Today is the Lunar New Year. In the last two years, I’ve abided closely to the pattern of the lunar months--its inevitable when you live in Asia. In Nepal, the monks would have a special puja on the morning of the Full Moon. In Thailand, I saw hordes of partiers flock to the wilds of Koh Phanang to celebrate various phases of the moon. In Hoi An, the 14th of every lunar month brought a lantern ceremony that honored their ancestors. The moon has thus been present in my life in a big way, made even more prominent to me due to the fact that this year I turned 25.
While I feel like a lot of people are afraid of this milestone, I was honestly just happy to see 24 go.
24, for me, was a year of education, of massive failure, of money troubles, and meditation retreats. It was loud parties, and good food, and friends you stay up all night with talking. I put myself in polar opposite situations every other week, making it virtually impossible to find an equilibrium. It was the year that I challenged myself to figure out who I was amidst the chaos that surrounded me. For as happy as I was to see 24 go, I appreciate it for what it was. It wasn’t easy. And the work is not yet finished.
That being said, I think that the challenges I’ve faced as taught me something. The turmoil of 24, and of 23, 22, 21, and so on, have gifted me a lot of wisdom, in addition to their own individual successes and failures. In short, the last twenty five years have given me a pretty awesome tool box to get through things when times get tough.
Throughout the next week or so, to celebrate the Lunar New Year and the fact that I’m officially a quarter of a century old, I will be writing about some of the things that I’ve learned along the way. This obviously isn't a comprehensive list, but it is a lot of the stuff I've found to be important.
In the spirit of exploring a new culture, through my celebrating Tet, let’s begin. Chúc mừng năm mới! (1)
1. This is Happy New Year in Vietnamese.
2. The Vietnamese name for Lunar New Year.