It’s the day after Christmas and vacation stretches long in front of me, so I’m drowning in the luxury of a late-afternoon cappuccino. It’s foamy and caffeinated and exactly what I’d avoid if I had to work tomorrow, or sleep tonight.
Because it’s late December, I’m flipping through photos on my phone and thinking about the year we are about to leave behind.
My favorite pictures are the ones of people I love: here’s the day my college roommates and I convinced my sister to go out with us, cramming into an Uber one way and sitting on laps on the way home. Here’s the one of my nephew’s bare toes gripping something in the bathtub; his mother said he announced, ‘I have talented toes like Aunt Anna!’ and so I again died of love for him, as I have done every day since he came into this world. Here I am in a lake in North Carolina, crowded around a large, inflatable, rainbow unicorn my favorite 15-year-old carried on a transatlantic flight home with her; she and her cousins are so achingly, summerly beautiful. My puppies, my beloved and I in a canoe, my siblings’ faces squished next to mine: these are the pictures I do not share here, the ones I print out and keep close to me, like the notes I carry from people I love whenever I fly.
But, too: here are the stalks of corn on a hot day when I sat on a porch with my friend and her boys and lots of ice cream. The interior of Washington’s Union Station, which I traveled briefly through on the way to brunch with girlfriends. The Teddy Bear Dahlias of the farmer’s market in July. My favorite cups of yaourt in Paris in February, the stairs of Montreal in November, the ocean so many times, the ocean the ocean the ocean.
There are so many gorgeous moments out there, waiting to be found, wanting to be named.
So let us look back on the year we are leaving, and the one we are about to enter, and be grateful for the experiences, the flowers, the books, the laughter, the strangers, the friends, the pain.
Let us find the small, unspeakable moments of beauty and passion and joy, the ones that make up a world.
Let us walk gently from one year to the next; let us love well, look out for one another, be kind. Let us drink cappuccinos on a December afternoon, and call it good; let us, maybe, call it everything.