of the mundane and the momentous, the sad and the sweet. Haircut appointments, reminders to change the furnace filter, and visits by window cleaners sit side by side with the date for a great uncle’s memorial service, a flight departure to Mazatlan, and a friend’s retirement party. Some events are stitched cause and effect together: lunch with a friend scratched out because I was hacking from a flu-related cough; multiple physiotherapy appointments because the coughing sprained my back; the start of a Pilates class to strengthen and stretch my core muscles. There are intermingled squares of murky grey and bright yellow: the unexpected loss of a cherished job and a twenty five year friendship; the fascination of learning Mandarin, even though the resulting teaching gig in China fell through; three weeks of adventuring in Provence. I discover one block that puzzles me: who was the “Phil” that I met for coffee at the end of August? Then it dawns on me: Phil is short for Philomena, a delightful Nigerian women’s studies professor with whom I collaborated on visual teaching techniques. She was heading to Africa on sabbatical. I decide to e-mail her later today.
But right now it’s time for the official start of 2014. I put the old calendar in the recycle bin, and reach under the Christmas tree for the new one, a gift from my father-in-law. I settle it into place on the empty wall by the stove, and stand back to admire the uncluttered expanse of white January squares, and the painting of children playing in a snow-covered country clearing. I wonder what the next 12 months will hold, what I’ll be thinking and feeling and remembering when I leaf through this calendar on January 1, 2015. No doubt there will be a few downward slides, and one or two spectacular tumbles. But, like the children in the image, I’m also hoping 2014 provides me with many opportunities for artful collaborations, cozy conversations with friends and family, and the discovery of unexplored paths. When it comes right down to it, who could ask a year for more than that?