Dear Family & Friends,
In my ever-constant pursuit to prove to the world that I am adulting, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to write my own family Christmas card this year. The one that explains in emotionally-void and gilded detail that 2016 left us all happy & healthy, and grateful for our blessings. I always assumed I’d be writing Christmas cards about my new, budding family around this age – but that’s the thing about Millennials and plans. We never follow through, do we?
In 2016, I learned that most people don’t have it figured it out. I learned that parents are simply doing the best they can with the knowledge that they have up to this point. I learned that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is admit that you know nothing, and neither does anyone else.
In 2016, most of my conversations seemed like a scene from Lord of the Rings.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do all who live to see such times,” said Gandalf, “But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Sometimes I was Frodo. And sometimes I was Gandalf.
In 2016, I learned that 47% of my friends are probably closet racists. I deactivated Facebook 18 times, re-activated it 17 times (because I still “needed” Facebook to access my Spotify account, which was only half-true, and confirmed what most people believe about Millennials: I’m just lazy). I deleted the Facebook app off my phone 7 times, continued to check Facebook on my phone’s internet browser 59 times a day, and then took pride in telling all my friends that I was “off Facebook”. I offended my mother when I deactivated my account for the last time, and failed to see her photos.
In 2016, I went into credit card debt from supporting local businesses and justifying agriculturally-sustainable and financially-irresponsible choices like $8 cartons of eggs. I made more money than in my previous 26 years on this planet, and still had to ask my Dad to help me with my car payments. He wasn’t sympathetic because I had no one to blame but myself. I pouted for a couple days anyway. I didn’t get the raise I hoped for, but wasn’t willing to explicitly ask for. I guilt-tripped, and shame-spiraled, and rode roller coasters of self-loathing, while it seemed that all my other friends were taking more conventional trips to Zion National Park and Barcelona. But guilt-tripping was free and didn’t use up my PTO – which was already reserved for weddings I didn’t necessarily want to attend. Because as much as I believe that love is the answer, I think it can also be the problem.
In 2016, I found out the hard way that men and women are still not equals. In business, in the street, in the bed, and on the elevator. I hated being a woman, and I also met some amazing women that renewed my faith in humanity. I spent brunches crying and laughing simultaneously. I learned that the number on the scale, the size on my jeans, and the location of my house will not make me immune to heartache. I learned that self-confidence is the sexiest dress I own – but it often has wine stains or buttons that need to be resewn, so I don’t wear it as often as I’d like to. I learned that grief does not discriminate, and that I’m responsible for building the foundation of my life, because at least then I’ll know where the bricks are when that foundation is blown to fucking pieces.
In 2016, I learned that alcohol is a depressant, and I should treat is as such. I spent entire Sundays puking bile, and then preached health and wellness while teaching yoga classes on Monday. I forgave myself for making mistakes. I started talking to myself like I talk to my best friends. “You did a bad thing. You are not a bad person.” I allowed myself the freedom to commit, un-commit, and re-commit at anytime, anywhere, with anyone. I learned that people don’t think about your choices as much as you think they do.
I spent approximately 3 hours every day looking up pictures of puppies. I considered new Snapchat filters to be Trending News. I canceled most Friday night plans, but kept more Saturday promises. I tried to call people on the phone more than I texted them, and tried to text my parents more than I called them. I said “I Love You” even when I didn’t feel it. I learned that I didn’t have to be a mother to provide motherly care and compassion, and I accepted that no matter how much I try to have my shit together…it’s always going to feel good to be taken care of. There’s no shame in taking care of yourself – and there’s no shame when that means reaching out and asking someone to hold you.
In 2016, I realized that I get to the end of every year and breathe a sigh of good riddance. I curse the year I had, and look forward to a year with less pain/drama/suffering/trauma. In 2016, I realized that I’ll never have a perfect year. I will never have a year that will get an A+ or a “Good Job” sticker. I learned that labels and summations are dangerous. And sometimes things can be sad AND necessary. Sometimes they can be happy AND painful. Sometimes the moments when we are most broken and weak, are actually the moments that are shiny, and perfect, and real, and beautiful,
I will stop trying to close a chapter on December 31, and reopen a new one on January 1. I will accept every chapter of my book. I will stop trying to hide the chapters I’m not proud of, and I’ll stop comparing my book to everyone else’s. I’ll try to be grateful among sadness and chaos. I’ll stop trying to change the world by only pursuing goals that seem lofty or noble. Instead I’ll compliment a stranger’s hair, and swear less at the person that cuts me off on my commute. I’ll be nicer to fellow women. I’ll support their dreams and visions – no matter how small or grandiose. I’ll listen to people, even if I don’t have anything to say. And I’ll stop trying to fix things. Maybe nothing needs to be fixed. Maybe I don’t need a new year, or a new house, or a new boyfriend – just like I don’t need the old years, the old houses, and the old boyfriends. Do I really need anything? I’ll ask myself hard questions in 2017. I’ll do my best to answer honestly with the best knowledge that I have up to this point.
This year was fucking tough. I can’t tell you that it’s going to be “better” next year. But God damn, I’m game to find out.
In the words of Drake, “You been to hell & back, that’s why you’re bad as fuck.”
Stay in touch. If you’ve got the time. Or you can just find me on Snapchat. Because I still get a weird sense of pleasure from having an awesomely crafted Snap Story. If you could confirm and validate me, that would be great.