As I write this, it's December 28th, which means there's three more days left in the year. I keep seeing these "Year in Review" things on Facebook, and it got me thinking about my year. I just sat outside for a while, under the stars, and thought about what made this year different than the others in my life. What happened? What did I learn?
There's a weird phenomenon that exists, and I think this year was the first time I've begun to recognize it: The more you learn, the more you realize that the number of things you know divided by the number of things you don't know is an infinitesimally small figure. I find solace in my lack of knowledge -- it doesn't mean I'm not forever curious, but I love knowing that there will never be a limit to what I can potentially learn. This awareness of my relative ignorance helps to keep the howling pack of dogs we call arrogance at arm's length.
This year I learned that family and blood don't necessarily mean the same thing. No one new was born, no one got married, but my family grew. There are people who I love deeply whose existence I was not aware of at this time last year. There's something beautiful and poetic in there somewhere, if not just the mere fact of our capacity to love being limitless.
This year I dated a chef and learned how to be a better cook. And I learned that I'm really, really afraid of getting my heart broken, and that at some point I'm probably going to have to just bite the bullet and dive in.
This year I learned that age, and status, mean very little. I watched well-known, respected people three times my age behave like petulant children, and I watched children behave with a wisdom and grace that is never learned, only un-learned.
This year I went to Burning Man and learned that every human being wants the same things when we strip everything else away: To be safe, to be happy, to be healthy, and to be at ease. We get very confused by the world we currently inhabit, but a place where everyone gets to experience all four of those things at once is as close to utopia as we're going to get.
This year I spent my 24th birthday running on the sand with someone I had met just a few days prior. Meeting her was what I imagine it's like when you have amnesia and then you meet your best friend from before your head injury. I learned from her that it's okay to be sad sometimes, and that I don't always have try and save everyone. That it's enough to just not go away.
This year I had two ideas that I ran with: Getting people to write letters to themselves right before the pivotal moment in their lives, and creating a space for young men to talk without fear of judgment and with the safety of confidentiality. I did both of those things, and it was awesome. It is awesome.
But that doesn't mean I don't get sad. It doesn't mean I can't think of a million and two ways to be better, to do better, that I don't fall into a feedback loop of self-loathing and self-judgment. But I love a lot of people, and a lot of people love me. And for that, I am impossibly fortunate.
And there's three days left this year. So there's much more to learn.