Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Will 2012 Bring: Hopes, Fears, the End of the World As We Know It?

It's New Year's Eve in Bangkok, and I can still remember the last one, in Buenos Aires, like it was yesterday. In a way, I can't believe that it wasn't. Each year seems to go by more swiftly than the one before it!

My previous New Year's Eve's celebration began with a small get-together at the apartment of my friend Cara and ended at my place with the last guy of note that I can remember meeting in Buenos Aires. I woke up on January 1 thinking that although this would not be the beginning of some sweeping romance (I was, after all, moving to Melbourne in two months), it might be a sign that a great year had just begun.

I'm still not completely sure what to make of 2011. It was an era of extreme personal growth and new experiences, which, in hindsight, a few months down the line, might actually make it an excellent year. If nothing else, this year, I learned to go with the flow, to live without a game plan.

A few years ago, I never would have allowed a one-month holiday to turn into six months of self-discovery where I didn't always know where I'd wake up the next day. I still haven't sorted out where I'm going to live when I return to Melbourne, and it's only a few days away. Six months ago, I would be panicked out of my mind, but now, I've got better things to do. Not bad for a recovering perfectionist!

But getting back to my bedroom on January 1, 2011... Unfortunately, the guy, one of my final tastes of flaky porteno man meat, turned out to be like so many others before him. There were those few perfunctory text messages before he dropped off the face of the earth completely. I was a little disappointed. Had I been planning on sticking around, I might have been crushed.

Last New Year's Day, I never would have guessed that I would be ending 2011 in Bangkok. But here I am. That's the beauty of life, how it can take you off course to strange, unexpected places, if you let it. So far I have no plans to celebrate. I was told I'd have a perfect view of the fireworks from my 14th floor apartment, if I feel like staying far from the maddening party crowd. I have no real resolutions either. I have promised myself that there will be less whiskey and less worrying about the future in 2012. Life will bring what it brings.

Already I feel a strange sense of calm and serenity that I can't recall ever having before. I still have my hopes and dreams but no expectations. Without expectations, there is less risk of disappointment.

And that is what I'm most excited about as 2011 segues into 2012: my open road. What will life bring? So much can happen in one year. Today, I can't even remember the name of that first guy I met in 2011, the one I spent a week or two focused on at the beginning of the year. His face is something of a blur, too. Who knows? Maybe by this time next year, so will all of the faces and people and things that dominate my thoughts these days, the ones I don't necessarily want to be there.

Goodbye, 2011. It's been... an experience. Welcome, 2012! I can't wait to see what comes next!

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