Though completely fitting to be finishing my year in New York City, I still couldn’t help but find my breath a little stunted as I gazed at the view of Manhattan from Penthouse D.
New Year’s Eve in New York, the Empire State Building, seemingly just beyond my finger’s reach, glimmered with multi-colored lights as the moon above rose to its highest point, the sun imminently setting as the rest of the city’s skyscrapers came aglow.
Times Square would soon be lit up, too, jam-packed with tourists from around the globe and enthusiastic locals waiting for the ball to drop. At midnight, colorful fireworks and plumes of smoke would encompass the square, providing a lively site for the surrounding buildings – the other soloists watching from their Penthouse apartments – while mesmerizing the audience below and providing a cue for the midnight kiss.
What a magical moment to witness in New York City, on New Year’s Eve.
And yet I couldn’t be disturbed from my place of detached observation, which to me was the perfect end to the most perfect year. I was accompanied, of course, by a love that made my year (and surely all of its accomplishments) possible. A love that gave me an otherwise unrealized strength and clarity. There was champagne. There was a $73 dollar box of Laduree macarons. There was a view to die for.
But most importantly, there was an extended moment. A moment of gratitude that paid tribute to the year that had just passed. In honor of 2014, the sounds that encompassed the penthouse were the same ones that marked the most important moments of the year.
Rather Be was January. I danced to it once on a party night with my girlfriends during my London stay, but mostly I danced to it solo in my kitchen as I waited for my omelette to finish. Rather Be was my beacon of hope, my go-to for some much needed happiness when I was lonely and missing him the most.
And then there was Sonnentanz, which would become another one of our songs, but which started as an argument. I urged at how amazing the song was, and implemented it into my life. He soon relented and did the same. On my final day in London, I listened to Sonnentanz on repeat and sang it aloud as I meandered the streets and finally saw the London Eye. I had no idea what my future held at this time, but I had faith.
Waves was my solo arrival to Budapest for what would become my 3 month stay and transformative journey to the comfort of being alone. Waves would keep me company and fill my soul as I walked the streets or explored the city on my bike. Waves always made me feel a little less alone.
Stolen Dance is me, twirling in my Budapest apartment. My Rakoczi. I’m wearing an a-line skirt and a matching crop top that I’ve just made for myself, with my Hungarian sewing machine. I’m smiling. I’m happy.
Magic was our love song, heartbreaking and yet uniting, even across oceans. And then July Flame was us reunited, happy. A summer in North Carolina, driving on the highway, sunroof open, hair blowing, hand-in-hand, headed towards Wilmington for my 24th birthday weekend.
We danced around the apartment and transported ourselves to the places, physical and emotional, that each song so strongly represented. It’s funny how a song can anchor you to a particular place, or a particular chapter of your life. It’s incredible how something so simple as a song can get you through a time of heartbreak or loneliness, how seamlessly it can lift your spirits, or reconnect you to someone you love, someone far, far away.
And, with that, it’s funny how a playlist can come to represent a year in its entirety. 2014 was the best year, the best playlist, of all the years and all the songs. So in order to allow full appreciation of the countdown and the official goodbye to the best year of my life, we left the penthouse silent, knowing we’d just entered 2015 by the signal of the fireworks from Times Square.
And before the New Year’s kiss, we gave ourselves a moment, standing before the expansive view. I silently vowed to let the year pass through my fingertips, to remember it with happiness, but instead of longing for it, to allow it to give me strength. To use all that I’d learned and experienced in 2014 and parlay it into 2015.
To somehow make 2015 a year of growth and transformation, of happiness and wonder.
And if there were any doubts in that moment, I was instantly reassured by the view before me, and the one next to me.
New Year, New York.