The past few months have been a funny ol’ time. Maybe it was because of Christmas, which has a tendency to bring out my starry-eyed childhood nostalgia. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I read a number of books in a row that were a return to characters or places I already knew: Longbourne took me back to Pride and Prejudice with a whole new cast and a very different perspective; Prince of Fools was a return to the Broken Empire, but with a guide the polar opposite of Jorg. Maybe it had to do with the release of The Battle of the Five Armies in December, which I had been anticipating basically since the credits rolled on The Desolation of Smaug and brought out that fourteen-year-old fangirl in me.
Staring down the unknown as the New Year approached and looking back over 2014, I may have had a moment of panic and clung to the familiar, the safe, the reliable. I was standing in a tunnel with a birthday and a soon-to-end job contract coming at me like back-to-back bullet trains.
So I threw up my hands and learned how to stop worrying and love the nostalgia. I went back to my piano for the first time in years and learned to play something new. I wrote something that surprised me. Against all rational odds, I remembered my fanfiction.net password and used that platform that I had turned to a decade ago to write something I had not written before. And I’m not ashamed to admit that getting favourites and reviews make me feel good about writing in a way that I don’t a lot of the time. It reminds me of a time when, yes, I was a terrible teenage writer, but I wasn’t afraid. I just wanted to create something and share it.
My mantra leading up to my 26th birthday is not to grow up or be more mature. This year, I’m unleashing my inner child who straightjacketed herself in a blazer and whose most widely read piece of writing has been her résumé.
I’m going to be that girl who wasn’t afraid to create whatever she wanted, in whatever medium she wanted, and who wasn’t afraid of what people would think. I’m going to write what I want without worrying about its future marketability. I’m going to dance to the Spice Girls every morning because it makes me happy. I’m going to embrace a piece of advice that I heard when I was six and forgot somewhere along the way: to take chances, get messy, and make mistakes.
It’s not a conventional aspiration going into my twenty-sixth year, but conventional was never my intention anyway.