As disappointed as I am in my lack of words and posts, I am even more disappointed in my lack of stories to share. What can I tell you: 2017 was not the best year. What made it subpar? I wish I could sum it up in a word, a phrase, or even a sentence, but the reality is that it was more of a mood, and it wasn’t positive.
I started the year feeling motivated and proactive, much like some of my friends who were also out of sorts after the 2016 election. I went to the Women’s March in D.C. with two of my favorite people. I came home ready to fight, but no amount of book clubs and post card parties and meditation apps could make up for the relentless news stories that seemed to affect many things that matter to me. Everyday felt like another step backward, another liberty lost, and I couldn’t stop watching because I thought it was my civic duty to bear witness. The more I paid attention, the more outrage I felt, which in turn chipped away at my ability to find joy in the everyday.
I definitely made happy memories in 2017, but in between those bright moments was that sense of disappointment. I took one day at a time, whether it meant focusing on work, helping my family, or whatever other tasks I had. I filled my days with busyness to tamp down the disappointment, but at night, when I would sit down, it was still there, ready to color my mood gray.
How do I sum up the year? I smiled less. I stayed home more. I wrote fewer words. I ate more chocolate. I dealt with my husband’s stress, my children’s stress, and my country’s stress, all while denying my own. Turns out, my lack of a strategy didn’t work so well. As the months passed, so did my motivation. Every time I tried to change my attitude, I found myself giving into the disappointment because it felt safer, like staying under the covers on a rainy morning.
And then the year ended, with yet another loss, this time of a dear friend, an unexpected heartbreaking tragedy that was the symbolic culmination of everything about life that isn’t fair. I stumbled through the last two weeks of the year thinking about my friend who passed away, about what a positive person she was, even as she too had to work hard to stay that way, each day of her life. She loved her husband, her daughters, her pets, but she really loved herself. Hers was a life well lived, and her memory will be for a blessing, but for now, many people who knew her, including me, are still in shock.
Fast forward to today, January 2, 2018. It’s a new year, but can I make a new me? I’m no soothsayer, but I still have my words and I’m going to try. I don’t need to stay silent; it doesn’t serve me to keep a low profile. I’ve spent a year trying to ignore or suppress how I feel, and all it got me was twenty extra pounds and an increase in my medication.
I am not a big believer in resolutions because they never really pan out for most people. A few years ago, I tried to simplify my goals to make them realistic. Read four books every month. Meditate for ten minutes every day. Lose one pound a week. Nothing stuck past February, and then I would just feel worse about myself because I could add failure to the list of things that hadn’t changed.
What’s going to be different about this year? Hopefully a lot. For starters, I am going to write it down. It isn’t enough to bear witness; I need a tangible record and a sense of accountability. I need to give up excuses and just do things. I need to take chances and trust more. I need to stop eating so much chocolate and take more walks. I need to say no, but I also need to say yes. I need to honor my friend by loving myself.
So, here’s my resolution: once a week, at a minimum, I am going to write, here, for me. One thing I know is that writing makes me feel better, and when I stopped, so did the feeling better. It’s time to make a change because what’s happening now isn’t working.
You can read it if you would like, but you don’t have to; you do you, and I’ll do me. Yes, I still want to lose some weight, and read more, and be mindful. No, I don’t want to see our world suffer more injustices and setbacks. Maybe I’ll write about it, and just maybe, it will help.