New Year

St. Patrick’s Day, 2014. I was talking to Nick Shaheen on my front porch. I can’t remember what I was talking about, but I remember giving a lot of time-related mile markers. “That happened in October of 2005,” or whatever. Shaheen said, “Wow, you’re really obsessed with dates.”

Up until he told me that, I had no clue this was true. In fact, I thought the opposite. I have no memory for anniversaries. Actual dates don’t stick with me, just months or seasons. But recording the specific day isn’t necessary to be really obsessed with dates. And the thing is, numbers don’t mean much. Certainly not to me, who can’t do simple math, but also in terms of the calendar year. Just because you turn the page doesn’t mean things are going to change.

And yet, I find myself looking forward to 2015 like a dog watching her owner open a new can of tennis balls.

2014 has lasted roughly four regular years. I was trying to think back to my first visit to Simon & Schuster. Turns out – December of 2013. WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED. You guys, that’s a year ago. It feels like four. In a way, a lot has happened in 2014. There’s been a lot of comedy and a lot of writing and even a good bit of production. I went to Los Angeles and New York, got to spend time with old friends and make new ones. I found Crossfit (need to refind it, you guys. Anybody know where it went? hahahahaha) and I started riding horses again, which has been awesome. But it’s been a year of waiting. Waiting on my divorce to be final. Waiting for Ruthless to come out. Waiting on collaborators. Waiting on myself to get new writing done.

2014 has been the Year of the Wait.

Yesterday, Evan and I did divorce paperwork stuff. (Quick plot cul-de-sac – we went to the notary for literary the 6th time and – once again – she didn’t know who we were. What is that? This isn’t over a long span of time, just two or three months. What’s up with this woman’s memory? Does she live in a perpetual state of Groundhog’s Day? Okay, sorry, plot dul-de-sac over.) ANYWAY – Evan and I grabbed lunch and, as is often the case, he was sort of taking a long time to wrap things up and I heard the little microwave *DING* that goes off in my head when I’m ready to move on. Evan could see it in my eyes. I said, “I get impatient. I like for the things to be doing.”

I like for the things to be doing.

You guys. In case any of you missed it, I’m a professional writer now. A master of the English language. And I like for the things to be doing. I really do, too. I like roller coasters. Not merry-go-rounds. 2014 has been long and sloggy and against my nature.

More importantly, 2014 has been a year of intense hardship for a lot of my best friends. While a lot of my waiting has been for joyful things like my book to come out, others have been waiting on things like test results. Others have waited for the worst part of grief to pass. I’ve been witness to a lot of suffering this year. There’s an inherent waiting involved in that experience, too. We say, “this too shall pass” for a reason. We are waiting for a brighter day. In a sense, we never stop waiting, because we don’t arrive at our destination until the day we die.

But there are years where you sell your first book and go to New York City for the first time and go back to Los Angeles and reunite with friends you haven’t seen in more than ten years and learn how to just float in a lake and have fun and take up stand-up comedy and finally find your tribe and none of it feels like waiting, because instead you’re wholly in the present, because the present is alive with the new. Of course, every year can’t be 2013. Sometimes, instead, your year is 2014 and all you can do is wait.

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