It is my birthday today..and what a year it has been! In the words of a close friend and mentor of mine: I have changed every area of my life in 2013. For the better, I might add. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have days when I feel overwhelmed by the challenges I face. Some of those challenges firmly rooted in my psyche. But, like a gardener, I am continually planting new seeds and simultaneously ripping out persistent weeds, however securely fixed they may be. In time, new flowers will bloom, as they already have… It simply requires day-to-day pruning to keep my garden in check….

This year saw me crossing the threshold of having lived longer in the States, than I ever have in Finland, my home-country. Although I have certainly retained my Finnish-ness in many areas, I am also now an American, as I became a citizen this year. Though I will continue to cherish my heritage, this feels right to me on an emotional level. I worked hard for my dual citizenship–it did not come easy; I’ve earned my place here. Next year, I am excited to say, will see me stepping up even more than my basic duties as a US citizen, like voting and serving on a jury. My unique foundation as both a Finn and an American allows me a distinctive opportunity and special angle to stand up for the rights of musicians and artists… But I digress… More of that in 2014.

Now for the ‘birthday-reflections-bomb’: my favorite change in me this year has been learning to love. No minor feat, that..! I have experienced fondness, lust, yearning, want, need, dependency, jealousy, obsession, possessiveness, but to be honest–before this year, I didn’t know what love was. It has crept in quietly, slowly: an ability to trust–not just others, but myself too. I do not believe that true love is possible without trust. Whereas my love used to be judgmental and fear-based, I am now able to appreciate another person for who they truly are and to be intimate. You don’t know that you haven’t experienced something, until you have. And this is…well…something truly worth experiencing.

I wish for more excitement, more love, more success, more depth, more friendship, more music, more traveling, more connection, more peace, more merriment and more getting to know myself and others in the new year. I also wish for each and everyone of you a glowing, fulfilling year 2014. May it be the best year yet!

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”
–Ella Fitzgerald