Guess who is coming to live with us next week?
For the past two years, I’ve spent the days between Christmas and January 1 working on Susannah Conway‘s wonderful Unraveling the Year Ahead workbook. It’s a great ritual, and I found it so helpful to check in with my plans and goals last year, especially when things felt muddy. My 2015 word, “lighten,” was a lens through which I could view my experiences, my feelings, my reactions.
This year, my word is “thrive.” As I said to a friend last week, this is the year for getting my roots in the ground, pruning back the less healthy branches and nurturing the healthiest ones. This time next year, I want to be strong and vibrant and confident again. I want to have a stronger spine.
David Bowie died yesterday, and the whole world is mourning. All I can think about is the sheer luck of being on the planet during the time that I’m on the planet. I shared the existing pool of oxygen with David Bowie, with Oliver Sacks, with so many brilliant, shining people. If that’s not a reason to grow where I’m planted, I don’t know what is.
The number of unposted drafts siting in my WordPress dashboard speaks to the kind of year I had in 2015. There was so much that I wanted to say and didn’t, so much that I wanted to do and didn’t. I felt utterly stagnant, like I was wasting my life. I cried a lot. I drank a lot. I cursed a lot. I looked at job postings in completely different places. I thought (and still think) about ditching my professional field and doing something completely different. I freaked out about the unfairness of potentially giving up even one more thing. I tried desperately to keep a positive face, which really just made things a hell of a lot worse. I fooled absolutely no one, made an utter ass of myself on many occasions, and solved exactly zero problems.
It was a crap year, personally and professionally. I got paid for around 50% of the work I did, for various reasons. I had to have awkward conversations with many, many people about baseline practices of being grownups. There were good things (even great ones), but they felt mired in with the bad, the dramatic, the idiotic.
All of this is to say, in the inimitable words of Radiohead, “for a minute there, I lost myself.”
I feel like I started turning a corner in November, and I’m finally getting back to myself. That’s my mantra these days: “I’m getting there.” I’m posting this now because I feel like I’m in the clear to a certain extent; I’ve started feeling hopeful again. I’ve been laughing, which I felt like I’d almost forgotten how to do for a while. I’m also starting to identify triggers for my depression, I’m communicating better, and I’m standing up for myself even when it totally sucks. I still have to be careful and take very proactive steps to prevent backsliding. I’ve gone so far as to make yet another chart to check off the life maintenance things that keep me moving in a positive direction, which is embarrassingly helpful.
Life is going to be better this year. I know this for sure. So, hi. I’m glad it’s a new year. That’s all there is to say about that.